Verstappen 'smiling' after testing new Red Bull auto

F1 in 2019: Max Verstappen debuts deceptive Red Bull RB15

Red Bull unveil livery change on new F1 car for 2019

Red Bull won four races in 2018 but believes a works partnership with Honda will boost its chances of challenging Mercedes and Ferrari more consistently, and Verstappen admits working with a new manufacturer is something he is eager to do.

Verstappen's hopes of a prominent title charge are set to be determined by the performance and reliability of his team's new engine partner Honda.

Toro Rosso finished ninth of 10 teams previous year with the Honda engine but Red Bull has sounded optimistic about the progress made by the Japanese manufacturer.

"I am very excited to get started as the off-season has been quite long", Verstappen said earlier.

Pierre Gasly will partner Verstappen this season after stepping up from Toro Rosso - where he worked with Honda a year ago - and the Frenchman's experience convinces him the Red Bull-Honda pairing has potential.

"With Honda, we're expecting a lot, we're all very positive but I think it also needs to take a little bit of time, it can not be from race one it will be flawless".

"After my first run I was smiling, very happy with how the auto was behaving - plus the engine as well, very positive".

"At the moment I am of course very optimistic, but also realistic".

"Up until Australia you can't really set goals - it's a bit blind". "In Formula One, it is so related to the package so at this stage I am quite easy going".

Back in 2015 the team released an abstract black and white design akin to a zebra that was used throughout pre-season testing, only to be dropped in time for first race of the season.

"I completely switched off from racing for a while, trying to focus and re- centre myself and training hard for the new season. I feel energised and I'm ready to attack".

Red Bull's RB15 is the successor to a RB14 auto which finished last season battling for victories, with Verstappen, who won twice in 2018, widely tipped to challenge multiple champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

"The buzz really starts at the beginning of the year when you see the vehicle coming together".

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