Former Red Bull F1 Junior Settles Helmut Marko Debate – “The Rumors are True”

Published 10/27/2021, 6:15 AM EDT
Helmut Marko


Jean-Eric Vergne spent two years in F1 before shifting gears to Formula E. Making his debut as a Toro Rosso driver in 2012, JEV had made his way to the premier league as a Red Bull Academy alum. The Frenchman missed out on a stronger career with Red Bull Racing; nonetheless, he shares his overall positive experience with the man who runs it all, Helmut Marko.

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Tom Clarkson sat down with Vergne for an insightful episode of the Beyond The Grid podcast. While discussing what could have been a solid F1 career for JEV, Clarkson asked him to describe his experience with Dr. Marko. JEV simply stated that on a human level, Marko was “pretty non-existent,” claiming that “the rumors are true.”

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Although, according to JEV, that was not the purpose of his job.

“You like Helmut, you don’t like Helmut; I’m not here to be friends with him. It’s not like I’m going to go on a holiday with him. I like him as a boss because he always gave the driver a fair chance to succeed.”

Helmut Marko is known to be the stony foreman of RBR. For the Frenchman, it’s one of his admirable qualities.

“Yeah, he is tough. But that’s fine; because the world we live in, the world Formula 1 drivers are in, is a tough world. You’re only as good as your last race, and this, everybody knows.”

Despite the gloomy end of his F1 career, the Formula E champion remains thankful to Helmut Marko.

“If you do a good job, if you win championships before Formula 1, he was fair, and he got me into Formula 1. I can only thank him for what he’s done for me.”

Vergne divulges in Marko’s F1 ideologies

Helmut Marko has been the backbone for Red Bull Racing and its drivers’ academy. Often portrayed as the bad guy in the sport, Marko has a really strong ethos with his drivers. JEV described the targeted mindset behind the man, which is what helps the team deliver its results.

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The former Toro Rosso driver explained Marko is a detail-oriented man who has all the information in his hands.

“He always liked to know what happened in the car, what happened with the updates we were having in Toro Rosso… believe me, he knows everything about the car, what’s happening in the team, and everything about the drivers. And also in the junior team, he’s quite aware of everything.”

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Although the media has constantly portrayed Marko as a villain, all of his drivers have argued otherwise. Jean-Eric Vergne may have potentially lost a longer career in F1 because of his boss, yet it is his steely personality that toughens his drivers in the long run. So far, all of his proteges have had immense success. If it isn’t broken…

Watch this story: Ranking the Best Special Edition Liveries of Red Bull F1

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Shreya Sanjeev

606 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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