In conversation with Max: 'It can always go faster'

Published on 21 February 2020 by Kees-Jan Koster

His first test week is over and Max Verstappen concludes his Friday afternoon with a conversation with the media, including, before he flies home. Looking back on the first three days with the RB16, of which Max drove one and a half days, the Aston Martin Red Bull driver says: “To be successful, you have to understand the car completely, so you have to drive as much as possible. We are happy with what we have been able to do so far.”

He continues: “Everything went successful, and that is exactly what we wanted. The cars feels stable and that is what we need at the moment. The car feels good. I had driven it in the simulator and there were no surprises.”

What does a day look like and how much input do you have in what you do? Max explains: “We have a programme and I give my feedback and opinion after every run, what works and what needs changing. Every team completes their own programme, and we also do our own thing. We focus on ourselves to get the best package as possible.”

“We try to improve on all fronts, all year through”, continues Max. “This week we did not try to get the perfect setup, as we continue to improve the car. It is also important to test the reliability. On Saturday during Q3 in Melbourne we will see where we really are.”

In 2019, we needed a fourth power unit, resulting in the associated grid penalty. This year Honda will aim to only use the three allocated power unites for the whole Grand Prix season. Max says: “Last year we only changed power units if that improved the performance as each were quite big upgrades. This year we want to get through the whole season without any penalties. In Barcelona we have not yet driven in the maximum engine mode. So far the Honda power unit has run smoothly, and it looks good.”

Max adds: “Honda works at full capacity. We always want to go forward and this year we have made some good progress. The prospects that Honda have shown, have always been fulfilled. I have all confidence that they continue to do that. We are going in the right direction. Of course, the competition is also working hard, so we have to work harder.”

The Formula 1 cars are getting faster and faster. What do you think of that? Max answers: “It is cool to break world records, but I prefer exciting races. The cars are great to drive, because they are so quick. But if you are driving behind another car, you lose a lot of downforce. The cars have become faster every year, so that effect has only become worse. I expect that the 2021 cars will be less fun to drive, but I hope that it will improve racing.”

And this year, what are you aiming for? Max: “The goal is to compete for the win. We have to keep developing the car and go flat out, because the competition is not standing still. There is a lot of work to do, it is never good enough, we can always go faster.”