The Chinese Grand Prix is about to start, marking the 1000th GP in Formula 1 history. Last year's edition saw Daniel Ricciardo on the highest spot on the podium, taking home the first win of the season for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. It was a much appreciated victory, the first of four during the season, which came after the first double DNF for the team (Red Bull has faced a total of 11 DNFs last year).
At the beginning of last season the relationship between the Austro - English team and the French manufacturer Renault was already tense, as Red Bull's desire was to come back into the Championship fight and be an active part of the engine development.
The Netflix documentary Drive To Survive showed the F1 fans how the negotiations went between the two part, until the announcement everyone was expecting: Red Bull signed an agreement with Honda, who was already working with the team's junior Toro Rosso.
After three disastrous year with McLaren, Honda started to make its first progress with Toro Rosso, reaching at the second race of the season in Bahrain, its best race placement with Pierre Gasly, who finished 4th. It was a big bet for Red Bull to start a relationship with a young engine manufacturer like Honda, but it seems like the bet is paying.
Max Verstappen took Honda's first podium after its comeback in Formula 1 in Australia, where he finished 3rd. From there on, a win seems more than near.
"So far I'm really happy with the power unit," says Max Verstappen to Mobil 1 The Grid. "I think the drivability and everything connected to it just feels very smooth and working together (with Honda) so far has been great: we can solve problems really quickly, which I think is very important during the season. They're very well prepared and also from our side we're very excited to work together and hopefully we'll have a lot of good moments during the year."
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing and Honda all have a goal in common: the world title. The team has bet a lot both on Honda and on the Dutch drivers, and that is the reason why Daniel Ricciardo left his team of five years to sign with Renault, the manufactuer he has always worked with.
To replace him, Red Bull has promoted the one who has worked with Honda from last year in Toro Rosso and brought the Japanese manufactuer its higest race placement: Pierre Gasly.
"They made some progresses over the last few years, but it's difficult to recover the gap," addeed Gasly "We're starting a new relationship with Red Bull and Honda and you need to give it time, so the team is working really hard and the goal will be to continue the development and also extract the best performance from myself to show my speed."
The Chinese race weekend will officially start tomorrow and who knows if Red Bull and Honda will achieve a new goal together during the 1000th Formula 1 race in history.
To hear more from Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen about the Red Bull - Honda relationship, take a look at the video below, thanks to Mobil 1 The Grid.