Wednesday 30 January at 08:35 :
Max Verstappen's fans will know almost immediately if Red Bull has produced a title-winning 2019 car.
That is the view of Robert Doornbos, a Dutch former F1 driver.
This week, we quoted fellow Dutchman Verstappen as saying that if he is to have a chance of winning the title, Red Bull must be closer to Mercedes and Ferrari right from the beginning of the season.
"We need to make sure that from the start we are a little bit closer," he said.
Doornbos, who raced for Red Bull and Minardi, thinks the world will know straight away if Verstappen is at the wheel of a title winner.
"Max will know immediately how successful the new car can be, so I'll be curious to see his face after a couple of laps behind the wheel," he told Ziggo Sport.
"If he is disappointed straight away, Max will not hide it. He'll immediately be punching the table with his fist," Doornbos added.
He said Red Bull is renowned for building great chassis, with the main question mark being the competitiveness of the team's new works engine partner.
"Last year, the car was one of the best on the grid, if not the best," Doornbos said.
"It's important that the Honda engine is reliable and not inferior to Ferrari and Mercedes. If it is good enough, Max will get good results, because last year his engine was down 70hp."
Doornbos also noted recent comments made by Pierre Gasly, who is Verstappen's new teammate for 2019.
"Pierre said that he is not coming to Red Bull to be the second driver, but I think it's better to stay quiet," he said.
"He has a chance to be in the top team, but at the moment for him I think it's better not to attract too much attention. Because he has no chance next to Verstappen.
"Of course, there are not many drivers in the paddock who would like to be Max's teammate. Lewis Hamilton can talk about it, but it won't happen," Doornbos added.