Max Verstappen is racing towards the finish line
There's no denying that Max Verstappen likes to win. It's obvious even in the spot of fun camel polo Red Bull has set up for the drivers and a few select media in Abu Dhabi a day before the start of the final race weekend for the 2019 season.
The Dutchman was the youngest ever race-winner in F1 history, and he's publicly said he wants to be the youngest ever Formula One champion.
So far, the youngest driver to win a Formula One World Championship is Sebastian Vettel, who won his first title with Verstappen's current team Red Bull Racing on November 14, 2010, at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, aged 23 years and 134 days.
All that's missing for the 22-year-old now is a championship winning car and season.
He's just come off a recent victory in Brazil and the team have been turning things around from a difficult first half of the season to a promising last quarter.
So now, according to Verstappen, the goals for both the team and him in 2020 couldn't be clearer: Win more races.
"Naturally, the target for next year is to gain more performance and try to match Ferrari. They're a little bit ahead of us. And of course from the car side, we need to be more competitive from the start of the season if you really want to fight and everyone knows that at the team as well and are working flat out."
Max Verstappen celebrates with the Red Bull Racing team after winning the Brazil Grand Prix.
While third place on the championship title doesn't seem bad for both Verstappen and Red Bull, the team is still not up to the level of the championship winning car they had when both they and Sebastian Vettel, won four F1 world championships with them.
But things seem to be turning around for the once dominant team on the track and the car is looking to be in fighting shape going into 2020.
According to Verstappen, at the factory in Milton Keynes the team is already looking at next year, and he says, "you could actually see that in Brazil and when you look at the car."
"This year we cannot and could not fight for the title from one point in the season but we're still experimenting and learning for next year," he adds.
But for the would-be future champion, the team and the car have a ways to go before the start of the 2020 season that begins in Melbourne, Australia on March 15.
"I think when it comes to battle for the championship title next year, we still need more. Overall, Mercedes is still the dominant team. We won in Brazil but in the race Lewis [Hamilton] was still pretty quick and it was quite hard to keep him behind."
But the Dutchman believes that his team are still a bit behind. According to him, if you look at the previous races while they are still competitive, there are few things in the car that are still missing.
But just winning races is not good enough for the man who wants to be the next Formula One champion.
"I think everyone wants to improve and I'm the same. It's never good enough . Even if you win a race it's still never good enough. You don't want to be on a similar level to them [Mercedes], you want to be ahead of them."
As things stand, Mercedes has already won the constructors championship for the F1 teams and are a solid 310 points ahead of third place Red Bull Racing and 222 points ahead of second place Ferrari.
This massive dominance by Mercedes and their six-time F1 championship winning driver Lewis Hamilton has mad many fans a bit bored of the sport and there have been calls to make the sport more exciting. This is a perception that the current owner of Formula One, Liberty Media, is keen to change with a slew of rules changes for the 2021 season having been announced already.
But for Verstappen, this argument of "boring" Formula One races leaves him perplexed.
"It's always been like that in F1. In the 80s and 90s the top teams would lap the slowest car almost to P3. So I don't really understand that argument. F1 has always been like that if you look at the early 2000s, you had Ferrari dominating and before that Williams, and McLaren. But maybe people forget very quickly about those things and only think about the present," he says.
Mercedes have won the last six seasons from 2014 with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel took home both the top trophies between 2010 and 2014. with a Brawn, McLaren and Ferrari champion in 2009, 2008 and 2007. If you look back even further then you'd have Fernando Alonso and Renault winning two championships and Michael Schumacher and Ferrari dominate for a long five years starting in 2000.
"Throughout the 2000s you had one team dominating for a few years and then replaced by another, I mean you had Brawn only for one year in the middle and that team only existed for a year. I think everyone wants it to be closer and maybe with the new regulations it will happen."
Whether or not the rules change and the races are more exciting, Max Verstappen’s goals remain the same: to become the next F1 world champion.