Marko: Where would Webber be without Red Bull?
Red Bull Racing
Marko: Where would Webber be without Red Bull?
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Jul 2010   |  5:23 pm GMT  |  273 comments

After calming words from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner to attempt to end the row over preferential treatment between drivers, Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko has weighed in today, saying that Webber needs to remember that he was no-where before Red Bull gave him a competitive car.

Webber with Marko

In an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, Marko says that Webber should not believe that the team favours Vettel, as it is always Vettel’s car which breaks.

“If Mark imagines there’s a conspiracy between us and Vettel against him, then he is on the wrong track,” Marko said. “If I was Vettel then I would have suspected the opposite. Which car has permanently had something damaged?

“Did Mark have the defective spark plug in Bahrain, the loose wheel in Australia, the broken brake disc in Barcelona, the defective chassis in Monte Carlo, the transmission problems in Montreal and now the broken wing at Silverstone?”

“Mark is having a great season, and has also improved big time, but he should not forget that he owes much of this to the team. Where was he two years ago?

“Then he could not even dream of grand prix victories. Today, we have given him a car that he can win on his own.”

Marko’s comments probably reflect the feeling inside the senior echelons of the team. They probably have their opinions of Webber’s ability level and he is surpassing them this season, as we have seen in the past with drivers who suddenly get their hands on a competitive car after years of toiling.

But the point is that a team needs its drivers to deliver and if one of them isn’t, then it’s crucial that the other one does. There was nothing stopping Vettel winning the British Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday. But he didn’t manage it and Webber did.

Webber has nothing to lose here from taking the stance he has. Unlike Barrichello or Coulthard at the time when they were getting the number two treatment from Ferrari and McLaren respectively, Webber is not thinking about his future and so he fees free to speak out.

He has signed for one more year in 2011 and is likely to retire at the end of that, to go out at the top rather than carry on. This is just my impression based on an interview we did for Australian TV in Montreal, where he spoke about deliberations on whether to carry on or not.

In Germany there is a feeling that Flavio Briatore may have a hand in this, Webber’s erstwhile manager until he was banned from motor sport involvement until the end of 2012 over the Singapore race fixing scandal.

Briatore has been in the paddock recently in the company of Bernie Ecclestone, with whom many believe he will start working. According to some German opinions, he may have advised Webber to play hardball in public.

The only thing about that is that he is close to Ecclestone and Ecclestone is very close to Vettel and wants the youngster to succeed. This row is not good for Vettel. And if it’s not good for Vettel then it’s unlikely to make Ecclestone happy.

But there does seem to be a steeliness about Webber lately and he has been quoting other things “Flav” has been saying to him, so it’s possible there is something in it.

Either way, it will be interesting to see whether Marko’s intervention today changes things again.

* You can hear a discussion on this subject and other matters of the moment in a 2 hour Formula 1 special radio show on TalkSport tomorrow Saturday 17 July from 12-2pm.

I’m hosting the programme (the first time I’ve hosted a radio show (!) together with Eddie Irvine. Should be interesting. To listen go to 1089 Medium wave in the UK or elsewhere in the world.

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Just A Bloke (Martin)

I presume you have all seen the interview with Dietrich “Mr Red Bull” Mateschit on the Autosport website. If that is honest and not spin then he has gone up in my opinion and Christian Horner is starting to look wounded I’m afraid.

Sorry if this is not quite the right thread but I tried……


There are some comments in the above about ‘who does Helmut Marko think he is/where has he come from?’ I am no fan of Red Bull, the product or the team, and I think this whole mess had been very poorly handled, but perhaps readers should acknowledge his achievements.

He drove in 10 grands prix until losing an eye when a stone was flicked up from the car in front. He won Le Mans in a 917, holds the all-time lap record for the Targa Florio and was a friend of Jochen Rindt. He is no stranger to the dangers of motor sport.

The current situation is one of those that arises from time to time when you have two drivers of near-equal ability in the best car. If they were racing for fifth, no-one would pay any attention. As it is, they probably need to lock down the PR hatches and decide who is going to speak to the press – the last thing the fans actually want, but anything else would be stupid.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Marko must have been skim reading when he first looked at Webber’s CV.

He wanted an Austrian but ended up with an Australian.


Seems strange that Marko makes such polarising statements (assuming they have been reported/translated correctly), when The Big Boss always seems to come across as very fair and even handed…


I am guessing that somewhere in Europe Bernie, Flavio, and maybe even Helmut are sitting in a room together laughing at how good this situation is for F1… and counting the $ of course.. 🙂

I think its good too… and I’m an Aussie.


Why didn’t you flip a coin to decide where the wing should be placed Horner?

Then all this would not be happening.


Well, Webber did a decent job at BMW Williams…


So Marko is saying he thinks Webber is a poor driver and he only gave him a place at the team out of sympathy?

