Red Bull has proven itself a winning team, but its young hotshoe says it’d be even better if it had a better engine package.
“I think that if we had a Mercedes engine in the back, they would never see us again,” Max Verstappen told Motorsport.com. “Ours just isn’t that stable compared to what Mercedes and Ferrari have. But it has to do with several things. Otherwise they would have solved it a long time ago, of course.”
Vertstappen was called up to the A-team in 2016 after little more than one season with Scuderia Toro Rosso. But that was long after Red Bull had lost the winning form it had found with Sebastian Vettel, winning four back-to-back world championships between 2010 and 2013.
The big change arguably wasn’t so much the switch in drivers – Vettel having left for Ferrari after 2014 – but with the shift in engine regulations. Mercedes is credited with having developed the better powertrain package under the current regs, while the Renault unit that Red Bull uses has lacked relatively in performance.
That hasn’t stopped Verstappen and Red Bull from mounting a challenge, though. Last year alone (which was Max’s first full season with the team), the Dutchman won two grands prix outright and scored another couple of podium finishes to finish sixth in the standings. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo only won one race, but placed another eight times on the podium to edge out his wingman for fifth place.
That was far better than Renault’s own team managed, without so much as a single podium finish to its credit last season. They were all beaten out, however, not only by the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, but also by Ferrari’s drivers Vettel and Raikkonen. The 2018 season kicks off in Melbourne late next month.