Helmut Marko fires back at Lewis Hamilton’s ‘bad memory’

Michelle Foster
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Helmut Marko on the podium. Austria June 2021

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko on the podium. Austria June 2021

Helmut Marko has hit back at Lewis Hamilton for calling on F1 to tweak the rules to curb Red Bull’s advantage by setting a date of 1 August as the earliest teams can start working on next year’s car.

After all, the Red Bull motorsport advisor says, Mercedes with their dominant engine of yesteryear often got the jump on their rivals when it came to development given their lead in the championships.

With nine wins from nine races, Red Bull are on a charge this season and it’s one that will allow them to switch their focus to their 2024 car earlier than their rivals can.

Helmut Marko dismisses Lewis Hamilton proposal

It had Hamilton, winner of seven World titles, six of which he won with Mercedes between 2014 and 2020, calling on the FIA to intervene.

“I think the FIA should probably put a time when everyone is allowed to start developing for the next year’s car,” he told Sky F1.

“So August 1, that’s when everybody can start, so that no one can get an advantage from the next year. Because that sucks.”

That suggestion was put to Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen, the Dutchman almost a 100 points ahead of the third-placed driver in the standings.

“We weren’t talking about that when he was winning his championships, right?” he replied. “So I don’t think we should now. That’s how Formula 1 works.

“It’s normal, of course, [for] people behind to say these kinds of things, but they should also not forget how it was looking when they were winning and if people would comment these kinds of things then probably they would comment a bit different, but that’s how it goes in Formula 1.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko, who reminded Hamilton that in the past Mercedes were the ones developing their new car long before the rest of the field.

“He apparently has a pretty bad memory,” the 80-year-old told Motorsport.com.

“In the years that Mercedes dominated, they also started work on the car for the following year much earlier than other teams.

“Then they mainly had a superior engine, one that could deliver much more horsepower than the rest.

“If you don’t have to put energy into this year’s chassis, then of course you will already look at next year. That’s just how Formula 1 works.”

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With nine from nine, there’s already talk about Red Bull winning every one of this year’s 22 races.

But while that would be nice, Marko says the goal is to secure the championship titles and then – if their streak is still alive – they’ll focus on that.

“With us it is now a combination of a very good chassis, a good engine and an exceptionally good driver,” he said. “The team also makes almost no mistakes in the execution.

“We want to win as many races as possible, but we have to secure the World titles first. That remains the most important thing.”

He was quick to rebuff any suggestions of complacency creeping in.

“Don’t worry about that, you know,” he said. “We are definitely not becoming too relaxed or easy-going within this team.”

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