Max Verstappen: Honda won't start 2019 F1 season behind Renault

Max Verstappen believes Honda will be "in the same or a better position" than Renault in the Formula 1 engine battle by the start of the 2019 season

Max Verstappen: Honda won't start 2019 F1 season behind Renault

The Red Bull driver has grown more frustrated by the team's current engine partner this season and has been increasingly critical in public since his team confirmed it would switch to Honda for next year.

Honda is introducing an upgrade in Russia this weekend that some sources have tipped to move it above Renault in pure horsepower for the first time.

Asked about that possibility, Verstappen said: "Well let's say I'm very confident that at the start of the season we will not be worse than Renault.

"We will always be in the same or a better position.

"I hope that it [the upgrade in Sochi] will already be a good step.

"I know the steps they are making up until the beginning of next season so it all looks very promising."

Honda's progress with Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso this season has been evident in its improved performance and stronger reliability record.

While its upgrades this weekend mean grid penalties for both drivers, Verstappen has previously pointed out that Honda's increased use of engine components this season is misleading because it has been tactical in how it has changed parts.

However, current Renault drivers Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hulkenberg disagreed with Verstappen's early assessment of the '19 engine pecking order.

"I don't think so, but we'll see," said Hulkenberg. "Next year there are a few good things coming so I think we'll make some good progress."

Though Verstappen is certain Honda can match or surpass Renault, Sainz - who will stick with Renault power when he moves to McLaren - said: "I think 'sure' in F1 is a very particular word to say.

"I still have faith in Renault, obviously I'm sticking to that engine for next year, in another team. We just need to trust, and that's it."

Verstappen will join his future engine partner Honda at the back of the grid in Russia, after revealing on Thursday that Red Bull's move to a fresh Spec B engine is because of a reliability concern for the Spec C at future races.

Verstappen expects to visit Honda's Sakura research and development facility later this year or early in 2019 and is leaning heavily on his team for information in the meantime.

"I always ask questions about a lot of stuff - driveability, downshifting, energy deployment, all these kinds of things," he said.

"Of course the team is really busy with it now and just analysing everything.

"It looks promising. They are working really hard to get the gains and they are spending a lot of money on the whole project, which is very good."

shares
comments
Haas retains Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean for 2019 F1 season

Previous article

Haas retains Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean for 2019 F1 season

Next article

Haas settles 'strange' F1 drain cover insurance claim with Sepang

Haas settles 'strange' F1 drain cover insurance claim with Sepang
Load comments
How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season Plus

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Formula 1's return to Austria this weekend comes under exceedingly different circumstances to its last Spielberg visit, when F1 took its first tentative steps out of the global COVID shutdown. But the tightrope F1 walked in 2020 has ultimately led to the most exciting season of the hybrid era

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Plus

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2021
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021