Thursday 23 February at 09:35 :
Feb.23 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko thinks Max Verstappen is ready to battle for the F1 title.
This week, 19-year-old Max's father Jos said he thinks the young Dutchman needs another year before Red Bull is ready to take on Mercedes.
But Marko, who is Red Bull's driver manager, said on the Dutch programme Jinek: "Now with a year's more experience, I think both of our drivers can fight for the title."
Verstappen grabs a lot of the headlines, but the teenager's teammate is Daniel Ricciardo, with Marko insisting: "We must remember Daniel. He is a very fast and competitive racing driver."
Red Bull is currently preparing to launch its 2017 car, the RB13, and Marko said it is "Sexy, fast and aggressive".
He also said it looks good in the simulator.
"But at the moment it's only the simulator. Only in winter testing will we see where we really stand."
Marko said Red Bull is now strongly supported by Renault, explaining: "They promised us more power, so in terms of the engine we will be closer to Mercedes."
As for Verstappen, he said the youngster's "explosive character" is not an issue.
"Now he enters his third year, it is actually a strength," he said.
"Other drivers now know they have to watch out when Max is coming. The risks are getting smaller."
As for the complaints coming from Verstappen's rivals, Marko responded: "If someone so young is passing them, they're just angry. He has it under control."