Marko predicts ‘even more tense’ rivalry with Mercedes

Jon Wilde
2021 Styrian Grand Prix podium

2021 Styrian Grand Prix podium

Helmut Marko has acknowledged the relationship between Mercedes and Red Bull after the British Grand Prix will become “even more tense”.

The battle for supremacy between the two World Championship contenders had already been getting increasingly less friendly at team principal level this season.

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner, aided and abetted by Red Bull advisor Marko, have traded insults and threats of protests about each other’s cars.

The drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, had been keeping things cleaner on and off track until they collided on the opening lap at Silverstone, with the Dutchman’s car flying into the barrier and out of the race with a 51G impact.

Afterwards, Verstappen criticised his rival’s “disrespectful” and “unsportsmanlike” behaviour for celebrating victory jubilantly at a time when he was in hospital undergoing checks that lasted for a period of several hours.

Marko has reiterated that Red Bull will not seek revenge for what happened, instead happy to let their car do the talking, but does think the rivalry could become even more bitter and fierce as the campaign progresses.

“The relationship will become even more tense. Put it this way, it was never relaxed,” said Marko during an interview with RTL.

“It’s exciting for the spectators. [But] we will behave within fair sporting methods.

“Nothing will upset us. We can’t abandon our concept. We know we have a great package with car, driver and chassis.”

Helmut Marko looking at Mercedes

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The 78-year-old Austrian added that although Sunday had been a “major setback” with Red Bull’s sizeable leads in both World Championships being greatly eroded, the team are “strong enough to put it behind us”.

Marko referred to Silverstone being “Mercedes-land”, with Hamilton winning his home race for the eighth time, while the next venue in Hungary is one where the World Champion has triumphed in four of the last five years and also on eight occasions all told.

“We won the sprint [qualifying] with ease and would have also won the main race,” said Marko.

“This is the second time we have been hit, after the puncture in Baku. But there is no reason to be afraid [in Hungary]. We assume it will be tight, for sure.

“We have proven we are competitive on every race track this year. Silverstone was absolute Mercedes-land, but in the sprint we proved our competitiveness and in the race we would have proven it too.”