»It has never been so fun«

Where: There can be no break for the 79-year jack of all trades. Backstage, a lawyer pulled the strings on a recent Honda deal. Marko convinced the Japanese to supply Red Bull with power units until 2025 inclusive. This would lay the groundwork for Max Verstappen to become the series world champion. And while Marko looks after his hotels in Graz, he patiently answers questions from journalists on the phone.

AUSTRIA: Mr. Marko, you wanted to go on the summer break from Verstappen with 50 points. Now it’s 80. The World Cup is over and you can sit back, right?

Helmut Marko: Don’t say that: we have nine races left, that’s 225 points for nine possible wins plus sprints and fastest laps. No, no, we really can’t sit down and rest just yet.

AUSTRIA: But there has never been a greater advantage over the summer break. Only Niki Lauda was still in the lead in 1976 before his fire accident – converted to today’s points

Marko: Who won the World Cup? The Hunt for James! But well, those were different times. Security measures now cannot be compared to those of the past.

AUSTRIA: Ferrari made many mistakes during Lauda’s time. This year you dominated the season in the first races. How can you make such a large deficit in such a perfect car?

Marko: Doing almost everything wrong. In Budapest, among others For example, for the first time, they did not provide their tires with an adequate temperature window, and they also chose the wrong pitting strategy.

AUSTRIA: Toto Wolff says Ferrari used up the media Leclerc required for training and had no other choice. Does this explain the tire crash?

Marko: Then I don’t understand why they didn’t use used media, they would be even better. So you celebrate Toto and Mercedes with places 2 and 3 as big winners

AUSTRIA: Does it bother you?

Marko: I just want to see enough merit for Max’s performance. After bad luck in qualifying, he won from tenth place on the track, where it is said that you have no chance from behind. If he had stood in front, he would have got up again and walked away.

AUSTRIA: Will you tell us the secret of his success?

Marko: When we introduced Max to Formula 1 at 17, he was the greatest talent I have ever encountered, but he was too impulsive. Thanks to his victories, he gained sovereignty. As he was doing a grid inspection while overtaking in Budapest, I thought, Is that really Max sitting there? Its sovereignty facilitates the work of the entire crew.

AUSTRIA: Do you like the World Cup more this year than last year?

Marko: Yes, it has rarely been this fun. Almost every weekend is a pleasure, completely different than last season when everything was annoying. It’s just a pity that Ferrari makes so many mistakes. They are beaten below their worth, we really feel sorry for them. But again: they will come back, they have such a powerful car.

AUSTRIA: Gerhard Berger knows team boss Binotto from F1. He believes Ferrari is overwhelmed by the unexpected role of the favorite and may not be ready for the title until next year. What do you think about this theory?

Marko: This is actually a possible explanation.

AUSTRIA: Berger also says he wouldn’t have gotten this far without you …

Marko: If he listened to me more, he could become world champion.

AUSTRIA: Who should Mick Schumacher listen to to stay in F1?

Marko: Improved compared to the previous year. But he was always on the Ferrari show so I never had him on my radar.

AUSTRIA: Let’s talk about Sebastian Vettel, who has been Red Bull world champion four times. Do you understand his resignation?

Marko: With his meticulousness, Vettel fit perfectly into our DNA, everything harmonized perfectly with each other. He has other priorities now, he doesn’t even make it to the podium with his car. So it is logical that it draws the consequences. If you don’t put your heart into it, nothing happens.

AUSTRIA: Is this different from 41-year-old Alonso?

Marko: He’s super fast. It’s unbelievable what races he organizes, for me the surprise of the year. I even think he is still able to win as a driver. The only question is whether Aston Martin can deliver him a package.

AUSTRIA: My final question concerns the planned partnership between Red Bull and Porsche, which is to be official today …

Marko: … that would be new to me. First, new engine regulations must come out. Only then can we fix everything.

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