Apparent “paddock whispers” suggest Red Bull Racing will be a “step in front” of competitors during the 2019 Formula 1 season, according to Former Formula 1 driver, turned pundit, Paul Di Resta.

Speaking on Sky Sports F1 immediately after Red Bull’s ‘almost-win’ in the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix, Di Resta said that whispers “up and down” the paddock pointed toward to a notably strong Red Bull package in 2019. 

[Read here how Christian Horner was most displeased with Esteban Ocon post-race in Brazil]

From next year, Formula 1 teams will be forced to simplify the aerodynamic parts on their front wing and brake ducts, in an effort to reduce the dirty air effect. This, in turn, will help cars follow more closely together, promoting tighter and more intense racing. 

Red Bull’s 2018 contender, the RB14, has won just four Formula 1 races this season and looks on course to take out third-place in the Constructors World Championship (Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool). 

Di Resta said all other teams are “taking a drop” in aerodynamic efficiency for the 2019 season, “except Red Bull”, who have supposably managed to keep a similar drivability. 

He was confident that Red Bull, who’ve spent the V6-hybrid era playing second fiddle to the dominance of Mercedes, will be “serious contenders” in 2019, if the whispers are true. 

Just after the Japanese Grand Prix, Toto Wolff told Motorsport.com that 2019’s new regulations will “change everything upside down.” He felt competitors may find a “loophole or an innovation” early on, giving them an initial advantage – similar to how Brawn Grand Prix dominated the opening of the 2009 season with the double-diffuser concept. 

“If they’ve got the drivability like they’ve had in the last three Grands Prix, they’ll be a step in front,” Di Resta confidently told Sky Sports F1 viewers in Brazil. 

Max Verstappen (pictured) celebrates his Grand Prix victory in Mexico, his second of 2018. Will he achieve more in 2019? (Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool). 

Red Bull have achieved strong results toward the end of the 2018 season; Russia and Italy are the only two races since the summer break that they didn’t achieve a podium. 

Red Bull’s performance was particularly strong in the Mexican Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen romped home to take his second Grand Prix victory of the season after Daniel Ricciardo’s pole position on Saturday. Verstappen was unlucky not to make it three for the season in Brazil; a collision with Esteban Ocon ultimately cost the Dutchman the race lead.  

[Read how Max Verstappen confronted the Force India driver in the immediate aftermath of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Red Bull will also switch from Renault power to Honda power from next season. Recent developments from the Japanese manufacturer have impressed top officials within the Red Bull team. In Suzuka, Christian Horner said he was “very impressed” with the progress of the power unit.

Ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix, soon-to-be Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly said he was confident Honda would produce an engine capable of giving Red Bull race wins in 2019. Gasly described 2019 as a “big opportunity” for Honda, who are yet to score a podium since returning to Formula 1 in 2015. 

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