Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner has talked up Max Verstappen’s ability to fight for a maiden world title in 2020, believing he is the most in-form driver currently on the grid.

Verstappen, 22, enjoyed his best F1 season to date in 2019, finishing third in the drivers’ championship with three race wins and two pole positions to his name.

The Dutchman ended the season with three straight podium finishes, including a dominant victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix, giving him plenty of momentum heading into the winter break.

Verstappen is seen as one of the leading drivers who can take the fight to Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for the world title in 2020 – something Red Bull boss Horner believes is definitely possible should the RB16 car be good enough.

“He’s in a position now where he’s more than capable of challenging for the world championship and we need to give him a car that he can do that with,” Horner said.

“If we can do that, I’ve got every confidence that he can take the fight to Lewis, Mercedes and Ferrari.

“He’s right there. His form has been fantastic and I believe he’s the most in form F1 driver at the moment.”

Red Bull has not won a title since 2013, but Horner feels the combination of the team’s recent surge and the stability in the regulations heading into 2020 will put it in a strong position.

“I think we’re in the best position we’ve been in since the change in regulations at the end of 2013,” Horner said.

“Red Bull’s philosophy to invest in youth means we have emerging young talent in all areas of the business which is really starting to pay dividends and the team is on a charge.

“We need to come out of the blocks competitively next year, Mercedes are still the benchmark going into next year so we need to try and push them from the first race in order to take the challenge to them.

“There is a real buzz and anticipation in the factory at the moment, so we need to capitalise on that and build on the positive momentum from 2019.”

 

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