“Our ultimate goal is to make Max Verstappen the world champion in 2019,” said Marko, the Austrian official who is close to team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Most experts tip Mercedes and Ferrari to remain in the lead this year, with Red Bull still producing a top car.
“It’s very important that we address the reliability issues we had with Renault in the previous years,” Marko told the German broadcaster RTL.
Helping that cause will be Honda’s so-called ‘party mode’ in qualifying, which will deliver more than the tenth of a second that Renault’s did in 2018.
“Honda promises much more,” said Marko.
Reports earlier in the off-season suggested that Honda struggled to run its power units at full capacity due to excessive vibrations, concerns confirmed by Marko, according to Auto Motor und Sport, although such teething problems are common in this time of year as teams race to develop their cars.
There’s plenty of reason for optimism at Red Bull. Having parted ways with Renault, the switch to Honda power units marks a new era for the four-time world champions – and they’ve announced that the RB15 challenger they hope delivers success this season will be officially unveiled on February 13.
The Red Bull-Renault partnership yielded four consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles, but relations between the pair had grown increasingly fractious in the years following their dominance together, and ultimately led to their 12-year partnership coming to an end last season.
And, having seen Honda show signs of progress with junior team Toro Rosso in 2018, the Milton Keynes squad opted to partner with the Japanese engine supplier for the forthcoming campaign, which sees Pierre Gasly make the step up to partner five-time race winner Max Verstappen.