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Verstappen ‘encouraged’ by Red Bull Honda progress

Credits: Getty Images for Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen was encouraged by his first run of the RB16B but says he will not make any assumptions until pre-season testing.

Red Bull completed a 100 kilometers run of its new car at Silverstone on Wednesday, and while Max Verstappen says he was “encouraged” by the work done between his team and Honda, he will reserve his judgment until pre-season testing.

“We drive on demo tires so it will never feel how it’s going to feel on real tires,” said Verstappen. “I never really base a lot of my findings on this small run. You just get the car out and run a few laps.

“It all felt a bit normal to me. I think we just have to wait and see what’s happening in Bahrain once we have proper tires under the car.”

Talking about the overall design of the car, Verstappen said it’s a carry-over from last year, as Formula 1 introduced cost-saving measures allowing teams to make a limited number of changes to the cars from the previous season.

“It’s a bit of a carry-over from last year for all teams,” said the Dutchman. “I don’t think it’s going to be a completely different car anyway.”

Commenting on the team’s performance from last year, where Red Bull started a second per lap slower than Mercedes but picked up the gap as the season developed, Verstappen said he prefers a faster car than making it easier to drive.

“The car is always on the edge. A fast car is never super-easy to drive. If it becomes super-easy to drive, most of the time it’s too understeery anyway.

“I just wanted more grip. It didn’t mean that it was very tricky to drive because you adapt to the situation you’re in.

“I think at the end of the season Mercedes stopped developing that car from whenever, June or July because you couldn’t really see a lot of updates. We just kept learning and we know we had a few issues with that car and we wanted to improve it.

“Also, knowing the regulations wouldn’t change that much – obviously the floor changed a bit but in general the car stayed very much the same. For us, it was important to get on top of that, and let’s see this year if we improved it even more and we are even better. Hopefully, we can be more competitive compared to Mercedes,” he concluded.

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