A joyful Dr Helmut Marko is revelling in Red Bull's partnership with Honda for 2019, claiming that the team will have access to a 'party mode' for the first time. Red bull ditched Renault after 12 years together, a title-winning union that grew sour in recent years.
Renault's inability to keep pace with Mercedes and Ferrari in the V6-Hybrid era eventually proved too much last year as Red Bull walked away, signing up with Honda despite concerns over a troubled three-year partnership with McLaren between 2015-2017.
A season with Toro Rosso in 2018 helped rebuild Honda's reputation and Red Bull have made regular promising claims about their increased power since the year began.
Indeed Marko now says a capacity to compete with the Scuderia and Silver Arrows in qualifying could come Red Bull's way.
"The figures make us really optimistic, also with regard to the increase in performance," Marko told Motorsport.com.
"For the first time we can also celebrate with a 'party mode'!
"The Honda engine is already slightly above the Renault engine. If you combine our GPS data with the data provided by Honda, we'll be in the Mercedes and Ferrari region.
"Of course they're not sleeping either. But they are already at such a high level that they can no longer make such jumps.
"Even if we should be 10 or 15 kW behind, that was no different in our Renault era with the eight-cylinder engine. We can make up for that.
"We are aware that it will probably be difficult with reliability. Most probably we won't be able to get through the season on three engines.
"But if you choose the right tracks, you can be back at the top in a few laps. That will be the concept, that we consciously accept engine penalties if necessary."
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