Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has seen many drivers come and go during his period with the Austrian team. The 79-year-old Austrian is known for his unvarnished opinion and tells what he thinks of the big boys of Red Bull Racing.
The team’s advisor intervenes hard when necessary, but also praises talent when he sees this. In addition, he is not afraid to make bold choices. For example, we all remember that it was Marko who ensured that the youngest Formula 1 driver ever got a seat in the premier class at the age of 17. In the run-up to the Austrian Grand Prix, Marko tells Red Bulletin what he thinks of the different riders now.
The current duo
The 79-year-old Austrian is short of superlatives when he gives his opinion about Max Verstappen. “He has the talent that can only be seen once every ten years. His total package of speed, presenting himself and self-confidence is unique. He does not hide and also dares to speak out in interviews. He stands by what he says. When it comes to driving, there is currently no one faster on a flying lap,” says the man from Graz.
The advisor describes teammate Sergio Pérez as someone who operates with his own team within Red Bull Racing. “He chooses his own hotels, he has his own advisors on the team. I don’t know exactly what they all do, but they are nice people,” he says. In addition, Marko thinks that the Mexican driver became insecure last year due to Verstappen’s speed, but he must also recognize that the three-time race winner has recovered well.
The old guard
Some names from the past are also examined. He is clear about Daniel Ricciardo, who retired at the end of 2018. According to Marko, the cheerful Australian can go along with Verstappen at speed, but according to the advisor, the consistency is missing. Carlos Sainz also drove for Red Bull in the past, although he never got further than the sister team Toro Rosso. “It was his bad luck that he got Max as a teammate. The atmosphere between those two at Toro Rosso was quite toxic. I saw no way to keep him with us. So he left for Renault, McLaren and then Ferrari,” he said. he explains about the steps taken by Sainz.
Sebastian Vettel was the very first Red Bull Racing world champion and Marko has fond memories of that too. “He made the most of all his technical capabilities. That’s why he had the upper hand over the talented Mark Webber. To a certain extent, Seb reminds me of Niki Lauda,” he said. Alexander Albon is too nice in the eyes of the 79-year-old adviser. According to Marko, the British Thai would have the right speed, but he doubts whether Albon is mentally strong enough to go for a championship. “He’s a bit like David Coulthard. Everyone likes him, but he wasn’t hard enough,” says Marko.