Helmut Marko’s dig at Mercedes’ ‘flop’ after F1 ‘intervenes in a manipulative way’

Michelle Foster
Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner in the garage.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Christian Horner.

Helmut Marko believes F1’s trend to shorten DRS zones this season is aimed solely at Red Bull in an attempt to negate their superior DRS strength.

And he blames Mercedes for that.

As Red Bull romp from one race win to the next, the RB19’s “super-duper DRS” as Ted Kravitz called it is said to be a massive advantage in their arsenal with the DRS reportedly worth up to two to three tenths more per lap than any other teams.

It’s meant that on the few occasions either Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez have needed to pass a rival, they’ve done so with ease, with Lewis Hamilton calling it “insane” while Toto Wolff used the word “mega”.

But in the midst of Red Bull’s run of race wins, five on the trot to date this season, the FIA have began to shorten this year’s DRS zones with both of Miami’s 75m less than they were last season.

Marko believes this is being done to hamper Red Bull.

F1sport quotes him as having told motorsport-magazin.com: “Overtaking has always been difficult. Then when you also shorten the DRS zone, the reason seems obvious to me.

“You have to stop intervening in such a manipulative way.”

The 80-year-old reckons Mercedes have been the instigators in all this with Marko telling them to rather focus on their “flop” of a car.

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“It is amazing that Mercedes is angry. They have had a superior engine for years,” he added. “When you build a car that’s a flop two years in a row, you should focus more on that.”

Despite shorter DRS zones in Miami, Red Bull still claimed the 1-2 on the day as Max Verstappen raced from ninth place on the grid to the chequered flag while pole-sitter Sergio Perez was second.

The team-mates briefly went wheel-to-wheel late in the race when Verstappen, having come in for his pit stop, briefly dropped behind Perez before challenging his team-mate for the lead.

He made the move stick and went onto win the grand prix, extending his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 14 points.

Marko told ORF: “We said as soon as there was no imminent danger from behind, we’d let them drive and thank God both of them are smart enough not to get into the other car. Checo wasn’t willing to make room and it was tight because both were at the limit.”