Never short of speaking out against Renault, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko expressed his thoughts following on from the race in Melbourne with new engine partner Honda.
It’s worth noting that the podium Red Bull’s Max Verstappen achieved yesterday was, in fact, the first for a Honda since Rubens Barrichello in 2008 at Silverstone, young Max was only ten years old at the time.
Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel during the race to secure third place both Mercedes at Albert Park after the Ferrari of Vettel struggled to keep pace.
Ferrari is indeed rather confused as to where their seemingly dominant performance from winter testing has disappeared to. TJ13 earlier today highlighted the fact that Vettel and Binotto appear to contradict each other post-race, hinting at a team with very little explanation.
Very happy to start the 2019 season on the podium 💪 We had a great car, so a big thank you to @redbullracing and congrats to @HondaRacingF1 for their 1st podium in the V6 era 🙌 #KeepPushing 🇦🇺 #AusGP pic.twitter.com/pWNHWAsdGw
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) March 17, 2019
“It’s encouraging for the future that we did not get a single warning on the engine side throughout the race,” Marko told Speed Week. “Everything from fuel consumption to power, battery and so on was always in the green.”
“We kept the distance to Mercedes within respectable limits,” said Marko when describing how Verstappen closed up on the Mercedes pair.
“Max started the season very well,” he said. “That is how you win titles, by achieving the optimal result and scoring points.
“With our car, he will be able to fight for the title. Absolutely.” claims Marko.
In the past, Dr Helmut Marko has openly said that it is his intention to make Verstappen the youngest ever drivers Champion. Any slight validation of the decision to favour Verstappen over past teammate Daniel Ricciardo and ditching Renault for Honda and we see that the Dr is keen to wax lyrical. That said, the performance of the Honda unit in the back of the Red Bull must be a serious kick in the balls to McLaren.
“We want more than third places.” continues Marko, “but the team is on the right track, and if we talk about pace, then we were on equal terms with Hamilton.”
As a final slap in the face to their rivals, Marko turns his scorn to past engine supplier Renault.
A manufacturer who Red Bull won eight championships with, and yet were keen to throw under the bus once the new hybrid engine regulations came into force, unreliable and under power being the primary complaints.
“Now we have to work on the chassis as fast as possible. We need more downforce because we’ve built cars with as little downforce as possible in recent years so the drag is not too great.
“But that’s not the problem anymore.”
Let’s see how praiseworthy Marko is with Honda as soon as things don’t work out as well.