Dr Helmut Marko has dispelled chatter about internal discord at Red Bull, making clear that Christian Horner does not possess the leverage to dismiss him.
Amid the team’s pronounced dominance in Formula 1, chatter began to surface this week indicating that Horner – the helm of Red Bull Racing – is manoeuvring to sideline the outspoken 80-year-old Austrian.
So, when Marko was honoured with the Gerhard Hirschmann Prize for Critical Thinking in Graz on Tuesday, a scribe from the Osterreich publication probed about his state of mind leading into the US GP.
“Good – contrary to many assumptions. I have to disappoint the doomsayers,” Marko said.
He was firm in saying he has “no idea” where the stories of a rift with Horner originated from and negated any talk of his ongoing F1 position being a topic at the beverage titan’s board discussion in the upcoming days.
“There is no summit this week,” Marko said.
“I have a contract until the end of next year. When and how I stop, when it’s over for me, I will decide. Not Mr Horner, for example.”
Speculation this week also touched upon the possibility that the newly appointed Red Bull CEO, Oliver Mintzlaff, might be aligning with Horner.
“Due to the new situation, everything is different now,” Marko remarked, alluding to the passing of Red Bull co-founder and titan Dietrich Mateschitz twelve months prior.
“People are trying to redefine their authority,” he elaborated.
Furthermore, Marko dismissed the notion that one of the points of contention with Horner was over Honda-affiliated Yuki Tsunoda continuing with Alpha Tauri in 2024.
“This is all just speculation,” the Austrian emphasised. “Just like the one about (Sergio) Perez. There is no ultimatum for Perez.
“I just think we’re winning too much, so all these incredible things are being introduced into the world.”
The belief among some is that the strain between Marko, Mintzlaff, and Horner has diminished recently, especially after Max Verstappen cautioned that if Marko departs, the leading Dutch driver would mirror the exit.
“On the one hand that is very reassuring,” Marko expressed when questioned about Verstappen’s publicised support. “There is still something like loyalty and appreciation.
“Since our first conversation when Max was 15, there has been a special connection between us. Now I’m looking forward to Austin, where we can hopefully celebrate his 50th grand prix victory on Sunday.”
When quizzed by German outlet Sport1 regarding the circulating rumours, Marko advised,
“We should all keep calm now and think about our core business,” he stressed. “This is sport and not politics.
“We still want to secure the runner-up title with Sergio Perez, which is up to him because he gets the car from us to do it.
“As for me, I’ve definitely had a lot of support recently and that’s made me very happy.”