Friday, 22 February, 2019


Red Bull Honda feels positive on simulator, says Max Verstappen

Red Bull to launch new F1 car on same day as Mercedes Daniel Ricciardo poses in his new Renault overalls ahead of new Formula One season
Noah Ferguson | 08 February, 2019, 10:37

Red Bull will give a first glimpse of their new Honda-powered RB15 Formula One auto next week on the same day that world champion Lewis Hamilton's 2019 Mercedes breaks cover at Silverstone.

The Red Bull junior contested five races for the team at the end of the previous season, ending his campaign with a best finish of fourth in Bahrain.

"Max, if you look at his performance in the second half of the [last] year, was the second highest points scorer to Lewis", Horner told Reuters. I think it's there now from both sides - the team and the engine supplier.

A five-time Grand Prix winner, and the youngest victor on the grid, Verstappen enters his fifth season of F1 as a seasoned and refined talent, and as a driver who greatly matured in 2018 according to his team boss.

Horner believes Verstappen, now the main man at the team after Australian Daniel Ricciardo left for Renault, has grown in maturity over the years.

"As we saw a year ago, the impact of those penalties at the right venues can be fairly minimal".

Ahead of the launch of Red Bull's new vehicle on February 13, and the start of pre-season testing in Spain on February 18, the team still does not know where it stacks up against its main opposition.

"He's just more worldly, more experienced".

He did one day by accompanying stewards at a Formula E race last month in Morocco.

"I think it's a very different scenario".

"He came back and went, 'Crikey, these guys have got hard decisions to make".

He said Honda had "had a strong winter" and were "making good progress" but "it will all depend on what the others have done".

Honda had a troubled time with McLaren before a separation and teaming up with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso past year.

"If I have the auto to win then that's what I would love to do".

"Effectively we've been paying for a first class ticket and you get an economy seat", he said of the last three seasons with Renault.

Coincidentally, his first win of the season in Austria involved Hamilton's first race retirement since 2016 but the British veteran recovered and is now just two World Championship wins away from former Benetton and Ferrari driver Schumacher's record set back in 2004.

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