Toro Rosso will beat Red Bull in first half of F1 season - Horner

Red Bull expects to be beaten by Toro Rosso during the first half of the 2016 Formula 1 season, based on the latter's switch to last year's Ferrari power unit

Toro Rosso will beat Red Bull in first half of F1 season - Horner

While Christian Horner's team will stick with Renault units, rebadged as TAG Heuer, the junior Red Bull outfit will run the power units Ferrari finished last season with.

Red Bull took 'risks' with 2016 crash tests

Horner believes that will give Toro Rosso a 0.8-second gain per lap compared to 2015, around a circuit such as Barcelona, and will be enough to start the year ahead of his team.

"We've got our heads down and hope to create surprises later on in the year," Horner said during Red Bull's livery launch event in London on Wednesday.

"We know that the first half of the year is different.

"For example, Toro Rosso has bolted in 0.8 seconds into their car through a different power unit. That is a significant amount of performance.

GALLERY: Red Bull launches 2016 F1 livery

"We are hoping to make similar gains throughout the year but obviously the chassis is going to have to prop that up."

When asked if that meant he expected Toro Rosso to be ahead of Red Bull, Horner replied: "To start the year, yes.

"But I think that will, hopefully, change throughout the course of the year."

CHANGE VISIBLE AT RENAULT

Horner is optimistic that Renault's return to F1 as a factory team, following its purchase of Lotus equates to "committing the necessary wherewithal to the budgets to enable themselves to be competitive".

Paired with lessons learned during the troubled 2014 and '15 seasons, he says the French manufacturer's changes appear positive.

"I get the feeling that they have a much better idea of where the performance deficiency has been, and what they need to do to address that," Horner said.

"There seems to be a lot more confidence and focus and I think with a bit of restructuring they have done there, they have got some quality consultants in there now with plenty of experience.

"They have got Bob Bell back involved, who obviously brings a lot of experience from Mercedes-Benz, and obviously from a previous successful stint at Renault.

"So I think they are addressing the right areas now."

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