Exclusive Q&A with Red Bulls Helmut Marko 27 Oct 2012
Success can spoil. So if you want to win both the constructors and drivers titles for the third time in a row you have to be unfazed by your past glories. Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko agrees and insists that the Milton Keynes-based team only look ahead. He reviews the season so far and looks ahead to a closely-fought finale to the title race
Q: Helmut, Red Bull have won the last three races. Whats prompted this turnaround?
Helmut Marko: I think people have missed out on the fact that we have been - with the exception of Monza - always among the fastest in the races. We had two mechanical retirements on Sebastians side and some drive -through penalties which might have distorted the picture. Where we really stepped up a notch is in qualifying because of the double DRS and if you start from the front, of course, everything is a bit easier in the race. Further to that both our drivers have developed a significantly deeper trust in the car and their understanding of how to use the tyres has improved. So the package is delivering!
Q: Vettel is leading the drivers standings by six points. How comfortable does that feel? Some championships have been won by just a point?
HM: It is surely a much brighter picture than being behind by 44 points! But youre not really feeling comfy when you know that there are still 100 points to be allocated.
Q: Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali recently said that Vettels six-point lead is a bit deceptive Alonso has only finished two of the last five races due to reason beyond his control. Do you agree?
HM: Ha, but then I can say the same about Sebastians two mechanical failures but the fact is that if and when does not exist in our world. The reality is that we are equal in DNFs and the standings are based on performance.
Q: Do you think the title fight will go right to the wire in Brazil?
HM: I am afraid so. I know that it is fantastic for the fans but we as a team would definitely love to secure both titles before the last race in Brazil! (laughs) What is important for us is that we do not have any DNFs in the next races. Winning is the preference but if we dont win we want to bag as many points as possible and finish ahead of Alonso.
Q: Mercedes have hinted that they are already working on the 2014 car or at least on the parts which will also be used in 2013. Whats the situation at Red Bull?
HM: So far we have developed the current car down to the very last race. We have also pushed the parallel development of next years car. That has served us well so we will stick to it. Sure 2014 is in our focus as there will be fundamental changes. But the main point will be cooperation with the engine supplier, as it is there where the biggest change will happen. We are waiting on the final rules for the 2014 cars and my guess is they will immediately follow the signing of the Concorde Agreement. We have a very close cooperation with Renault and are in the loop with everything that is happening there.
Q: Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz once again made history by supporting Felix Baumgartners recent parachute jump. Is he expecting the team to win both titles three times in a row? Would only one title do?
HM: Of course both titles are the goal. The philosophy of Red Bull has always been that only the exceptional will do. One title only would be the ordinary.
Q: Webber has been quoted as saying that he will drive for himself and nobody else. How do you as a team handle that?
HM: We have never had team orders but we bank on the intelligence of our drivers. I think they demonstrated their ability to use their brain as well as their feet very recently in Korea. Marks start was not so good but there was no collision. As long as Mark has a theoretical, mathematical chance of winning the title it is understandable when he says that he is first and foremost driving for himself.
Q: But you will bank on the team-player qualities of your drivers?
Q: So far the Indian race weekend is going pretty swell for Red Bull with both cars on the front row and Vettel five tenths ahead of Fernando Alonso. What are your hopes for the race? What will be the biggest challenges?
HM: Yes, qualifying went well so lets hope that the start works well and if it does we have all the chances in the world to finish in front. As for the main competition we will see the usual suspects McLaren and Ferrari. That will not change for the rest of the season. The maverick results in my opinion are history since Monza when Sergio Perez was on the podium. The win will be fought out by the big three.
For tickets and travel to 2012 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.