Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner feels that the 2020 F1 season could be closest in the hybrid era but ironically everything will change for 2021.

For much of F1’s turbo-hybrid era, it has been Mercedes on top by a significant margin, but throughout 2019, the two teams trailing them have caught up, with Ferrari having won a substantial number of F1 races since the summer break.

At the same time, Red Bull has done well for themselves despite in their first season with Honda. This mid-season catch-up leads Horner to believe that, in 2020, there will be a three-way fight for the F1 championship due to the stable regulations.

Horner feels that Red Bull, specifically, will have a better chance than in years before, due to their progress with Honda over the past season, which he hopes they can continue with in F1 2020 and be on top to take the fight to Mercedes and Ferrari.

He though adds that it will be an ironic situation as F1 will then have changes in 2021. “They [Mercedes] have had such a period of dominance and they are the benchmark and it feels like the grid is concertinaing a bit,” said Horner to the media.

“Usually a F1 regulation change spreads it apart. It might be ironic that 2020 might be the closest year we have with a three way battle before everything changes for 2021. For us, 2020 was always going to be a transitionary year with a new engine partner.

“I have to say all compliments to Honda with all the progress they have made this year with performance. I think we have made good progress throughout the year, we have had a couple of F1 wins, we have achieved a couple of poles although only started on pole once.

“We have been contender to win a few F1 races this year, Monaco we were very competitive, Hungary as well, we were in a position potentially to win that race and here again we have been that competitive. So we are on the right trajectory.

“It is important that we carry the momentum into the winter and then into the beginning of next year.” Much like them, Ferrari are keen to capitalise on their progress heading into F1 2020 as well, but they recognize Mercedes will be tough to beat.

“They [Mercedes] are a very, very strong team,” said Ferrari F1 team boss, Mattia Binotto. “And they have proved it in the last years and the level of competition is very, very high. We saw that in the last 20 years so. So well done to them. To beat them is difficult.

“It is not only pure performance, it is reliability, it is mentality, it is strategy, it is pit stops, it is all what you may have through an entire race weekend. So we know exactly what are our tasks. We have a benchmark. We are improving ourselves.

“We have improved all through the F1 season but we are not yet where we should be. But the objectives of at least of the new car in terms of design, in terms of reliability, I think we set objectives which should be clear enough. Not easy to achieve them but still there is the winter time to try to work as hard as we can, as well as we can, so let’s see.”

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This story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani