Red Bull staff leaving for ‘double wages’ as Helmut Marko admits ‘big problem’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko looking straight ahead in the Red Bull garage at the 2022 Austrian GP.

Helmut Marko looking straight ahead in the Red Bull garage.

Losing key figure Dan Fallows to Aston Martin and now Rob Marshall to McLaren, Helmut Marko says rival teams are offering Red Bull personnel “double” their salary to shift allegiances.

Having emerged in the new ground effects aerodynamic era as the team to beat with their Adrian Newey-designed cars, Red Bull have faced an all-out attack for their technical staff.

Already Aston Martin have persuaded Red Bull’s former head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows to jump ship while Ferrari reportedly have aerodynamicist David George coming across to Maranello and McLaren have now signed Rob Marshall for 2024.

Those are only the successful big-name signings with both Ferrari and Mercedes said to have made a play for Newey himself. He turned them down and instead signed a new multi-year deal with Red Bull.

Marko, though, doesn’t believe the play for Red Bull’s key personnel will stop there, the 80-year-old conceding the Milton Keynes squad cannot always respond with a counter offer in today’s budget cap era.

Under today’s budget, teams can exempt three key personnel – the best-paid – but everyone else, barring the drivers, falls under it.

“That is indeed a big problem,” Marko reportedly told Sky Sports on Sunday before McLaren announced Marshall’s move. “Above all the sums that are offered – they sometimes get double what we paid them.”

Marko, though, feels anyone wanting that winning feeling knows Red Bull remains their best option.

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“The factor that still keeps us halfway together as a team is the emotion, the passion,” he said.

“Of course it also makes a lot of difference that you have a driver like Max. It radiates and everyone wants to be there be a part of this success package.”

With four wins on the board in six races, Max Verstappen is leading the Drivers’ Championship by 39 points ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez while Fernando Alonso is a further 12 points off the pace.

Marko is hopeful the staff exodus won’t be a continued thing.

“We hope that this will remain a one-time thing,” he said, “otherwise we have no serious departures.

“Thank God we have partnerships with universities. We train our people ourselves and can mostly absorb that.”

Red Bull’s latest loss is Marshall, who will join McLaren as the technical director of engineering and design in January 2024.

Although he’ll only leave his role at the end of this year, he’ll likely to be placed on gardening leave before that with team boss Christian Horner saying: “We would like to thank Rob for everything he has done for the team over the past 17 years.

“His work on the generation of cars that gave us four incredible championship doubles between 2010 and 2013 was truly outstanding.

“In the years since he has continued to be a key figure at the Team and in 2016 took on the broader role of Chief Engineering Officer which has seen him involved in other projects across the business.

“His influence will be missed but once again we thank him for all he has done and wish him the very best in his new role.”