Red Bull targeting F1 2020 title after 'fantastic' first year with Honda
"We go into the winter with a lot of motivation," says Horner; Star driver, good car, good engine - can Red Bull challenge in 2020?
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 18/12/19 12:51pm
Red Bull are confident of a title challenge in F1 2020 after claiming their first year with Honda power was "beyond expectations".
Although Red Bull couldn't consistently match their rivals as hoped in 2019 after ditching Renault engines, they still finished with three wins and nine podiums - described by Christian Horner as "really impressive" considering Honda had struggled in their first four seasons back in the sport.
Red Bull, led by star driver Max Verstappen, made the biggest strides over the season and finished the campaign as Mercedes' main rivals, with Lewis Hamilton, among other drivers, praising their improved straight-line speed.
"It really has been beyond expectations," insisted team boss Horner.
"The relationship with Honda has been fantastic. The reliability, the performance increase with each engine, has been very much a highlight. The way Max has driven as well has been very, very positive.
"We go into the winter with a lot of motivation."
Red Bull's engine change was their first in 13 years, and Horner said that 2019 was "always going to be a transitionary year - but with each engine introduction we've got closer and closer to the pace."
With a great car, leading driver and a now strong engine, designer Adrian Newey recently told Sky F1 that there is "no excuse" for the team not to challenge for the title next year.
The next step for Red Bull is ending Mercedes' F1 domination, with the team targeting their first championship since 2013.
"I think with stability of the regulations going into 2020, hopefully we can be the challenger team next year," Horner added. "Mercedes have had another very strong year and are the benchmark still, but it feels like we are getting closer.
"Theoretically, the car you see in three months will be an upgrade of the cars [in Abu Dhabi].
"It feels like we are on the right trajectory, so unless we miss something, hopefully we can be competitive at the start of next season."