Max Verstappen has set a target of reaching the podium at every race this season and Honda are ready to support him in his pursuit.
The Dutchman bagged his best ever career finish in 2019 with a P3 spot and 278 points to his name. That record included three victories and a further six podium appearances but, in 2020, he wants to be occupying one of the podium steps in all 21 races – 22 if China somehow makes it back onto the calendar.
Honda, full of positivity heading into the new campaign, are ready to back him.
“We are making every effort to be there and fight for the championship,” Honda F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto said in the Japanese manufacturer’s Australia preview.
“We had some unfortunate races last year, losing out in some of them, but we must avoid having those sort of races this year.
“Max says he wants to get on the podium at all the races, which is an aim we must support.
“From my point of view it’s all about management. The structure is really efficient and there are many things we have learned from our first year with Red Bull, such as how to put personnel into suitable positions and what is the most efficient way to operate.”
Reliability will still be Honda’s main focus, but Yamamoto is feeling particularly encouraged about that element given the success of testing.
“It’s always a balancing act but maintaining the good reliability comes first,” he added.
“Then on top of that we have tried to deliver more power so both teams can be as competitive as possible.
“We had very good races towards the end of last year, especially in Brazil, and also the development in the factory has gone really smoothly during the off-season.
“So I was looking forward to seeing the car on track in testing and now I can’t wait to see how we race in Australia.
“This year, testing went more smoothly than at any time since we returned to the sport, without any big issues.
“Overall, both teams were able to replicate an actual race weekend and that was also very good. We feel that we are now well prepared for the season ahead.”