After Max Verstappen ‘s extremely important victory in Austin, Red Bull Racing adviser Helmut Marko ‘s gaze turns to the Mexican Grand Prix. The Dutchman is on track to become world champion for the first time with his Red Bull car. For this, the race in Mexico City and the race a week later in Sao Paolo is crucial, according to Marko. ‘Here we have to finish in place one and two.’
The Formula 1 season is approaching the long-anticipated apotheosis. Verstappen is currently twelve points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the championship, while the Red Bull team is 23 points behind Mercedes . In an extensive interview with Auto, Motor und Sport , Marko takes a look at the thrilling ending and the difference between the Red Bull and Mercedes cars. According to the Austrian, the next two races, which will be held at height, are crucial for the championship of Red Bull and Verstappen.
“These races should be a double win for us,” Marko begins. ‘The thin air in Mexico makes our engine a lot more efficient than that of Mercedes, for example. In Brazil, that advantage is already slightly less, it is slightly lower. The circuit can therefore be compared to the Red Bull Ring.’ During the two races that were held at the Red Bull Ring this year, Red Bull was supreme. Verstappen was able to win both races with conviction.
Verstappen superior on the track
In a recent interview, Verstappen indicated that life simply goes on if he does not manage to take the world title. Despite the Dutchman being extremely calm and focused, Marko knows that his driver is only too happy to win the world championship. “Life certainly goes on, but Max wants to win this title as much as we do. He knows better than anyone how important this world championship is for us. Verstappen has been superior on the track this year, but due to bad luck that does not translate into the points.’
According to the Austrian, Verstappen and Hamilton are currently by far the best drivers in the field. Marko therefore does not want to make a comparison between this title fight and the championships with Sebastian Vettel. ‘That cannot be compared. Then, in addition to our drivers, two other drivers were involved in the title fight. Now it really is a battle between two giants. Max has stood alone for a long time, but Hamilton can never flatten you.’
Red Bull has lost advantage
It is precisely the latter that worries Marko somewhat. After the French Grand Prix, according to her advisor, Red Bull was superior, but that advantage has disappeared. “Our superiority is gone,” says Marko. “At the moment we see that the Mercedes engine performs just a little better than our Honda engine. Their lowered rear also gives them an advantage on the long straights. When I look at the chassis I don’t see much difference and it just depends on the shape of the day.’
According to Marko, the updates from Mercedes at Silverstone have made the team from Brackley increasingly stronger. In addition, the Red Bull advisor notes that the cars of the Austrian racing stable are more difficult to adjust. “I think it has a lot to do with the outside temperatures and the asphalt conditions. Our further developments have not left us stuck, but perhaps we have not always found the optimum. But if we have to be there, we’ll always be there.’
The victory in Austin and the important points scored by the team in Sochi and Istanbul are currently providing positive energy within the Red Bull team. The momentum is now in favor of Verstappen’s team. “We have unexpectedly scored a lot of points in recent races. With Max we now have a lead of twelve points. It will be exciting, because every point will count,” concludes Marko.