Red Bull Boss Helmut Marko Suspects F1 Avoided a Far Greater Controversy in Abu Dhabi With Latifi

Published 12/24/2021, 7:00 AM EST
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – JULY 27: Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko talks in the Paddock after qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 27, 2019 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)


The last lap incident in Abu Dhabi made the headlines after Max Verstappen dramatically beat Lewis Hamilton for the title. Verstappen’s pass, the race director’s decisions, the lapped cars, all of these things played a big part in the season outcome. But what triggered it all was Nicholas Latifi’s crash, which got little coverage.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

That said, there’s something that Red Bull’s Helmut Marko recently suggested could’ve got a lot of attention.

Marko claimed that regardless of how things turned, internally, as a team, Red Bull knew they needed a safety car to have a chance at winning the race.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Austrian suspects that while it was Latifi who was the safety car protagonist, if it had been another driver, it would’ve been an even more controversial event.

Marko theorized, “If for example Yuki [Tsunoda] had caused an accident, something would certainly have happened.”

“Then it quickly became clear to us that [the Latifi incident] represented Easter, or Christmas, for us. It was the occasion of the century. We reacted immediately and switched to soft tires.” (Translated via Google Translate)

Helmut Marko predicts a repeat of the same on top of the table in 2022

In the coming season, Formula 1 is making some significant changes to the cars. This is in an attempt to facilitate even more competitive racing across the field, so instead of the usual suspects, there can be fresh challengers, which will add more excitement to the racing.

But Helmut Marko believes despite the new car and closer racing forecasts, the two protagonists from 2021 will be leading the story in 2022 as well.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Marko said, “at the moment, we believe that we are almost on a par with Mercedes. We believe that we are both at the front again unless someone manages a golden shot like with the double diffuser.”

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 9, 2021 Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, Head of Red Bull’s driver development program Helmut Marko and Honda’s F1 Managing Director Masashi Yamamoto during a team photo ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Regardless, the 2022 season could very well result in an even field. This is something teams like McLaren, Ferrari, and Alpine are banking on as they’re hoping to be championship contenders.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

And while it’s not something Red Bull and Mercedes would like, it’s better for the sport, and that is the greater good.

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shaharyar

472 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT