“We want to make max the youngest cham­pion”

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Adam Cooper

Red Bull is now so con­fi­dent in the Honda en­gine that it has set a tar­get of mak­ing Max Ver­stap­pen For­mula 1’s youngest-ever world cham­pion in 2019.

Se­bas­tian Vet­tel holds that record, hav­ing se­cured his first ti­tle with Red Bull in 2010 aged 23 years and 134 days.

That means Ver­stap­pen, cur­rently 21, has un­til 2020 to take the hon­our – but Red Bull mo­tor­sport ad­vi­sor Hel­mut Marko said there are “no ex­cuses” not to try to achieve it in 2019.

He sees the team’s form in Mex­ico, where the alti­tude put Re­nault on a par with ri­vals Mercedes and Fer­rari, as a sign of how strong the Red Bull chas­sis is and is con­fi­dent 2019 en­gine sup­plier Honda is al­ready su­pe­rior to Re­nault.

“We’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to next year,” Marko said. “The aim is to have the youngest world cham­pion. Two years we have, but we’ll go for it next year.

“We know the first year with a new en­gine man­u­fac­turer is not easy. But the aim, and the goal that I’ve told all the peo­ple, is that we have to go for the cham­pi­onship from the be­gin­ning. No ex­cuses.”

Marko ad­mit­ted that Honda reli­a­bil­ity could be a con­cern, but he stressed that the high num­ber of en­gine changes cur­rent Honda team Toro Rosso has ac­crued in 2018 is re­lated to a strat­egy of want­ing to test new de­vel­op­ments.

“It’s tac­ti­cal to get the best for next year,” he said. “Toro Rosso are sac­ri­fic­ing their sea­son for next year. It’s part of our con­cept that we have with Honda.

“The fig­ures are al­ready ahead of Re­nault. But even so if you have one or two starts from the back, with Ver­stap­pen there’s some ex­cite­ment.

“On the ra­dio he’s talk­ing like he’s sit­ting with a cup of tea. The sort of in­for­ma­tion he is ask­ing for... He’s un­be­liev­able. There is no limit yet.”

Red Bull team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner agreed af­ter Ver­stap­pen’s com­mand­ing Mex­i­can Grand Prix win that his driver can take on the es­tab­lished ti­tle con­tenders next year.

“You’ve seen this week­end if we’ve an en­gine that’s any­where near the ball­park of our op­po­nents then we’ve got a strong enough team and strong enough driver pack­age to take the fight to them,” Horner said.

“We’re ob­vi­ously hope­ful that Honda, with the progress they’re mak­ing, will put us into the sit­u­a­tion that we’re more reg­u­larly able to com­pete like we are here [in Mex­ico]– with the op­ti­mum down­force and set­ting on the car.”

Pho­tos: LAT

Honda could boost Red Bull next year

Marko (r) con­fi­dent of ti­tle chal-

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