Red Bull F1 Advisor Marko Recalls His 1st Meeting With Max Verstappen Which Left Him Stunned

Published 12/15/2021, 6:39 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 11, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates after qualifying in pole position Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili


Max Verstappen is the 2021 F1 world champion following a last-lap thriller in Abu Dhabi. The Dutchman surely had a stroke of luck in the last race, but as many would agree, he was a deserving winner. Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko played a huge role in backing the young prodigy in F1 from the tender age of 17.

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However, the Austrian manager is surely a happy man now that his instincts have turned out to be right. Marko remembers his first meeting with Max Verstappen and how his mindset really impressed the Red Bull junior program head, Marko.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and the world championship with the Netherlands flag on the podium REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Marko’s first interaction with Max Verstappen

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Verstappen holds the record for the youngest F1 driver and youngest Grand Prix winner. He surely owes the first one to Marko. The Dutchman made his debut with Red Bull’s sister team, Toro Rosso, in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix at the age of 17. He was subsequently promoted to the senior team, where he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

Notably, Verstappen did not drive in the FIA F2 championship. He was directly promoted to F1 from feeder series F3. Marko recently talked about his first meeting with the wunderkind back in 2014 during his F3 debut year. Marko was impressed by his driving skills at first, but his mentality and eagerness to race was something that left him stunned.

“The asphalt conditions were mixed, the track was partly wet and dry in other areas. Verstappen won by trimming an embarrassing gap to the rest of the competition,” recalled Marko as reported by Formulapassion. 

“I met him after the race, usually my first interviews with a driver do not go beyond 20 minutes. I talked to Max for two hours and was struck by his mentality. After three weeks I proposed F1 immediately in the following season,” added the Red Bull advisor.

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However, Red Bull‘s bold decision to place a young driver in an F1 cockpit got them a world title.

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The team is underway with the post-season testing in Abu Dhabi. Horner will expect Verstappen to replicate what Sebastian Vettel did for the team in 2010-13. It’ll be interesting to see how the upcoming season unfolds with the newly designed cars.

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Rituraj Tripathi

259 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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