Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko has already started the war of words between the sport's top two teams. With just over two weeks until pre-season testing in Bahrain on March 12-14, Red Bull are looking to dethrone Mercedes who have dominated the sport for the past seven seasons.
Marko has piled the pressure onto Mercedes and claims Aston Martin will also be a team to watch out for in 2021.
"At the moment there is no driving, so you have to create tension with words," Marko told F1-Insider. "The changes to the underfloor this season could give a new picture," said Marko. "It may be that Red Bull and Aston Martin have found better solutions in this area than they [Mercedes] have.
"While we hope to be at the front, Mercedes is the clear favourite. They have won all the titles since 2014. As far as Aston Martin is concerned, I cannot imagine that Aston Martin has a completely different rear than the Mercedes," - in reference to Racing Point's copycat car from last year.
Pre-season testing takes place two weeks before the season-opener at the same venue, the Bahrain International Circuit. Marko revealed Red Bull plan to stay in Bahrain and not travel home in between testing and the first race.
"After the F1 tests, there are also Formula 2 test days that you can look at," Marko added. "It's the best thing to stay in the bubble for as long as possible anyway. This minimises the risk of being infected significantly."
Marko said he has been told that the Portuguese Grand Prix will take place on May 2 in Portimao following the first two rounds of the year in Sakhir (March 28) and Imola (18 April).