Exclusive Q&A with Red Bulls Helmut Marko 11 Sep 2011
It was almost a lights-to-flag win. Only for a handful of laps was Fernando Alonso able to hold out against Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull - then the Spaniard had to give way. After an overtaking move that almost gave his pit crew a collective heart attack, the way was free for Vettels eighth win of the year. Speaking exclusively to Formula1.com, Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko hails his drivers Monza triumph - and dismisses the notion that Red Bull will ever play the numbers game as they close in on retaining both titles. It will always be winning or nothing
Q: Helmut, how does that race win feel? Does it put the final seal on both titles?
Helmut Marko: No, we dont think that way. We want to do every single race as well as possible - every time were prepared to win. Monza, of course, was an important race to win, as this is a track where Red Bull Racing has never been on the podium before, so it brings an extra ounce of satisfaction having done so today. I have to say that Sebastian drove an incredible race. His overtaking Alonso was a real masterpiece - and from there on he was in control of the race and cruising to the win.
Q: But isnt it in the back of your mind that mathematically it is getting more and more difficult for the others to beat you to the titles?
HM: Sure, but Sebastian wants to score as many points as possible and win as many races as possible. Last season we won nine races. So far this year we already have eight under our belt and there are still six races to go, so the chances are huge that well beat our last years result - and that is what we are aiming at. Driving safe races is not our philosophy. We are always on full attack and new parts are already going out to Singapore.
Q: Where would you personally prefer to celebrate winning the titles? Singapore, Japan or Korea?
HM: Singapore or Japan would be fine, but I would probably prefer Korea. After that disastrous weekend we experienced there last year it would be a sort of compensation.
Q: After the podium today you were immediately on the phone. Was that to report back to Dietrich Mateschitz? How did he like what he saw today?
HM: He was all smiles! (laughs)
Q: The start must have been a heart-stopping moment - suddenly three cars abreast heading into Turn One and Alonso taking the lead
HM: Sebastian was on short gearing and we knew that the Ferrari set-up was long gearing, so it was clear that it would be hard to stay in front into the first corner. We furthermore knew that the McLarens where pretty much set-up in our mould, so they would not hurt us that much and that is why Sebastian had to make that genius attack on Alonso and overtake him as early as possible - because our whole strategy wouldnt have worked had he not been able to overtake Alonso. That is why he was moving heaven and earth to pass him. And wow, what an overtaking move that was! I think it was one of his best overtaking manoeuvres of his career - very slick and very bold. And Alonso didnt move to the side, as in Spa with Mark (Webber).
Q: Wasnt there a moment when you thought that it would be better to safely bring home the points for P2 rather than enter a make-or-break fight with Alonso? Fernandos car seemed to be wider than at any other track
HM: No, as I just said before its not our mentality. And probably it was good to show Alonso how the wind blows
Q: Once Alonso was in the rear-view mirror, how did you handle the race from there?
HM: It was a typical Vettel race: first he was going for a margin and then we progressively started to reduce engine, KERS and gearbox performance. And even with doing so, he was able to keep the others at bay.
Q: At the moment it looks as if there is no one out there to beat Sebastian
HM: If he has the right car, makes no mistakes and no bad luck hits him he is the man to beat. I also have to give a huge compliment to the team for giving him a car that mastered the aerodynamic as well as the high-speed sections of this track. Today it was a perfect synergy of car and driver.
Q: From Sebastians emotions everybody could see that this was a very special win for him today
HM: Ha, think back a few days: the Italian and British media predicted a Waterloo for us in Monza and his win today - and how it was achieved - must be a slap in their faces. I think what weve seen today has all the ingredients for demoralizing our competitors - and thats okay.
Q: You said before that new parts are already on the way to Singapore. How about the 2012 car?
HM: The new car will be ready when Adrian (Newey) says its ready. Its as simple as that.
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