Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko believes Max Verstappen will be more “mature” and “patient” in 2019.
Several errors at the start of 2018 and his incident with Esteban Ocon in Brazil caused many people to question the 21-year-old’s mindset and ability to challenge for the World Championship.
However, Marko claims that after extensive work over the winter, Verstappen will return to the track with a stronger mental game.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “He did already a very positive step with extra effort and concentration before testing.
“He saw it as a duty and now he understands that, which is very, very important.
“We had some discussions about being patient, which is one thing he will show.
“He also understood that if he can’t win, it is important to take points and finish races, otherwise we won’t win the Championship.
“He is mature enough, even if he is still very young, he is far more mature. He and the team go into the season with a lot of confidence.”
For the first time since Verstappen’s arrival Red Bull appear to have a car capable of challenging for trophies in 2019, and Marko believes they have had the best preparation for a season to date this time around, armed with their new Honda engine.
“We have had a very good time and the engine is reliable,” he explained.
“I would say we have never had such a good preparation for this season with both teams [Red Bull and Toro Rosso].
“It is a new period. We don’t look back, we look forward. It is a very good relationship.
“The concern of course was about reliability, but so far that is not a problem at all.
“It is a new culture as well, but it fits well with out people.”