Jun.4 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko says he is still “surprised” that Red Bull’s rivals can’t figure out how to catch up with Red Bull’s current dominance.
In Barcelona, runaway championship leader Max Verstappen strolled to pole position despite Mercedes and Ferrari’s latest major car upgrades.
But even the challenge of Verstappen’s own teammate Sergio Perez is now collapsing.
“It’s not going very well for Checo since Monte Carlo,” Marko told Sky Deutschland, after the Mexican’s second consecutive bad qualifying outing.
“He needs to focus more on racing and not on the title. I hope he comes to his senses,” the 80-year-old Austrian added.
“Throughout the weekend, Sergio is three to five tenths slower than Max,” Marko said. “This is the second weekend in a row that he’s been in trouble.
“He believed in the dream of a championship title, but it’s time for him to wake up. I’m sure he can handle it.”
However, he stopped short of comparing Perez’s situation with that of struggling Alpha Tauri rookie Nyck de Vries, who was recently given a “yellow card” by marko.
“That’s a different situation,” Marko insisted.
But in total contrast to Perez’s struggles, Marko said Dutchman Verstappen is now cruising in “top form” en route to his third drivers’ title on the trot.
“You can see how easy it all is for him,” he said. “There are no corrections, nothing. It will be very difficult to beat him.”
Verstappen, 25, even thinks it’s amusing that Mercedes and Ferrari ‘copying’ the basic style and shape of Red Bull’s sidepods is yet to net any real results for them.
“I think our next upgrade will be without sidepods,” he laughed after qualifying in Barcelona. “So then everyone can go back to that.”
Marko admits he’s surprised that, despite their pedigrees and resources, Mercedes and Ferrari seem to be grappling to understand why they’re lagging behind.
“I think we had a really good car last year and then we developed it further,” he said. “We are surprised that our rivals didn’t close the gap at all.
“I keep hearing about upgrades and more upgrades, but I don’t see any of that on the stopwatch.
“I think it’s a case of us doing well and our rivals – not so much.”