Adrian Newey says Red Bull could have turned focus to 2014 earlier than it did last year, having admitted that the team continued to develop the RB9 for longer than it needed to.
Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel stormed to the 2013 title in dominant fashion having gone unbeaten following the summer break, successfully wrapping up both championship titles for a fourth year in a row.
For this season however, the team will see any possible advantage it had over its rivals eradicated by the new regulations affecting both engines and aerodynamics, with Newey admitting that the defending champions could have started work on the RB10 earlier.
“It has been a lot of work for the teams, and there has been a lot to do over the winter,” he said during the opening day at Jerez. “We had a compressed schedule to work to because we were in a championship battle last year and while in hindsight, we could have stopped developing the car sooner in the second half of the season, we didn't know that at the time.
“Instead we kept pushing on with development of the  car which reduced the amount of time that we had to carry out research and development on this years car.
“With the performance we showed last year, we'd have been happy if there were no regulation changes but the reality is that the rules should change from time to time. It's a fresh start for us all and while we know what we've done with our car, it remains to be seen if that is as good as the others.”
Newey added that the team had faced a race against time to get its new car ready for the opening test of the campaign, and said the early focus would be on ensuring reliability rather than on chasing outright pace.
“We have been short on time as we left the design a bit late, and it has been a fantastic effort to get the car here today,” he said. “We have a mature design team who know what they need to do, and that is to build a reliable and fast car.
“I think the early emphasis will have to be on reliability over performance and it is hard to predict what will happen when we get to Melbourne. All bets are off and I don't think you can say that anyone is favourite.”