Helmut Marko hints at potential Red Bull exit as date set for crunch talks

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko on the F1 grid in Bahrain.

Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko.

Red Bull’s Helmut Marko said he will return to talks with the company on Saturday, as he looks to decide whether he “wants to continue working here”.

The off-track saga at Red Bull has taken a fresh twist with Marko’s future now in doubt, the figure who has served as their driver programme boss and senior advisor since they arrived on the grid back in 2005.

Helmut Marko to decide if he ‘wants to continue’ at Red Bull

The speculation was ignited by Marko’s claim to Austrian broadcaster ORF that the “theoretical possibility exists” that he could be suspended by Red Bull and miss the Australian Grand Prix, which follows the current round in Saudi Arabia, after this rumour was put to him.

PlanetF1.com understands an internal investigation is underway at Red Bull GmbH – of whom Marko is an employee and not of Red Bull Racing – due to the various leaks of information made to the media since the beginning of the separate internal investigation into Christian Horner.

This includes an investigation into the email leak of alleged information that was sent last week to hundreds of senior F1 personnel, including the media, which set out to humiliate Horner – coming just 24 hours after Red Bull GmbH ended their investigation into the F1 team boss.

Horner – despite calls for his departure from Jos Verstappen, father of Red Bull Racing’s three-time World Champion Max Verstappen – remains team principal after the investigation into him was dismissed, but could Marko be heading for the exit door?

Speaking to Sky Germany, Marko confirmed that he has another meeting with Red Bull GmbH tomorrow, but rather than this simply being a case of the company deciding his future, Marko said that from his side, he must decide if he wants to carry on.

“There are so many rumours. I don’t really want to say anything about it. There’s so much speculation going around,” Marko began.

“I have another meeting tomorrow and then we’ll see. But as I said, everything has to be right for me to want to continue working here.”

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Verstappen has not been spared from the Red Bull departure chatter either and made it clear how Marko’s Red Bull future directly influences his, stressing that “Helmut has to stay”.

“Yeah, for my side, I have a lot of respect for Helmut and what we have achieved together, it goes very far,” Verstappen told reporters in Jeddah when asked about Marko’s comments, shortly after taking pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“And also, of course, my loyalty to him is very big. Also, I’ve always expressed this to everyone within the team, everyone high up, that he’s an important part in my decision making for all the time in the future as well within the team.

“So, yeah, it’s very important that he stays within the team, including, of course, everyone else, because it’s a whole team effort. It’s very important that we keep the key people together because I feel like if such an important pillar falls away, that’s also what I’ve said to the team, that is not good for my situation as well.

“For me, Helmut has to stay for sure. You know, he has built this team together with Dietrich [Mateschitz, Red Bull co-founder] from day one and he’s always been very loyal to the team, to everyone within the team, to make sure that everyone would keep their positions already from back in the day.

“And I think it’s also very important of course, that you give the man a lot of respect for what he has done and that comes back also to loyalty and integrity.

“So, yeah, for sure, it’s important that he stays part of the team also for me.”

On the track it is business as usual for Red Bull, Verstappen following up his pole and victory in Bahrain by securing the P1 grid slot for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Read next – Saudi Arabian GP: Max Verstappen claims emphatic pole as Oliver Bearman impresses