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What to make of Helmut Marko’s comments about Mark Webber?
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jan 2013   |  9:57 am GMT  |  375 comments

When you are in the public eye, giving interviews, sometimes you get misquoted or a quote is mistranslated. It happens in F1 all the time.

But when that interview is in your own in-house magazine, you do not have that excuse. So how are we to read the comments this week in the Red Bulletin from Red Bull special adviser Helmut Marko appearing to slate the team’s own driver, Mark Webber?

“Red Bull puts him in a car – a possible winner – and suddenly along comes this young kid and he snatches the booty from under Mark’s nose. Psychologically it’s not easy, of course; this would gnaw away at anyone’s confidence. It’s more than understandable,” says Marko.

“It seems to me that Webber has on average two races per year where he is unbeatable, but he can’t maintain this form throughout the year. And as soon as his prospects start to look good in the world championship, he has a little trouble with the pressure that this creates.

“In comparison with Seb’s rising form, it seems to me that Mark’s form somehow flattens out. Then, if some technical mishap occurs, like with the alternator for example, he falls relatively easily into a downward spiral.

“No driver remains unaffected by this, because the tension is palpable. In 2010, it was particularly extreme. ”

There is no arguing with the results; in their four years together Vettel has won three titles and 25 races, while Webber has won 9 races. There is therefore some truth in what he says about Webber’s inconsistent form, especially in the closing stages of a season, but Webber did have a lot of reliability issues in the run-in last year. It’s still pretty harsh to couch it in these terms, especially this line: “he falls relatively easily into a downward spiral.”

One could imagine these comments coming from someone in a rival team, a bit of “sledging”, but it’s not normal for this kind of talk to come from someone inside the same team.

So why is it happening?

The conclusion most people will leap to is that it’s more of the same from Marko, who has obviously favoured his protege Sebastian Vettel over Webber for many years. We’ve had a couple of episodes like the front wing swap at Silverstone in 2010, while made it look like the team favoured Vettel. It will lead many fans to dislike Vettel, for his perceived “golden boy” status within the team.

Perhaps Marko wants this to be Webber’s last season to make room for another of his proteges, although there isn’t one obviously ready for the move.

But if you stand back and look at Red Bull’s situation, they have now won the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships for three years running, the team is tired due to longer hours than their rivals working on complex cars, their rivals like Ferrari and McLaren are super motivated and well prepared and there is only one way for the team to go; downwards.

They must guard against that at all costs, keep everyone motivated.

Now the oldest driver in F1 at 35, Webber performs best when his back is against the wall and, if he wasn’t before, he will certainly be fired up to start the season strongly and heap pressure on Vettel. There should be plenty of that anyway from McLaren and Ferrari this year, but Marko clearly feels that Red Bull need to keep the pressure up internally to drive everyone on to that fourth world title.

Ferrari had the same situation in the early 2000s when they kept the winning streak going for five seasons with Michael Schumacher, but there were some inbuilt advantages there, like bespoke Bridgestone tyres, endless testing and a weaker opposition. But the difference is that no-one ever publicly drove a wedge between driver and team, as is happening here.

The same is true with the Team GB Olympic Cycling Team; having won so many gold medals in Beijing, they exceeded that in the London Games last year. Extensive TV documentary output in recent months has shown that the team’s leader Sir Dave Brailsford, had the same philosophy as Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt at Ferrari; leave no stone unturned, attend to every detail, look for any and every incremental gain. And it worked.

But again, you never heard Brailsford criticising one of his riders like Marko is doing here with Webber.

To make Webber feel a bit better about it, Marko also has a pop at Fernando Alonso for getting involved in “politics and funny comments”.

Alonso has thanked Marko for the comments; to him it shows that Red Bull feels threatened by him and such is the way of F1, that comments are often made when people feel under threat.

It’s all grist to the mill; polemic comments like these provide the oxygen of publicity to F1, which Bernie Ecclestone has always fostered and encouraged.

But this particular episode does feel out of the ordinary, at least as far as Webber is concerned and one feels that the ripples could continue throughout the early part of the season.

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What Marko is doing is building contempt in the team. All these ramblings are simply putting him in bad light.

Whatever problem he has with Mark Webber should be discussed in-house and not in-public. I dont think his job description as an advisor includes washing his dirty Redbull linen in public.


I think its a personality clash.

It seems to me, MW has a very good relationship with the team owner, who loves the guy. Same goes for Newey, and probably a whole bunch of others (the dancing by MW's side of the garage after Silverstone 2010, with the front wing was a classic)

Helmutt Marko who thinks he's doing all the bosses bidding, clearly hates this and loves to rock the boat. But while MW has the ear of the owner, it won't matter at all and Marko just looks like the idiot he seems to be.

Having said that, if I could ever ask CH a question it would be along the lines of "MW seems to operate better when he's angry, do you ever attempt to use that and pi#% him of on purpose before a race? Like a video showing SV kicking his dogs or something?"


kicking his dogs! Oh man. I LOLd.

I dislike hearing from Helmut; I can't recall him saying much that made the media that was balanced, insightful or even complimentary of pretty much anyone except Seb. Not Seb's fault of course, and he's such a talent, I don't even mind the Finger anymore.

But geewiz, I hope Mark DOES feel his back against the wall. Last hurrah, mate, Buckley's and none is plenty. Come on AussieGrit!


What if Webber finds motivation in this?

What if Helmut knows this?

What is this was just for us to keep us thinking about RBR in these long and dark winter days without F1?

I still can't get over the fact that we lost a darn race and we're down to 19 this season - that should be the real news.

Earth to Helmut, increase payment offer to Bernie to host a GP in Austria and bring us back up to 20 races and you'll be tops in everyone's book.


Webber needed motivation from Marko?? You serious?

Why on earth does Webber need to give a damn about Marko when his contract deal is done directly with the Red Bull big man D.M.?

I wouldn't care crap about Marko if I were Webber when he has no say whatsoever about the contract I sign with the big boss.


Important? Maybe. Influential? No.

Look at the past several years of Webber-bashing from Marko, Webber is still there in the other RBR!


You don't think Marko's input is important to the driver decissions? To the big man at Red Bull, F1 is just a marketing project. He has a real business to look after, not worry about who the drivers will be. And pressure who is driving the #2 Bull is greatly reduced by the fact that the Triple Champ is driving the #1 Bull.


Dr Marko is a very smart man! He may understands how to incentive people. He's firing Mark up as well as the two young fellas in Toro rosso.

As the driver consultant he is there to get the best pilots and the most out of them.


This could be the case - some people respond well to being stung by criticism - but I hope he knows Mark well if he is trying this tactic.


Wow, that's an interesting take. Your glass is well and truely half full.


Helmut is just a loose cannon whose job it is to make Horner's more difficult. Perhaps the Big Boss thinks it's too easy for him. You wonder what they really think of him in the team. And his comments about Alonso were laughable.

Tornillo Amarillo

1. I think Massa was ahead and put Alonso in P2, it is logical RBR wanted some strong race from Webber, and for that I think Marko was OK in his comments.

Also, the article didn't say it -I think-, but Marko put HULKENBERG as candidate number 1 to replace Webber, IMO.

So for me Marko was talking about to warn all candidates for the 2014 seat to be like Hulk, quiet and also effective, and more supportive than Webber...

Go Hulk!


I think it's odd that Hulkenberg ends up being the toast of the midfield... he must be glad that Brazil in the last race of the season. He was raved about in 2010 for that pole position when he was comprehensively trounced by Barrichello all year!


wow! thumbs up. very well said!


+1 from here as well! There was a comment in the American Speed Channel F-1 page about Mark's efforts at the Interlargos Final which were curious in that it was pointed out he didn't help Vettle with no further explanation -- anyone know what that meant, or was Marko the source of that one too?


AIUI Marko argued that by occupying a Red-Bull sized piece of tarmac in the general vicinity of Sebby V Mark somehow caused him to over-optimistically stick it up the side of a driver who had a lot to prove and who wasn't maybe in the mood to immediately jump out of the way. Or something like that.

Some people always seem to need to blame someone else for things going wrong in their life. Marko seems to extend this to having to find someone to blame when things go wrong for Seb. He'd be better keeping his mouth shut as most of the time he just looks a fool.

I suspect he's also annoyed that Mark does his deals direct with the Red Bull owner so he (Marko) doesn't has as much control as he'd like.


That was Marko, implying Webber didn't do enough to help Vettel, if at all.


Marko wanted Webber to finish behind Vettel to help with the championship.

He is that wrapped up in Vettel - whether you think it is right or wrong - he comes across more as Vettels manager than team advisor.

And everybody knows, his job is to be involved in the team as much as possible, report back to the owner & do his bidding in the public eye.


He's been doing this since 2010 though. Who was it that first publicly denounced Webber for the Webber / Vettel collision in Turkey? He is a large part of why I could never support Red Bull, as for me he embodies all that is wrong in this supposed sport. He's also played a part in why I no longer like Vettel as a driver.

What I found most amusing was his sniping at Alonso for being too political whilst being one of the most manipulative and political figures in F1.


You never liked Vettel and the whole reason is because he is better than Hamilton. James you are also wrong in that they've together for 4 years not 3, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Marko is not stupid, Horner is not stupid and Vettel is not stupid, Vettel is 1 of the only 3 drivers that Redbull can have that can bring the drivers title and Webber is just a distraction they dont need, bring on the Hulk to be honest Webber should be sacked already.


