Helmut Marko lands another dig at Mercedes after Monaco floor reveals

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton's car is craned away at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton's car is craned away at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Helmut Marko has joked that nobody was “interested in that” after Mercedes’ new floor was revealed to the world in Monaco, the same day Red Bull’s was also on display.

Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez gave the world a perfect view of their cars’ floors when they crashed during Saturday’s running for the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, which led to the cars being lifted into the air on cranes.

Rival teams were quick to get their cameras out, although most of the attention was on the RB19’s design – a “thing of wonder and beauty” compared to Mercedes’ “prehistoric” as Sky Sports pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz put it.

He added: “I tell you when you look at these pictures and compare them to the Mercedes and Ferrari you think ‘okay, no wonder this Red Bull RB19 is so good’.”

Rather than be annoyed that everyone was having a good look at Red Bull’s race-winning RB19’s finer details, Marko saw the funny side in that being compared to the Mercedes’ floor.

“The Mercedes car was in the air for much longer than ours,” he told Motorsport.com. “Only nobody was as interested in that as they were in our car.”

Asked if he also wasn’t interested in the W14’s new floor, Marko laughed: “No!”

Jokes aside, though, it wasn’t ideal for Red Bull as the new generation of ground effect aerodynamic cars sees the floors and their vortexes create the car’s downforce.

It is, many would say, the main secret to Red Bull’s rampant success with the team having won 23 of the 28 races in the new era.

But while Marko would rather his rivals didn’t have photographs of the floor, he accepts that’s just part of the RB19’s success story.

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“Of course we don’t like that our floor was on display,” said 80-year-old.

“Okay, the floor is very important, but if you don’t have all the other parts of the car and the concepts behind it, it’s not that easy to copy things.”

“It’s not just the floor,” he explained. “That floor has to work well with the front wing and the rear of the car, for example. It’s about all those things together and that makes it much more complex than just the floor.”

Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson agrees with Marko that while the photographs are great, copying the design with all its intricacies won’t be easy.

“It’s so complex that on a 2D photo, because of the way the light is, it’s so curved, you can’t figure any of it out,” he said.

“I guess it’s just coincidental they do it all like that because that’s how they get the downforce. But it doesn’t half make it difficult to copy!”

As for Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, he brushed it aside saying he “wouldn’t have thought it was the first time a picture of the floor has been taken.

“It was probably the first time it has been suspended from a crane, but all teams are always striving for that intelligence.”