Verstappen: Bespoke Honda engine "very good" for Red Bull
Max Verstappen says having a Honda engine "purely designed around your car" will be a big benefit to his Red Bull Formula 1 team.
Red Bull announced earlier this week it would be ending a long-standing association with Renault to instead use Honda engines in 2019 and 2020.
The Japanese manufacturer toiled as McLaren's power unit supplier in the three years prior, but has progressed enough since switching to Red Bull's B-team Toro Rosso to convince the Austrian drinks giant that it was ready to provide engines for the main outfit.
“I believe in it, and the team clearly believes in it because they signed the deal,” said Verstappen, who is signed with Red Bull through to the end of 2020.
“It's exciting as well. You have Honda basically working for Red Bull and Toro Rosso only, so it's purely designed around your car. I think that also is very good.
“I spoke with them [Red Bull’s management] for a long time about what I thought of it.
"Of course I knew this already earlier than you guys. They always kept me quite close because I like to understand what's going to happen with the team in the future.”
Verstappen, whose father Jos was part of an aborted works Honda F1 project in the late nineties, made an encouraging visit to the Japanese manufacturer’s facility last year.
He said: “The facility looked very nice. It was good to have a walk around and see the differences between Honda and Renault's factories. It was quite impressive how they've built up all the facilities and the dynos and stuff. It all looked very efficient.”
Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo, whose Red Bull deal expires at the end of this year, admits he isn't sure whether it'll be Honda or Renault that catches up with F1's leading engine manufacturers sooner.
He said: “Obviously Renault's come a pretty long way this year. I know we still don't have the qualifying modes, but our race pace, once we're all fuel saving, all that, we seem a lot more competitive.
"So they're improving, as you can see Honda seems to be improving with Toro Rosso.
“I think it's fair to say they're both on the up - it's just who's going to get there quicker, that's still the unknown.
"Obviously Red Bull believe that Honda are the right ones.”
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