Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner says engine partner Renault must do its talking on-track when it comes to improving its power unit performance and cutting the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari at the front of the pecking order.

Red Bull has made significant gains on the two front-runners in F1 this season, taking a victory on merit in Malaysia three weeks ago, but has long-stated its frustration with Renault over the performance gap with its engine.

"As soon as you put a little bit of scrub the engine doesn’t pull through," Horner said of Red Bull's straight-line struggles at Suzuka. "It is very sensitive with acceleration at that point whereas if you’ve got the power - you can see Mercedes and Ferrari are running more downforce than us and running the little Monkey Seat, the wing over the exhaust, they are running a deep rear wing but still their speed is extremely impressive.

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"I don’t think it is just in qualifying [Renault is behind], I think it is also in the grand prix as well. If we can find a bit of horsepower over the winter it puts us into a much better season going into next season."

When asked if he was confident Renault could make gains, Horner said: "The stopwatch doesn’t lie. Talk is cheap and it is what happens on track [that counts].

"We see they are working really hard and hopefully as these rules have been pretty stable for some time now there will start to be some convergence."

Red Bull's existing contract with Renault expires at the end of the 2018 season, with the French manufacturer rumoured to be uneasy about extending the deal.

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Bet Renault will be glad to see the back of Horner and Red Bull. Horner is about as diplomatic as Trump or Boris Johnson.

Renault is uneasy because the Red Bull highlights the inadequacy of their own car...