Max Verstappen says that he is Helmut Marko's new "project" at Red Bull and has been earmarked as a title-winner to match Sebastian Vettel's achievements with the team. Verstappen's claim comes at a time where team-mate Daniel Ricciardo is considering his Red Bull future as his contract ends this year.
While Verstappen is contracted to Red Bull until 2020, Ricciardo is reportedly a target for bother Mercedes and Ferrari, with the Australian looking to land in a race-winning car from next year.
Vettel himself jumped ship to the Scuderia after following four title-winning years on the trot with a frustrating start to the hybrid era - frustrations that have persisted at Red Bull thanks to their Renault engines failing to match Mercedes or Ferrari's.
Verstappen certainly seems fully committed to the cause, though, outlining his special status with the team's motorsport adviser Marko.
"I am his new project," Verstappen told Germany's Auto Bild. "He wants to repeat the Vettel story and win world championships.
"I know that records are very important to Sebastian, and for me it would be nice, but records aren't something I really need in my life.
"As long as I am world champion one day, that's the most important thing to me."
Verstappen's thrilling, aggressive style has swiftly earned him fan-favourite status, while making him a marked man among his fellow drivers.
The 20-year-old says his attacking instincts would be curbed if he were in direct competition for the title this year, however.
"In a title fight, I would take fewer risks, because a second place can bring you closer to your goal than a failure. It's just a different mental approach," he says.
"Last year I wanted to win at any cost, because I had nothing to lose. But I believe I know exactly what I have to do to become world champion."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.