Red Bull, Mercedes to launch 2019 F1 cars on same day

Formula One Testing

Max Verstappen is the driver five-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will "fear the most" this season.

Hamilton won 11 races for Mercedes on his way to the title while four-time world champion Vettel of Germany finished as runner-up with five victories, ahead of Verstappen, who won two grands prix a year ago and ended the season fourth overall.

"I think stability of regulations will help them".

Verstappen was the sport's youngest driver when he debuted with Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso as a 17-year-old and the youngest victor at 18 at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Red Bull and Verstappen have talked up the new partnership with Honda, after taking digs at Renault a year ago and questioning its commitment.

Horner says he has grown in the past year and is "in a better place to deal with the challenges he faces".

Asked about Verstappen's public service punishment for his actions in Brazil, which saw him forced to attend a Formula E race in order to observe the work of the stewards, Horner admitted that it was an enlightening experience for the youngster.

He added: "He came back and went, "Crikey, these guys have got hard decisions to make. Whether you penalise or not.' I think that was actually a useful exercise for him to see the other side of the fence", said Horner".

Horner said Honda had shown good progress over the European winter and morale was high.

"If I have the auto to win then that's what I would love to do".

Unable to be involved with Renault at the post-season testing after the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi due to Red Bull not releasing him, the "Honey Badger" was all smiles on Monday as he was pictured in the black and yellow of his new team.

He did concede, however, that while he didn't expect Honda to be able to match Ferrari and Mercedes' power outputs in the first few races of the season, his aim for the year was to finish up - as he did in 2018 - as a multiple race victor.

While relations between Red Bull and previous engine partner Renault collapsed into acrimony, Horner has faith that the relationship with Honda will not play out in a similar way.

"Effectively we've been paying for a first class ticket and you get an economy seat", he said of the last three seasons with Renault.

"We will try to win as many races as possible", said Verstappen.

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