Red Bull car even faster in 2024 - Max Verstappen

Are Red Bull expecting another season of dominance in F1? (0:59)

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Christian Horner and Sergio Perez look ahead to the upcoming F1 season. (0:59)

BAHRAIN -- Max Verstappen stopped short of predicting a fourth straight Formula One world championship but said Red Bull's new car has made a step forward from the team's record breaking 2023 model.

Verstappen won a record 18 times last year as Red Bull claimed victory in all but one grand prix.

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The team's new car, the RB20, featured a radically different design to its predecessor but Verstappen was ominously fast out of the blocks on Wednesday.

Rival teams believe Red Bull are the clear favourites in 2024 and could be close to half a second per lap quicker, a significant margin in F1 terms.

Asked Friday if the new car is better, Verstappen said: "If it would have been worse then we did a very bad job!

"For sure the car is better than last year's car, but I think everyone on the grid has a better car than last year.

"The team believes with how the car is at the moment there is more potential to find. That's now for us to unlock."

Lingering over preseason testing for Red Bull is the future of team boss Christian Horner, who is subject to an ongoing investigation into an allegation of inappropriate behaviour.

Sources have told ESPN a decision on the investigation is expected early next week ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which kicks off the season on March 2.

Horner has labelled the investigation a distraction for the upcoming campaign but Verstappen said it has not negatively impacted preparations.

"I can't speak about things," Verstappen said on the matter.

"It's better that I just focus on my own performance because that's already a day job.

"But I guess of course, for everyone, it [will be] nice when things are resolved but that's the only thing I can say about that.

"Everyone who is here, they are all focusing on the performance of the car, as they should, and what is their role. Everyone is very focused on making the whole package faster."