The man needs to shut up.


What I am loving James is this season. 2010 is just getting better and better and I think it’s a lot to do with being a die hard Webber fan but a lot of other drivers in good cars.

I think this controversy has been the best thing for Webber honestly. He’s always been quick. There’s no doubt about that, but I’ll be the first to admit that he lacks the fire in the belly of the likes of Alonso, Raikonnen and Hamilton when it comes to fighting on track.

He had it on Sunday that’s for sure.

Bring on Germany!

Zdravko Topolnjak

2 years ago Webber was in contention for Fuji GP win. Guess who put him out of it…

i dont like Marko, and it seems like many dont.


I can only see Dr Marko’s comments as indicitive of how the media works.

He is speaking to the german media and telling them what they want to hear.

IMO Sebastian has been put under unnecessary pressure by the british media and it is no surprise to see it playing out differently in germany.

If this story continues lets hope there is real substance to it and not just the media poking the fire. Hopefully there will be no more incidents like the silverstone nose cone saga.

It is fantastic to see the fans shouting for fairness between a team’s drivers and I certainly support that.

I would love to see Mark continue in strong form and completely destroy Seb throughout the remainder of the season. Gotta love the underdog eh!


It will be very interesting to see how the Germans get behind Vettel next week


Bit late to this one,

But Marko represents the sponsors interest within the team, for all the whys and wherefores of team politics, and whether MW should take a bullet for the team, Marko’s comments only seem to underscore the fact that Vettel is the team’s number one driver, when he doesn’t appear to be earning that status on the track. This meddling and issuing of ill timed, ill thought out statements can, in my view, only damage the brand. Let them fight it out fair and square, fiercely and acrimoniously if necessary, that will grab the headlines, and we will all buy a few extra cans of fizzy loopy juice as a result, which is, after all what pays the bills in F1.


James, I have just read an interview with Frank Williams. He talks about the marriage with BMW and the reasons it did not work. He claims the German management style/ mind set of running things is at odds with the British management style.Do you think this is what is happening at Redbull with the British/ English speaking camp “Webber” and German/ Austrian side “Vettel”? Webber was at Williams at the time it went bad so maybe he is just trying to keep the balance 50/50.

N. Machiavelli

“…I have just read an interview with Frank Williams … He claims the German management style/ mind set of running things is at odds with the British management style.

I think the above is the understatement of the year !

It’s not just “management style”. I’ve known a few Germans well, and though they can be nice people, they can also be the most obdurate and closed-minded people I’ve ever met. I say this not as any sort of insult, but rather simply what I’ve observed during interactions with some German people. They have their own way of thinking and it’s less likely they will listen to someone who is not in the possession of an advanced degree, a higher military rank, or that sort of thing. It comes down to a different sort of response to authority, and many Germans tend to be rather less than flexible in this regard.

I am willing to bet that Ross Brawn has himself

run into this phenomenon this year, though we will probably never know unless he writes a book after he retires.

Of course there are exceptions, and I do not mean to say that all German people are as described above.


irvine on talksport?? thought he had a lawsuit with them a few years back?


Some posts here and listening to Christian Horner on your radio show (life’s good apparently!) have raised a few interesting theories.

Christian said the team wanted more data on the wing as the tests had been inconclusive. Hardly preferential treatment and probably not the full story but are Red Bull giving Vettel the more experimental updates that aren’t fully formed but have a fair chance of increasing speed? It would explain why Vettel has been the unluckier of the two RBR drivers over the past couple of seasons if he’s running the newer but riskier parts. It could also explain why he’s often fastest in qualifying.

I’ve also watched the first couple of corners at Silverstone again and it totally sums up the shift in Webber/Vettel relations:

1. Webber gets a better start, Vettel notices this and comes across quite dramatically at Webber.

2. Webber stays firm, he knows he’s shown Vettel before that he won’t move or lift off. Vettel knows he has two choices, back away or hit Webber. Wisely he chooses to back away.

3. Now Webber moves over to the left, kind of allowed as he’s going for the racing line into the corner.

4. Vettel sees this and it’s as if he thinks a brick wall is approaching him, he moves further left to give Webber room, Webber keeps coming until Vettel is forced wide over the kerb.

Vettel’s scared of Webber now, when they go together for a piece of track it’s going to be the German that yields.


Is the TalkSport show available for any of us who foolishly missed it?


This is not a PR nightmare for Red Bull, this is a PR bonanza. Red Bull is in everyones mouth.


What I found interesting on your TalkSport show today, James was Horner revealing Webber had a new floor and lighter chassis and Vettel didn’t

Why couldn’t that have been common knowledge last Saturday? Horner has soooooo much to learn


Missed the show. Did the floor actually have any performance added or was it just ‘new’? There is a difference there as opposed to say a new wing with actual performance added. They could be just replacing the part.

