Max Verstappen expects the conditions in the Turkish Grand Prix to be ‘very different’. In particular, he hopes that the asphalt, which is still being worked on for this race weekend, will offer more grip than last year. In addition, he is looking forward to driving the farewell livery for Honda: “It is always special to race for Honda, even without that special livery.”
The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka would normally be scheduled for this weekend, but due to the corona situation there, Formula 1 is also skipping Japan this year. That means that engine supplier Honda will have to miss its home race, but Max Verstappen also regrets that he will not be riding Suzuka again.
“I always enjoy the Japanese Grand Prix, so it’s a shame we have to miss it,” said Verstappen. “I will miss the fans most of all. It’s always really nice to see the fans in Japan, they are so passionate. I hope they appreciate the new livery we have this weekend.”
Indeed a new livery, because Red Bull has decided to present a red and white farewell livery in Turkey this weekend. This was therefore intended for the last home race for Honda, but will now be used at the Istanbul Park. “It’s always special to race for Honda, even without that special livery,” said Verstappen. “It’s a shame for us as a team and for Honda that we have to miss the Japanese Grand Prix, but it’s cool that we can do something in Turkey to celebrate. I look forward to seeing this one. It’s very special that the car looks different before a race, so I’m looking forward to that,” said the Dutchman.
After this season, Honda will say goodbye to Formula 1, although Red Bull will take over the duties under Red Bull Powertrains in Milton Keynes. Verstappen has taken twelve victories in the three seasons with Honda and was on the podium 31 times. So he has had enough beautiful moments with the Japanese engine supplier. “My best memories with Honda are of course the victories, especially the first victory. That was very emotional. Working with Honda has been fun and they are super motivated every race and they are super passionate to always deliver the best. It was therefore very nice to work with them”, Verstappen already looks back on the three years with Honda.
In Russia, Verstappen limited the damage by driving from last place to second place after a grid penalty due to an engine change. He had to leave the championship lead to Lewis Hamilton, but the difference is only two points. In Turkey, Verstappen mainly hopes that it will go a lot better than last year. He then had a bad start from second place and, partly after a spin, crossed the line in sixth. “The Turkish Grand Prix was obviously not our best weekend last year, but I think the conditions will be very different this year. Hopefully the asphalt offers some more grip. I think it will be a pretty new weekend for everyone in general. There will be a lot to learn so I’m looking forward to seeing how competitive we are,” Verstappen concluded.