Based on their impressive development rate in the second half of last season, Red Bull would be justified in being optimistic about 2018, as long as they avoid another bad start.
One of their star drivers, Daniel Ricciardo, feels that a slow start is the only thing that would stand in the way of his team being among the favorites to claim the 2018 Formula 1 championship.
"We just started off on the wrong foot," said the Aussie driver in an interview with Autosport, referring to 2017. "But the rate of development has been amazing, so I'm hoping if we can start on the right foot in 2018, you would argue we would be the favorites."
"If we started with Mercedes and Ferrari [levels of performance], our development is pretty strong. This year we started off the train. I guess the direction they thought was going to be the right way wasn't."
Ricciardo mentions that his team made a mistake focusing on a specific aero configuration in the beginning of the season, and it took them a while to bounce back. Yet, he also believes that had Red Bull not struggled early on, they could have challenged Mercedes and Ferrari this year as well: "We would be in the hunt," he said. "We would have taken it to the end."