Red Bull needs to take advantage of the opportunity to be a full works partner with Honda by challenging for championships again, according to Ross Brawn.
Honda supplied Toro Rosso last season and made clear progress with its performance, leading Red Bull to confirm a deal to partner with the Japanese manufacturer and end its time with Renault. Although race wins have been possible in recent years, Formula 1 head of motorsports Brawn says the Honda deal is Red Bull’s big chance to return to title contention.
“Honda teaming up with Red Bull will be positive because Red Bull become a full works team,” Brawn told the official F1 website. “They haven’t been that since their Jaguar days. They have had a very good relationship, most of the time, with their engine supplier, particularly during their successful world championships with Renault.
“It’s always a different challenge when you are a works team with an engine manufacturer. You have to hold hands and you have got to jump in together, work together, and be as one and that is the strength of that opportunity.
“It’s something I have always focused on because it really does give you some great chances. Red Bull have now got to grasp that opportunity with Honda and get back into the really sharp end. They have to become a championship contender again.”
And in 21-year-old Max Verstappen, Brawn thinks Red Bull has a driver ready to challenge the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for the drivers’ championship.
“It’s easy to forget how young he is. If you think of yourself at that age, with the exposure and pressure, what he is doing is pretty special,” Brawn noted.
“What we are seeing with Max is a great maturing of his approach, losing none of his speed and aggression but just being a bit more tempered in terms of how he attacks things. 2018 was another big step forward for Max. In the right car and right team, he’s world champion material for sure.
“Max will be the known reference in the team in 2019. That is always helpful in a team to have that continuity: If you have a troublesome car or you have some things to sort out, knowing the driver, knowing how to qualify what he says is very helpful. So I think it is great for the team.”