Nico Rosberg believes Red Bull is “still the benchmark as a team” and will come back strongly at Mercedes this season.
Following four consecutive championship doubles, Red Bull has struggled relative to Mercedes so far this season, but gradual improvements have seen Red Bull move up to second in the constructors' championship. While Mercedes holds a substantial lead of 97 points, Rosberg says he still sees Red Bull as the team to beat following all its recent success.
"Very recently Red Bull was still the benchmark and is still the benchmark as a team - I don't think it changes that quickly - so we need to be careful and keep on improving ourselves, which we are doing, to keep our advantage or even extend it," Rosberg is quoted as saying by Sky Sports
"The target needs to be to extend it, that's going to be very ambitious, but that needs to be the target. At least keep our advantage and I'm optimistic that we can achieve that. But saying that, this year it's a development race which is much more extreme than we've seen in recent years because the regulations are so new.”
While Rosberg has acknowledged Mercedes' advantage at this early stage, he says the nature of this year means the team will not be able to bank on being competitive all season.
"When the regulations are new the development curve just goes straight up for the first period and then it flattens off at some point once you can't really find so much more. But in the beginning the teams are learning so much...it's really important to keep on it because the chances for the teams behind us to catch up are much bigger than, for example, if we were being in the same situation last year because the development is just going to be huge this year."