The battle at Paul Ricard, according to Mattia Binotto, “will be about fractions of a second.”
Max Verstappen was beaten by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in Austria two weeks ago, but Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko says he is not concerned about a trend.
“The fact that Ferrari won wasn’t because they were so fast, it was because we were too slow,” he told Osterreich newspaper.
“We are now doing everything we can to become competitive again.”
Ferrari, though, looked clearly faster at Paul Ricard on Friday, even if team boss Binotto thinks the end result “will be about fractions of a second again”.
“We’re not that much better on a lap, and Red Bull isn’t that much more consistent in the long run,” he said, admitting that Ferrari is better in the corners while Red Bull has more straightline speed.
“Maybe Red Bull will put some downforce on it and we’ll take some off,” said Binotto.
Red Bull’s Marko is expecting another close race weekend.
“If (Carlos) Sainz has the penalty for the engine change, we’ll be in second place,” he said ahead of qualifying.
“Then our better tyre wear could pay off. With full tanks, our understeer is gone too.”
World champion Verstappen is a full 38 points ahead of Leclerc, but Marko insists he is not feeling comfortable about Red Bull’s title defence.
“We’ve only completed 11 of 22 races,”
“We are on an equal footing with Ferrari, with victory determined by the form of the day and the right tactical and technical decisions.
“There is a lot still to happen.” He said.