@ Dave C

Webber is more than a match for vettel

If you look at last three seasons (Exception 2011). Webber has easily out paced vettel in 2010 & 2012 (First half)

Why should wayne or somebody needs to like vettel. Vettel is not that good as everybody praise or think of him

If anybody needs to be sacked it should be helmut marko


Who never liked Vettel, JA? If that's what you think you really need to read a few more articles on this site, JA has pointed out VET's qualities on more than one occasion and has defended him against people like me who think he is over-rated (as a driver only, of course).

To call WEB nothing more than a distraction is ridiculous, and I'll leave it at that.


Bit strong perhaps? I certainly wouldn't call someone capable of winning races at Monaco and Silverstone "a distraction they dont[sic] need" and he certainly hasn't done anything warranting the sack. Marko may not be stupid, to be sure, but he certainly has funny ideas about motivating a team and its drivers. Machiavellian intrigue may have worked in Enzo Ferrari's day sometimes, but more often than not it didn't. Red Bull, and Marko in particular, should take note.


What does this guy actually do? What does he advise on? I get the feeling that this guy contributes nothing of use to the team, he is just someone's mate, and every now and again he has to get his ridiculous comments in the public eye to remind everyone that he still exists. He is best left ignored, by us and by WEB.

Despite the fact that Webber is a hell of a driver, he is also one of the most grounded personalities in the sport - indeed he is literally the only thing (I don;t mind Horner to be honest) that I like about RBR, there is nothing else for me to like at all. Were I to go to the pub with anyone related to F1, I think I'd enjoy my JD most in Webber's company.

Marko? The guy has never said anything constructive, he does not seem to understand that he constantly contributes to VET's public image problems with comments this this and many others he has made. His support for VET runs to fanatical, and is more than a little creepy.


Have to agree Wayne.


I know I'm a maverick, Sebee, but yes there is every possibility that may be true 😉


Are you saying that he is useless and RBR would have the success they have without Helmut?


Agree completely!


I tend to see the remarks in another light.

To win at the current F1 level, one has got to drive most of the time on the knife edge. What better way to egg Webber on to do that than openly revealing his weaknesses? One can notice that he took a long time to get back to the front once he lost his places. It was easy to see that he was not driving on his knife edge at those times.


amen to that!


Webber's weaker results can largely be attributed to a) his consistently poor starts and b) an appalling history of minor mechanical failures, particularly when it comes to KERS. Maybe neither are his fault, maybe both.

He often has the feeling of a guy boxing with one arm tied behind his back. Even still, he and Vettel are extremely close in terms of performance.

As an outsider, I'd read Vettel's arrival at RB a little differently to Marko:

VET always seemed to be the favoured one, ever since he won in Monza in '08, and right from Melbourne '09 Webber seemed to be pushing uphill for the spotlight. With that in mind, his challenge for the '10 title was pretty impressive.


I've often wondered why his starts are so bad. Wouldn't he be practicing this endlessly on the simulator or something???

As an Aussie I've always backed Webs so it drives me nuts when the guy bins the whole race in the first 2 seconds.


I just cant get beyond the fact that webber having ppor starts is partly or mostly controlled by Red Bull and not Webber himself.

It seems too contrived constantly to be a driver issue. ESPECIALLY with all the elcectronics managing bite point etc...

I think Mark is an embarrassment to RBR AND F1 in general and certainly wrecks any chance Vettel has in gaining my favour.


Ooops Marko, not Mark.


The Red Bull cars suited Mark better than Vettel for the first part of the season. However, as the team pushed for improvements that suited Vettel, the car no longer suited Mark. Marks position was sacrificed so that Vettel could rise.Had the car not been changed, Mark would have finished way ahead of Vettel. Hard call to criticise Mark on this one.


Spot on Scott. Maybe Helmut plays hide the Bratwurst with Vettel.


Or maybe it's just some old sauerkraut


Spot On!!!!!

How about RBR make a driver mutual car in 2013 and see who really is the better driver.

Mark has been the backbone of RBR from its inception, Great way to show your loyalty Marco.

Hope Mark whoops Seb this year, then moves into the Ferrari next year and does it again.


Up untill Vettel came along, Webber trounced every team mate he had, from Coulthard to Liuzzi, remember Brazil when he pushed Schumacher out of his way in the Jaguar? Clearly that team is built around Vettel now, and to be perfectly honest with his one year deals and all, I dont get why he didnt go over to Mclaren instead of Jenson, or to Ferrari. As for Marko, we all know he's a one eyed Vettel supporter...


I remember an interview, either in print or on TV where Webber and his wife/girl friend went into the RBR motorhome after his first victory and there were no team members to congratulate him on his success. It spoke volumes..


@ Dave C

"Vettel, he will dominate F1 as long as he’s given a fairly competitve car and he will blow away Alonso when he joins Ferrari"

Vettel will blow away alonso ? Come on mate please stop your jokes

Vettel is no where near lewis hamilton and he is miles behind Alonso (The greatest driver in the history of F1)

If webber has Out Qualified vettel 9-11 (2012) then, Alonso can just wipe the floor with vettel

Such a massive explanation will not make vettel a good driver

vettel dorve the monster RB6, RB7, RB8 with entire team behind him, Webber mean while drove as well as he could with no support or incentive from RBR

Vettel may dominate F1 if newey continues to produce the goods every saeson like he has done from 2010 to 2012. Let newey fail a season or Two then we all will know how good is vettel


I remember that apparently it felt like a wake rather than a victory! . Nothing will change Marko will never back Webber.

Scuderia McLaren

Amazing reading this above link / article and the comments now that we know Seb wins the title that year and a further 2 in the coming years.

Blast from the past. Debating on whether Seb really "has what it takes" to be champion. Will he emulate Schumacher. Is he better than Mark etc. Lol.

Well he's a triple consecutive WDC now, something only 2 others have ever achieved and has almost three time the wins of Webber since they teamed up. If only we knew then what we know now eh?

For the record, not really a Seb fan but seeing this past article made me realise how much the boy has done, how many questions he had from 2009/10 and answered on the track over the past 36 months.

Scuderia McLaren

Wow that's pretty rough. Not a big Webber fan myself, though I respect him, but I'd like to think anyone winning a Formula 1 GP would be surrounded by a jubilant team. Shame...


2010 must wound him psychologically. yes maybe Vettel is better driver than him, but I like Webber more because he fight against RB favoritism to prove himself.

He's the best #2 driver ever.


Swim against the river and get whipped by the current.


Swim with the flow and get 3 x WDC. like someone because they challange their employer's instruction and wishes is to cut off your own nose to spite your face.


You guys don't think Webber knows what is job at RBR is? He has the ability to decide to put his well being at risk and drive in F1, I'm sure he knows that he clearly knows he's #2. Which makes these comments hurtful indeed, but Mark clearly knows where he's at.

Also, perhaps this is to remind him to be a good #2 or not get another year. He knows that being a #2 here is better than being a #2 anywhere else right now.


In 2010 Webber didn't have the measure of the car or Vettel, it was misfortune on Seb's side that took the title to the last race, look at the facts: Vettel would have won the first 2 races of the season if it wasn't for the spark plug in Bahrain whilst leading, brake failure in australia also whilst in the lead, then coming towards mid season in barcelona and monaco Mark won BUT Seb had a cracked chassis costing him half a second a lap so we will never know but all benefit to Mark, then with a new chassis in Turkey we know what happened there, whatever the opinions the fact was Seb was faster and on race pace was overtaking Webber, then came silverstone and "not bad for a number 2 driver" but the thing was again Vettel got his rear tyre punctured by Hamilton's front wing and was a non score but he was on pole, then in Hungary again Seb had the pace to easily win the race and was leading but a stupid safety car rule gave him a penalty to gift Webber victory. The biggest blow came for Vettel when another certain victory was snatched from him in Korea with a engine failure, so accounting for mechanical troubles alone Vettel should have won the title by Monza at the latest and made Webber and Alonso's challenge look better than they did, it should have been as dominating as 2011 really, the only race Mark had the pace on Vettel without any technical problems in 2010 was at Germany, and that says of the quality of Vettel, he will dominate F1 as long as he's given a fairly competitve car and he will blow away Alonso when he joins Ferrari.


The current or flow you speak of is of Red Bulls making as evidenced by Marko's comments.


Bad analogy. There's a perception in the f1 public (true or not) that if Webber "swam with the flow" as you put it, he'd swim straight into #2 driver slot, forever with no chance of escape.

Going against the current is perceived by many to be his only chance.


Hardly - in 2010 webber had the measure of the car without the automated overrun, he just outdrove vettel in that design version, but he couldn't adapt to the newey philosophy of 'just turn in and trust the car to grip' - the psychological gap is too huge.

I think it is simply a matter that there really are a lot of talented drivers and the nonsense about 'great' drivers are usually mythologizing. It's about a driver being in tune with a particular car. Webber was more in tune to the earlier 2010 RBR and even the earlier 2012 to a lesser extent. The team just builds cars that suit vettel more and vettel is willing to alter his style where necessary to fit that car.


love the Aussie underdog.


BS as a mate of mine commented, stuff like this only seems to come up after Mark re-signs with the team.

To me I think they (Marko) would rather not with the WDC than to have Mark win it over "Golden Boy". End of the day they (RBR) still want to win the WCC, right? They need two drivers for that to happen. Reason why RBR did with the 2012 WCC with relative ease.

Maybe you're right and I'm just biased (Aussie here) and it is Marko's way to motivate the team/Mark eg. Front wing swap "not bad for a number two driver". But there has to be a better way of doing it right?

No one else to groom for after Mark leaves, OK much rather Daniel Ricciado go to Lotus with Kimi in 2014 than to go to RBR to be a number 10 to Vettle.

But again have to keep in mind the apparent agreement between Vettle and Ferarri too. Can't afford to lose both top line drivers at RBR can they? Definitely a downward spiral for the whole team then. Can't see any other top driver going over. But now I'm just getting ahead of myself.

