Max Verstappen: Red Bull know Helmut Marko must stay if I am to

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen speaking with Christian Horner and Helmut Marko

Red Bull's off-track troubles continue to dominate headlines

Max Verstappen has doubled down on his stance that Helmut Marko “has to stay” at Red Bull if they want to him to stay, and says the team knows this.

As Red Bull’s off-track troubles continued in Saudi Arabia, Verstappen’s pole position was eclipsed by news Marko is facing an internal investigation by Red Bull’s parent company in Salzburg, Red Bull GmbH.

Max Verstappen’s clear stance: He has to stay for me, for sure

Just over a week after Christian Horner was cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation into his alleged behaviour, it’s Marko who is in the firing line.

PlanetF1.com understands the investigation relates to the various leaks of information made to the media since the beginning of the Horner investigation, including the leaked email claiming to contain information relating to that.

With rumours he could be suspended by Red Bull GmbH, the motorsport advisor told Austrian TV channel ORF: “I’ll put it this way, it’s difficult to judge, or let’s put it this way, ultimately, I’ll decide for myself what I do.

“The theoretical possibility always exists. I think it’s such a complex issue.

“Again, we want peace in the team. This world championship will be difficult enough with 24 races and we have to concentrate on that.”

However, any action against Marko could have huge consequences for Red Bull with triple World Champion Verstappen, who has been linked to Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes seat in the midst of the Red Bull squabble, saying Marko “has to stay”.

“Helmut and I, we have a lot of respect for each other,” he told Sky Sports. “My loyalty in general to Red Bull, but also to him, after all for what he has done for me goes very far.

“I’ve always said, especially after Dietrich’s passing, with everyone in the team, that I find it really important that we keep the key team together because that’s how we have performed really well and that’s how we will perform really well in the future. They know that.

“For me, Helmut is a very key factor in that and he has to stay for me, for sure.”

Pressed on if Marko needs to stay to guarantee he’ll see out his own Red Bull contract, Verstappen said: “I’ve always said that to the team, they know that.”

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Marko leaving could be that something ‘crazy’ for Verstappen

But questioned about his future in the build-up to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Verstappen said it would take something “really crazy” for him to leave his championship-winning team.

Asked whether the Marko situation could be that crazy, he replied: “That’s quite an understatement if that happens. That’s crazy. Let’s see what happens.

“We’ll see if something happens next week.”

He added: “He has built this team from the ground up with Dietrich’s blessing and I think he’s always kept a good relationship with a lot of people in the team and backed the important people and in crucial moments as well.

“He’s definitely a key member now for the future.”

Marko is expected to meet with Red Bull GmbH chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff on Saturday to discuss his future.

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