Dr. Helmut Marko acknowledges it’s ‘unfortunate’ that Lando Norris’ long-term deal with McLaren has effectively eliminated him as a candidate for a seat at Red Bull for the foreseeable future.
Both Marko and fellow Red Bull director Christian Horner, along with Norris’ paddock buddy Max Verstappen, have recently floated the 23-year-old Briton Norris’ name as a potential driver for their team.
This chatter has occurred alongside a noticeable dip in performance from Sergio Perez, especially when compared to his teammate Verstappen’s complete dominance in the second Red Bull car for 2023.
“Perez is not consistent. He is not always focused,” Marko, 80, has now told Servus TV.
“But he has a contract until 2024 and Lando Norris has a contract until 2025. Unfortunate that it’s for so long,” he added. “Because he would be one of the candidates.
“We had already reached an agreement with Norris for Toro Rosso at the time, until his manager realized that there was an option in the contract with McLaren. But in terms of youth and speed, he would suit us very well.
“Sergio, on the other hand, is already over 30 and is having his fourth child. He already has other interests, so we will have to see what happens afterwards.”
Although Marko’s statements may seem like a significant decrease in support for Perez, he did recognize that the Mexican driver faces a challenging task with Verstappen as a teammate.
“On the one hand,” said Marko, “the Red Bull seat is one of the most sought-after. But on the other hand, you also have Max Verstappen as an opponent.
“You need a very strong personality and also incredible mental strength for that. Perez is the one who has managed it the best of all the drivers in recent years, and has also achieved victories.”