Comments like that from inside the team is uncalled for let alone publicly in their own publication.


Well, as the best team on the grid right now, they can afford to lose both drivers.

Kimi and Lewis at Red Bull for 2015 anyone?


Isn't Lewis on a 3 yr contract?

More likely to see Vettel re-sign or Alonso released from Ferrari to make way for Vettel.

But the Kimi thing sounds plausible.


I agree, and Helmut has not impressed me at all ever since he made the terrible decision to drop both STR drivers for last year.

I should not be reading this sort of comment...


I totally agree. Switching both drivers is always a troublesome decision (hello, Mrs Kaltenborn), but for a "Junior" team that is supposed to evaluate drivers it is downright wrong. Having a new car each season makes last year's driver data worthless. If you replace both drivers, how can you know how good your new hire is? If you know the quality (or lack of) one driver, and you see how he is handling the new car, you can compare how good the new one does it. If you replace both drivers, all you know is if you're faster or not. Granted, you have numbers from the wind tunnel but this is artificial data that does not tell you how "drivable" your car is, if it's the car that behaves worse that the previous one, or if it's the drivers that don't cut it (and vice versa).


(By the way I was referring to Helmut's comment)


Then don't


I wonder if it's all part of them trying to build Vettel as a brand (along with the finger waving, stupid and false sounding messages over the radio on the in lap, "that's what I'm talking about", etc.). They really do see him as the next Schumacher, but from a commercial point of view.

Play down Webber and big up Vettel's superior abilities. All part of the brand building and favouritism.


Webber is from Australia where lets say 2 million cans of Red Bull are sold. Vettel is from Europe where lets say 2 billion cans of Red Bull are sold.

If Webber won the WDC in front of Vettel what would that do to sales of Red Bull worldwide?

I am surprised Marko did not mention Perez as I am sure that he could have opened up their American Red Bull market.


I think this is where the fallacy lies: would it really impact Red Bull sales? What proportion of Red Bull drinkers are F1 fans? How many are fans of other sports/sportspeople they sponsor? Besides, if Red Bull fail to market a world champion in any sport effectively, I would argue that they just aren't that effective at marketing!


All well and good if you are the type to follow the whole American-Idol manufactured media identity. I dislike the johnny-come-lately drivers that pop into the best cars after being fed with a silver spoon all their career. And I'm not even old enough to be called a dinosaur (yet!).


I personally find Marko's infatuation with Seb ever so slightly unerring. Proclaim respect and admiration all you like Helmut; but such teary love ist zehr creepy jahr!

I doubt Mark gives two figs what Helmut thinks - they evidently don't like each other...


Now, we're getting somewhere!


Chris Mellish: Very interesting point. Those inlap messages really do grind my gears 🙂


Let's not forget when Vettel took Webber out in Turkey and somehow that was Mark's fault too!

I think that if Vettel had a more consistent and competitive team mate red bull would have fewer championships and alonso /ferrari would have a couple more


That is unfair, as Alonso has no competitive team mate. So Seb has to fight his team mate and Alonso just has the whole Ferrari team centered on him...


Exactly. If the Vettel/Webber comparison is unflattering to Webber, what does the Alonso/Massa comparison say?


That's assuming you truly believe Massa as an equal to Alonso.


My guess would be Webber was very aware of the comments Marko was intending to have published, he knows the game, Red Bull want some preseason publicity without offering any new news, and possibly distracting media from other concerns. Webber knows who pays his salary, and in doing so understands that who pays for the right to have an opinion. Red Bull have made him a very rich man, publically he choose the team over Ferrari for 2013.

Whilst I personally agree with the assessment made, it seems Marko’s intention was focused more upon destabilising Ferrari than anything else, and you have to say it worked. Red Bull published an interview in an in house magazine which got quoted globally and prompted a response from Alonso, who was meant to be on holiday (i.e. off Twitter) Red Bull again showed they know how to manipulate the media outlets available to them to maximum effect. The only thing the surprised me about Alonso’s response is that he made no 3rd person reference to the Samurai, maybe this year he’s a Ninja!


This is what BBC wrote about Marko's comments:

"Marko's comments about Vettel being "virtually flawless" will raise eyebrows, not least because he made more mistakes in 2012 than did Alonso, who was driving an inferior car."

No matter if you hate or love Alonso, Vettel did not raise to Alonso's standard last year, therefore anything Marko will say is just PR.

I struggle to understand how Marko can keep a stright face while saying Vettel was "flawless".

It's all just Pr because the facts state otherwise. I don't blame him, I just laugh when reading what he said, but feel a bit sorry for Webber who doesn't deserve that kind of PR from his own team..


Mister, can't say I agree with you on this. It Vettel who had to play catch up in the championship in the second half of the year to win a third straight WDC.

And it was Vettel who drove from last starting from the pit lane to be on the podium.

I'd struggle to find anyone who had a better season then Vettel. Although I do agree that FA did a great job of keeping a slow car competitive


Tristan...he did that, but he had the car to do it. He won 4 consecutive races in the fly-away.

Let's not bring again those races where he had to fight from the back. Yes, he did it, but the only person that put in a fight was Button.

Anyway, that's a bit irelevant to the point I was trying to point out. He made more mistakes than Alonso! That was the point. More mistakes in a more competitive car. Marko can say what he wants, but those are the facts.


Totally agree


+1 "Maybe this year he's a ninja". Lol

Yes I too have noticed Alonso's self aggrandising and slight partiality to self delusions. This has always been there in Nando's psyc make up, the "I am a super hero and everyone vs me attitude", but Ferrari have really enabled it and well now he has a full back samurai tattoo!



I eventually found the video just check out a little below.



Thanks for that vid. Yep, that our Samurai Nando alright.


"A full back Tattoo of a Samurai" Is this true??? The guy is more whacked that I thought!!!


He tweeted a photo of it


Self aggrandizing? I follow most of what Alonso does and I don't remember him ever saying "I am the best, there is no other." I don't think he is deluded over his own abilities. Does he exude confidence? Yes, and why shouldn't he?


Shane - self aggrandising - definitely was Fernando. Did he need to ??- no he did not as by mid 2012 most people had rated him above other drivers anyway- actions speak louder than words. I think when he started to "oversell himself " post Singapore he started to loose his credibility slightly and the whole Ferrari dispute over Brazil added to the loss of credibility.


Yeah you might be right. It is probably just you... Good pick up. lol 😉


Maybe it's just me, but those statements don't bother me one bit, mostly because I agree with them. I don't think they take anything away from the achievements of others.

The quote was incorrect and paraphrased, the real quote came after the race and he was responding to someone asking him how he felt about his season.

"I’m so proud and I’m so happy to fight until the last lap with the package we have in our hands."

Yeah, totally self-aggrandizing... Totally...

Maybe he could act like some other driver and complain about the car, blame the engineers, blame the tires. But no, he says that he is happy and proud of what they accomplished. How very dare he!

Scuderia McLaren

Perhaps you should read Sami's post above. It is very apt. Below is a small quote from it.

Sami Reply:

January 10th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

"A few minutes after losing the WDC, Fernando was claiming that “with an average car I fight until the last race, with a good car I win and with a very good one I win many races before the end…” I just could not believe my ears! I worship the memory of Ayrton Senna, even if I acknowledge that he could be ruthless sometimes. Humility was not one of the qualities that the great Brazilian had, but he would never ever have said something like that! Never in a million years!"

If this is not self aggrandizing and "I am the best" type behaviour, I dont know what is. Sure, confidence is one thing, but this is just poor form after a driver has just won his 3rd consective WDC. A feat only 2 other drivers in the history of F1 have done. A feat Alonso is unlikely to ever do. How about some Humility? Some Sportsmanship after the result is done? Nahhh!!! Ferrari have really done a number on this man, a great talent, but a man transitioning to delusions of granduer - I mean, c'mon. A full back Tattoo of a Samurai. Still makes be giggle.


It seems you dislike Alonso simply because he quoted from a book. Ninja or not ninja, it seems very clear who was the best driver in 2012 and he didn't drive a Red Bull. Perhaps Marko is aware how good that driver is and try to play mind games already.


I dislike Alonso for the reasons Marko eluded to in his interview. He plays the political game and positions himself as if the sun shines out of his behind, when, I believe, the reality to be a person who is far more ruthless. His dishonesty is what I take issue with.

Every team he has driven for with the exception of Minardi have been convicted for cheating, I believe he plays a significant part in the actions of the teams he claims to lead. When Briatore and Symonds were banned for the Singapore incident Alonso didn’t even have his win taken off him. I do not believe for one second he did not know what was happening. He should have been banned, but the sport believed it needed him (which again to my mind only built his own perception of grandeur)

F1 drivers are by nature arrogant, this combined with dishonesty is what I do not like.

I cannot deny he is a great driver, but as far as I am concerned, he is not the best and wasn’t even the best in 2012.


I have eventually found the video:

"...hemos demostrado una vez más que con un coche un poco más lento que el de los demás podemos ganar el campeonato perfectamente. Con un coche igual que el de los demás seguramente lo ganaremos a falta de varias carreras y con un coche bastante más lento que el de los demás luchamos hasta la última carrera..."


"...we have demonstrated once more that with a car a little slower than the others we can perfectly win the championship. With a car the same as the others we are likely to win it many races before the end and with a car much slower than the others we will fight until the last race..."

IMHO it is even worse than what I recalled...


Arni S - I don't agree with your assertion. The only place you need to be ruthless is in on track - where your performance is measured. If you don't win then it doesn't matter what you do anywhere else. If Webber or Massa win the first three races this year- Im sure their mentality would change - as would everyone in the team and the fans


Sorry, when were Ferrari convicted of cheating?


