Interview: Marko on RBR's 'luxury problem'

Interview: Marko on RBR's 'luxury problem'

21 April 2017 – Red Bull has arguably developed the strongest junior programme in motorsport in recent years, introducing a World Champion in Sebastian Vettel, and two new race winners in Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, to F1. GPUpdate.net caught up with the man behind the scheme: Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko.

Did you always think the Junior Team would become so important?
No! When we started it, we didn't have a Formula 1 team, so it was more about supporting young drivers financially. Then all of a sudden we had two Formula 1 teams! Our approach changed because we thought to find a Formula 1 driver was not as difficult as to find a Formula 1 driver who can win a Grand Prix. We were stricter and only the ones who were really performing already in junior categories would keep going.

Obviously, there's a lot of talent spread across many categories each year. How does Red Bull decide on the drivers it will support and pick out 'special ones'?
Performance! They just have to win. But we of course consider what team they are in, the circumstances, the engine and so on. But I don't want to give you all the details of course!

If you look at Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr…
(Jumps in) You can't compare with Max. Max is so different. The education he had through his father in go-karting is unique and won't come that quick here [in Formula 1] again.

Sainz Jr. is in his third season at Toro Rosso, so patience is important, along with performance and development. How difficult is it make calls over their futures?
It's very difficult. You have to be at the right time at the right place.

Have you ever let a driver go and thought, 'Maybe that was not the right call'?
With Sébastien Buemi, but that happened in different circumstances at his time. You can see that he's doing very well in the World Endurance Championship, he's dominating Formula E, and he's doing a very good job in our simulator.

Could you give us a bit more of an insight into how you pick drivers for the Junior Team? Is there a group behind-the-scenes?
We have a good system! (Laughs)

Maybe it's working too well, as now you have a big pool of talent…
Yes, we have a luxury problem. It's better than to be like Mercedes or Ferrari.

Did you ever think it would be so difficult, with so many young drivers?
When we went into Formula 1 our goal was to be competitive and win one or the other Grand Prix, but to win four championships with a driver who came out of the Junior Team, and now having two other drivers who have won Grands Prix, it's far more than we expected and makes us happy.

Was Verstappen's performance at the Norisring (won all three races to make it six in a row) during the 2014 European Formula 3 season the most special thing you've seen from a young driver?
Yes!

And then you thought you had to sign him?
Well, we were already talking for a while. But we were talking about GP2, GP3... After that race, I called [his father] Jos and we looked at everything. We had a different approach which made him silent for a while. But no risk, no fun!

You signed another Dutch youngster, Richard Verschoor, in 2016. How do you view his development?
I saw him last year in Sochi. He made an overtaking manoeuvre around the outside, which was fantastic. He did quite well [in the Toyota Racing Series] in New Zealand. He had one weekend that cost him the championship, but I think he was the best rookie by far. Now we have to see how he will do in Renault 2.0. The tests are going OK, he's always in the top three, top five. But he has strong team-mates. We'll see how it goes.

Verschoor has already grown as a person. Do you see this a lot? How important is it that a driver can cope with the added pressure?
First of all, you must be quick, you must have the talent to drive quickly. Then, on top of this, you have to cope with the pressure. You must have the ability to make the team believe in you, build a support within the team. But that's up to the driver. The same happens in Formula 1. We don't interfere much. We let them develop as they have to learn to develop on their own. We also don't interfere in how to make interviews and so on; they can speak however they like, like in Formula 1.

So all that matters for you at the end of the year is performance?
Performance. Nothing else.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Wednesday 21 February 2018

  2. 12:51

    Syahrin secures Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP ride

    MotoGP
  3. 12:49

    Alonso won't suffer from missing Prologue - Toyota

    F1
  4. 12:47

    What we've learned from MotoGP testing so far

    MotoGP
  5. 12:45

    The battle for F1's most coveted seat

    F1
  6. 12:43

    BT Sport extends UK MotoGP TV deal to 2021

    F1
  7. 12:41

    McLaren planning "substantial" update for Australia

    F1
  8. Tuesday 20 February 2018

  9. 13:31

    Lowe: F1 2018 could be battle of bargeboards

    F1
  10. 13:29

    Red Bull testing plans unaffected despite crash

    F1
  11. 13:27

    What Williams is risking in a 'dangerous world'

    F1
  12. 13:25

    Sauber reveals Alfa Romeo-backed C37

    F1
  13. Monday 19 February 2018

  14. 15:02

    Why AI could be F1's next big thing

    F1
  15. 15:00

    Ricciardo shakes down RB14 at Silverstone

    F1
  16. 14:58

    Red Bull reveals its 2018 Formula 1 car

    F1
  17. Sunday 28 January 2018

  18. Video: Button celebrates birthday with Ricciardo 09:12

    Video: Button celebrates birthday with Ricciardo

    Go behind-the-scenes with Jenson Button during his birthday celebrations at Big Bear Lake, before he is joined by Red Bull ace…

    F1
  19. Saturday 27 January 2018

  20. Video: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours: Qualifying 14:18

    Video: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours: Qualifying

    Watch behind the scenes as the United Autosports team qualify for the endurance challenge at Daytona, with Fernando Alonso…

    Misc
  21. Friday 26 January 2018

  22. Video: Sim Racing Girl visits Red Bull 15:59

    Video: Sim Racing Girl visits Red Bull

    The latest personality to get behind the wheel of the state-of-the-art simulator at Red Bull's Milton Keynes HQ is none other…

    F1
  23. Thursday 25 January 2018

  24. Gasly hopes STR can maximise testing time 12:46

    Gasly hopes STR can maximise testing time

    Pierre Gasly believes Toro Rosso-Honda must ensure it establishes a reliable base early on, in order to maximise track time…

    F1
  25. Video: 2018 Yamaha MotoGP bike launch 08:10

    Video: 2018 Yamaha MotoGP bike launch

    Yamaha Racing and Yamaha Music Italy's newly composed soundtrack introduce the 2018 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1s.

