An emergent superstar of grand prix racing, Verstappen has usually ranked second only to Lewis Hamilton in team bosses’ and experts’ estimations over the past three years, but has not had the package to fight for the drivers’ championship.
He finished a career-high third in the standings last year following Red Bull’s switch from Renault engines to Honda, and though he remained some 135 points behind champion Hamilton, Verstappen believes the pieces are there for him to finally become a genuine title contender.
Asked whether he now saw a foundation for a title challenge at Red Bull, Verstappen told Motorsport.com: “I think so. I think we are in the right direction. There's no question about that.
“Now, it's just about how much development we can push through for next year. I more or less know, I just hope it's going to be enough.
“Next year, there are no real changes in the regulations anyway, so you can just build on what you have now. And with a second year working with Honda, I think that should help.
“We massively improved the performance of the engine. I think we know where we have to improve on, we've already improved on the car.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing