"You have an old car, the tyres are not the same," Verstappen told Sky Germany.
"I decided not to do it. I think three or four laps in Spielberg [at the season opener] and we are back. We still have a lot of time, to drive there. "
"Of course, we have to wait and see because there have been no races in the last few months. There will continue to be updates to the cars. Nevertheless, I expect Mercedes to be very strong and hope that we will be close."
Verstappen is the youngest grand prix winner of all time and with a strong Red Bull car still has a chance to become the youngest ever world champion, although this year is his last opportunity to take the record from Sebastian Vettel.
He added: "In the end, it will be a nice moment if it happens.
"Of course, I want to win every year, that has not worked so far. Last year I learned a lot, we worked even better together at the tests in Barcelona. We are definitely extremely motivated."
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