Helmut Marko hints at own future as he lifts lid on Franz Tost’s departure

Thomas Maher
Helmut Marko talks to Sergio Perez. Bahrain February 2023.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaks to Sergio Perez at testing.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko says he’ll possibly make a decision about his future in F1 if the team wrap up this year’s titles.

It’s a weekend of landmark moments in the Red Bull camp at this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Formula 1’s 2023 championship springs back into life on the streets of Baku.

After 17 years in charge of Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri (formerly Toro Rosso), team boss Franz Tost will step down at the conclusion of the 2023 season – Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies will return to Faenza in order to assume the role.

In the Red Bull camp, long-time motorsport advisor Helmut Marko turns 80 years old over the Azerbaijan weekend – the F1 veteran recently said that he can “stop at any time” in his role, with his mindset perhaps changing more rapidly due to the change of management at the top of the Red Bull outfit.

Following the death in late 2022 of founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz, with whom Marko was close, Oliver Mintzlaff has assumed control of the F1 project. While Marko was far from critical of his new boss, the Austrian hinted that he is not enjoying the change as he spoke to Red Bull’s Speedweek publication in March.

“How far he will respond to our ideas remains to be seen. Red Bull Racing has always been very independent,” he said.

“It’s no longer the case that I report by phone after every training session and race. The direct, personal, and friendly relationship is no longer there. Didi [Mateschitz] was a visionary, who had emotions. I don’t see that anymore.”

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Speaking to Austrian publication OE24 in the lead-up to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Marko shed light on how Tost’s decision to step down from AlphaTauri had come about.

“It was an amicable conversation in Hangar-7 [Red Bull museum in Salzburg, Austria] with Oliver Mintzlaff and me, and Franz Tost was present himself,” Marko said.

“Tost will remain until the end of the year, after which it will transition to an advisory role.”

Asked about his own future, Marko hinted that he may be on the verge of making a decision if this year’s titles are won by Red Bull.

“For now, it’s really not an issue,” he said.

“Now let’s win the World Championship, then we’ll see.”

As for rumours linking former Red Bull driver and World Champion Sebastian Vettel with succeeding Marko in his role overseeing the Red Bull junior driver programme, Marko scoffed.

“That’s nonsense and new to me,” he said.

As far as I know, Sebastian is still in a phase of self-discovery. I can hardly imagine that Sebastian wants to work more again and travel to every race.”