Horner: Verstappen absolutely ready for title fight

Published on 31 Oct 2018 12:39

Max Verstappen is ready to take on a title battle, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. The Dutchman has had to settle for being in the third best team since he has joined Red Bull, but has managed to pick up five victories since joining in 2016.

Verstappen bagged his latest win last Sunday in Mexico, dominating the event as he also did twelve months ago. After enduring a shaky start to the 2018 season, he has come away with five podiums in the second half of the year. And Horner says that he is ready to take on the ultimate prize.

“I think absolutely,” he stated when questioned if Verstappen was prepared for a title fight. “You’ve seen this weekend [in Mexico] if we’ve had an engine that is 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 [Mercedes and Ferrari].

“We’re obviously hopeful that the Honda, with the progress they’re making, will put us into a situation where we’re more regularly able to compete. We are here with the optimum downforce on the car, the optimum setting on the car. 

“[Verstappen] went through a tough path at the beginning of the year. But really, since Montreal, he’s been doing some incredible races and I think with experience that was really the only missing piece. All drivers make mistakes, you see that up and down the paddock. It’s what you learn from them.”

Horner added: "He has an awful load of capacity in the car. I think he’s got a very good racing brain as well. So he’s wanting to understand what’s going on in the rest of the race to match his pace accordingly.” 

Last year, Verstappen signed a contract extension with Red Bull that will see him stick with the team until the end of the 2020 season. The 21-year-old will be hoping success is coming his way when Red Bull partner Honda next year, ending its long-standing engine deal with Renault.

Replies (4)
Posts: 248
Be great to se a third challenger for the titles, be amazing if they were in that position next year - might be a yr to early for them as I'm not seeing the Torro Rosso threatening just yet, albeit there is a noticeable uplift this season.
NL KyalamiKid 01 Nov 2018 12:040
Posts: 146
Toro Rosso is being sacrificed this year to do as much testing on the Honda engine as possible, them not being threatening is a result of that. I have a sneaky feeling that we might have a 3rd challenger for the world title next year (Or at least a car that can, whether Max can handle that pressure remains to be seen)
Posts: 951
There is no doubt that Verstappen and Ricciardo both are ready for an WC challenge. However it all depends on their respective cars they are driving. Will the Honda/Redbull combination be an better one than Ham/Merc? Will Renault lift their performance by 2.5 seconds in order to challenge for wins? Will Ferrari continue to improve and out-develop Mercedes/Redbull? What will be the impact of the wingmen? Leclerc vs Bottas vs Gasly. There are so many unknowns at the moment, maybe winter testing will give some more clarity but for now it's way to early.
GB Major Tom 04 Nov 2018 22:360
Posts: 139
Shame Honda is not likely to be! There still to unreliable.

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