Red Bull Racing are facing a race against time to be competitive after yet another troublesome test in Bahrain.
Both world champion Sebastian Vettel and new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo suffered teething problems with the new RB10 at F1’s second official test.
Vettel struggled on the opening day of the test, but had a much better time of it a day later, completing 59 laps of the Bahrain circuit, nearly doubling the mileage the car had completed.
But Ricciardo could only do 28 laps in the third day of the test, and 15 on the fourth day as yet more technical gremlins hampered their progress.
The Australian, who will make his debut for the world champions from Tilbrook at his home Grand Prix in Melbourne next month, says the team are in desperate need of some time out on track.
“I guess we still need more time,” Ricciardo said. “We have four more days coming up and hopefully we can maximise those. I have to say that on the run we did today the car did feel better.
“But unfortunately another problem arose and we couldn’t exploit that potential. I hope we can do more running next week.
“Obviously, I would have liked to do more this afternoon but we still have tomorrow ahead of us and it’s important to be ready for that. The car is definitely making progress though. It’s coming together bit by bit.
“We’d love a big chunk all at once but that’s not the way it works, so we have to be patient.
“But it is coming and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Red Bull have the chance to bounce back quickly though, with the third and final pre-season test getting underway today, Thursday.
Ricciardo, who completed the final two days at the first and second tests, will driver the first two days of the final test before Vettel returns to the cockpit on Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m happy I’m doing the first two days,” said Ricciardo. “At this stage we just need laps and I’m just looking forward to get back in the car.”
Race engineering co-ordinator Andy Damerum admitted from a technical standpoint, it has been a tough few days for the champions, but they hope a few new updates will arrive from Tilbrook ahead of the third test.
“It’s been a difficult week,” he said. “We’ve made some very good progress, particular on day two, but we’ve also had a number of problems that have again held us back.
“The engineering team will head back to Milton Keynes now to plan the next moves and we can only look forward and try to get everything in place for the next test.”
The first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, starts on March 14.