Red Bull consultant Dr. Helmut Marko claims that breaking Mercedes’ dominance in Formula 1 in 2021, alleviated the pressure considerably within his team, with self-confidence boosted.
Marko admits that the Red Bull team are still riding high after Max Verstappen’s Title triumph in 2021 broke Mercedes grip on the sport since 2014, and that he team’s performance during the off-season and testing, shows signs of extra confidence and efficiency.
Speaking to Kronen Zeitung, Marko said: “It was important to break this Mercedes dominance. It’s good for the sport, was our goal.
“And we knew we had to win to be able to keep Max. Self-confidence has risen throughout the team. I’ve never experienced in 20 years of Red Bull how quickly everything worked in the tests!
And added that the same applied for Verstappen saying: “Max is more relaxed, even more self-confident. With that, I’m sure we’ll see an even better Verstappen.”
Marko hopes Mercedes don’t sort out their problem
Mercedes had a tough winter in 2022, their radical W13 not seemingly a race winner yet, and Marko hope that it will take them time to sort their car out, unlike last year, when they started on the back foot, but bounced back in no time winning the Constructors’ Championship, with Lewis Hamilton taking the fight to Verstappen down to the wire.
“Mercedes was already nowhere at the test last year, then they won straight away,” Marko claimed. “With aerodynamics, it’s a bit more difficult this year. I hope they don’t sort out their bouncing problem so quickly.
Speaking on the risks of bouncing, or “porpoising” phenomenon, the Austrian commented: “Even more than the physical exertion for the drivers, the material is stressed by the constant bouncing.
“Durability will also be an issue here, not just speed. Whoever finds the right compromise here will be ahead,” Marko predicted.
RB18 upgrade delivered more than expected
The Red Bull consultant went on to express his satisfaction in the team’s new F1 machine, the RB18, which registered the fastest time in Bahrain pre-season testing in the hands of Verstappen.
“The basic concept is right,” he declared. “We have bouncing to the extent that it’s not dangerous for either the driver or the chassis. And in terms of time, the upgrade brought us even a touch more than we had expected.”
Marko said that Verstappen’s chances of winning in Bahrain were down to Mercedes’ ability to dial in their car, and confirmed that they as a team will focus on the Drivers’ Championship, not the Constructors which they lost to Mercedes last year.
“We’re primarily focused on the driver because we’re not a car manufacturer,” he said “Without Perez’s retirement in Abu Dhabi, it would have been close.”