Helmut Marko names ‘Renault, Ferrari, Alpine’ in Red Bull collaboration complaints

Michelle Foster
Daniel Ricciardo speaking with team boss Laurent Mekies.

Daniel Ricciardo says his RB01 is no pink Mercedes or green Aston Martin.

After Daniel Ricciardo’s season-opening P1 in Bahrain, Helmut Marko has quashed complaints about Red Bull and their junior team’s collaboration, after all, they are an “international team”.

Having declared last year that Red Bull’s junior team would have closer ties to the Milton Keynes team as of this year, rivals voiced their concerns.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has been the most vocal in his complaints with the American calling for “sporting fairness”.

‘It is an international team and does not only rely on Red Bull Racing’

“We still have some work to do around regulations for the future,” he told Sky Sports in the build-up to the new season.

“To kind of make sure this A/B team and co-ownerships doesn’t kind of take away from the sporting fairness now that we have this cost cap in and so, on that basis, I think you’re going to have 10 very competitive teams next year.”

One can only imagine his first thought as Ricciardo in the RB01 topped the timesheet in FP1 in Bahrain.

However, Marko insists Red Bull and RB are doing nothing wrong.

Given RB recently brought in former Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies as their new team boss while also signing former Alpine sporting director Alan Permane and ex-FIA technical director Tim Goss, he says they are more “internationally” influenced than Red Bull.

“We fully comply with the regulations,” he insisted to Motorsport.com. “There are so many complaints about things, but we have people from Renault, Ferrari, Alpine and so on in the team.

“It is an international team and does not only rely on Red Bull Racing.

“It’s probably also because Ricciardo was fastest in the first practice, which irritates other teams a bit.”

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But after the more representative second practice, Ricciardo was only 12th on the timesheet where he was 1.142s off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton.

His team-mate Yuki Tsunoda was a further four-tenths down, with Marko saying the team has definitely taken a step forward.

“All in all, they have taken a step. They are now in the battle behind the first five teams, which means they can finish sixth or seventh in the Constructors’ Championship,” he said.

F1 journalist Lawrence Barretto agrees, telling the official F1 website: “RB have consistently played down their hopes for this season, despite an impressive showing in testing – and that approach continued despite another encouraging day of practice on Thursday.

“Daniel Ricciardo had the smoother day, the Australian saying that if they can “put it all together, we can fight for Q3 tomorrow and points on Saturday”. It was a more challenging day for Tsunoda, however, he said that “even if making it into Q3 seems difficult at the moment, I’m confident we can turn things around in time for qualifying”.

“According to our data, they are sixth best in both metrics. In qualifying trim, they’re 0.72s off the pace, but only a tenth adrift of Aston Martin and a tenth and a half away from McLaren. Regarding race pace, they’re a match for Aston Martin – and very much in the fight for points.”

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