Does that mean Vettel has been driving a lighter chassis than Webber those times Webber dominated the Spain/Monaco GPs??

Otherwise, the lighter chassis was probably to accomodate Webber’s additional weight. He has less room for ballast so he is at an disadvantage to Vettel already.

James, why does the FIA not raise the minimum weight so it does disadvantage all the heavier drivers? It seems like they all want pint sized jockey drivers lately and does not look good for drivers wanting to get into F1.


I think the floor was described as optimized and a performance gain


Marko is just exercising his role as Vettel’s manager.

This along with his conflicting role a “team advisor” is the source of RB’s PR issue.


Pooh missed the radio show – will there be a podcast anywhere ?


And to add…Hamilton will be champion this year…thanks to Webber causing drama and division at RBR.


Was Red Bull’s drama not caused by themselves (Marko, Newey, Horner et al)? I feel Webber’s comments are more a consequence of poor decision-making rather than a cause.

I would be very surprised, Vettel winning the title excepted, if Marko was still in a job next year given that the team is essentially a PR exercise. Then again, maybe there is no such thing as bad PR?


Nice way of totally chopping up my post, whoever is admin.

Anything critical of Webber is censored, adding more to the notion many have about English speaking ‘fans’ and commentators…

If I posted, ‘[mod]’ it would have been accepted. Of course this post wont be accepted too, or posted censored, but yeah, prove my point. The church you guys are preaching to already fell for your drama creating BS.


Not sure what you are referring to. We are not in the business of ‘censoring’ or favouring any driver over another, regardless of nationality. If your comment was edited it was because it violated the rules, which are clearly laid out in Rules of the Blog. This is a place for intelligent debate and if you wish to participate in that you are welcome here.


The notion of what Webber had done before the Red Bull became competitive can, although slightly differently, be applied equally to Vettel. If Webber’s success is so dependent on how good the car is and he’s been pretty much on par with Vettel over two seasons, surely that makes them fairly well matched in terms of ability and driver performance, otherwise Vettel would have left Webber trailing a long time ago.

Cars change every year and until somebody else wins a championship, the best drivers around at the moment are Hamilton, Alonso and Button with an asterix next to Schumacher on that list. Many drivers are made to look better by fast cars… until any driver wins a championship, they can’t consider themselves to be among the very very best.


Good radio show James (but it must feel odd having to say ‘Life’s good with LG’ every ten minutes, whether mid-conversation or not..)

Was paricularly interested to hear Horner being quite critical of MW (albeit in his nice polite way), saying Mark appeared mollified when all was explained on the Saturday so his attitude on the Sunday caught everyone out. Wonder what happened to Mark over Saturday night? (Flav? Helmut?)

Would have liked to hear Horner pushed to explain why Seb seemed so peeved with MW on the Sunday as well, post-race comments along the lines of ‘I’ve learned he’s two-faced, etc’ – did Seb and Mark have an agreement (or team instruction) to hold position into the first corner, perhaps? Seb’s anger towards Mark remains a mystery – as far as I can tell Mark hasn’t been at all critical of Seb..

Chris Rea – magic.

Ed Irvine – not really a great co-host tbh, can see why he hasn’t ended up doing proper media work like DC.


I was interested in Horner’s comments about Webber’s attitude too, what were your thoughts on it James?

I also found it odd that Horner claims they were surprised on Sunday, yet not one can deny that he gave the most insincere pit radio congratulations in recent memory before that infamous comment from Webber. His tone was flat and his intonation was almost sarcastic. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but he couldn’t have sounded less pleased for him if he had tried. Makes me think that we still don’t know the full story.

Great show by the way James, only thing is I thought it was a shame you didn’t ask Horner about Marko’s comments.


Just finished listening to your excellent radio show James. I tuned in online from Aus. unfortunately I missed the first hour but thoroughly enjoyed the remainder. Also I have a newfound respect for Eddie irvine as well. I was shocked he still rated Senna his favourite driver after the famous punching incident but that was good listening.

hope this is a regular show from now on? Would be excellent too if it wee available as audio on demand? Especially for those of us on the other side of the globe.


You can listen to the complete mp3 on the website james provided. I live in australia and just finished listening to it


Marko is very much not helping things to be quite honest.

He may be saying that Webber would be nowhere and so on and so forth, but has he forgotten that in the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, Webber was running in second during the safety car period and could have actually challenged for the lead at the restart, BUT who ran into the back of him? Sebastian Vettel.

It was also Marko that said pretty much immediately after the Vettel-Webber crash at Istanbul that he felt Webber was at fault despite the footage showing Vettel turning into Webber. He can’t undo that and neither can Red Bull as a team.

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