While not yet writing off the 2007 campaign, Christian Horner has admitted that he is looking forward to next season, when a stable technical platform ought to produce better results than Red Bull Racing has seen so far.

The year started slowly for RBR as it took time to get to grips with Adrian Newey's RB3 design, but appeared to be on the up when David Coulthard scored points in Barcelona. Mark Webber added to the tally in the USGP, but there has been no continuation of momentum since, something that Horner admits is frustrating.

"Looking back at the last few races, our performance has not matched our expectations," he confirmed, "The RB3 has shown genuine pace - in both Monaco and Canada, Mark qualified on the third row - [but] the potential of the car has been marred by a depressingly high number of retirements."

Horner confirmed that the majority of the problems appear to be connected to the RB3's gearbox, a situation exacerbated by the recent arrival of seamless-shift technology.

"We need to run this aggressive development strategy if we want to be competitive at the highest level," he revealed, "The seamless shift is a very fast shift and its timing needs to be absolutely accurate.

"Mechanically, the gearbox itself is fundamentally okay and the problems have stemmed from areas around it. Unfortunately, it has not been a case of dealing with just one issue to fix this problem. There have been several factors contributing to its lack of reliability this year. For example, Mark's failure at Silverstone had never been seen before. It's frustrating when something like that comes along and bites you but we need to pre-empt these issues and ensure we have a reliable transmission for the second half of the year."

RBR's push to be one of the sport's leading lights has seen it change technical partners every season, and Horner admits that this lack of stability has contributed to some of the problems. With engine supplier Renault and both drivers already confirmed for 2008, he hopes that the situation will right itself before long.

"It might be something of an excuse but it's one with a major element of truth," he explained, "We are working with a new engine partner and have a new electronics package this year. Next year will be the first time in the short history of our team that we will have continuity of engine supply for more than one season and I expect that to be of tremendous benefit.

"We can all see the car's potential and our philosophy about going racing has changed here in that we are developing the car aggressively and that has required Herculean efforts from all areas of the company. The commitment demonstrated by everyone in the team has been hugely impressive. We don't have much to show for it at the moment but, with sustained effort and commitment, results will follow.

In the shorter term, the team boss revealed that development of the RB3 is continuing apace, with the first wave of parts aimed at a major overhaul at the Turkish round next month appearing on the car at this weekend's European Grand Prix.

"We have some developments that we tested in Spa last week and a significant upgrade coming for Turkey, with a few new elements on the car at the Nurburgring," Horner confirmed, "Of course, it's not just down to us, as those other teams are also pushing their development forward.

"We are in an extremely competitive part of the pack. At the moment, three tenths of a second puts you either at the front or the back of a group consisting of Renault, Honda, Toyota, Williams and ourselves. Having qualified in the top ten in the first seven races, we missed getting there at Silverstone by less than 0.1secs, and it has become clear that [our opposition] - notably Renault, Toyota and Honda - have made a step forward. I think it's going to be very tight all through the rest of the season."



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