Daniel Ricciardo believes that Red Bull can challenge Mercedes for both titles in the 2017 season. Formula 1 goes through a new regulation change with more downforce being added, a transition that is expected to play to the strengths of the energy drinks outfit.
Mercedes have dominated the sport since the introduction of the V6 Hybrid era in 2014, winning 52 of the last 59 races. With Red Bull last taking the drivers and constructors championship in 2013, Ricciardo is looking for the drought to end.
He said: "The cars are going to be quicker, the tyres wider, so maybe on some narrow circuits it could be a bit trickier, especially with a wider car; that might make the available room for opportunity slightly less. [But] if you're a fan, get yourself to a fast corner. Whatever track you're at, find one of the quick corners to really see what we're doing."
Ricciardo reckons that he will know pretty quickly if he has a fast car or not, and says he is more prepared than ever entering the new season of F1.
"There are so few test days available. You know track time is important for the car, for development, but it's also important for us physically. I know that my pre-season has been the best I've had in terms of physical preparation but it's still not driving a race car. I'll arrive fit and conditioned but the first day in the car is still going to hurt because you're body is going through different things, things it hasn't been through in a long time.
"You want to do the laps for yourself, so that you get that race fitness. After the reliability is settled you want to go through a corner and feel in your bottom that it's a fast car. Once you do one flying lap, you get an idea. It's just the way it brakes and turns – you just know. Hopefully, it's a good feeling, that first timed lap."
Asked about his hopes for the season, and his season-opening home race in Melbourne, the Australian said: "I don't write stuff down and say 'Melbourne I want to be on podium' or 'here I want to do that', I just make sure I'm prepared for every race.
"I've said it for a few years, the one thing I want to do, if it is a goal, is never leave the race on a Sunday, on a flight home, thinking "I should have done this or that". I want to leave it all on the track on Sunday."