Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Dr Helmut Marko says the team will have no more excuses if they fail to perform well in the 2020 season. The Red Bull Racing team has in the last few seasons started slowly and picked up momentum with improved results during the season.
Marko predicted five wins for the team in the 2019 season with new engine-partner Honda. The Japanese manufacturer had joined hands with Red Bull after three fractious seasons with McLaren (2015 -2017). After an exploratory year with Toro Rosso in 2018, the senior Red Bull team used Honda engines in 2019.
The Honda engines performed well and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured nine podiums which included three wins. Verstappen’s third-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix was the first podium for Honda after its return to Formula 1.
Before the 2019 season, Marko had predicted that Red Bull would win five races. But the team just felt short with three wins. It was a bold prediction by Marko given Honda’s track record in the previous four seasons.
Verstappen and the Red Bull team finished third in the drivers’ and constructors’ championship for 2019. Honda engines made good gains during the season with the RB11 performing well even at power circuits.
The gains made by Honda has left Red Bull with no excuses for any performance deficit in the 2020 season. Dr Marko told Autosport: “We want to fight for the championship and to do so we know that we have to be competitive with the chassis right from the start – and that means the very first race.
“Honda has good increases for this year (2020). And since everything has been fulfilled so far, we assume that this will happen. That means we have no more excuses, in plain English.”
Mercedes won the first eight races of the 2019 season which included 1-2 finishes in the first five races. The massive lead the team built in both championships effectively sealed both titles for the team.
Red Bull Racing with a new front-wing and other tweaks finally threw the gauntlet down with a win at the ninth race in Austria. But by then it was too late.
So the Milton Keynes-based team and Honda need to hit the ground running from the first race if Verstappen and the team hope to challenge Mercedes and end their record six straight title wins.