Recently, former F1 driver Robert Doornbos said he would be watching Max Verstappen’s face after he steps out of the 2019 Red Bull-Honda for the first time.
“Max will know immediately how successful the new car can be,” said Verstappen’s Dutch countryman. “So I’ll be curious to see his face after a couple of laps behind the wheel.”
Those first laps in the newly Honda-powered Red Bull took place at a cold Silverstone circuit on Wednesday.
“After the first few laps I was smiling,” Verstappen revealed. “I liked the behaviour of the car and the new Honda engine.”
Indeed, the early approval from the mercurial 21-year-old is a positive sign, as are the first comments made by his equally mercurial boss Dr Helmut Marko.
“The Honda engine already had more power than Renault at the end of last season,” he said. “And now they have improved it even more over the winter.”
It is a bold prediction from Marko, but he said the team can also always rely on the car-designing skills of Adrian Newey.
“It’s a typical Newey car,” he told Auto Bild, “but with everything having been done with Honda in mind.
“The car ran perfectly right from the beginning of the shakedown,” Marko revealed.
“The numbers that we see are very positive,” he continued. “As for power, for the first time we can say that we have a ‘party mode’.
“Hopefully it should be enough for us to drive at the front on our own.”