Max Verstappen on fuel and FIFA: Red Bull's Japanese GP prospects
Dutchman on Red Bull-Honda's Suzuka prospects - and why he'd turn to football gaming if Saturday proves a washout
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 10/10/19 3:42pm
Max Verstappen is hopeful Red Bull can close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari at Honda's home Japanese GP armed with the latest development to help the engine manufacturer's F1 push.
With an upgraded fuel arriving from ExxonMobil arriving for Honda's latest Spec 4 engine, which were introduced onto Verstappen and Alex Albon's RB15s in recent races, Red Bull hope to be back in the podium mix in Sunday's race.
"We always want to try and improve like everyone else and this will help us a little bit forward," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1 when asked about the new fuel. "It's difficult to say how much but of course we want to take the fight to Ferrari and Mercedes.
"We lately have been a little bit behind, but let's see. It's again a new weekend, a different weekend probably also with the weather coming in, but still a lot of opportunities for us to do well.
"Hopefully on Sunday we can go happily home with a good result."
Honda, who own the famous figure-of-eight Suzuka circuit, are certain to enjoy their most competitive home outing since returning to F1 in 2015 amid a successful first year in partnership with Red Bull.
The last time a Honda-engined car finished on the podium at Suzuka was 2004, when Jenson Button was third for BAR.
"That's definitely the target," replied Verstappen when asked if he could achieve a fourth consecutive podium in Japan.
Verstappen vs Sainz…at FIFA
With Typhoon Hagibis threatening to disrupt Saturday's action at Suzuka, Verstappen was asked in the Thursday press conference would he would do if qualifying was moved to pre-race on Sunday.
And it appears there would still be a competition between F1 drivers, albeit of a different sporting kind...
Verstappen: "Bit more free time on Saturday and waking up a little bit earlier on a Sunday. I mean, we have done it before. From my side, I have experienced it once before, I think in Austin 2015? So, yeah, it is what it is. It doesn't really affect me."
Sainz: "More FIFA!"
Verstappen: "Yeah, I brought it here, so if you want to have a game on Saturday."
Sainz: "Always up for it."
Verstappen: "If you're ready to lose…"
Sainz: "Hmmm… we will see!"