I think that ruthlessness is the name of the game. Like it or not. If you want to win WDC you'll have to work in a way that "normal" people would see as ruthless.

MSC, ALO VET et al have won because they have seen everyone as their enemy. FIA - hate them. Team-mates - just step over them. Rules - bend them over and backwards. The team- deceive them to get ME the best parts. their EGO must be so strong so that a normal psycho evaluation would tend to lock them up in a hospital.

I don't think WEB or MAS has that inside them. Hence why they lose when the going gets tough. I don't necessarily share this view, but the jungle is big and dangerous and survival of the fittest, doesn't mean survival of the most honest people.


@chad, @Sami, @Dave Carlin, @elie, @Scuderia Mclaren Thank you.

Driver of the year 2012 would be extremely close to call for me. Kimi, Lewis or Sebastian.



Thank you for replying, if the British parliment can provide me with a platform to express my views directlty to Fernando Alonso I would be more than happy to.

With respect to both the Singapore incident and Mclaren 07 saga Fernando Alonso was granted immunity from prosecution for giving evidence. The implication of being given immunity is that you require immunity. To then give interviews expressing you should not retrospecitviy give the win to Nico Rosberg I think is wrong.

Mingojo I promise you, as with every season that passes I will make every effort to get to the paddock and talk to Alonso about my perspective toward him. 🙂


Great post Jon. I have always disliked Fernando for his temperament and mind games, even though I reluctantly have to say he was best in 2012 by very, very little to Lewis and Kimi. But given half a chance Felipe will beat him in 2013- that I can't wait to see.


I believe it's acceptable to have an opinion, but to insult or accuse someone and hide behind a computer is not right. I think there're some work in the British parliament regarding this issue, so people who insult or make malicious allegations can't hide behind a computer.

Regarding the issues you stated I believe Alonso was clear of any involvement with the crash gate. In fact, Pat Symmonds, Fabio Briatore, Nelson Piquet Jr and Max Mosley went public to say Alonso was not involved. Regarding the 'spy saga' , in the final apology to the FIA by Mclaren, the team affirmed the Ferrari data was not only known by three people in the team as they suggested during the initial investigation.

Again, it's fine to have an opinion, but because you don't like someone it's not acceptable to say that person is dishonest, especially when you show us any evidence to prove your claim.


Thank you for writing what so many of us think. The problem with Alonso is that in Spain, it has become a matter of national identity. You will not find anyone in the media daring to criticise him. Formula 1 is Alonso, period. Jaime Alguersuari? Who? Nobody seems to care very much about him. And the boy has got many potential GP Wins inside him, at least that is my opinion.

Look, on the evening of the Brazilian GP, in the News of Antena 3, the TV network that broadcasts Formula 1 to the whole country, there was an interview of Alonso which video I have been unable to locate afterwards.

A few minutes after losing the WDC, Fernando was claiming that "with an average car I fight until the last race, with a good car I win and with a very good one I win many races before the end..."

I just could not believe my ears! I worship the memory of Ayrton Senna, even if I acknowledge that he could be ruthless sometimes. Humility was not one of the qualities that the great Brazilian had, but he would never ever have said something like that! Never in a million years!

So many of the few old-time fans of Formula 1 in Spain, have grown disillusioned with Alonso, and we just wait for him to retire to be able to enjoy our passion as it is: interest in a riveting sport. At the beginning we were thrilled, at last a fantastic F1 driver! But little by little we ended up reaching the conclusions you have so rightly stated in your post.

We long for the day we will be able to discuss Formula 1 without having to confront a fan base where too many of them behave as lager louts or football hooligans, ready to shout abuse at you as soon they find out you are not ready to toe the line they believe in.

Thank you so much Jon.


Totally agree. Well said.


I thought this was about Mark & Marko 🙂 Why so much dislike towards Alonso? Maybe all you guys work in F1 and know something I don't; but if not; then you are just like me and can only speculate.

I admire what he(Alonso)can do in a hard car to drive. Like the Ferrari seemed to be in the beginning of the season (I say this because Massa spun it a lot at that stage).

It's unfair to say he was just involved with funny comments. I also think Massa is unbeatable when he feels good with the car and is really on it(2008?) A bit like Jeff Beck(the guitar player) He can be average but when he's good he's the best. Just my humble opinion


Correct. That, of course, was Kimi 😉


As destabilising to Ferrari Marko's remarks could be, Webber, nor any driver would take kindly to the comments.

If anything, it is as much a rev up directed at Mark to come out roaring at Melbourne as it is in the direction of their opposition...


Could be, but wouldn't they have waited a month or so to release the article? not leave Webber to simmer for 3 months?


Jon Wilde you crack me up!!!


HAHAHAHAHA... Sooo funny!... Or Kung Fu Panda!


Kung fu hulk by his twittpic


I'm not a fan of Marko as his comments always sound like a man who's a bit detached from reality. But seeing as how this was published in the team's own Bulletin, perhaps the reason for these comments is to give an incentive to Webber, to lay down the gauntlet. It sounds like Marko is saying "I don't think you can do it", to which Webber will now have to reply "Oh really? I'll show you how it's done mate!"

If Webber really does perform better when his back is against the wall, then maybe Marko and Red Bull are trying to put Webber in that position right from the start of the season.


Although I don't think Marko should ever go public with his comments I can't say I disagree with anything he said.


Actually Marko si right. His comments are backed by the numbers.

All anti-Vettel fans will go crazy and will have one more "argument" against him, but long it may continue 🙂


Well, Marko has already stated that Hulkenberg is considered for 2014. and the fact that Webber is always received a year contract renewal indicated that Red Bull clearly waiting somebody to pass their standard for vacant seat. And to make it more interesting, Ferrari will have a vacant seat too if they decided to part with Massa. Whatever Webber could prove in 2013,it's hard to keep his seat as he already talk about retiring from the sport. None of current STR drivers proved their worth and with Webber prospect, I think RB would seek their options on Hulk while da Costa will pop-up and snatch a seat in STR.


I don't really see why people are making such a fuss about this. Marko is speaking the truth after all.

With certain media and fans claiming Webber gets an inferior car, his car is sabotaged etc, Marko is just saying that that is not the case, it is just how Webber is.

Also Webber has been known to complain about the team at times. So why can't the 'team' say the truth about him for once?

And Webber has not been a team player this season. When he was out of the championship he made it as hard as possible for Vettel when he could (Abu Dhabi, Brazil), and when he should have been more helpful - like drivers of other teams - Massa, Grojean. If Marko went on about each of those incidents I can understand why people would be making a fuss, but here he's just explaining how things really are.

His only real negative comments are about Alonso. And that is needed as Ferrari continually keep saying negative stuff about RBR.


If you believe that the two Red Bull drivers recieve equal equipment then have I got a deal for you. I'll give you a fifty in return for two hundreds.


I think your perception is a bit blurred. Weber allowed Vettel to overtake him easily in Brazil. Weber has complained about Red Bull at times when he has been treated as a No 2 driver.

If you believe Marko is being honest with his comments...make me doubt about your F1 understanding.


Mark did squeeze Seb at the start and pressure him at the restart


I see it differently: Mark left a car space on the inside, and that should have been all Vettel needed. If you were to have a team mate protecting you at the start, would you be happier with him leaving a gap in the inside, or on the opposite side of the track and allowing the Grosjeans of the world to have at it? Vettel wussed out in the braking zone and lost all those spots as a result.



Whether you saw my post yesterday asking for your thoughts on this subject or not, thanks for posting this.

I agree with the idea that Webber works best when fired up. But also Helmut must want to maintain the status quo- 3 constructors championships in a row, and 2 drivers championships, during 2 of which Webber wasn't a threat to Vetttel by season's end.

I have always thought that Helmut has a wilfully macho streak about him that often causes him to make public personally held views that might be ill received by those in F1.

An interesting character, but one I find difficult to warm to on an emotional level.




marko is spot on there,especialy about webber having two outstanding races then falling off the cliff when the pressure is on.OTOH vettel thrives when the chips are down,(eg post monza when even niki lauda said it's fernando's title to lose)

I think the where seb excels as compared to webber is that his bad days are not as bad as webber's.a prime example is spa 2012 where he had a bad qualy(11th i think) but come sunday day he grabbes the race by the scruff of the neck and got a decent result.


Is it possible that Marco was just giving his honest views, no harm in telling the truth right? I hope Webber gets Pole/Win in Melbourne, that would be SWEET.


Maybe he is still angry at Mark for his challenges of Vettel in Brazil.


I can't stand the bloke, why he even gets press baffles me


Put Mark's performance aside, Marko's consistent use of words and bashing one driver within the team is certainly not a way to motivate the driver or that side of the garage. Could be intented, or could be not. Only he knows. Whatever his intentions, he clearly does not hide the fact that he is more pro-Vettel and anti-Webber. For instance, in his view, Turkey 2010 was Mark's fault.

Now I used to think Eric Boullier's comments were bad until I read Marko's. Does D.M. ever read what Marko says? What Marko always say about Webber are plain ugly and disgusting to be honest.


First of all Webber was never provided with a winning capable car by RBR .

Secondly Marko is drunk with power and success and is hallucinating in the media by making irrelevant comments he forgets Motorsport is after all a sport and RBR will be overtaken by other teams one day or other.

It's time people like Marko retired and left Motorsport in better hands.


Are you suggesting that Webber won 9 races in a car that is not capable of winning? He must be Senna, incarnate!


Yes sorry Gowra, I'm with JCA. Webber has had every available opportunity, and has found a way to go backwards.

