That is the view of Renault reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin, who was summarising the potential 2017 pecking-order in conversation with Russia’s Championat.
“We don’t know the details, but from the first test Ferrari looked to be in equal first place with Mercedes, which for me was very surprising,” he said.
“The Red Bull had difficulties, some technical issues, but I think in any case they will be right behind the two leaders and then maybe catch up and even pass them,” the Russian added.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso agrees, saying that Red Bull showed “nothing” in terms of great performance in Barcelona last week.
“But it’s always like that,” he is quoted by the Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport Totaal. “I think they will bring a car to Australia that looks nothing like what they have now.”
And even Red Bull’s own Daniel Ricciardo said F1 should expect a step forward for the energy drink-owned team this week in Barcelona.
“We were working on reliability and the tyres. The times were simply not representative,” he was quoted by the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.
“In the coming week we will get a clearer picture as the teams will all have developments on the cars. And I think the (engine) power will also be turned up a bit,” the Australian smiled.
Meanwhile, Sirotkin said he thinks Renault will take a big step forward in 2017, having not performed strongly last year.
“It is 100 per cent that Renault has made a step forward,” he said. “Last year it was unreal to talk about fighting against Force India and Williams, but we are now in the same group.
“We will see how things really are in Melbourne,” Sirotkin added.