Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen believes the team will be able to take the fight for the title to Mercedes-AMG Motorsport in 2021, as long as development continues at its present pace.
Verstappen has been considered by team bosses and critics alike to be one of the upcoming stars of Formula 1 over his three-year career in the sport, but has not been provided with a car which has allowed him to show his potential, and the chance to beat current reining World Champion, Lewis Hamilton.
The Dutchman finished third in the Drivers’ Championship last year, the best finish of his career to date, following the team’s decision to switch from Renault to Honda power.
Speaking in an interview with Motorsport.com, Verstappen said: “I think so. I think we are in the right direction. There’s no question about that.
He continued: “Now, it’s just about how much development we can push through for next year. I more or less know, I just hope it’s going to be enough.
“Next year, there are no real changes in the regulations anyway, so you can just build on what you have now. And with a second year working with Honda, I think that should help.
“We massively improved the performance of the engine. I think we know where we have to improve on, we’ve already improved on the car.”
Verstappen’s contract with the team ends at the end of 2020, and he has said in the past that he realises it is essential they start the season at the top of the table if they are going to be in with a chance of winning the Championship.
Despite this, the team have often found themselves on the back foot since the beginning of the hybrid era in 2014.
Nonetheless, he said that 2019 was “just very positive” for both him and the team.
“[My] consistency overall was good. I think as a team we did a good job as well.
“We most of the time maximised the result. It was the only thing we could do, especially in the beginning, [when] we couldn’t really fight for wins. But we’re still overtaking Ferraris, when we’re actually slower, or doing a better strategy, stuff like that.
“So if we can keep that up, then we can have a strong year next year.”