Ricciardo wanted to ignore Marko’s calls at Red Bull

Jamie Woodhouse
Daniel Ricciardo didn't want to pick up the phone when Helmut Marko's name popped up.

Daniel Ricciardo didn't want to pick up the phone when Helmut Marko's name popped up.

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that in his Red Bull days he didn’t like answering the phone when advisor Helmut Marko called.

The Aussie came up through the junior system under Red Bull before debuting in Formula 1 in 2011 with HRT on loan from Red Bull, before going on to land a seat with the Austrian team alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2014.

After joining Renault for the 2019 campaign, Ricciardo maintains that Marko had a hugely positive impact on his career, but given his outspoken nature and to the point approach, the ‘Honey Badger’ admits “it wasn’t always nice seeing his name pop up”.

“He was always very passionate,” said the Renault driver on Nico Rosberg’s Beyond Victory podcast.

“He cared and because he cared so much he was also very hard and firm.

“Every time I finished a conversation with him on the phone, I knew where I stood and what he expected so it certainly made me grow up quick. I respect him a lot for that.

“It wasn’t always nice seeing his name pop up. ‘Do I really want to answer it?’

“But you’re like if I don’t answer it now I’m just going to have to do it later. Sometimes you just have to listen and nod and suck it up.”

Ricciardo almost missed his first scheduled Formula Renault 3.5 test in 2010 after suffering a fractured arm in a mountain biking accident, meaning his Red Bull journey was nearly over before it begun.

Despite his efforts to fight through and prove himself to the team, Marko’s thoughts on the matter were clear and concise.

“About two weeks before the test – and we only had two tests, so it was limited – basically I had a crash on my mountain bike and fractured my wrist,” he revealed.

“I knew I couldn’t do the first test. I could hardly move my hand, but I flew to Jerez in Spain to try and show that I was going to at least try.

“I did the out-lap and came straight back to the pits. I just said ‘sorry guys, I can’t’. Then my phone rings.

“Helmut: ‘What happened?’ and I was like ‘I really tried, I couldn’t, I’m so sorry but I’ll let it heal and don’t worry I’ll be ready for the first race’.”

“I knew it was going to be tough because the next words were, a lot of silence, then ‘you’re an idiot’ and he hung up,” said Ricciardo.

“I did the next test at Magny-Cours, it was probably about 10 days later and I remember all the hairpins, I couldn’t get enough rotation with my wrist so I was just like one-handed.

“I got pole in the first race so that was alright.”

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