F1 Austrian Preview

F1 Austrian Preview

Max Verstappen.

That’s the hot tip from Europe as Formula One resumes with the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend.

The youngster in the Red Bull is the form driver at the Red Bull ring, and going for a hat-track of wins at the track, while Honda has been working flat-out through the COVID-19 shutdown to develop an upgraded engine and Red Bull Racing has also done some aero tweaking to the car that was previewed – but never raced – at Albert Park back in March.

There is lots to learn as racing resumes, not least how Lewis Hamilton’s helmet looks as he switches to a ‘Black Lives Matter’ livery.

But how good is the Mercedes-Benz for 2020, is Ferrari on the comeback trail after looking lacklustre in pre-season testing, and will the Racing Point cars – now known in F1-land as ’the pink Mercedes’ – emerge as a new threat.

With so many questions to be answered, a masked Max has already given his view.

“Mercedes are still the ones to beat, because they have been the dominant team for so long now,” he says in Austria.

“It will be a good challenge to try and beat them. One thing I know for sure is that we will do everything we can to fight for it.

“They are still very strong and will be hard to beat, but as a team we learned a lot over the last year and I really think that we are stronger.”

No-one knows what Honda has injected into its updated engine, but it was not affected by the European shut-down – when the traditional mid-season vacation time was injected into the pandemic program – but it could provide a winning difference.

For Verstappen, the focus is genuinely on a world title for the first time and he says that it more important than another win in Austria.

“I don’t really think about a hat-trick, the most important thing for me is to have a competitive car and perform at my best. I would prefer to win a championship.