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NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 06, 2024 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Marko: Red Bull not the fastest, Verstappen makes the difference

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 06, 2024 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The Red Bull RB 0 is no longer romping to easy victories anymore, it’s Max Verstappen who makes the difference according to Red Bull consultant Doctor Helmut Marko as the World Champions search for optimum setups to make their car work on all tyres.

The British Grand Prix provided clear evidence of this. With Sergio Perez nowhere to be seen in the other Red Bull, it was World Champion Verstappen taking the fight to the ‘locals’ aka Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Lando Norris who threatened an all-British podium.

Until Max had other ideas. He finished P2 with another ‘only Max can do that’ display during a challenging race.

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In an exclusive sit-down interview for GRANDPRIX247 with Marko today, the first question we tackled was: Now that the F1 competition has caught up, what’s the game plan for the rest of the season?

Marko did not mince his words: “We struggling at the moment. We don’t have the fastest car at the moment. But we have Max and that makes a difference. but we have to catch up again.  Since McLaren updated in Miami, it is now the most competitive car.

“The McLaren is fast everywhere, in all conditions and now Mercedes look like they have caught up. But we are bringing an update and hopefully, this update will be a success so we can run it again. We are used to controlling the top of the field.

“But at the moment we are I would say on the backfoot we have problems. With this setup, it takes too long to find the right balance. But still lucky enough we could extend the championship lead for Max and also in the Constructors,” explained Marko.

Marko: Things are changing all the time

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 07, 2024 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

After the British Grand Prix, Verstappen extended his lead over P2 Lando Norris in the 2025 F1 Drivers’ Championship, while Red Bull, despite Perez’s no-show, are still top of the F1 Constructors’ standings after 12 Rounds.

But Red Bull will not be resting on their laurels, and Marko is wary: “Things are changing all the time. Once it’s Ferraris, and it’s McLarens and it’s Mercedes so it’s always something different, which is challenging for us.”

As for where Red Bull are lagging, Marko said: “I think engine-wise it’s between Ferrari, Mercedes and Honda. It’s not the game changer. Looks like the Ferrari has the fastest engine but it’s not enough. It’s on the chassis side. As I said it takes us too long to find the proper setup.

“Also we are not fast with every type of tyre. At Silverstone on Sunday we were struggling with a medium tyre, and very much on the fast tyre. The main thing is to get the tyres in the right window,” added 82-year-old Marko, who has been RBR driver boss since their first F1 race in 2005.

(This is the first of a series of reports from Nasir Hameed’s one-on-one exclusive interviews with Red Bull Consultant Dr. Helmut Marko.)