Helmut Marko picks out rare Max Verstappen weak spot that still remains

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen in conversation with Helmut Marko in the Red Bull garage at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen in conversation with Helmut Marko.

As Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko heaped praise on their three-time World Champion Max Verstappen, he did pick out impatience with an imperfect car as an area where he could still improve.

Verstappen and Red Bull romped to consecutive title doubles, Verstappen winning a sensational 19 of the 22 grands prix to take place in F1 2023, with 21 victories for Red Bull overall.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz inflicted the only grand prix defeat on Red Bull in Singapore, the team winning the Constructors’ Championship with a points tally of 860, more than double that of nearest challenger Mercedes, while Verstappen’s 575 points was also over double that of Red Bull team-mate and Drivers’ Championship runner-up Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen “still a little impatient” if not clicking with car

The union of Verstappen and the Red Bull RB19 proved a mountain far too steep for the chasing pack to climb, Marko hailing the Dutchman for a season where he improved across the board and predicting he is not at the peak yet.

Asked by Sky Germany where Verstappen has improved this season, Marko replied: “In all areas.

“It’s his absolute will to win, he can go to the limit in every situation. He does that with aplomb and ease.

“He has made a very decisive step in tyre management. He can drive at the limit without pushing the tyres. He knows how far he can go. We haven’t seen the peak yet.”

And to that point, Marko picked out an area of Verstappen’s game which, remarkably, he feels still offers room for improvement.

When the Red Bull machinery is not fully gelling with Verstappen, Marko said that can lead to the 26-year-old getting impatient, though he quickly returned to words of praise.

Asked where Verstappen could still improve, Marko said: “Here and there he gets a little impatient when the car is not exactly to his liking.

“In the race, he drives confidently and no longer fights when it’s not necessary. He becomes even faster and takes more care of the material. That gives him an advantage again. I would never have thought it possible, so I don’t see any limits to the top.”

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In a season where question marks hung over Red Bull’s ability to stay at the pinnacle of Formula 1, due to their windtunnel restrictions following a minor cost cap breach, the team instead set a new standard for dominance across a campaign.

Marko said F1 2023 exceeded Red Bull’s wildest dreams, a season which he wished the team’s late founder Dietrich Mateschitz was here to see.

“It’s something we never hoped for or dreamed of,” Marko admitted. “This season has topped everything we have achieved so far.

“It’s a pity – it’s a year after Dietrich Mateschitz’s death – that he was no longer able to experience this triumph and incredible performance.”

Verstappen will head into F1 2024 as overwhelming favourite to join ex-Red Bull racer Sebastian Vettel as a four-time World Champion.

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