Max Verstappen believes we will not see Red Bull-Honda at “full force” until at least the 2020 season.
Red Bull will be joining forces with Honda for the start of the 2019 season, but the Dutchman – who finished on the podium in Belgium – believes it will take some time to see them battling Ferrari and Mercedes together.
“Everyone wants that, but in Formula 1 that’s a tricky thing,” Verstappen said after being asked about his title ambitions.
“At first we will need to take some more steps, but hopefully at the end we will be close. The year after, we should be out in full force.”
But, Verstappen is extremely encouraged by Honda’s progress and their continued commitment to rising to the very top of the Formula 1 tree.
He added: “Looking at where they came from the last couple of years, they have advanced considerably. You very rarely see something get broken.
“The most important thing is that they want to take things to the limit. They have the means, which is very important if you want to take on the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes.
“All in all, Honda is a much more serious candidate. They have already been on the test rig and want a lot of gearboxes from us to prepare themselves for the coming year.
“They are enormously driven and want to do thousands of miles on the test rig.”
Verstappen’s podium finish in Belgium helped him leapfrog team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to P5 in the World Championship standings heading into Monza.