Honda having a strong winter says Horner

08 February, 2019, 10:37 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Red Bull

Max Verstappen is the driver that five times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will fear the most this season, his Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Tuesday.

Although still only 21, Verstappen is already a five-time race victor and this year represents his fifth season in F1.

Verstappen clinched the best championship result of his young F1 career last season, rising to fourth in the championship with a stunning podium run in the second half of the year.

"I don't think he lacks anything that they have, if we can provide him the tools to do the job".

They also have a changed line-up, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo now donning yellow Renault overalls and replaced by young Frenchman Pierre Gasly alongside Dutch driver Max Verstappen.

Last season saw Red Bull pick up four victories during its final year in partnership with Renault before switching to Honda in 2019, but the team was unable to challenge the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari on a number of circuits. We would rather see consistent evolution, and if that means taking a penalty or two along the way, as we saw previous year the impact of those penalties at the right venue can be fairly minimal. "He's just much more rounded through experience", added Horner.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen will be looking forward to the coming season

Horner says he has grown in the past year and is "in a better place to deal with the challenges he faces".

He did one day by accompanying stewards at a Formula E race last month in Morocco. "That was actually a useful exercise for him".

He said Honda had "had a strong winter" and were "making good progress" but "it will all depend on what the others have done". It's also exciting, but that really only comes when I'm in the vehicle.

Red Bull have taken a massive risk with Honda this season, a move that could work in both directions.

Horner admits it will be a struggle to avoid grid drops at some point in the year but believes it could aid Honda's progress further. The last five years - obviously we were with Renault for 12 years - and particularly the last three have been very much a customer and supplier relationship where effectively we've been paying for a first class ticket and you get an economy seat.

"[My goal is] try to win as many races as possible".

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