Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner insists that his team is not concerning itself with what its rivals may or may not be doing during F1's off-season, preferring instead to concentrate on preparing for the season opener in Australia.
While some other teams have featured regularly in the news over the winter, Red Bull has been largely quiet, as it works on the successor to the double title-winning RB7. With changes to the technical rules for 2012, Adrian Newey is having to rethink for the new car, rather than simply trotting out an evolution of last year's machine, but Horner remains confident that Red Bull will be ready for the first pre-season test, in Spain, in early February.
“We are focused on keeping our heads down and only what happens in Melbourne matters,” he told an audience at the Autosport International
show over the weekend, “I think we have proven to be adept at changing to different regulations, but we don't underestimate McLaren and Ferrari - or even Mercedes. We will only know where we are when the fuel comes out of the car in qualifying in Melbourne in eight or nine weeks' time.”
“Of course, there is the added challenge this year of trying to pass the crash test before
we test for the first time, but that's the same for everybody. At the moment, things seem to be progressing well. We are burning the midnight oil in Milton Keynes at the moment, [so] the factory is incredibly busy, as I'm sure all the teams are at this time of the year.”
Although there is talk of innovations here and there - such as Lotus F1's braking system and Ferrari's 'ugly' aero package - Horner insists that Red Bull remains focused on the package that Newey has laid out for the RB8, rather than being distracted by trying to copy its rivals.
"It's always difficult to tell [what other teams are doing] at this time of year," he conceded, "It's the month of January and we don't see any of the other teams, so there are obviously bits of speculation that float around and snippets that come out here and there."
Red Bull is not alone in having yet to set a launch date for its RB8, but hopes to have at least one car ready for the opening pre-season test, which kicks off at Jerez on 7 February.