Honda has made a number of improvements ahead of the 2020 season, according to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Honda enters its second year in partnership with Red Bull, as the two joined forces in 2019 following the end of the energy drink-backed team’s deal with Renault.
Verstappen won three races throughout the 2019 season and took a further six podiums, finishing third in the drivers’ championship.
Over the winter break, the team admitted that it will have no excuses if it is not in the championship fight this year, having failed to challenge consistently in the turbo-hybrid era.
The team enjoyed a successful pre-season test in Barcelona, with Verstappen affirming that it got through its programme smoothly during the two weeks.
“I feel good and we are pushing hard as a team,“ said the Dutchman. “Everybody here knows that to be successful you need to fully understand the car, do a lot of laps and we were pleased with our testing in Barcelona.
“We got good mileage, things ran pretty smoothly and that’s exactly what we wanted.”
Speaking about Honda, Verstappen said: “Honda are also pushing flat out. You always want improvements and they have made a lot since last year.
“The real bonus is that what they say they will deliver development-wise always happens and I’m confident that will be the case again this year.
“I’d like to start the season strong, because then it’s really on but we won’t know where we stand until Q2 and Q3 on Saturday in Melbourne, that’s where all the hard work over the winter really counts.”
In January, Red Bull announced that it had re-signed Verstappen on a long-term deal that will see him remain at the team until the end of the 2023 season.
Verstappen says that his talks were simple and that he is encouraged by the direction of the team, which reassured him when putting pen to paper.
“My contract talks were pretty simple and I trust the team,” he said. “I believe we can move forward and get back to challenging like we did in the past.
“We have the right people in the team and I think we have everything we need to challenge, especially with the dedication from Honda.”
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FORMULA 1 BACK AT ISTANBUL PARK IN TURKEY
THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|