Verstappen: Honda close to Mercedes, Renault ‘unreliable’

Max Verstappen is full of praise for the Honda engine manufacturer, who has helped the Dutchman to three wins this year – rather less praising of former engine supplier Renault.

Probably fair to say that the Red Bull Racing-Honda alliance was an instant success in 2019, with Max Verstappen winning his first pole position of his career and winning in Austria, Germany and Brazil, allowing him to finish the drivers’ championship in third place.

Last winter, some questioned the collaboration between Red Bull and Honda for the 2019 season, but it must be said that the alliance is working perfectly as Max Verstappen points out.

“We are very close to Mercedes, Honda has worked hard and the last two improvements [engine update] have been important,” said Max Verstappen, quoted by the F1 website.

“I think it’s very positive, we had a goal all year round, and we’ve always been at and even above the goal. ”

Obviously Verstappen is omitting Red Bull’s director of motorsport Helmut Marko’s claim that the team will go one better than in 2018 with Renault power, but winning 5 times as opposed to 4 times – the tally of 2018. This year, Red Bull Honda failed to meet the Red Bull boss’ prediction and only won 3 times.

“So it’s a good thing and Honda has always been very honest in what we’ll get. Sometimes we were even a little better than expected. ”

“Reliability was there all year round, we never gave up on a problem with the Honda engine, so I think it’s very positive. We lost a lot of points due to reliability problems in the past [with Renault] that concerned both the chassis and the engine. ” says Verstappen.

That is true, the Honda power unit has certainly appeared rather impeccable and has only retired a car on Sunday 3 times for Red Bull Racing. That compared to the Renault engine powering Red Bull caused 11 retirements in total.

Something Verstappen doesn’t point out is that sister team Toro Rosso, also powered by Honda, retired 4 times also – bringing the total at 7 race retirements.

“I think we’ve improved on both sides, so I’m very happy with that in the end. If you want to fight for the world championship, you can’t give up on this kind of problem. ”