Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen has said he understands power unit supplier Honda‘s cautious approach to the development of their 2019 engines, owing to the issues previously experienced with the McLaren F1 Team.
Red Bull severed their ties with previous engine supplier Renault early, amid a lack of consistency in terms of race wins and car performance.
The 21-year-old has won two of the 12 races so far this season, with the team’s pace also taking a turn for the better: at the Austrian Grand Prix, the team revised their front wing, while at the same time, Honda increased the power output from the current engine.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Verstappen said: “Of course I’m happy”, having been able to closely challenge Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for the lead in the Championship.
Verstappen said he was worried about beginning the new partnership with Honda, in part because of the issues they had with the car early on in the season.
“Starting the new partnership with Honda, I was always very cautious. I knew they were great people and they would get good results, but we had our little issues at the beginning of the year with the car not being exactly what we wanted it to be for some reason,” he said.
The Dutchman added he was thankful to be able to put faith in the team’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey to rectify the problems with the car.
“Of course Adrian [Newey] being on top of it, and I think very quickly we sorted out a car which was again really nice to drive.
“From Austria onwards, when we brought a few new bits, that seemed to be a turnaround for us, where we could finally really start pushing the car.
“I also think the engine we started to take more out of it because I felt like Honda didn’t want to break down.”
Owing to the previous problems with McLaren, Verstappen believes being cautious is the best course of action to take at this point.
“You can see we are pushing a bit harder, but it’s still fine. But after all the negative stuff they had at McLaren with all the engines blowing up and other things, they were a bit careful, and I think that is the right approach,” said Verstappen.