Christian Horner ready for four-way title fight

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Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner believes that his team are in the middle of a four-way fight for both titles this season.

The British team currently leads the constructors’ championship ahead of Lotus and Ferrari, and Sebastian Vettel tops the drivers’ standings by 10 points. Despite this good start to the season, Horner is sure that Red Bull will face a stiff challenge as they look to retain both titles.

“Ferrari is strong, Lotus has a good car, and the Mercedes certainly over a single lap is very strong,” Horner told Autosport.

“But having won two of the four races plus a second place, it has been a strong start to the campaign for us.”

The beginning of the season has been very close indeed, with three drivers winning in the opening four races, and Horner only expects it to get even closer as Formula One returns to Europe in two weeks’ time.

“It’s close, it’s tight and I’m sure it’s going to move around from circuit to circuit as we head back to Europe.”

Horner did however write off the challenge of McLaren, who has endured its worst start to a Formula One season in over a decade.

“The rest are a step behind,” he said.

In recent years, Red Bull has improved over the course of the season, and its start to the 2013 championship could put them in good stead to seal a fourth consecutive drivers and constructors double.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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