I'd also point to the fact that Webber has never won a drivers title in ANY category he's ever competed in. Surely it's no surprise he can't do it in F1, the absolute pinnacle?


sounds like Marko is just telling it like it is.


Doesn't MW negotiate and agree his contract verbally with Mr Mateschitz directly? Perhaps Marko doesn't appreciate this, and likes to expel the toys in public to remind his boss what he thinks.

Re MW's performances - Vettel seems to leapfrog him in performance when exhaust-related downforce upgrades are unlocked. In the periods when the RB car has been lacking this trait (and the driving style required to gain the most from it), MW seems more than a match for him.

All that said, MW will never be champion until he and the team solve the consistency issues with his starts. Be it driver, car or combination of both.


Yes he does and that strong relationship is why MW is still there


This is what will be behind Helmut's comments,

It must drive him mad that he can't call the shots on this, hence he whinges away in the background / media.

Personally he comes across as an arrogant princess.


So there is some division in opinion between DM and HM?


Seems to me that this is Red Bull making sure that they get their name into the news during a quiet period.

They even got Fernando to speak-up on the topic !

I reckon that, one day, Mark will write a book detailing his career and we'll all find out that (1) Red Bull are the masters of PR and media manipulation and (2) he really has no problem with spending his last few years in F1 as No.2 and is quite a manipulator himself.

No evidence for that, just a feeling !


Mark will take this in his stride - it is not a new experience. It must be very annoying for Mr C Horner when this happens. If I were him I would tell Red Bull that either Marko goes, or I do. After all, if he is supposed to be looking after the young driver programme, why isn't he poking his nose in at Toro Rosso, where his new drivers are supposed to be groomed?


Looking for the motivation for Marko's comments: I surmise that it could stem from the junior driver program not coming up with any runaway successes other than Vettel: Red Bull must have almost spent as many millions as they have gained from Vettel's championships. In essence, Marko has one show pony to shout about and by belittling Webber and Alonso somehow magnifies this achievement? Put it this way, if Marko was an executive recruiter, he wouldn't be an executive recruiter for long! Hopefully this is still water of Mark's back, as he has commented before that Helmut has little say into team operations, and not being a RB junior driver graduate of little relevance to his daily life. As for Alonso, his cheerful quip says everything - the fact that he remains driver of the year for so many must really stick in Marko and Vettel's craw.

I think it is a shame that the team order legality since beginning 2011 has shaded the issue: prior to this time RBR went to great pains to point out that both drivers have an equal shot. What we see now is Vettel with the EBD rocket ship that can try out multiple exhaust configs in a weekend (China) and has new parts fitted to it fresh off a plane in the middle of a GP weekend. Webber on the other hand has had a start issue that existed from 2011 that has yet to be resolved (starts being something of a set up matter rather than a skill/ability construct). Webber is then exposed to the Achilles heel of the RBR: low top end speed that renders their DRS and nominal KERS systems useless against their rivals. I'd be more convinced of the equality of their drivers if Webber's malaise was offset against the general direction of the car development, which as Horner has recently pointed out, it hasn't.

The silence from the usually hyperactive RBR PR machine has been deafening in this instance. I have made the trip to the Aus GP for the last seven years consecutively, however if my favourite driver has no shot from the outset, I could opt to save the thousands of dollars the weekend usually sets me back. I think Marko is well out of line making such comments when there are far too many mitigating omissions that should be taken into account when making a just analysis. I admit that I think some of Mark's drives mid-season were a bit ham-fisted, but he shouldn't be subject to such barbs from within his own quarter.


Well said mate


Hi James,

It would be interesting to analyze Mark's results and categorize how many poor results were his own fault and how many because of the car and the team, for the three years that Mr. Marko is comparing. That could be interesting. What say people?


Offhand I would say that at least 30% of his poor results were down to his lousy starts.


Yeah, i think the starts are dependent on the electronically controlled clutch and nothing much in the hands of the driver. The team often goof up Mark's setting while Vettel gets a good start, thats what i don't understand at all.

Or does Mark have a significant role in it???


The driver plays a big role. They run through a pre-programmed set of actions that allow them to calculate the available grip and properly prepare the clutch settings. It is a combination of driver input, computer modeling and engineer experience. Steve Matchett from SpeedTV talked about it a bit this past season.


I don't understand...How can a team goof up a driver's start settings???


Marko has said some silly things in the past, but he was spot on this time with his comments. That is not to say of course that they needed to be aired in public.


everyone seems to forget the problems webber hit from the half way point, where he was leading vettel.

like the mysterious gearbox penalty, then diff problem keeping him slow during a race, then another gearbox penalty, then multiple kers issues in races keeping him 2-3 tenths slower per lap, grosjean crash, alternator etc.

all in the second half!

and lets not forget the redbull only became the fastest car from singapore. webber had been getting results until the point he re-signed.

marko in that article claims vettel had been flawless all year - which is clearly a load of bull. he made plenty of errors.

but vettel represents helmut marko's ego, as he is his creation, so he protects it at all costs.

webber has showed he can be just as quick, if not quicker than vettel. and if you don't have the full support of your team, your confidence is gonna get rocked and it will affect your performance.

formula 1 isn't real racing anyway, they're racing budgets and politics out there.


This is all correct!

The only reason RBR have the CC this year is cos WEB is a fighter despite his surroundings. I like MAS, but imagine what sort of result RBR would have had if MAS was driving WEB's car and all the attention being placed on VET!


One more outburst directed at Webber and Marko could complete a PhD "Webber: Beaten by Helmut."

It has been clear for a long time that Marko significantly favours Vettel, but he must have taken Mark defending his position at Interlagos personally for him to make these remarks?

If three consecutive constructors titles is not enough of a reflection on Webber's ability in Marko's eye(s), then what is?

If he was competing with Vettel for the title as in 2010, then he would bite his head off, there's no winning outcome for Webber here, it seems that Mark is the good doctor's pinyata for bashing at his will...


"To me I think they (Marko) would rather not with the WDC than to have Mark win it over “Golden Boy”.

That reminds me of an episode of the Big Bang Theory! 🙂


I fear it may as much as anything be retaliation for what Marko saw as Webber's betrayal off the start line in Sao Paulo last year. Mark's refusal to give way to Vettel at the very start of the race was seemingly (and unfairly IMO) interpreted by Marko and Vettel as an attempt to sabotage him.

The reality of course was that Vettel had an accident with Senna, and it had very little to do with Webber. I did indeed wonder if when Vettel made his now famous "dirty tricks" comment post-race if he was partially alluding to Webber.

Personally I see Marko's comments as a re-instatement of the 2011 situation, where Webber was kept on the outs by the team after his dramatics against the team in 2010. Marko is making it very clear that he expects Mark to be capable of driving as Vettel's rear gunner for RBR in 2013 and that is all.


As someone said above, this could be a distraction from other major problems the team has. We know that our Aide has said he is well behind on the car this year, something ha not gone as expected, his view of "the Matrix" was disturbed at some point.

However if Mark performs well, Marko can say that he did it to get Mark fired up ready for the season.

I would think that Ferrari also have problems since Luca is spending his time telling every other team how to organise it's drivers. (whilst waiting for a few more Italian governments to come and go before giving himself to the country)


Webber writes the script..

Marko simply does the voice-overs.

The former relishes his 'second-driver' status from a motivational stand-point.

Fills the off-season void for the rest of us.


Somethings simply have to be kept inhouse. Making this kind of comment in public about one of your drivers can only be described as 'negative'.

Lets have a guess what the questions to MW will be at the RBR car launch.


James I think you've missed a trick here.

You state "Webber performs best when his back is against the wall and, if he wasn’t before, he will certainly be fired up to start the season strongly and heap pressure on Vettel."

So what's Marko done? I'll tell you. He's put Webber into the kind of scenario that you state he performs at his best.

Is that (getting the best from your resources) not the fundmental point of management?

Much like an Alonso or Whitmarsh comment, I feel Marko's words are tailoured to provoke a response, and if you're Red Bull you only have one driver who isn't performing at his optimum, so that's the area you focus on.


Er...that is my point..


That makes no sense to me James. Why would Marko want to fire Webber up to motivate Vettel. It seems to me that Vettel performs much worse over the last three seasons when Mark is doing well. Its only when the team step in with updates that this changes. I don't think Vettel likes pressure and I think this comes out in the insecure comments of Marko and Horner when they praise him for being so cool headed and calm (a bit like Whitmarsh on Hamiliton being 'mature'). To me it reads more as a defence of Vettels brilliance by critiquing Mark.

I definitely think this has got more to do as others have said will building up brand Vettel. That it is his determination and ability to cope with pressure (something other teams and drivers have accused him of not being able to do) compared to Webber that makes him such a great driver. The fact is Red Bull have the biggest budget didn't stick to the RRA and are able to produce the fastest or second fastest car by the end of the season. Unlike Mclaren they pick one of their two drivers contrasting styles to develop the car around as do ferrari and this gives Vettel the edge on Webber. I also believe that inevitably this results in favouritism as they have predominately placed there eggs in one basket. Webber is nothing more than a benchmark for when the car suits his style so they can figure out how to bring it back towards Vettel.

Over the season it annoyed me as an admitted Button fan that lots of contributors on JAonF1 criticised Mclaren for not backing a lead driver. In hindsight and maybe a little hypocritically now that I see Button as the lead driver with Perez, I have to be honest and agree with them. If you were to combine Rory Mcilroy and Tiger Woods into a team and insist one adopt the others style of swing and putting it would be obvious that whose ever style was chosen to use would emerge victorious over the other. The same for me is true in F1 but worse it is nearly inevitable you adopt one style in order to win. Almost to the point that drivers within a team that has adopted a lead driver strategy are incommensurable. It is possibly more insightful and comparable when two drivers are up against each other in separate teams in which they are both lead drivers with similar resources.

