Marko backs Vettel to claim 2017 crown
17 August 2017 – Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has tipped Sebastian Vettel to come back "even stronger" following the summer break and clinch this year's title, amid Ferrari's gains.
Mercedes dominated Formula 1 from 2014-16, following the introduction of turbocharged V6 power units, but Ferrari has emerged as a threat for both crowns in 2017.
Vettel leads Lewis Hamilton by 14 points after 11 rounds, both drivers having won four races so far, via a controversial clash at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Despite the Baku incident, Marko praised Vettel's mental strength, and Ferrari's progress, backing his former driver to secure a fifth championship crown.
"I believe in Vettel, because I know his mental strength, and Ferrari has raised its game," Marko told the official F1 website, when asked to predict this year's champion.
"Silverstone, I would say, was an exception.
"Ferrari was clearly the stronger car in the first half of the season and only due to various circumstances could they not materialise all their chances."
Vettel spent six seasons at Red Bull, winning four straight titles from 2010-14, and in 2012 overturned a deficit of 42 points to Fernando Alonso post-Hungary.
Reflecting on previous experiences, Marko commented: "Seb will use this summer break to come back even stronger – that's how I know him."
Marko played down talk of Red Bull joining the fight with Mercedes and Ferrari over the second half of the season, given the performance of Renault's power unit.
"It is not good enough for Red Bull, but in our position with the engine it's the best we can get," he said.
Mercedes leads Ferrari by 39 points, with Red Bull 134 points further back.