Christian Horner issues Red Bull and Ferrari with Mercedes championship warning

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has warned his team and title rivals Ferrari not to rule Mercedes out of the battle for the championship just yet.

Mercedes have won the Constructor's Championship for eight seasons in a row but have seen their hopes of defending their crown this year dashed following a woeful start to proceedings.

New regulation changes within Formula One have seen the Silver Arrows unable to compete thus far in both championships, with Lewis Hamilton being outperformed by new teammate George Russell.

That has seen Hamilton admit he's 'obviously' not competing for the Driver's Championship this season, while Toto Wolff's assessment in the battle for the Constructor's title are similar.

However, Horner believes that Mercedes will be able to respond in the latter stages of the campaign and has issued a warning to Red Bull and Ferrari, saying as per Motorsport: "So you're writing off Toto [Wolff], there's plenty of time for him to get back in the fight, but I think we're focused on ourselves.

"The nine teams are our rivals, and I think last year there was a lot of provocation, things happened on and off the track. This season it seems that everything is starring on the circuit, and I think that the races between Charles [Leclerc] and Max [Verstappen] have been great, they have been epic.

"If that continues through the year, inevitably, it's going to heat up, as everything gets more competitive, and the stakes are higher in the second half of the year, but what we've seen so far has been a respectful, tough fight, but fair, and, as I said, I think Mercedes will join the party soon.

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"I think it's very close with Ferrari, it's been some great racing, and you can see the great respect between Charles and Max. They're enjoying each other, you can see that, and I was hoping we weren't ready for another year like last year, but it seems that this could go to the end too."

Mercedes showed signs of competitiveness in practice ahead of the Miami Grand Prix but soon encountered problems on the race weekend, leaving them with plenty of work to do to resolve the issues that have been ever-present.

A new upgrade package is set to be introduced for the Spanish Grand Prix, which marks the start of the first double-header of the season with Monaco the following week.

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