I cannot criticise Redbull for a lead driver strategy when you look at Mclaren. Who while admirable in terms of principle (although maybe it was arrogance that led them to believe they could develop two styles at once) in having two drivers treated with parity, it clearly cost them a better chance at the title.

However Marko on the other hand has to be criticised for being disingenuous in attacking Webber when he knows Vettel is clearly a lead driver with development and resources focused upon him.


Well said. i agree totally


It's a "gee-up".. It's ridiculous at any level and totally unnecessary. Maybe just maybe it keeps people following RBR in the lead up to season start and sends a rocket up Mark Webbers exhaust pipe. This creates the push in the hope he wins more than "2 races" this year to keep the team in the fight for the constructors championship.

Marko knows Ferrari won't be starting the season a second and half behind and Most Importantly - Felipe has his mojo back and really should be fighting at the pointy end every race !- With Fernando more determined than ever to get his 3rd title after coming so close. He also knows that Lotus are a very serious threat for the front row at every race and both drivers have shown their ability to win GP's.

This year without a doubt will be Red Bulls toughest challenge in terms of World Constructors Championship and these comments fire up the team and creates excitement within the press. I only question whether this will back fire in the case of Mark Webber constantly treated second best in terms of development parts and decides to say "stuff it". I have to say Marko cannot be a happy man regardless- as Mark Webber constantly fights team play and Brazil was the greatest example - not only did Webber fight tooth and nail ( arguably rightly so) as Seb drove back through the pack. But they had to "force" a tyre stop with Mark to clear the way. Either way I think this is Marks last year at RBR whether he likes it or not. I think they will have options 2014 and not least would be an off contract Raikkonen who would be an option if Lotus don't produce a winning E21 and would be a perfect partner for Vettel in his swan song years. I have absolutely no problem with Webber fighting earlier on in the piece, but he was no chance in Brazil and geniunly jeopardised Sebs chance at the WC when he was set for no better than. 6th and 50 points clear of his next rival in 7th.

I believe these comments from Marko signal the writing on the wall for Mark Webber regardless of the outcome for 2013. I can't see Red Bull keeping Mark Webber when the title challenge is so close ( as it was 2012) when he won't yield to "team instructions". They will go for a solid number 2 or one that will be a genuine challenge for top dog. There is nothing subtle about these comments and even if they are politically focused they are totally inappropriate unless there is something more behind them.


Can someone tell me what makes Marko a qualified judge of drivers? As far as I know he's had limited driving experience at the top level himself. I could be wrong.


Le Mans 24 h winner in a 917, always very fast in SP.. Drove for BRM early 70's...

The guy knows... Stinging Webber will get Mark at the top of his game...


Depends what you mean by limited.

I think he holds the overall lap record for the targa florio - that's not to be sniffed at.

That said, I do think he talks rubbish and his success as the head of RB's young driver programme has been pretty rubbish aside from the obvious mega-star. A fluke? Probably the best fluke of all time if so...

There are some obvious oversights e.g. Wickens beating both his current development drivers in feeder series and the way he has treated the drivers he's binned. But it's tough at the top I suppose...


Limited was probably harsh. My overall feeling with Marko is that he's really fishing for that next 'fluke' (as I'm sure all driving programs are).

However, in doing so he has probably missed on some potential stars of the future. Either that or his influence may deter younger drivers.


He's not bad for a #2 driver.


I think he's actually too good to be a #2 driver, and that's the problem. If he was an Eddie Irvine he wouldn't be fighting his quarter so vehemently...


Rubens Barrichello was a perfect #2 driver, but never came to terms with it. He had his chance with Brawn on equal status and still came second.


Actually I don't think Rubens was on equal terms at Brawn. They were hardly going to squander the lead that Jenson built up early on when they had little financial backing... It did take them a while to bring the car development to Rubens regarding the braking materials, and they were also slow to react when Rubens felt the championship slipping away at the Nurburgring...


Now who in the world wouldn't want to drive for such an awesome, inspired motivated man.

Hes not one eyed for nothing...


In the land of the blind, one eye is King...


am afraid there is a lot of truth in marko's remarks

webber should have won the 2010 championship , have not forgotten his to win another race ....statement ; he went for it , crashed , and it cost him dearly as following button's strategy the year before would have seen him the WDC


I wonder why Marko doesn't mention Weber was better than Vettel when there's not air blown towards the diffuser.


I think Marko is 100% right in appraising Webber. Being so blunt in public seems an odd move from the guy who keeps signing him, but I think it implies that they think he can do a good job, or that at least there was noone better available (surely for last year they had a choice of Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Heikki, Sutil, Alguersuari and more)

The gulf in results isn't as huge as it's been between Alonso and Massa. And, I think that de Montezemolo saying Massa has improved/is supportive/needs to lift his game every October is at least as critical as Marko, it's just dressed in formal wear.

I assume Marko is an abrasive guy. Losing your eye to the sport would make some cranky for life! Craig Lowndes did a year in F3000 with Marko's team, and did not cope with it at all; I don't think Marko thought he was committed, and no doubt he was right.

Compared to Webber, Vettel had his career nicely planned and funded for him from a young age. When Vettel was 18, he was on the brink of F1; when Webber was 18 he was delivering pizzas in Queanbeyan. So, I reckon Marko respects that Webber got to the top through determination, and he respects Vettel because he's so good in every area. I get the feeling that Vettel puts in a lot of work behind the scenes, more than anyone since Michael at his peak.


But Marko doesn't sign Webber. The boss DM does and i think that what annoys Marko....but i agree on the rest.


Marko is just getting old..


Well looks like Bernie's old tactics work a treat as you say James. Here we all are putting our 5 cents in on this opera, lol.

My take:

Webber (unfortunately, and I do hate to say it) is a lovely bloke but he will never win a championship any more. 2010 was his chance to make an impression on this team and he missed it. Despite what they may all say in public I am almost certain that Vettel in some form or another is the no.1 and favoured driver at Red Bull. We all know this to be true. No one from the team will say it but we all know anyway right? If anything the only thing in Mark's contract that's a certainty is that no one must reveal this fact in public.

Secondly I do believe that Marko's statements were aimed at Webber, but I think equally aimed at Sebastian. I think that just as Marko knows that Webber can have downward spirals, so too does he know that reassuring Seb in public that he is considered no.1 at Red Bull will boost the golden childs motivation and confidence...

Think about it, gotta keep the 'golden boy' motivated. Ferrari is knocking at the door, why not reassure him that this is his team? He can have it any way he likes it. It's a 'don't even give your team mate a second thought, he is no threat to you here' comment...

Gotta feel sorry for Webber though, couldn't happen to a nicer bloke. But ultimately it's his own fault. He's a big boy and he made his own bed. Imagine if he had the guts to walk away a couple of years ago. The Lotus is a good car now, and you have teams like McLaren and Ferrari who were looking to fill seats last year.


Well, Mark Webber either thrives when his back is against the wall, or he crumbles under pressure. He can't do both - so personally, I don't buy the idea that Helmut's comments are designed to be motivational.

Marko was once a very average driver who now runs Red Bull's driver development programme. He's nurtured Sebastien Vettel and - this is complete supposition - is likely to have a good relationship with him as well as with the senior management. But, would his rather brusque teutonic demeanour go down well back at the factory in Milton Keynes?

Webber, on the other hand, must know the team infrastructure and personnel incredibly well, because he also drove with them back when they were Jaguar. Again, this is supposition, but given his personality, nationality and place of residence, I'd imagine he's massively popular at Red Bull. Not with the senior management as much as with the people who actually run it and keep it moving day to day at the factory.

That's a set-up that's going to cause a little friction between Helmut and Webber from time to time, I'd imagine.

I think its a shame Webber keeps re-signing for Red Bull. He should have gone to Ferrari. They produce race-winning cars as well, and - despite their stated lead driver policy - are incredibly loyal to their drivers. To a fault, really. Remember Luca Badoer? Or even Massa. Arguably, he could have been pushed out at the end of 2011. He was, as many F1 commentators noted at the time, rubbish. As it is, he's now signed up until the end of 2013.

If not Ferrari, then a straight swap with Grosjean at Lotus. A Raikonnen/Webber combination sounds pretty no-nonsense to me.

All the time you must leave a space!

"Alonso has thanked Marko for the comments; (((to him it shows that Red Bull feels threatened by him and such is the way of F1,)))that comments are often made when people feel under threat."

So does that logic apply to both Alonso and Lewis since they can't seem to stop insulting Vettel's supreme talent and praising Newey all the time because they're scared of him?

I always expected Alonso and Lewis were working together to try and get into Vettels head for the past 2 seasons, since alone they cannot beat him in any car they go against him in by the looks of it no matter how many times they downplay their car... Maybe the problem isn't the car, maybe Alonso and Lewis have always been slower than Vettel?


Three drivers would beat Sebastian in the same car : Hamilton , Raikkonen & Alonso . Raikkonen almost did in only his 5th race back and Lewis beat him in Austin. Fernando was only a whisker off in very poor Ferrari.


Alonso and Hamilton are both clearly better than Vettel, the Red Bull have just been too good.

All the time you must leave a space!

