Max Verstappen almost didn't sleep before first Honda F1 engine run

Scott Mitchell
Verstappen almost didn't sleep before Honda debut

Max Verstappen says he "almost didn't sleep" before his first experience of Honda's new Formula 1 engine, and that he has not been so excited "in a long time".

Verstappen's Red Bull team will use Honda engines in F1 this season after finally splitting from long-time partner Renault.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, Verstappen said his excitement to kick off the new Red Bull-Honda alliance started well before the two promising weeks of official pre-season testing at Barcelona that have just been completed.

"I was very excited to do the filming day at Silverstone," Verstappen said.

"I just wanted to get out and feel how the engine was behaving.

"The night before, I almost didn't sleep. I haven't been that excited in a long time."

Verstappen almost didn't sleep before Honda debut

Verstappen has been praised by Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko for a more mature approach to pre-season, which Marko said contributed to Red Bull's best-ever testing programme.

Addressing his happier demeanour through testing, Verstappen said: "I'm just a lot more excited.

"It's a new project with Honda and trying to understand everything is very important.

"Testing is there to get you prepared in the best possible way for the beginning of the season because you don't have a lot of time once the season starts to really adjust a lot of things."

Verstappen was critical of Renault during the dissolution of Red Bull's previous engine partnership, because he was disappointed by the French manufacturer's failure to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari.

That gave way to the five-time grand prix winner, and senior Red Bull figures, talking up the move to Honda and what it would mean for the team.

While expectations are being kept in check now the new season is approaching, Verstappen said the positivity remains high behind the scenes.

He said there had been no issues integrating Honda's engineers into the Red Bull team and was impressed by Honda's "incredibly focused and calm" working manner.

"It's a very fresh start and everybody is just looking forward to starting to work together and achieve great results," said Verstappen.

"There's a very positive vibe in the team, and maybe it's good just to have fresh motivation to do well.

"Everyone's very much looking forward to getting started, and not only this year, but the year after."

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