Ferrari ‘intensifies contact’ with Red Bull’s Pierre Wache

Sat, 9 March 2024, 07:00

Mar.9 (GMM) Rival teams have a keen eye on the internal strife that is dogging the otherwise totally-dominant Red Bull Racing.

Mercedes, for one, has targeted Max Verstappen to replace the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton – and the key to that move might be finding a place in the silver garage for Dr Helmut Marko.

“We miss our mascot,” Toto Wolff smiled to Sky Italia, referring to the late Niki Lauda, “and Helmut has always been our favourite enemy.

“It fits in terms of age, but he doesn’t have a red cap yet.”

Days ago, it emerged that a ‘Marko clause’ might allow Verstappen to escape his 2028 Red Bull contract – and now 80-year-old Marko could be ousted or leave voluntarily as part of the Christian Horner scandal.

“Losing Max would be an incredible loss,” Marko told the Austrian broadcaster ORF on Friday, “because many mechanics and engineers are trying to work for Max.

“Max is definitely the strongest asset because there is no faster drier at the moment.”

Indeed, if Verstappen jumps, other key Red Bull team members might also be next. “A domino effect would then become very likely,” said Felix Gorner, a pundit for German broadcaster RTL.

Paolo Filisetti, a correspondent for the authoritative Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, claims that amid the Red Bull unrest, rumours are getting “increasingly insistent and consistent”.

The rumours? That Ferrari has “intensified contact” with Red Bull’s technical director Pierre Wache – the “right-hand man” of the renowned Adrian Newey.

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