Max Verstappen: Red Bull must consider early car launch in 2018

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Max Verstappen hopes Red Bull will learn from the lessons of its slow start to 2017 and change its usual policy of unveiling its next car as late as possible.

In recent years Red Bull has become known for unveiling its new cars as close to pre-season as possible, something which maximises development time. Despite expectations of being the team to beat under 2017's new regulations, Red Bull came into the season a long way off Mercedes and Ferrari after losing an estimated two months of time to a windtunnel correlation issue.

After a slow start to the year, Red Bull has made a significant step forward in recent races, with Max Verstappen claiming a win on merit in Malaysia. Verstappen thinks a change in philosophy is needed to ensure Red Bull is strong at the start of 2018 rather than catching up as the year goes on.

"I think some different things in procedures," Verstappen said to the question of what the team must do differently over the winter. "Maybe not as late with the car in terms of bringing it out.

"That's for the team to work on, that's not my decision but for sure they've learnt a lot from what happened this year with the new regulations and I'm very confident that next year will be a lot better from the start already."

When asked if he felt the team had been over-ambitious in the past, Verstappen said: "Yeah. Maybe just stop it a bit earlier at that time, the development, and then drive the car because you learn a lot."

While showing good pace in Singapore and Malaysia, Red Bull also was surprisingly competitive during the Italian Grand Prix, the most power-dependent circuit on the calendar. The team now believes it has the undisputed best chassis on the grid.

With next year's regulations a continuation of 2017's, Daniel Ricciardo thinks Red Bull is in great shape going into next season.

When asked if he views a strong start to 2018 as "make or break" in terms of his future at the team, he replied: "It is certainly our plan. I still don't know why over the past few years we have had slow starts and found a way to come back. The idea is that because there are not many changes for next year from what we have learnt this year we can apply and take to next year to start stronger. That is the plan and everyone's wish. I guess we will go from there.

"If next year is not a very competitive season at all then of course that will be addressed. I feel I say this every year but where we are now you would think next year we should be competitive. Hopefully as competitive as I would like to see. Mercedes has been winning too much recently so hopefully we can change that."