    MotoGP
  26. Wednesday 24 January 2018

  27. Hamilton sure Mercedes can repeat reliability 14:46

    Hamilton sure Mercedes can repeat reliability

    Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says repeating his reliability record in Formula 1 this year will be tricky, but believes…

    F1
  28. Video: Jenson Button vlog: From LA to Tokyo 10:48

    Video: Jenson Button vlog: From LA to Tokyo

    Catch up with Jenson Button in his latest vlog entry as he jets from Los Angeles to Tokyo for the launch of Honda's Super GT…

    Misc
  29. Tuesday 23 January 2018

  30. Video: Movistar Yamaha teases 2018 launch 13:47

    Video: Movistar Yamaha teases 2018 launch

    Movistar Yamaha gets ready for its 2018 team launch, with Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales set to take the wraps off its…

    MotoGP
  31. Hubert completes ART's GP3 driver line-up 13:39

    Hubert completes ART's GP3 driver line-up

    Anthoine Hubert says winning the GP3 title is his target for the 2018 season after confirmation that the Frenchman will remain…

    GP3
  32. Monday 22 January 2018

  33. Pirelli: F1 unlikely to return to tyre competition 13:24

    Pirelli: F1 unlikely to return to tyre competition

    Pirelli Racing Manager Mario Isola says he doubts that Formula 1 will ever return to competition between two tyre manufacturers…

    F1
  34. Video: Kubica on Williams reserve role 09:32

    Video: Kubica on Williams reserve role

    Robert Kubica talks about joining the Williams team and what his reserve and development driver role will involve through the…

    F1
  35. Sunday 21 January 2018

  36. Hughes back in GP3 with dominant ART team 12:52

    Hughes back in GP3 with dominant ART team

    Jake Hughes will return to the GP3 Series this year after signing a deal to compete for the championship's dominant force ART…

    GP3
  37. Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2018 preview 09:46

    Video: Rallye Monte-Carlo 2018 preview

    Next weekend marks the start of the 2018 World Rally Championship with the iconic Rallye Monte-Carlo; get set for the…

    Misc
  38. Saturday 20 January 2018

  39. New York becomes FE finale after Montreal axe 10:44

    New York becomes FE finale after Montreal axe

    New York will host the final round of this year's Formula E championship after series organisers opted not to replace the…

    FE
  40. Video: Force India's farewell to VJM10 09:19

    Video: Force India's farewell to VJM10

    Watch as Force India puts Sergio Pérez's VJM10, used throughout the course of the 2017 season, into retirement, with the car…

    F1
  41. Friday 19 January 2018

  42. 15:02

    Overview: 2018 Formula 1 grid line-up in full

    F1
  43. Video: Verstappen and Ricciardo in Crazy Carts 11:19

    Video: Verstappen and Ricciardo in Crazy Carts

    Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are going a little stir crazy waiting for Formula 1 to return - and take to…

    F1
  44. Thursday 18 January 2018

  45. Russell steps up to Formula 2 with ART 09:27

    Russell steps up to Formula 2 with ART

    Mercedes-backed GP3 champion George Russell will graduate to Formula 2 with ART in 2018. Russell, 19, stormed to last year's…

    F2
  46. Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness 09:07

    Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness

    Tech 3 Yamaha rider Jonas Folger will sit out the 2018 MotoGP season, having struggled to recover physically and mentally after…

    MotoGP
  47. Video: Marrakesh's most dramatic moments 07:02

    Video: Marrakesh's most dramatic moments

    Watch every crash, spin, slide and save from last weekend's Marrakesh round of the all-electric Formula E championship.

    FE
  48. Wednesday 17 January 2018

  49. Chaves unconcerned by one-car Harding entry 16:32

    Chaves unconcerned by one-car Harding entry

    Gabby Chaves has played down suggestions that Harding's one-car effort could prove to be disadvantageous, pointing to the…

    Indy
  50. Kari stays in GP3, switches to MP Motorsport 10:06

    Kari stays in GP3, switches to MP Motorsport

    Niko Kari will continue in the GP3 Series this year, having switched from Arden to category newcomers MP Motorsport. Formula…

    GP3
  51. Tuesday 16 January 2018

  52. Fenestraz joins Carlin for Formula 3 campaign 13:54

    Fenestraz joins Carlin for Formula 3 campaign

    Formula Renault champion Sacha Fenestraz will contest this year's European Formula 3 Championship with Carlin. Fenestraz…

    F3
  53. Kubica gets development role with Williams 11:32

    Kubica gets development role with Williams

    Robert Kubica has landed a role as Williams' reserve and development driver for 2018, which will involve test and practice runs…

    F1
  54. Williams confirms Sirotkin for 2018 seat 11:18

    Williams confirms Sirotkin for 2018 seat

    Williams has announced that Sergey Sirotkin will partner Lance Stroll for the 2018 campaign, with Robert Kubica, on the comeback…

    F1
  55. Video: Rosberg's Twitter Q&A with fans 08:42

    Video: Rosberg's Twitter Q&A with fans

    2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg responds to a variety of questions posed by fans on Twitter.

    F1
  56. Monday 15 January 2018

  57. Aitken secures Formula 2 step with ART GP 18:30

    Aitken secures Formula 2 step with ART GP

    Renault junior driver Jack Aitken will graduate to Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix this season, the French team has…

    F2
more news