While Dr Marko is no stranger to controversial statements, including squarely blaming his own driver Sergio Perez for an FP1 crash with Esteban Ocon at Imola, and has been a part of a team that has shown their ruthless streak in the past with unceremonious demotions of Verstappen’s team-mates in recent years, the Dutchman says he likes his “straightforward” approach to how he helps run the team.
Verstappen joined the Red Bull junior programme in 2014 before making the step up to become Formula 1’s youngest ever driver the following year, earning his promotion to the senior Red Bull team in early 2016 after Daniil Kvyat was dropped back to Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri).
“Helmut is like a father to me, yes,” the Dutchman told RacingNews365.nl. “I have a very good relationship with both of them, and with Helmut…he says what he thinks and is always straightforward and I like that. With him, no bull**** stories.
“That rapport with Marko is just very good and the one with Christian too. We’ve been through so much over the years, of course, that it’s all good. We get on well together.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 17, 2021
The question of who was the better driver out of Marko and Horner was posed to Red Bull’s leading man. Team principal Horner made it into Formula 3000 before dropping out of full-time racing and becoming F1’s youngest team boss on the grid at the age of 32, after Red Bull bought out Jaguar in time for the 2005 season.
Marko, meanwhile, raced 10 times in Formula 1 and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971 alongside Gijs van Lennep, alongside a best-in-class finish the year before.
“Helmut, of course, made it to Formula 1. So yes, it’s hard to say, but in the end I think it’s Helmut, but maybe it’s better to ask them together,” Verstappen added.