Red Bull boss Christian Horner says his team "desperately" needs engine performance to close up between the major Formula 1 manufacturers for the 2018 season
The team managed to win three races this season, with two coming late in the year courtesy of Max Verstappen in Malaysia and Mexico.
Since then, however, the team's performance fell away, with its performance in Brazil compromised by needing to detune the engines.
Pushed on why things were not much better in the Abu Dhabi finale, Horner suggested that the Yas Marina circuit hurt Red Bull more because of its long straights.
"Reliability is a key issue next year, but it is also about maintaining the chassis development that we have had during the second half of the year, and we need desperately the engine to concertina in performance," said Horner.
"Brazil is power sensitive, and in Abu Dhabi you could see Mercedes were in a class of their own.
"If you listened to their radio content, when they turn their engines up, you only had to look at the middle sector.
"They would go half a second quicker or slower depending on what engine mode they choose.
"Hats off to them. They are doing a great job in that area, but engine performance is a key differentiator."
Daniel Ricciardo's hopes of finishing ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the drivers' championship were dashed in Abu Dhabi when he was forced out of the race with a hydraulics problem.
Coming on the back of a campaign where a spate of Renault engine issues have proved costly, especially for Max Verstappen, Horner is in no doubt that his team's finishing record was not good enough this year.
"Reliability wise we have DNFed in far too many races," he said.
"RB13 has had 13 podiums and 13 DNFs, so we are looking forward to getting onto RB14!
"Reliability has cost us dear this year. If you assume that each of those DNFs averages between 10 and 12 points, you don't have to be a mathematics professor to work out how costly that has been for us."
Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1
OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles
Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline
Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…
OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences
With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...
OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects