Helmut Marko blasts FIA for creating ‘even more dangerous’ Australian Grand Prix

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso faces backwards after being spun by Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. Australia April 2023.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso is spun backwards after tangling with Carlos Sainz. Australia April 2023.

Helmut Marko does not believe the Australian Grand Prix needed to be red flagged when Kevin Magnussen crashed late in the race, the Austrian saying that made it “even more dangerous”.

Magnussen crashed on lap 54 in Sunday’s race when he hit the wall at Turn 2, ripping off his right-rear tyre. Race Control decided to throw the red flag, citing “debris” on the track as the reason.

That ultimately created more chaos as the drivers left the pit lane with three laps remaining, the out-lap on the way to the grid and two laps of racing.

That turned out to be little more than a few corners as Carlos Sainz spun Fernando Alonso and triggered a multi-car crash and a third red flag.

Verstappen and Sergio Perez came through unscathed and, when all was said and done after one out-lap to the grid to cover the 58th and final lap, they were first and fifth respectively.

Marko, however, feels it was unnecessary chaos that could’ve been avoided had Race Control used the Safety Car after Magnussen’s crash.

“They shouldn’t have stopped the race,” he declared to Sky Deutschland. “They could have used a Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car.

“Especially when they knew that the restart would happen on different tyres. For example Sergio had a new set, some just a used one and some none at all.

“And the Safety Car was going very, very slowly, which cooled the tyres and it was even more dangerous. It wasn’t necessary.”

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Verstappen’s victory means Red Bull have won every one of this year’s three grands prix, racing out to a 58-point advantage in the Constructors’ Championship while Verstappen sits 15 points ahead of Perez in the Drivers’ standings.

“We are phenomenally happy,” said the 79-year-old. “It was Red Bull Racing’s 350th start, the team’s 95th win, the 37th win for the Max and on Saturday, 36 years ago, Red Bull came onto the market.

“So, that’s the combination and success story par excellence.”

Sunday’s race though, did see the end of Red Bull’s run of 1-2 results with Perez only able to recover as high as P5 after his wretched Saturday.

The Mexican driver followed up an incident-packed FP3 session with a crash on his very first flying lap in qualifying with Marko saying at the time his driver was “insecure and impetuous”.

Starting from the pit lane after Red Bull changed his Control Electronics and Energy Store as well as his set-up, Perez raced to fifth and claimed the fastest lap point.

Marko was a bit more complimentary, especially as Perez regained the point he felt he had been robbed off at the previous race in Saudi Arabia.

“It wasn’t his weekend,” he said, “but he ended up driving the fastest lap. Well, that’s at least a satisfaction after Jeddah.”