Red Bull’s dire Ricciardo warning
MAX Verstappen has declared Honda has already advanced past Renault's power units in a dire warning for Daniel Ricciardo.
The star Australian will next year link-up with the French team after running with Renault-supplied engines throughout his Red Bull career.
After failing to close the power gap to leaders Mercedes and Ferrari this year and continuing to suffer a series of reliability issues with the Renault power units, Red Bull earlier this year committed to a new deal for Honda to supply its power units from 2019.
The decision led to a bitter war of words between Renault and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Honda, however, has also had a series of miserable seasons, culminating in its messy divorce with McLaren and a new relationship with Red Bull's Toro Rosso development team for this F1 season.
In an interview with his personal website, Verstappen declared his team is pleased with the development Toro Rosso has seen with its Honda engine and believes the Japanese manufacturer has already advanced beyond Renault's capabilities.
While discussing the recent Japanese Grand Prix and Toro Rosso's impressive performance, Verstappen was asked if Honda is now ahead of Renault. The Dutchman replied: "I think so.
"Q3 was of course a somewhat separate session, but then they are still in front of the Renaults which is the factory team. I think Toro Rosso's car is not that strong in general, but you can see that Honda is making strides."
He said Red Bull already has a plan to succeed where McLaren failed with Honda power by sacrificing weight for pure power.
"By telling Honda that they need to develop the best and fastest engine, but not as small and compact as possible," he said.
"We indicate that we want as much power as possible and in return we will make it fit in the car. That is a very different approach than they had at McLaren."
Verstappen has also enjoyed head-to-head success in his teammate rivalry with Ricciardo in recent months with Horner forced to declare the Dutch star is not receiving any preferential treatment inside the Red Bull garage.
He told Sky Sports in Japan Ricciardo continues to receive equal treatment with Verstappen because of his ability to help develop the Red Bull cars for 2019.
"No, not at all. The emphasis is on getting the best out of both guys," Horner said.
"At each Grand Prix weekend they get the same opportunity. It's down to what they do on the track at the end of the day. That will continue to be the case right through until Abu Dhabi.
"We're looking to learn as much as we can. Daniel still gives us extremely good and accurate feedback. There's no difference in the way that parts are being allocated."