Dutch superstar Verstappen feels that his RB13 chassis, is far from ready to challenge at the front of the grid for the start of the 17 season.
The Red Bull was only fourth fastest at the Barcelona pre-season test, behind the surprise package of Ferrari, and champions Mercedes and the Williams team.
Let’s not pull any punches here, as testing is only testing, however Verstappen concedes that his team will not be able to challenge for the top spot come season start.
“We still have to wait and see how good we really are,” Verstappen told Dutch daily De Telegraaf.
“Personally, I don’t think we can fight for the win at the moment. Much can change during the course of the season, but we are not good enough yet to win.”
When asked about expectations for Melbourne, Max admitted only knowing for sure of their pace once the low fuel runs in qualifying were completed. Pole position would not be the target for those sessions though.
Max also alluded to Red Bulls form of last year, when the Milton Keynes based squad clearly won the development war with Ferrari. Red Bull managed to snatch second place in the constructors championship away from the Scuderia come season end.
“Clearly, Ferrari took a step forward from last year,” the Dutchman is quoted as saying by his website, verstappen.nl. “Mercedes will always be right there – I think they probably sandbagged a bit. It’s been that way for the last couple of years.
“For us, it is hard to tell where we are. Personally I don’t think we are the best team yet, but we will have to wait and see.
“After qualifying in Australia, we will know our pure performance. We won’t be going there with the idea we can go for pole.
“At the moment, I think both Ferrari and Mercedes will be in front of us, but hopefully we will be able to get into a rhythm, just like last year. We can do better this year, but we need to work hard in order to get there.”
With a lot of noise coming from Red Bull lately about how “Newey has his mojo back”, and how “Renault have massively improved”… the expectations are surely high inside the Red Bull team.
Is this a level headed Max curbing those expectations? Or is there a genuine fear over the lack of pure Red Bull pace.