Formula 1 teams hiding true potential, says Red Bull boss Christian Horner

Christian Horner
Red Bull won two races in 2016 as they finished second in the constructors' championship

Formula 1 teams deliberately held back the true potential of their cars during testing, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner as he played down his team's low-key performance.

Ferrari impressed in Barcelona as they finished winter testing fastest.

Pre-season favourites Mercedes managed 1096 laps; Red Bull completed 684.

"There is a lot of sandbagging in testing. Nobody really knows what specification each other's cars are running in," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We've never won a testing world championship but we are confident we have had a good pre-season."

Can Red Bull close the gap?

The first race of the 2017 campaign gets under way in Australia on 26 March.

Red Bull won two races last season as they finished second to a dominant Mercedes in the constructors' championship.

While Horner acknowledges Mercedes will once again be the team to beat, he is hopeful Red Bull can challenge them more often this year.

"Mercedes are still very much the favourite," he said.

"Ferrari had a positive pre-season, they look like they have a good car but we are reasonably confident that we have the basis of a good car.

"It will now be all about development throughout the season and we are hopeful we can close the gap to Mercedes."

'Ricciardo and Verstappen must show each other respect'

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen, at 18, became the youngest-ever grand prix winner when he won the Spanish Grand Prix last year

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen both won one race each last year, with the latter claiming his maiden F1 win at the Spanish Grand Prix.

It was a somewhat controversial outcome as Ricciardo had been leading the race for 31 laps but a bad strategy call ultimately cost the Australian while the correct one for Verstappen paved the way for the young Dutchman to take victory.

Horner insists no one driver will be favoured over the other this season, but stressed that that they must respect each other on the circuit.

"The rules we have are very clear," he added.

"Both drivers have the same opportunity but we expect them to respect each other on the circuit.

"They must give each other space and respect when they are racing which, to date, they have been very, very good at."

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