Seem to forget Lewis has had a better car than Vettel for the past 2 seasons. Even McLaren personnel admitted Lewis and Jenson just got outclassed by Vettel in a weaker car for half the season in 2011. Lewis finally got his "rocket ship" he always wanted last season and he got nowhere as close to winning the WDC like Vettel did in 2010. Alonso isn't a threat to Vettel either since it looks like when Massa is allowed to race the car to his full ability he drivers around him in circles and since Massa made Kimi look average in the past I wouldn't be very worried if they wanted to go against Vettel, actually I wouldn't be surprised if what he has done to Webber he does it to these similar calibre kind of drivers. All 3 have lost to weaker drivers in the past (Marques, Trulli, Button etc...) unlike Vettel who is (undefeated and) makes a guy like Webber very average, every season even in a lottery season.


Sorry but I don't think you watched the Austin GP...... Now that had priceless Red Bull/Vettle radio messages!


100% accurate. An absolutely and brutally honest appraisal of Webbo.


I don't think anybody here disputes the fact but really, I mean really does it have to be said in public on your own website??


Both Vett3ls and Webbers results show the reality.

Vett3l is performing brilliantly and Webber is not only doing no good for himself but he is not much good as a number 2 driver either. Loook at Webber squeezing Vett3l in the start of last race and then giving up the fight.

Critics of Vett3l and supporters of Webber can't have it both ways. They claim Vett3ls only doing well because of the car but then conspiracy away Webbers woeful results in the same super RBR car. Is the car super good and Webber really bad or the car ok and Webber doing ok and Vett3l melting it demonstrating his brilliance and superiority.


I concur. Firstly, in relation to the Webber comment, there was no doubt in my shocked mind when I first saw it, that Dr. Marko is clearly sowing the seeds for having an excuse to oust (what he obviously perceives to be) his '#2' driver, when the #2 driver's contract is up for renewal, especially considering that Mark, like Vettel, has made clear on more than one occasion (from what I've seen) that he really has no desire or reason to want to go to another team anytime soon. In Marko's eyes, I think, these harsh comments would clearly give Mark the impetus he requires to seek out another team - well, either that or notch his game up another gear or two.

It's all a psychological 'game' in my view.

Which brings me to my second point, the comments relating to Alonso; here's a Dr-guy accusing another non-Dr guy of "psychological warfare", when that is inarguably what he is now engaging in himself...surely the clever Dr must see the irony in this himself, right???

This reminds kinda, of circus-ring-master Bernie recently claiming he only wants 10 teams in formula one. I’m still waiting to for it to be revealed who that Psychological zinger was aimed at!


Question what does Marko personally bring to the team ?


The comments by Helmut Marko about Webber are quite obviously the wrong thing to say mainly because they do not make for the best intra-team atmosphere, a bit like Ron Dennis declaring in '07 that McLaren were racing against Alonso.

However, when you strip away the emotion and look at it dispassionately there is a significant amount of truth to the comments. In the 2010 season Webber was looking like Red Bull's title contender till he lost the plot at Brazil and then at Abu Dhabi. 2011 was almost a Vettel exhibition while in 2012 Webber never looked like a serious contender.

In addition, Webber's public criticism of his team ("not bad for a #2 driver") and his fellow competitors ("first lap nutcase") meant that he grabbed less headlines for his driving pedigree than for his motormouth ways.

As the likes of Coulthard, Irvine and Barrichello showed it does indeed take a sustained level of excellence throughout the season to win the title, and it is an attribute which separates the likes of Vettel, Raikkonen, Alonso and, to some extent, Hamilton from the rest of the current lot, Webber included.

As the oldest man on the grid, Webber cannot expect too many favours from anyone but, as with most other drivers, he has to let his driving do the talking for as long as he is in F1. It is what Marko is doing in Vettel's case.


Wasn't Webber racing with a broken shoulder in late 2010? Mountain biking?


As an Aussie who would really like to see Webber suceed in his twighlight years, I have to agree. When you take what Marko said, ignore the appropriateness and remove emotional bias, it is pretty much factually correct. You can have all the excuses in the world, many being reasonable, but quite simply Webber has not delivered consistently. When he does deliver, it's brilliant tho!


Just pull you up on something there: 2012 Webber was a contender. He was leading vettel at the halfway season point and sitting 2nd in the championship. 2 wins to vettel's 1 at that point. It was all going well until he re-signed, then he had multiple mechanical issues in the next 3/4 races!


Yes, I am - and was - aware of where Webber stood in the points during the season. My point was that he never "looked" like a contender at any stage of the season, because there was always the expectation that Vettel would bounce back and beat Webber.


I just think it's inappropriate. He's commenting on webber as another driver, a driver that has impeded their championship, when he's part of the team that won the constructors.

These comment relate back to the rest of team and the mechanics and engineers that work with webber.

They are comment from an outsider. And Marko should be treated as such.


I'm not sure impeded is the right word. Don't forget, if Webber didn't nab Alonso in Britain the three points Fernando needed were right there!


No, I meant impeded and it is fitting. He talks about webber like he's doing them wrong. That he's getting in the way of their greatness.


Ah I thought you meant physically. Got you there, it seems that Marko wants his guy in the team, then I bet it'd all be peachy. Except whoever replaces Mark might get secondary treatment a la Algersuari in Korea 2011...

Steve Brisbane Oz

Hi James

Happy New Year to you and fellow readers!

Thanks for including my question in the pre-christmas podcast [great listen over the break].

I tend to agree with Jon W post #6 in relation to Webber.

Having said that, can you or the readers confirm (a) MW has a good working relationship with C Horner? (b) MW's dealings are 'direct' with Herr Mateschitz [this was mentioned in the Oz media during the contract negotiations?]




It seems that since Marko has nothing to do with Webber he feels no need to 'cuddle' him in public and says what he really thinks.

I doubt Webber really cares what Marko thinks and would consider him a 'wanker' just as Marko considers Webber a crap driver.

It could also be that Webber is off to Ferrari next year and Marko knows it.


I remember a documentary about James Hunt where one of the team managers said they would point out to Hunt that so and so was ahead of him and looked very fast and looked unbeatable etc etc. This would make Hunt's blood boil and he would go out and do anything to beat that guy.

Seems a strange management technique though.

I also remember that before a race a few years ago (maybe 2010??) , in the garage just prior to the race, the BBC interviewed Webber and showed a tribute from Jack Brabham because if Webber did well ( or won??) the race he would beat a record set by Brabham himself. Pretty emotional stuff and clearly got to Webber, I think he was a bit lost for words. Unfortunately the season unravelled from there on for him.

Mike from Colombia

Marko is acting as an infatuated fan and not as company management.

Red Bull complain about jealousy. But something that I have noticed about the Red Bull management (with the exception of Newey and DM) is that they lack the likeability factor. The same could be said of Lotus with Boullier and Lopez.

Webber is a tough character and can see through Marko, but others would not have been so thick skinned.


and Luca & Stefano and Martin & Adam (& Ron) ... Must be in the Job Description


Is he saying this simply to rev Mark up? Otherwise, what's the point of offering potentially divisive commentary about your own team to the public - can't see its good for morale to sledge your own driver or good PR for the brand.

Like the honest no BS talk from Marko, but a little discretion and respect would be good. Funny when it's in reverse, i.e the driver bags the team, they get fired. Remember Prost in 91?


They've been team mates for four years, not three..


Can someone tell me what is the job of Helmut in RBR? He seems to be the manager of vettel, always defending him but he always has some dirty words for Webber. So if he is a team player so why those bad words for the other driver?


This is a serious question. What does Marko actually do? Does he have any positive input at Red Bull? I attribute their success to Newey's design, Vettel's skill, Dieter's money, and Christian's team management.

What is Marko apart from a tabloid courting blowhard with a penchant for creating headlines? Mercedes have now put Lauda in a similar role, and Ferrari can rely on di Montezemolo and their whispering horse to feed the press with ridiculous statements too....

Have Mclaren missed a trick? Who have they got? Perhaps they should they recruit Jeremy Clarkson as their head of communications and see where they stand once all hell's broken loose.


I would like to put my vote in for Jeremy Clarkson.

Maybe Gordon Ramsay would be good also?


Nothing like getting the New Year off with some controversy.

James, you know both Marko and Webber – what is the atmosphere like when both are together? What do the insiders say or is it too ‘close to home’ to comment?

A week ago Horner came out and stated that the Red Bull late-season upgrade hurt Webber and it was the main reason Webber fell away from Vettel in last season's run-in. However he said that Webber was RB’s lead runner in the early part of the season. Ok, but we know Horner and Webber are ‘mates’

Then read the Marko headlines and straightaway I thought that Marko was up to his old tricks again having ‘a dig’ at Webber. Not sure why he would continue to do this especially after ‘his man’ Vettel has won his third WDC. What benefit is there in doing this? Is he still upset about Brazil ’12? Marko has absolutely no allegiance to Webber and I am sure he wanted him gone before now. Yet comments like this could bring down team harmony. Or does it?.

But when you read both articles together in full they sum up ( in very basic terms) Webbers season. So is much wrong in what was said? I don’t think what Marko said was wrong (apart from the pressure bit) just how he said it and maybe the pleasure he got in saying it.

Horner made comments with the ‘team’ in mind, Marko made comments with ‘Vettel’ in mind. We all can be the judge on the best way to say it.

The RBR F1 car and team is built around Vettel so what is new. Marko knows that.

The only thing that is missing in the articles is the details. Marks poor starts and his issues with gearbox penalties, his diff issue in Hungary that led to another penalty next race and poor strategies in two races had his season finished after the summer break. Nothing to do with pressure Marko! But then if Vettel had a lesser team mate he probably would not have won the WDC… what does Marko want??...since I don’t believe his comments will destabilise Webber.

Webber last year in qualifying put the pressure back onto Vettel who responded like a champion. Bring on this season please as I have a feeling it will be even better than last year.


