Verstappen insists high expectations of Honda are realistic

Red Bull launch new F1 car

Verstappen will get the first proper taste of his new Red Bull during next week's first pre-season test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catlunya.

"What I'm most looking forward to is starting the season and seeing how the whole team is operating together with Honda and how the engine is performing together with the chassis", said Verstappen ahead of the initial limited mileage filming day.

A tumultuous relationship with Renault, that yielded success at the start but an increasing number of reliability issues towards the end, was brought to a close, with Red Bull opting for a bold new future with Honda, despite the Japanese manufacturer being fourth and last in the engine pecking order.

"I'm very excited to just get started with the engine", Verstappen said.

Red Bull, meanwhile, enters 2019 with a tweaked driver line-up, having drafted in long-term junior and 2018 Toro Rosso racer Pierre Gasly in place of Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo.

"With Honda, we're expecting a lot, we're all very positive but I think it also needs to take a little bit of time, it can not be from race one it will be flawless".

"After my first run, I was smiling - very happy with how the vehicle was behaving plus the engine as well". "The first two or three weeks feel like they are good to have and then after a break you want to get going".

"At the moment I am of course very optimistic, but also realistic. In Formula One, it is so related to the package so at this stage I am quite easy going".

"I completely switched off from racing for a while, trying to focus and re- centre myself and training hard for the new season".

But it is understood that the former world champions will revert to their normal colours in time for the season-opening race in Melbourne on March 17.

Mercedes have also won the last five constructors' championships but team boss Toto Wolff warned that rule changes could shake things up.

"The day's done, the first few kilometres with the vehicle", he said.

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