Red Bull excited about upcoming split
MAX Verstappen says Red Bull are “very excited” about their prospects with Honda in 2019 amid the manufacturer’s engine improvements.
With just three races left of their strained relationship with Renault, Red Bull will join sister team Toro Rosso in running Honda’s power from next season at a time when the Japanese engine provider appear to be making their biggest strides since returning to F1 in 2015.
Honda have been fine-tuning their latest engine upgrade over recent races with Toro Rosso and paddock suggestions are the unit is now more powerful than Renault’s.
Asked how he was feeling about teaming up with Honda next year, Verstappen said in Austin: “Very excited. They seemed really quick.
“Now we try to finish off the season in the best way possible and then the whole team is very motivated to start working on next year.
“The whole team is very upbeat, excited and motivated.”
That assessment is shared by Sky Sports F1 expert Martin Brundle, who believes the impending switch is energising the former world champions.
“Red Bull are very excited about how the Honda package is coming together for next year,” said Brundle. “It needs reliability and it needs efficiency but they think it’s now ahead of the Renault with some more to come in the winter.
“I’m told that the whole Red Bull factory is actually really pumped up about this new opportunity.”
Daniel Ricciardo won’t get the chance to try out the Honda engines and will instead stick with Renault power next year after he agreed to leave Red Bull and join the French team in 2019.
Verstappen will wave goodbye to Ricciardo as he says hello to Honda.Source:Getty Images
A year after splitting with McLaren, Verstappen believes Honda’s progress has been accelerated by the Red Bull company allowing them more freedom to shape their own engine development.
“Now they just did they own thing in making the engine, instead of the team telling them how to make the engine,” said Verstappen. “They have got a few people on board as well, different management, so it looks very promising.
“A year ago it was a bit difficult to judge that, but that was always their intention and then you have to wait if they are really going to succeed. But they are definitely heading into the right direction so I’m very happy with that.”
VETTEL RUES RACE SPINS
Sebastian Vettel has rued his damaging spate of in-race spins but says those incidents have not been the result of taking too many risks.
Vettel’s attempts to beat Lewis Hamilton to this year’s world title could officially end in Monday morning’s Mexican GP with the Ferrari driver’s challenge heavily compromised by three spins in the last five races.
“If you are the one spinning then obviously something didn’t go right,” conceded Vettel.
“Obviously inside the car it always looks a little bit different than you look from 13 different angles and in slow motion and so on and, by that time, even the last person in the paddock might have an opinion. So it’s obviously different but every opinion might differ.
“The main thing is that fundamentally I didn’t try to do anything silly or anything stupid. I wasn’t hard-headed trying to do something that would never work.
“Obviously now it’s happened a couple of times too much. Next time there will be a gap I’m sure I will go for a gap but, surely, it’s in the back of your head trying to keep the car facing the right direction.”
Vettel’s costly mistakes have seen him fall behind in the race for the title.Source:Getty Images
WHY IS VETTEL SPINNING?
All three of Vettel’s spins in racing combat — with Hamilton in Italy, Max Verstappen in Japan and Daniel Ricciardo last weekend in Austin — have come when the Ferrari has been on the inside of the corner.
Asked by Sky F1 if he could put his finger on why this was proving the case, Vettel joked: “Maybe I need to try the outside next time, at least I don’t spin!”
He added: “Obviously you want to have the inside to the corner, that doesn’t change. The closer you are to the other car you lose some downforce and the spins I had were all quite weird because there was not much I could have done.
“It’s not like I was going in too fast or would have spun on my own at that speed, not at all. So I guess there must be some sort of hole being on the inside of another car in that position. In all three occasions, I wasn’t clearly ahead, at best side-by-side. So, as I said, maybe next time I should try the outside.”
HAMILTON WILL HAVE ‘WON’ TITLE
Lewis Hamilton is a certainty to hold the trophy aloft.Source:AFP
The high likelihood is that, barring a rare race retirement for the Mercedes driver, Hamilton will be crowned a five-time world champion at the end of Sunday’s Mexican race.
Vettel was asked whether he had “thrown away” the title or if Hamilton would have won it.
“You should always look at it as a championship won by the driver who scores more points than anybody else. I think it’s not fair (to say somebody “lost” it),” said Vettel.
“Arriving here with the deficit in points that we have, surely we could have had more (points) but at the end of the day you need to ask yourself whether you have always been in the position to get the result that we need and that we wanted. We had races where we were very competitive but we also had races where we were not. At the end of the season you look at the points you have, you add them up and then you know yourself first what’s been missing or not.”
This article first appeared on Sky Sports and was republished with permission
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