Marko believes that the team’s TAG Heuer-badged Renault engine will prevent them challenging the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, but that in-season development of the power unit should allow them to rise above their other rivals by the end of the year.
“It seems that with the engine development things are going in the right direction,” Marko told Formula1.com. “But, to bridge the gap to the leading engines, that will take some time.
“For the first half of the season I see Mercedes doing one-two finishes as long as they do not screw-up, then I see Ferrari and a tight fight between Williams, Force India, Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing behind them.
“From midseason onwards our power unit situation should improve - and that makes me believe that P3 should be feasible.”
While Red Bull Racing have retained Renault power for 2016, sister team Toro Rosso have switched to 2015-spec Ferrari engines - a change which Marko suspects could leave the senior squad playing catch-up over the opening rounds.
“I could imagine that they will land in front of Red Bull Racing at the start of the season - probably until midseason - because the power difference is still that significant,” he said. “In midseason probably the performance will drop, as you cannot further develop the 2015 engine.”
Last season, when both teams were using Renault power, Red Bull Racing finished fourth in the standings with 187 points, while Toro Rosso came seventh on 67.