|Dr Helmut Marko|
(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko admits he is looking forward to the start of winter testing on Wednesday.
The top Red Bull official confirmed to Kurier newspaper that he will be in Barcelona to watch the 2020 car be prepared for Melbourne and the new season.
"Mercedes with Hamilton is the favorite but we see ourselves as the first challenger," Marko said.
"We were already good last season but only from the middle of the season. That shouldn't happen to us this year.
"We have worked on all of our weaknesses so that we are ready and can attack immediately," he added.
Marko said the performance of the new car looks good on paper, but he wants to see first-hand how Max Verstappen and Alex Albon handle it on the track.
"I like to look at the car directly on the track," he confirmed. "How is it in the corners? How easy or difficult is it for the drivers to drive?"
Marko also said Verstappen is now fully ready to charge for the world championship.
"He has put an end to his impatience – the winning at all costs attitude," said the Austrian.
"But if he wants to go for the championship, he also had to bring in a little diplomacy. Some conversations were necessary.
"Something like Mexico will never happen to him again," said Marko, referring to when the Dutch driver openly admitted to ignoring yellow flags in qualifying.
Marko said the team is relaxed and motivated after Verstappen's contract was recently extended through 2023. He admits the negotiations were tough, as Verstappen "knows his value".
But: "It was extremely important to us," he said. "You can feel extra motivation within the entire team now. That Max is committed to us in the long term was an important signal."