Helmut Marko Reveals How a Young Max Verstappen Lured Him to Sign for Red Bull F1

Published 08/22/2021, 8:11 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 31, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying in third place Pool via REUTERS/David W Cerny


Max Verstappen became the youngest driver to win the Grand Prix in Formula 1 history. The Dutchman on his debut with Red Bull showcased massive resilience to win the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, aged 18. Since then Verstappen has 15 wins, eight poles, 50 podiums to his name.

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Meanwhile, Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko revealed how does he discover the talent of Max Verstappen years ago in Formula 3.

Watch Story: Most Heated Moments Between F1 Rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton

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What did Helmut Marko say?

As quoted by SpeedWeek.com, when asked, how does the young Max Verstappen lure the Milton-Keynes-based team to sign him, Helmut Marko replied: “Everyone has talent, still Max stood out.”

“This unbelievable speed, which he showed in a Formula 3 race under constantly changing conditions, convinced and impressed me in the end.”

NUERBURG, GERMANY – OCTOBER 11: Second placed Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing talks with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Masashi Yamamoto of Honda, and Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr. Helmut Marko in parc ferme during the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

“I think he drove there on average two seconds faster than everyone else. It was clear that this was an extraordinary talent,” added the Red Bull advisor. (Quotes translated via Google)

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz were evenly matched: Marko

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz established an outstanding partnership at Toro Rosso in 2015. The duo consistently scored for their team, but Verstappen outscored the Spaniard and become an obvious choice to replace Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull.

Meanwhile, Red Bull’s advisor revealed the two youngsters were evenly matched when the duo was together at Toro Rosso.

“We didn’t send Sainz away, and for good reason – we were very early to contract him. Verstappen and Sainz were very evenly matched, but we didn’t have the possibility to offer him [Sainz] more [than a seat at Toro Rosso],” said Helmut Marko.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko and Renault Sport F1 Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul talk on the grid before the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“He was not convinced of the future prospects at Toro Rosso and his feeling was he was not progressing, and he did not want to wait any longer.”

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“We first loaned him out and then we canceled the contract completely. After all, we didn’t want to stand in the way of his future,” added Marko.

DIVE DEEPER

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Has Red Bull made a mistake by dropping Carlos Sainz from their academy? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Pingaksh Sharma

243 articles

Pingaksh Sharma is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been following this sport since India hosted the Grand Prix in 2012 and has been an ardent supporter of the eventual race winner, Sebastian Vettel. He is also a fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull and hopes the former breaks the Lewis Hamilton dominance.

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