Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner reckons his team is ready to prove it has banished the kind of race-day issues that hampered its title challenge last year, despite having seen victory in the season opener slip through its grasp.
With Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber locking up the front row in Melbourne, and rivals conceding the team has the quickest car, Red Bull Racing is in the perfect place to grab its first win of the campaign in Australia today. But the team must show that it has learned from the driver and team errors, plus reliability problems, that cost it valuable points last year on the days when it, too, had the fastest machinery.
When asked if he felt Red Bull Racing was on top of its race day traumas, Horner said: "Most definitely. You always learn in this game, and I think as the team grew and became more and more successful last year, we learned a lot of lessons, both on and off the track.
"We are still a young team, this is only our sixth season in F1, and that is a short time to get to where we are. As a team we are very self-analytical and critical of where we need to be – and you know you can always learn and you can always do better."
Horner has praised the efforts of his team in delivering a car that is a step forward over last years RB5 and warned its rivals that there is even more performance to come from the car.
"We've just pushed really hard over the winter," he explained. "We had a really good finish to the end of last year, winning the final three races, and really we should have bookended that with a race win in Bahrain had it not been for the spark plug issue.
"I just think the guys back at the factory and the race team here have been doing an excellent job to keep pushing, keep moving the bar higher and higher. We have some great stuff going on, getting good developments to the car, and it is testimony to Adrian [Newey] and the guys that they are continuing to put performance on the car every weekend."
Horner thinks Red Bull Racing is also benefiting from having two strong drivers who are pushing each other forward.
"It is very healthy for the team because they are both looking at each other's [data] traces, and they are getting the best out of each other," he said. "I think it is a very, very healthy situation. We support both drivers with equality and they both work for the team at the end of the day."
And with the Albert Park circuit likely to witness more drama than the season opener in Bahrain, Horner is aware how critical it will be dealing with safety cars and the possible intervention of the weather.
"The problem will be the weather conditions and potential safety cars, so there will be more going on than there was in Bahrain," he said. "But we are starting from the best possible place, and we have got good pace. We just need to make the calls at the right time."