Bold Marko sees Red Bull and Verstappen as title contenders in 2019


It's an audacious prediction but Helmut Marko believes a Honda-powered Max Verstappen can deliver the championship to Red Bull next season.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit will be make the temerarious switch from Renault to Honda next season, and the Japanese manufacturer's clear progress this season bodes well for Red Bull' and Verstappen's title ambitions according to Marko.

"Max never surprises us with how good he is," Marko said after the Dutchman's impressive run to second in last Sunday's US Grand Prix.

"We will have the Honda engine next year and this project is very promising. I think we can fight for the championship next year," he added.

Marko believes the senior bull outfit will reap the benefits in 2019 from the massive groundwork done by Toro Rosso this season.

"This benefits not only us but them as well," Marko told

"Honda is already ahead (of Renault), not only in qualifying but in the race too."

The man Marko claims can go for gold is equally bullish on his prospects for next season.

"I’m very excited about next year, because Honda is obviously very fast in qualifying now," Verstappen told Speed Week.

"Of course we want to finish this year as well as possible, but the whole team is already looking forward to the next season. Everyone is really motivated.

"The data coming from the test stands is very promising."

Verstappen said that Honda's complete design and engineering freedom - a stark contrast from its days with McLaren when it was forced to comply with the team's requirements - is a big boost for the Japanese engine supplier.

"They have been able to do their own thing and build the engine to their liking. They no longer have to deal with the team they were dealing with," he said.

"Also, some new people have come on board, the management is new, and the whole thing looks very good.

"Of course we’ll have to see how it develops, but it’s going in the right direction and I’m happy about that."

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