Helmut Marko bad responds to Red Bull that may spell trouble for Mercedes and Ferrari

It was a dominant weekend for Red Bull in Bahrain with Max Verstappen winning ahead of Sergio Perez in second.

Ηelmut Marko has sent a stern warning to rival teams that the best is yet to come from Red Bull despite their dominant display in Bahrain. On the opening race weekend of the season, the constructors’ champions picked up where they left off in 2023 with Max Verstappen taking the chequered flag from teammate Sergio Perez.

Already, fans and pundits are envisaging a predictable F1 season, with Verstappen odds-on to take a fourth consecutive F1 title. That’s despite the Dutchman insisting his triumphant weekend came as a surprise after the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes had impressed in pre-season testing and practice

And Marko has now ominously responded to rumours that Red Bull will benefit from major car upgrades in time for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend on May 17-19. Pressed on the speculation, Marko smiled and replied, via Auto Motor und Sport: “Let’s see.”

The 80-year-old, who also oversees the team’s driver development programme, also hinted that the RB20 cars are set to get quicker. “We are still in the learning phase with the new car,” he said. “The fact that we can already celebrate such success should worry the opponents a little.” 

Those words spell trouble for the likes of the Scuderia and the Silver Arrows. The Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were third and fourth, while George Russell and Lewis Hamilton floundered in fifth and seventh place respectively.

The on-track performance of Verstappen in particular has provided some welcome respite for Red Bull, with the build-up to the F1 season having been dominated by the controversy around team principal Christian Horner. Despite being cleared of allegations of inappropriate behaviour by an internal investigation, on Thursday messages allegedly sent by the Englishman to a female employee were leaked and promptly went viral.

Despite mounting calls for him to resign, Horner has thus far remained defiant, and has vowed it will be business as usual for his week’s Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia. And in a show of support, wife Geri flew out at short notice to accompany him in the paddock in Bahrain.

Marko himself is yet to publicly comment on Horner’s future. But just hours after watching his son cruise to victory on Saturday, Jos Verstappen poured fuel on the fire by calling for the 50-year-old to step down or risk Red Bull “being torn apart.”

Max meanwhile, reportedly turned down a request from FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem to publicly back his boss. That’s despite the 26-year-old having shared a close relationship with Horner since joining the team ranks in 2014.


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