Max Verstappen insists talk of Red Bull challenging for world championships during the 2020 Formula 1 season is “not just wishful thinking”.

Verstappen claimed three victories and two pole positions for Red Bull and its strong form in the second half of the season and the impressive gains made by Honda have led many to tip the Milton Keynes squad for a title push in 2020.

The Dutchman’s future with Red Bull has long been the subject of speculation, with suggestions earlier in the campaign that he had a performance-based clause to get out of his contract - which runs until the end of next year - early if results were not as expected.

Speaking during the FIA prize giving ceremony in Paris on Friday, Lewis Hamilton inferred Verstappen had been among a number of his rivals to approach Mercedes over a possible drive with the German squad.

Asked if he feels Red Bull is the right team for him, Verstappen replied: “Well that’s what I believe and that’s why I am with the team.

“I think they have shown in the past they can do it, so it’s not just wishful thinking. It’s not easy as the competition is very strong.

“But we are going to try everything next year because it’s going to be an important year and then we will see what happens.”

But Verstappen said Red Bull must improve its early season form if it is to contend with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari after traditionally making slower starts to the year compared to its rivals. 

“The package this year in the beginning was a bit of a struggle,” he explained. “We could not really fight for victories and real podiums.

“So it was all about trying to be as consistent as we could be, so we just hoped we can be more competitive next year.

“We know that we need to be more competitive from the start to be able to fight for the title and we have to put all our effort into that. It’s not going to be easy but we are going to go for it and try everything we can.”

 

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