Sport Bild: Mr. Marco, what score would you give Red Bull at the start of the season?
Helmut Marko (78): 1 for design and speed, 4 for reliability.
In terms of absolute speed, we’re almost satisfied with the performance. So far we’ve had trouble getting the tires into the proper temperature window. If we can do that, we will be on the level of Ferrari. When it comes to reliability, we’re miles away from what we’re used to. Three retirements in three races are not acceptable. A massive investigation into the causes is required.
Where are the problems?
There is not one big problem. jump (Car jumps due to excessive contact pressure; editor) It generates such large vibrations that, for example, lines that would withstand stress fracture. We have to find solutions with our engine partner Honda. But this is not our only flaw.
We’re overweight, and we’re way over the limit (795 kg; editor). But this is also an opportunity. We have a reserve from which we can get a few tenths. We have to manage the balancing act of not inflating the costs of updates and reducing the weight. At Imola we will give another update in the next race. We can see how much performance it gives us when the car is on the right track.
Max Verstappen is only sixth in the World Cup. After the Australian race he said he was not thinking of defending the title. What do you think?
Everything is still there! We have 20 races to go. In theory, he could still score 520 points. In 2012, after the summer break, we got 44 points with Sebastian Vettel. But of course, with a Ferrari at its head with a good chassis and engine, that’s a problem.
For years, Mercedes has been the permanent world champion in Formula 1. Is Ferrari now the new No. 1?
Ferrari is good in any temperature, on any track, with any type of tire. You are the new standard. In particular Charles Leclerc, who leads at a higher level than Carlos Sainz.
Do you even look at Mercedes anymore?
It is enough to look at the World Cup table to answer the question. Mercedes is ahead of us in the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championship. It’s doubly painful to watch considering they get their points off of our failures. However, we have the best overall package. Mercedes is currently unable to keep up with lap times and cannot actively compete for the win. We’re on another level, but you should never underestimate them. A small change in aerodynamics is enough and suddenly the knot explodes. Mercedes is still a favorite for the World Cup. But first we have to beat Ferrari. You have the best engine ahead of us. But we can catch up. Max too, we have to give him a car that will allow him to play to his strengths.
who are they?
He can brake incredibly late and corner at high speed. Max needs 100% confidence in the car for his driving style. He doesn’t have it at the moment. But these are the nuances that we will deal with.
In Australia, Verstappen retired as second. What is it like when he’s really angry?
It’s relatively quiet now, we’re already talking quite normally in the box. Two or three years ago, Max had exploded and didn’t respond.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said in Sport Bild that the top three drivers’ standings are Hamilton, Russell and Verstappen. What do you think?
He speaks through highly subjective Mercedes glasses. I see Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc up front.
in this sequence?
You cannot place an order. Max has the best lap speed, Hamilton is number one in the league with his routine and racing intelligence, and Leclerc with his flawless performance shows that he is not just a super talent.
I extend with Verstappen until 2028.
This is an important signal – for both the competition and our employees. Max is the fastest rider we’ve ever run down and the world champion. If you can hook it up for a long time, employees will notice. In Formula 1, there is an incredibly high level of competition for the best in their field. Not only for drivers, but also for mechanics.
Is there a limit to Verstappen?
It does have a feel for the car, incredible speed and a good racing overview – everything you need.
Their second driver, Sergio Perez, finished third in the world championship. Did it finally arrive correctly?
Could Verstappen become a noble assistant if Perez still has him at the World Cup?
It’s very early in the season for that. But it is clear that the success of the team is critical.
Let’s look to the future. They will be linked with Porsche for an engine collaboration from 2026.
We’ll have to wait and see if that happens. But it is clear that two brands such as Porsche and Red Bull can create a wonderful synergy effect on the technical and marketing side. This would be a great combination. But we are still far from that.
How important is VW Group’s entry into Formula 1?
Formula 1 is thriving. In America there is crazy noise. If the world’s second largest automaker steps in, it will be positive.
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