Helmut Marko hopes F1 doesn’t descend into an ‘accountants’ World Championship’

Jon Wilde
Helmut Marko in the Red Bull garage. Melbourne April 2022.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko patrols the team's garage. Australia April 2022.

Helmut Marko has discussed the increasing influence of financiers in F1 – which he hopes does not become an “accountants’ championship”.

A Formula 1 budget cap was introduced last year along with a first set of financial regulations, which run to 56 pages on the official FIA document for the 2022 version.

The spending limit means not only do teams have to cut their cloth accordingly but also have qualified staff in place to ensure these particular rules are not breached.

Red Bull special advisor Marko has explained it also entails careful liaison between the money people and the technical and operational departments to carry out a balancing act on where resources should be directed.

During an interview with Motorsport-total.com, Marko was asked whether any potential car development had been vetoed by those keeping tabs on the finances at Red Bull because it would cost too much.

“The finance department has been expanded significantly,” said the 79-year-old Austrian.

“In the past, the technicians only had to register how much they needed, and if they were outside of the business plan you had to somehow coordinate this with Red Bull in Salzburg.

“Now it’s the case that the cooperation with the financiers determines the updates and also that of the scale of the updates.

“But it’s not the case that the financier says from then on there can be no more updates. We in the team management look at it and say we still need an update. Then that has to be saved somewhere else.

“It’s a process where the FIA learns, where we learn. I hope it doesn’t degenerate into an accountants’ championship.”

Max Verstappen's Red Bull followed by an Alpine and an AlphaTauri. Melbourne April 2022.

Marko also touched upon how Red Bull have had to re-allocate staff to other projects within their organisation because they can only afford to have so many working on the F1 side under the conditions of the budget cap.

Pat Fry, chief technical officer at Alpine, has expressed the view that bigger teams such as Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari may be able to parachute some of those respective employees back into their F1 departments temporarily when necessary, for example to address tweaks to the technical rules such as the FIA have recently confirmed.

“We have cut people at Red Bull Racing but we still have Red Bull Technology,” said Marko.

“The people will then be moved and given other tasks. We have the hypercar, we are in the America’s Cup. There are some projects where we are accommodating staff – something you don’t want to lose.”