Andrea Stella feels there is one specific area where Red Bull currently holds a distinct advantage which is preventing McLaren from claiming an F1 grand prix victory.
At the end of the São Paulo Grand Prix, and for the sixth time this season, Lando Norris had to settle for being runner-up.
On five of those six occasions, it has been Red Bull's Max Verstappen ahead of him, with the three-time F1 champion just eight seconds in front of his British rival at the end of the 71 laps.
Following the red-flag period sparked by the opening-lap crash between Williams' Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen in his Haas, Norris certainly hounded Verstappen for a short period until the Dutchman began to slowly eke out an advantage.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has acknowledged McLaren is its closest rival at present, with McLaren counterpart Stella recognising where the constructors' champions have the upper hand.
“The difference is mainly in terms of lap time on used tyres,” said Stella.
“We have seen that on new tyres we can fight for pole position, but as soon as the tyres degrade (in the race), then it would appear Max and Red Bull have less degradation.
“He (Verstappen) had tyres that were degrading maybe one-tenth (of a second) every two laps. It's a significant amount of degradation, and if you can limit that, after 10 laps in a stint, this is tenths of a second. I think that's where they are superior at the moment.”
Stella has confirmed McLaren has gone as far as it can with the current in its current guise, which has at least taken it closer to Red Bull following the introduction of a significant upgrade package ahead of the Singapore GP that included a new floor.
“The car racing improved with that upgrade, in terms of tyre management, but not enough to be able to compete, especially when degradation is high like in Brazil,” added Stella, who has stated the degradation is due to a combination of mechanical and aero factors.
Although targets have been set for 2024, at present he is unable to announce “in which area and how”.
Stella, though, is now more concerned with the renewed threat being posed by Aston Martin following its performance over the São Paulo GP weekend.
The introduction of its own major upgrade in Austin has taken time to optimise, but appeared to bear fruit at Interlagos as Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll finished third and fifth respectively to close the gap on fourth-placed McLaren in the constructors' standings to 21 points with two races remaining.
Recognising how badly affected Mercedes and Ferrari were by tyre degradation in the sprint and grand prix, which brought Aston Martin firmly into play, Stella said: “That was a bit of a surprise.
“Normally, when you have this high level of degradation, Mercedes seems to do well. So we were surprised. We are not sure why that happened, and even from a Ferrari point of view, I would have expected them to be more competitive.
“On our side, we do have to acknowledge that Aston seems to be back to the place they were at the start of the season, and for us, this is a consideration with the championship.
“So definitely not we will change our approach, but we need to be very wary that they can score some points in the last two races.”