Max Verstappen says he needs a car within "two tenths" of Lewis Hamilton's in order to put "pressure" on the six time world champion in 2020.
"Beating Hamilton depends a lot on the car," Verstappen, 22, is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Dutchman made headlines this week for saying that while the Mercedes driver is "one of the best ever", Hamilton is also "not God".
"When you put pressure on someone, it's harder for them when they're in front," Verstappen continues.
"If there is no one to pressure him, he can drive to 97-98 percent of the car's potential without making mistakes. If we can start the season two tenths at the most behind Mercedes, we can put pressure on him.
"I can't wait to find myself in the situation to pressure him. I know we could do very well," he added.
Verstappen said he will be particularly relaxed in 2020, as he has just signed a new contract with Red Bull for 2021, 2022 and 2023.
"If you know the contract is due, not everything goes smoothly," he said. "At some point it becomes uncomfortable and that is especially true if you have to work on the car for the following year.
"I did not want to experience that. Instead, my future is very clear and stable, and I see an environment focused on winning races and championships. We want to challenge Mercedes straight away."