‘Verstappens’ played a role in Perez extension – Marko

Thu, 4 July 2024, 09:16

Jul.4 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko admits that Sergio Perez’s contract extension was influenced in part by the wishes of “the Verstappens”.

Pressure is currently mounting on both Perez, 34, and Red Bull, as the Mexican driver struggles for form in only the first month since the new two-year deal was announced.

Marko, Red Bull’s top F1 consultant, admits Perez needs to find more performance to support the top team’s push to repel ever more competitive rivals – especially for the constructors’ world championship.

But the 81-year-old Austrian also admits to Viaplay: “Sergio has a difficult life.

“He is Max (Verstappen)’s teammate, and has managed to stay upright for a few years now. We wanted stability and they work well together,” said Marko. “And I have already said that the Verstappens are not easy.”

By ‘Verstappens’, Marko is also referring to Max’s mercurial father Jos, who plays a significant role in the triple world champion’s management – and has been at odds with team boss Christian Horner throughout 2024 so far.

“They (Max and Jos) wouldn’t have agreed with every teammate,” Marko explained.

For instance, signing up on-form but departing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz for 2025 might have made sense for Red Bull, but risked a problematic clash with Verstappen.

“Max wants a nice environment in which he can work,” Marko insists. “He and Perez are equal on the technical side. Sergio doesn’t dream of the title anymore.

“And it doesn’t matter who sits next to Max, they will all be beaten anyway.”

Marko admits it has been a difficult 2024 campaign for Red Bull so far, particularly with the obvious tension and political power struggles.

“These were not pleasant conditions,” Marko admits.

“But we found a way by focusing on the technical problems we had, so that we can still win a title for Max. That is above everything else. So in that sense we got everyone on the same page. We just have to win,” he added.

After the behind-the-scenes arguments between Jos and Horner spilled back out into the public in Austria last week, also rumoured is that team boss Horner and Marko now barely even speak.

When asked about that, Marko answered: “As I said, we have to win, and that’s what everyone has to contribute to.

“As for me, I’m old. I’ve been around for so long. I’m indestructible,” he laughed.

“I have my opinion, and it’s very similar to Max’s. We have to make sure he can win as much as possible.

“I have a contract that runs until the end of 2026,” the Austrian added. “I intend to serve it out.”

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