q Marko highlights McLaren as potential 2024 title contender - Bayla Sports F1

Marko highlights McLaren as potential 2024 title contender

Dr Helmut Marko has spotlighted McLaren as perhaps the principal threat to Red Bull’s existing mastery of Formula 1 in 2024.

His insight emerges after McLaren’s marked upswing this campaign after a somewhat lukewarm onset in 2023, with Oscar Piastri clinching the Qatar sprint race starting from pole, and his colleague Lando Norris following closely behind.

“They are our most regular pursuers now and they are still gaining momentum,” the Red Bull team counsellor Marko shared with Kronen Zeitung publication.

McLaren team leader Andrea Stella didn’t counter Marko’s projection.

“It was a very positive weekend for us,” he conveyed to the Austrian channel ORF. “We are the second fastest car and that is really good for the future.

“I’m happy that we can contribute to the spectacle of making Formula 1 more exciting.”

Marko remarked that even amidst Max Verstappen’s prevailing prowess this season, the squad maintained vigilance over McLaren throughout the Qatar event.

“We set our pace according to McLaren,” he elucidated.

“This is noteworthy and it’s scary that it happens on every circuit now. It could possibly be a tough battle with them next year.

“The others couldn’t keep up with McLaren and us,” Marko included, alluding predominantly to Red Bull’s primary rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.

Italy’s Corriere dello Sport publication opined that witnessing Verstappen flanked by the Australian newcomer Piastri and Norris on the Sunday was “the podium of the future”.

However, Ferrari’s Frederic Vasseur remains circumspect.

“I would say that McLaren is now the second fastest team,” he conceded, “but Qatar and Suzuka have common characteristics, with a succession of fast corners.

“We were probably better than McLaren in Monza and Singapore. So let’s wait and see for the next races, starting with Austin. That circuit has a mix of everything, so we can understand where we really are.”