Red Bull threat at Monaco GP beyond McLaren ‘challenge’ identified by Helmut Marko

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Helmut Marko at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Helmut Marko.

While Helmut Marko and Red Bull are ready for a fresh McLaren “challenge” at the Monaco Grand Prix, they are not the only threat expected.

Great intrigue surrounded McLaren heading into the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, following Lando Norris’ shock maiden F1 win at the previous round in Miami. With the upgraded McLaren MCL38 unleashing such performance, could they bring the fight to Red Bull again at Imola? The answer was yes.

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc also Red Bull threat in Monaco, says Helmut Marko

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Though Verstappen held on this time to claim victory at Imola, his fifth win of the season, a late surge from Norris saw him finish just seven-tenths behind the Championship leader, Norris claiming afterwards that he needed just one more lap to be in position to attack.

Marko expects McLaren to be a threat to Red Bull again in Monaco, though he also thinks the same of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at his home race, Ferrari having, like Red Bull, introduced upgrades at Imola.

“We definitely have to take on the challenge with McLaren,” Marko told De Telegraaf.

“And now we’re going to Monaco and there it’s almost all about qualifying. I think that will be the most difficult race for us so far, also because of the bumps and kerbstones there.

“I expect a lot from Ferrari and especially from Charles Leclerc.”

Excitement builds for 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

👉 McLaren reveal stunning Ayrton Senna tribute livery for Monaco Grand Prix

👉 Uncovered: Ferrari’s major SF-24 upgrades that could power them to Monaco win

Leclerc, by his own admission, has not had the greatest of luck on home soil so far in his racing career, never mind just Formula 1.

However, while luck can often be lacking, Leclerc said his pace is not around the streets of Monte Carlo, as he backed up Marko’s thinking by saying he is “confident” Ferrari will be “strong”.

“Monaco is very special for me,” Leclerc told media including’s Thomas Maher in the post-Emilia Romagna Grand Prix press conference.

“True that it hasn’t been the most successful race for me until now. However, the pace was always there and that gives me the confidence that it will be the case this year too.

“However, Monaco is so specific that we need to start a little bit from a blank page. And yeah, free practice is super, super important to build the pace little by little. But I’m confident we’ll be strong.

“And as I’ve said many times, obviously, it’s the same roads that I took by bus to go to school when I was younger. Now it’s in a Formula 1 car. So that makes it extra special for me. So I’m really looking forward to it. To be in Monaco, a very special track I think for every driver because it’s a very challenging track and extra special for me, as it’s my home race.”

Red Bull has won the three most recent Monaco GPs, with Verstappen in 2021 and 2023, while Sergio Perez claimed victory in 2022.

Read next – Five big Monaco GP questions: the biggest qualifying battle in years and risk of rain?