Newey fearful Red Bull could slip further back in 2016

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Red Bull Racing chief technical officer Adrian Newey fears that the team could lose even more ground on rivals Mercedes and Ferrari over the course of the 2016 Formula 1 season.

2015 saw Red Bull ail to its worst championship performance in seven years as issues with the Renault power unit limited drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat to just three podium finishes in total.

The team attempted to strike an engine deal with Ferrari and Mercedes for 2016, but was unable to come to an agreement and will use rebranded Renault power units instead.

Speaking to The Hindu in India, Newey was dismayed by the current engine-centric formula that offers teams little chance to make up for the shortcomings of their power units.

“It is important to find the right balance between the chassis, engine and the driver for the sport to be competitive, but right now the engine is dominating, which is unhealthy,” Newey said.

“Cosworth came with a winning engine in 1967 that was exclusively for use by the Lotus team. It became very clear that the engine was going to be dominant. Then, Lotus agreed to waive its exclusivity to allow others to use it for the good of the sport.

“Unfortunately, that sort of attitude doesn’t seem to exist any more. If the sport is not healthy, what’s the point in winning?”

The engine situation is such that Newey doubts Red Bull will be able to catch the manufacturer teams in 2016, and fears it could slip further behind across the course of the year.

“Our hope for 2016 is to just maintain that gap,” Newey said.

“But with Ferrari and Mercedes expected to step up, towards the end of the year we might be further behind than we were last year.”