Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull has done an impressive job to bring the chassis up to speed over the course of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship season, but admits the Renault power unit remains too far off the pace.
The Australian has enjoyed a strong second-half to the season in terms of pure pace, typified by his podiums in Hungary and Singapore, though both he and Daniil Kvyat have struggled to mount a consistent challenge against Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams.
Hampered by the underperformance of the much maligned Renault power unit, Ricciardo says Red Bull's form is largely dictated by whether the circuit and conditions can negate the engine.
However, on the occasions where the engine is less of a defining factor, Ricciardo says it is indicative of the improvements made on the chassis side since the start of the season.
“We have had some races that surprised us by being able to keep the Williams and Ferrari behind us for so long. Those races where you can say the car and the package has come a long way but then you get to Austin and when it dried up, wide open down the back straight we were bleeding a lot.
“It has been up and down. The engine has been hard to quantify what we have gained but the chassis has come a long way. Ever since Silverstone there were signs and then since Budapest we have pretty much nailed it. The weekends have gone a lot smoother for us setting up the car and we are not scratching our heads, whereas at the start of the year it was impossible to get a set-up that I liked,
“I was not happy with the car and Danill struggled in the first few races getting to grips with it all. Since then we have had a lot less complaints. The boys have done a really good job. With the power unit it is hard to say – it depends on the conditions but we know we are still too far back from where we need to be.”