Marko admits Red Bull made mistake with Max strategy

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen listens to Helmut Marko. Barcelona Februrary 2022.

Max Verstappen in conversation with Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko during testing. Barcelona February 2022.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko acknowledged that the team underestimated the power of the pit stop undercut in Bahrain, which could have given Max Verstappen the lead of the race.

Verstappen was frustrated after the opportunity to pass Charles Leclerc at the front was not taken after pitting before the Ferrari driver, as he was told to take it easy on his out-laps.

As a result, an angry team radio message from the World Champion was played on the global TV feed saying that he would “never, ever” not go full pelt out of the pits again.

This anger ended up being immaterial after Verstappen retired from the race late on, but with the benefit of hindsight, the team know they could have jumped into the lead of the race.

“We underestimated the benefit of the undercut, we have to be honest about that,” Marko admitted in an interview with the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.

“Max was told to hold back a bit during his out-laps. But if he had been in front of Leclerc, it could have been a completely different story. So it was all about strategy with us, it was not Max’s fault.”

Verstappen’s race was ended prematurely after he trundled back to the pits when his car switched off completely.

He had earlier complained of steering issues while in the car, saying in conversation to Leclerc in the media pen after the race that “it was not hydarulic, but it was not swivelling, it was like [it was] stuck – so in the high-speed corners, I could barely steer.”

And Dr Marko was able to shed light on exactly what happened.

“At the third stop there was a problem with the jack,” he said. “When releasing the car so that it was back on the ground, something got damaged on the steering.”

 

Verstappen backed up the words of his employers, adding that having track position could have opened up more possibilities – although he remains encouraged by how the new Red Bull Powertrains creation performed overall.

“I think we could have done better in terms of strategy,” he told reporters in Bahrain. “At least we should have been more aggressive in that out-lap. Then we would have been in front and we would have had to see what happened. At least our top speed was good for the whole race.”

 

Marko admits Red Bull made mistake with Max strategy

Helmut Marko has admitted that Red Bull made mistakes at Bahrain.