Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, has hinted at the fact that the Austrian team will build their team around star man, Max Verstappen. The statement may not come as a shock to many, considering that it was rumoured that Ricciardo left because of the treatment his teammate got.
“Max is now the experienced one. So the team will be looking towards him more now,” Horner told Dutch publication Formule 1. Though Horner has sugarcoated his words, the intent to make Verstappen no.1 is pretty evident for everyone on the sidelines.
The Dutchman will be joined by Frenchman, Pierre Gasly, next year, who is another one of the graduates from the Red Bull junior driver programme. Gasly is older than Verstappen but his journey into F1 followed the more traditional route, through GP2, which meant he has lesser experience than Max currently at the top level.
“Pierre of course has the potential to develop and make life difficult for Max,” Horner said of Gasly. “Hopefully they’ll push each other and help to get the best out of each other, just like Max and Daniel did.”
Ricciardo’s exit from the team shocked many as it was unexpected but Horner revealed that there was no bitterness between them now. “I’m still surprised, but I respect that he wanted something new,” he said.
Verstappen represents Vettel in a lot of ways- talented and brave but arrogant too in many ways. The German also made his mark soon after coming into F1, winning races for Red Bull and winning the title in just his second season with the team.
However, Red Bull also came into their own then, developing an all-conquering car, something that they have not been able to do yet for Verstappen. It remains to be seen whether 2019 will be the turning point for them.