Jul.23 (GMM) Rumours are swirling in the Hungaroring paddock that Dr Helmut Marko may step down at the end of 2023.
At the age of 80, the former Formula 1 driver and 1971 Le Mans winner is still at full throttle as a key official in Red Bull’s successful F1 program.
It was believed that his current contract ran at least until the end of 2024, but he has recently been linked with a dispute with new Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff, following the death late last year of Dietrich Mateschitz.
When asked about the rumours at the Hungaroring, the Austrian told Sky Deutschland: “I don’t know about that.
“My plan is to continue at least until next year – my contract runs in 2024. So I don’t know where that’s coming from.”
Before Hungary, Marko shocked the F1 world with the continuing brutality of Red Bull’s driver decisions – by axing Nyck de Vries from the Alpha Tauri team with immediate effect.
But as de Vries’ successor Daniel Ricciardo outqualified Yuki Tsunoda at the first attempt and powered his car into Q3, Marko says his decision is already justified.
“Daniel’s performance was surprisingly strong,” Marko said. “There has been a real upswing in the team and they’re all smiling again.
“Already on Friday the engineers were almost euphoric about the great feedback they got from Ricciardo,” he told Sport1.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said on Saturday that he thinks Ricciardo has been put at Alpha Tauri as a “benchmark” as Red Bull contemplates whether to axe Sergio Perez next.
“If Ricciardo wants to come back to us, he has to perform,” Marko insisted.
“But the contract with Perez runs until 2024. Perez has to improve but we have told him to just concentrate and not always be looking at Max.
“He just needs to be a little more relaxed.”
As for Japanese Tsunoda, who is also regarded as a potential successor for Perez at the top Red Bull team, his chances took a hit with Ricciardo’s immediate pace in the sister Alpha Tauri.
“I don’t care at all,” Tsunoda told Viaplay when asked about Ricciardo’s pace.