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A raft of Red Bull upgrades, including Honda PU

Red Bull are heading into their home races armed with plenty of new updates on the RB16 as they look to be a major player in the 2020 title battle.

The Milton Keynes-based team have been earmarked as the main rivals to defending champions Mercedes this year with Ferrari seemingly third in the pecking order based on the pre-season stats.

And while Ferrari are stuck with their Barcelona-spec SF1000 for the first two races until they can unleash a completely revamped car in Hungary, Red Bull are pressing forward with immediate upgrades for the season opener.

“We don’t really know where we stand going into Austria and of course the car would have been developed,” Horner said ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.

“There would have been updates at the first European races at Zandvoort and Barcelona, there would have been further updates for Montreal, so of course all the updates that were in the pipeline prior to the shutdown, plus whatever we’ve learned subsequent to the shutdown, have been implemented to the car so there are subtle revisions all over the car as part of that update process which I’m sure the other front running teams have also done.”

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And Red Bull are not just bringing an updated chassis to Austria as their engine suppliers Honda are also ready to introduce a brand-new power unit as well.

Horner added: “We also have an engine upgrade as we essentially introduce what would have been engine number two, which becomes our first engine, so in all aspects of the car there has been an awful lot of work go into and it’s been a race against the clock to get those updates onto the car since reopening the factory at the beginning of June.”

Mercedes has also revealed in the build-up that they too have upgrades ready to introuduce at the Red Bull Ring, which will play host to the first two races of the season in a back-to-back double header.

Formula 1 is almost back! Check out our preview video for the season opener in Austria:

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Honda to run upgraded engine in Austrian GP

Red Bull’s hopes of taking the fight to Mercedes in Austria have been further boosted with Honda bringing an upgraded engine.

With the Formula 1 season having been called off before cars left the pitlane at the Australian Grand Prix, it means all teams are free to bring new car and engine packages to Austria.

Speaking in a team preview ahead of this weekend’s first round of the championship, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that engine partner Honda would be bringing what was its original second version of the power unit to the Red Bull Ring.

“We have an engine upgrade, as we essentially introduce what would have been engine number two, which becomes our first engine,” he said.

“So in all aspects of the car there has been an awful lot of work go into [it], and it’s been a race against the clock to get those updates onto the car since reopening the factory at the beginning of June.”

Red Bull revealed some changes to its car during its Silverstone filming day last week, with Horner says the team is introducing parts that had been planned for the early phase of the campaign.

“We don’t really know where we stand going into Austria and of course the car would have been developed,” he explained.

“There would have been updates at the first European races at Zandvoort and Barcelona, and there would have been further updates for Montreal.

“So of course all the updates that were in the pipeline prior to the shutdown, plus whatever we’ve learned subsequent to the shutdown, have been implemented to the car.

“There are subtle revisions all over the car as part of that update process which I’m sure the other front running teams have also done.”

Horner also praised the ever-strengthening relationship with Honda, which he hopes can help it fight for the world championship this year.

“As we head into our second year of our Honda relationship it feels much more integrated within the team. We enjoyed a great debut season with Honda winning three races, and of course now we’re looking to build on that.

“They’re ambitious, they share the same ambitions that we do, they’ve been working tremendously hard during the off-season and of course come into this year with higher expectations.

“It’s a key part of the car and a key partner for us as we move forward and look to mount a challenge for championships in the future.”

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Kevin Magnussen has 'no idea' how quick Haas are

Kevin Magnussen says he has “no idea” what Haas’s pace will be like in Austria, but expects answers from the doubleheader.

The American team’s car was notoriously temperamental last season. At some races, it would be the best of the rest while at others it was only ahead of the Williams.

The 2020 campaign is going to be hugely different in many ways, and Magnussen says things are as unpredictable as ever.

“It is difficult to say in who it [the changed calendar] benefits,” he told Ekstra Bladet.

“I really can’t predict it. We also have no idea how good our new car is for this year.”

In 2019, the performance of the Haas challenger was hugely affected by external factors such as temperature. The Dane feels that starting with two races at the same track should provide some considerable insights into whether that will be the case again.

“It’s going to be exciting to see. You get rock-solid proof of whether performance depends on the track or if other factors are involved,” he added.

“You have the feeling that it is very decisive for the speed if the circuit suits the car. We will get clear answers to that. If one weekend is good and the other weekend is not in terms of results and speed, it will give food for thought.

“But I emphatically expect it to be more or less the same. If you are good in the first weekend, you should be good in the second weekend, given that the weather is the same.”

Last year, the team struggled to understand their car so much that they ended up reverting back to the original spec model. If they can get on top of things by the end of the doubleheader, they’ll undoubtedly be in far better shape.

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