Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko recently spoke about Max Verstappen and his issues with the team. He insisted that there was no bad blood between the driver and the team over the comments. In fact, he confessed that the Dutchman’s complaints have to be taken quite seriously.
The Dutchman was mystified by Red Bull’s recent decline in performance in the last few races. One particularly poor race was the Singapore Grand Prix, where they expected to challenge for victory. Unfortunately, they remained the third-fastest car on the grid behind Ferrari and Mercedes respectively.
Speaking to De Telegraaf, Verstappen explicitly stated that he is capable of keeping up with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc. The only thing that is holding him back is the Red Bull car
“I personally feel that if I’m in the same car, I can go two tenths of a second faster than them,” he said. “Before Singapore, I thought we could compete for the world title next season. Maybe not anymore.”
Even Jos Verstappen, father of Max, expressed similar concerns and hinted that Max’s future at Red Bull may not be secure.
However, surprisingly, Helmut Marko has taken the pacifist rout in the face of his driver’s bluntness.
“In part, Max is right,” Marko told Auto Bild. “Although, he has twice ended a race in the first corner, but that can happen.”
“We at Red Bull want drivers with their own opinion, they should also be able to express it. That’s no problem.”
Now, Verstappen and Red Bull will be closely watch when the paddock arrives in Suzuka next week. The Japanese Grand Prix is Honda’s home turf and the first time they are heading there with two Honda-powered cars.
Admittedly, Honda have not had a particularly glowing resume in Suzuka since their return to F1 in 2015. Both McLaren and Toro Rosso having failed to collect a single point between them in four races.