Max Verstappen: Stronger start key to Red Bull's 2020 F1 title hopes
Max Verstappen says Red Bull Racing must ensure it starts next season stronger than it did in 2019 if it is to realise its ambition of fighting for the Formula 1 title.
Red Bull began the year frequently trailing Mercedes and Ferrari, as it struggled to extract the maximum from its RB15, leaving Verstappen trying to profit from trouble for its rivals.
But after Austria, where Red Bull-Honda scored its first victory courtesy of Verstappen, the 22-year-old was only out-scored in the championship by Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen went on to add two more victories in Germany and Brazil, while setting the fastest time in qualifying on three occasions, taking the first poles of his career.
The performance increase through this year contributed to power unit partner Honda extending its commitment to Formula 1, and Red Bull, through 2021.
“For me it had to be the best year [of my career], it’s just natural,” explained Verstappen.
“The package this year at the beginning it was a bit of a struggle, we couldn’t really fight for victories and real podiums were also quite hard. So it was all about trying to be as consistent as we could be. “So we just hope that we can be more competitive next year.
“We know that we have to be competitive from the start to be able to fight for the title so we are of course putting all of our efforts into that.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve got to go for it and we’re going to try everything we can.”
Verstappen also emphasised that he has no doubt over Red Bull-Honda’s capability to deliver a strong package to realise his 2020 ambitions.
“They’ve shown in the past that they can do it, so it’s not something that is just wishful thinking,” said Verstappen.
“It’s not easy. The competition is very strong but like I said before we’re going to try everything next year because it’s going to be an important year and then we’ll see what happens.”