Red Bull Content Pool


Verstappen confident: that can only mean one thing

Verstappen confident: that can only mean one thing

22 February - 18:00

After almost ten minutes, I stop the recorder. Rarely have we as Dutch media sat at the table with Max Verstappen for so long. It indicates something about the state the Dutchman is in. Relaxed, knowing what kind of car Adrian Newey and Pierre Waché have built for him.

A winter test is mainly about body language. The drivers are not qualifying or racing, but know their own programme very well. Verstappen, for instance, already stated that he could feel after three laps whether the car will deliver victories. His body language said enough.

Of course, the omens were already good. Verstappen won 19 out of 22 Grands Prix last year, with two won by teammate Sergio Perez. With that dominant car, the attention could shift to 2024 very early on. The RB20 is therefore an aggressive evolution of the RB19. Where the competition copied the RB19, Red Bull are already a big step ahead with the RB20.

Why Verstappen has great faith in Red Bull

Red Bull Racing's car feels right away for Verstappen. The RB20 is reliable, fast and is nice to drive for Verstappen. The latter himself is therefore honest about leaving the technical team alone because they know what they are doing: "I just trust what the people in our team are doing."

At the moment, whatever Newey and Waché come up with seems to turn to gold. The correlation between the wind tunnel and what the team sees on the track is almost perfect. The fact that everything seems to be catching on provides the confidence: "Yes, I think that is something that we have obviously improved enormously in the last few years as well. Everything that comes from the wind tunnel just works well on the car as well."

Verstappen himself does not want to speculate too much about the competition. It's only the winter test, the times don't say anything. Verstappen says so, but on the other hand, the relaxation is very evident.

Why Verstappen's attitude says a lot

He is so relaxed and that is particularly evident in Verstappen's attitude towards the media. It is well known that Verstappen is not a fan of talking to the media. Many a moment with the Dutch media, even in 2023, often consisted of a conversation of no more than five minutes. That is different in Bahrain, and was during the car launch in Milton Keynes.

Of course, it could be down to Verstappen's new press officer. Gemma Lusty was at his side in recent years, but that will be Anna Webster in 2024. Still, it seems to be mostly Verstappen himself who sits comfortably in the hot seat and shows absolutely no inclination to get up and walk away. Not even when there are indirect questions about his team boss Christian Horner. He remains seated for almost ten minutes and Anna decides to call it a day.

A Verstappen who is so relaxed can really only mean one thing: the RB20 is a monster.