Formula One: Max Verstappen on Red Bull’s Chances Ahead of New Season

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen, center, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 18. Verstappen doesn't believe Red Bull Racing will win the Formula One world championship this year. JEROEN JUMELET/AFP/Getty

Max Verstappen has ruled Red Bull out of the race for the Formula One championship a week before the first Grand Prix of the season.

Verstappen finished fifth last year, with teammate Daniel Ricciardo third, behind Mercedes’ dominant pair Lewis Hamilton and world champion Nico Rosberg.

Although Rosberg’s retirement sees Valtteri Bottas line up on the grid for Mercedes this year, Verstappen still believes Red Bull is behind Mercedes and Ferrari, which was fastest in testing.

“We still have to wait and see how good we really are,” the 19-year-old told De Telegraaf.

“Personally, I don’t think we can fight for the win at the moment. Much can change during the course of the season, but we are not good enough yet to win.”

Verstappen and Ricciardo will be traveling to Australia this week for the first race of the season, in Melbourne.

Red Bull Racing, led by team principal Christian Horner, finished second in the constructors’ title last year, ahead of Ferrari.

“Mercedes are still very much the favorite,” Horner told the BBC last week. “Ferrari had a positive pre-season, they look like they have a good car but we are reasonably confident that we have the basis of a good car.”