Another under-performing Red Bull driver earns Helmut Marko’s wrath

Sam Cooper
Helmut Marko, Red Bull, looks serious. Spain, February 2022.

Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko at F1 2022 pre-season testing.

Another Red Bull driver has moved into the unwanted spotlight of Helmut Marko for underperforming.

The Red Bull senior advisor is certainly not one to hide how he is truly feeling and the team have shown themselves prepared to cut the cord if it is in their best interests.

For every one of Pierre Gasly or Alex Albon who made it to F1 but did not cut it at Red Bull, there are five who fail to even get that far.

Marko is the man who presides over that and revealed how he keeps tabs on numerous drivers across numerous competitions.

“Once we decide to support then there is always a second season,” he told the Inside Line F1 podcast. “I watch the races. We have in Milton Keynes, [head of driver academy Guillaume Rocquelin] Rocky who analyses everything from the database.

“Every driver has to send me a report about the race and sometimes you wonder if it was the same race you watched! I get reports from the teams so I get a spread of information and then you have to get the right conclusion.

“With [F2 driver Dennis] Hauger in Baku he was leading the race and then there was a big crash with the second and third guys. I was wondering ‘where is Hauger?’ But he was so far ahead you couldn’t see it on TV.”

Hauger went on to drop from leading the Baku race to finishing sixth and Marko admitted what he was doing was “not enough.”

“With Hauger, [we had] personal discussions as well to explain to him it’s not enough what he’s doing at the moment.

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“Then at one stage you have to decide whether you continue or not.”

As well as on-track data, Marko has devised his own way of testing the young prospects by putting them through their paces in a sim qualifying lap, dubbed the Helmut Lap.

“Qualifying is so important,” Marko said. “So in our simulator, we have a qualifying simulation. [We] call it now the Helmut Lap which is just one lap.

“Before it had been four laps, which is not good enough. So now we are also trying from simulation tools to make them already aware of this pressure.”