Helmut Marko addresses Red Bull ‘politics’ as power struggle continues to develop

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

Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko.

Helmut Marko is desperately pushing for calm at Red Bull, as he expressed his gratitude to the “loyal” Max Verstappen amid the off-track drama.

Red Bull may have started the F1 2024 campaign in typically dominant fashion, claiming three 1-2 finishes out of four races, but behind the scenes, it appears the quietening of discontent does not mean the Red Bull saga is over.

Helmut Marko grateful to Max Verstappen amid Red Bull power struggle

A recent report by German publication Auto Motor und Sport referred to “two worlds” existing at Red Bull, with Verstappen’s heroics on the track serving as a veil to a “tug of war over the reorganisation of the company behind the scenes” following the death of Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz in October 2022.

It claimed that team principal Christian Horner, seeing himself as the “new general”, serves as a key figure in this saga, with Marko now stressing that “calm” is “urgently needed” as ensuring title-winning ways continue has to be the focus.

“Basically, it’s about bringing calm to the team. And that is urgently needed,” Marko told Kleine Zeitung in an update on the Red Bull situation.

“As we saw in Australia, Ferrari is on hand if we don’t deliver. Other factors also played a role, but the goal has to be the fourth World Championship title in a row. Everything else has to be subordinated to that.”

The report also claimed that Horner, armed with the support of Red Bull’s Thai majority owners, is out to marginalise the Austrian side of the company “as much as possible”.

This talk of two Red Bull camps being formed was therefore put to Marko, who responded: “That’s politics, which I’m not involved in at the moment.

“It’s all about winning the next World Championship title.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Inside Red Bull: Christian Horner and the other major players in Red Bull’s hierarchy

The F1 2024 Drivers’ Championship standings without Max Verstappen

Verstappen also found himself drawn into the Red Bull politics, which reached boiling point in Saudi Arabia where Marko and Verstappen both sparked doubt over their future with the team. PlanetF1.com understands that a clause exists in Verstappen’s contract which would allow him to leave if Marko does.

Verstappen at that time made his loyalty to Marko clear and indeed suggested that if Marko left, Red Bull risked losing him too, Marko saying he would never “take for granted” such a display of loyalty from the three-time World Champion.

“That was a really great sign of loyalty,” said Marko. “I absolutely don’t take that for granted, especially in this day and age.”

And Marko believes that Verstappen’s performances, having led home three Red Bull 1-2 finishes so far this season, should receive even greater plaudits considering he is delivering them against the backdrop of Red Bull’s off-track shenanigans.

“Yes, he is just so incredibly focused,” said Marko in response to that theory.

“He doesn’t need a team around him to help him in these situations. He is an exceptional character and is only 27 [sic] years old. He does his thing anyway and that’s a good thing.”

Verstappen heads into this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix 13 points ahead of Red Bull-team Sergio Perez at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

Read next: F1 Sprint explained: New rules, format and how it differs from standard F1 races