They have enlisted the help of experienced Mexican star Sergio Perez with the hope of fighting for regular Grand Prix victories, after the decision to drop Alex Albon after his struggles in matching Verstappen last season.
The latter won two races during the previous campaign, at Silverstone and in Abu Dhabi, and will be hoping to improve on his tally this time around with minimal regulation changes to disrupt his team’s pre-season preparations.
Although Red Bull will be quietly confident that Verstappen can bring the fight to Hamilton in 2021, the man himself has called for calm ahead of the new season.
Speaking after Wednesday’s shakedown runs in the brand new Red Bull RB16B, the 23-year-old refused to be drawn into speculating on his title chances, claiming that it is impossible to make a solid prediction before the season has even started.
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“It’s more just to get the car out and run a few laps. It all felt normal. We just have to wait and see what happens in Bahrain once we have proper tyres under the car.
“I am always very realistic and it makes no sense to talk about stuff now. We have to go to Bahrain and look at it there.
“In the first race we will know if we succeeded or not. I don’t like to talk it up at the moment.
Although F1 chiefs have decided to carry over the majority of last year’s regulations, teams have been forced to rethink their floor designs after the implementation of new restrictions aiming to reduce downforce.
With Red Bull known for their strong aerodynamics, Verstappen is optimistic that they can gain an advantage from the situation, as he suggested that whichever team acts quickest to gain back the lost downforce will be able to pull away from the rest of the field early on.
“The floor is still a big change,” he added. “To try to recover all that downforce loss will be important.
“Mercedes was still the dominant car towards the end of the season, so we of course know we have to keep improving.”
Verstappen will be hoping to get off to the perfect start in the race to deny Hamilton a record eighth world title at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.
Teams will have the chance to finalise their preparations during a condensed three-day period of pre-season testing at the circuit in a fortnight’s time.