At the start of the season we all saw Mark doing a great job, Basically he had the wood over Seb for quite a while, I put this down to the car being "new" and not dialed into Sebs style of driving, It seems as though when the car has to be "man handled" and "dragged" around the track, Mark seems to deliver.

When the car gets what i like to call the "Sebastian Upgrades" then the car moves away from a drivers car and moves more to a technical driving car, ie. exhaust blowing helping immensely.

I guess we will see at the start of 2013, I'm sure if the car is not to Seb's liking (set-up) Mark will once again have a god start to the year. I just hope that he can take it all the way though, would love to see Markos interview at the end of the year with Mark having the #1 on the car.


@Craig: When the car gets what i like to call the “Sebastian Upgrades”

ROFL - Classic Line


The RBR F1 car and team is built around Vettel so what is new. Marko knows that.

And so does everybody.. the problem herein is that they do not admit it


Vettel seems to get more from the car when they get the exhaust blowing right.

Webber had lots of gearbox penalties and KERS issues, if you remember. His qualifying was better in 2012, but he still loses places at the start

Webber is very close to Mateschitz and does his deal direct with him every year - without that I suspect that Marko would have got rid of him by now.


I don't think he means to but he is downgrading Vettel here. The car is built around vettel - so for the much bigger webber to be so close to him speedwise does not say much for vettel. It must be worth a tenth or two to have the car designed specifically for you.

All we really know about Vettel is that he may be a bit better than webber - and here Marko trashes Webber, it's not really very clever is it?


Maybe it's reverse Psychology, to get Webber fired up so to speak, maybe he wants RB to win this year with Mark behind the wheel... although I doubt this is the case.

Whatever the case, I think Helmut Marko is a [mod]!


What Dr. Marko (Do we need Dr.'s title in F1?) is telling us is SV has always been their number one driver, and MW is just another crash test dummy.


To go counter to what Marko said, I seem to remember Vettel hitting more things than Webber towards the end of the season, as well as losing it over the radio. That isn't someone who reacts well to pressure...


Can't help but wonder how different the comments would be, if Webber was German...


Tongue in Cheek. Maybe they thought Webber was Austrian,not Australian. Easy mistake to make.


I treat Marko's comments with disregard really.

In the same interview he claimed Vettel drove a flawless season and was critical of Alonso for just speaking the truth (Ferrari were up against Newey as well as Vettel).

With this in mind, it's safe to say that he's talking rubbish.

It doesn't do his credibility much good, does it?


I seem to recall Marko criticizing Vettel's performances in qualifying before the Belgian GP. Agreed that claiming he drove a flawless season is just silly.

Marko's comments labelling Alonso's remarks - about Hamilton likely being his main competitor - after the Belgian GP as "silly" were silly themselves. Seeing as McLaren had just won the last two races at that point, and had taken a good up-turn since Germany, it was a 100% logical comment for Alonso to make.

It gets me thinking that Vettel actually takes some of these comments onboard, to the extent that Marko and others have to tell him to ignore them. I never considered Vettel as someone too concerned about what others are saying, and perhaps he's not, but it does raise some questions. I could see Vettel being frustrated that he isn't getting the plaudits that you'd expect for a 3x DWC, and wondering why that is. Maybe Marko is worried that Vettel will eventually feel he has to move away from RBR to "prove" himself, as JYS has said.


I believe Vettel is the better driver, and I am admittedly a Vettel fan, but he's by no means perfect. The incident in Malaysia was his fault, and thinking he was going to get away with passing Button off the track in Germany ( was it Germany?) was naieve at best. Highlighting Webbers faults without highlighting Vettels just screams of favouritism, and does Red Bull and Vettel no favours. On the whole, I agree with everything Marco said, but I bet these comments are going to come back and bite him in the ass one way or another.


"bespoke Bridgestone tyres"

You'd think Ferrari's competitors were on remoulds by this statement.

Was Alonso, Montoya and Raikkenon not allowed to test their Michelens?

Was it not a tyre war at the time?


It was, but Ferrari worked with Bridgestone directly and had a $20 million testing budget from them each year.


Thanks for response James,

Did Michelen not work directly with Ferrari's competitors?

How did 20 million compare to Michelen's budget?

Even though Ferrari had the advantage of dialing the tyres into their car did Michelen not have an advantage in spreading the testing among a couple of top teams?


That happens when you are 50% of Formula One. I still don't get all the whinning from the fact Bridgestone chose Ferrari. At the time it was the rubber provider for its road cars. On the other side was Renault-Michelin, ahh that frenchie combo! So Bridgestone was doing business as Ferrari was. Those are premium contracts and only a fool would let them go. F-1 is business and then a sport.

Val from montreal

Excuses , excuses , excuses


The reality is there is only one side of this tyre story given each time and that is about as insightful as Val's excuses comment.


Reality Val- face it.


What you speak about others is probably true about yourself.

Marco is pointing finders at Alonso and calling him too political while praising his driver for being more focused on racing.

There must be a reason why Alonso was picked up as the best driver by fans and team managers. He did a better job on track and he had to play a role of Domenicali too - motivating the team and playing some mind games with his opponents.

I never liked Marco for his brutality, his selfishness, lack of humanity. All his comments are disturbing, intentionally disrespectful and never constructive.

I do not know how he can look at the mirror.


Helmut's comments are obviously an effort to bump Vettel up a few more notches in peoples estimations of him. Given the correct set up in that Red Bull Webber would be triple world champion. They want to brand Vettel and make sure Mark knows he is the number 2 driver by publicising these comments.

Have to laugh about him complaining about how political Alonso is, whilst making a heavily political statement.


"Have to laugh about him complaining about how political Alonso is, whilst making a heavily political statement." Good one.


Nah, Webber in the RB6 which in Newey's words was far better than the RB7 and without a single race ending failure all season could only finish 3rd behind his teammate who lost nearly 100 points to failures.

As Marko says, unbeatable a few times a year but not good enough for a title.


Marko's not bad for a number 2 boss 😉


I don't think Marko's comments were at all inspirational.

There is over two months until the flag drops. These comments will be lost between now and any "motivational" value will long since be wasted.

On the eve of a race, then, I could understand these remarks, as they will be stinging, but not with so much time to go.

I think that Helmut's comments just confirmed what we all suspected after Turkey 2010. The team is biased towards Vettel.

Nothing particularly wrong with that, but Webber is not a "toe the company line" man and says what he feels (ie. "Not bad for a number 2 driver).

Either way, I suspect that MW will not be a driver with RBR for 2014.


People said that 12 months ago regarding 2013.


James, isn't that just a reflection of the junior team's failing to produce a suitable replacement?


Yes, I think there's something in that. But let's see what progress JEV and Ricciardo make this year


And 12 months before that...


Having an Austrian, former F1 driver as an advisor to the team seems to cause a lot of headaches.

Surely no other team would do that, would they?


Your humor is apprecitated, Hendo. We shall also see how much the Daimler Board of Directors are willing to tolerate this coming season from their 'advisor' accompanied by his 'texting specialist'.


I think Webber is doing a brilliant job considering he gets the new parts second and is seen as a number 2 driver. As a true racer i wouldn't expect Webber to care what anyone says as long as he gets a good car to race in.


Marko lacks of or perspective. he can only see things in 2D.. . . .


I'm not denying that Alonso is an intelligent man and an astute operator. But he's considerably less political and prone to inflammatory comments than Vettel's somewhat thuggish "minder" Marko.

A lot of Alonso's supposedly political comments and "mind games" from last year were really quite innocuous and were hyped up by pundits keen to put words into his mouth. Take the "there's a lot of debris" comment over the team radio in Brazil. That instantly became "Alonso is calling for the safety car" (Brundle et al). Yet I've rarely seen so much debris on a track. Heaps of it, at Turns 4 and 10. It was clearly dangerous. But of course, by the time the safety car came out it was an accepted fact that it was some kind of dark conspiracy prompted by Alonso. Such is the power of punditry these days.

There were other examples of exaggeration like that. The "we're fighting against Newey" one was another - that was turned into "Alonso dissing Vettel and playing mind games". Eh?? Oh come on. How was that in any way false or inaccurate? Of course they were fighting Newey! That Newey car was a rocket ship! For, um, the third year in a row... When Lewis Hamilton says he's genuinely astonished by how Seb can make four cockups in a quick lap and still get pole, is he political? It might just be true, no? I suspect a lot of people in the pitlane said "we're fighting Newey" at some point, but when Alonso said it, apparently it meant something different.

Seriously, people should take Alonso's comments at face value, and take the subsequent inflations and fabrications around those comments with a few heaped tablespoons of salt. Cut the guy some slack and stop hanging on his every word.

There are too many media people who have vested interests in flattening F1 into a one-dimensional soap opera, just about "heroes and villains", or about "glamour" and money. All to feed the ever-ravenous Internet tapeworm. Many only have one card to play - the media card, and they play it for all they're worth.

One of those people is Helmut Marko.


Agreed that there more than enough debris on the track in Brazil to warrant a Safety Car. Too bad for Rosberg they didn't call for it sooner, as it ruined his race (further).

Same in Valencia, or in Germany, where the SC call never came, and it ruined Hamilton's race.


Spot on! Ric_z


McLaren admit that they had the fastest car over the season, including later races like Abu Dhabi, yet Seb only won because he had the fastest car. OK, that seems fair.


Umm, can you provide a source for "McLaren admit they had the fastest car over the season". Because I don't believe anyone at McLaren has said that, least not officially. Button just the other week said that a lack of pace at crucial times in the championship cost McLaren.

Hamilton's McLaren was the fastest car at Singapore and Abu Dhabi. But you can't win if you don't finish.

Vettel won easily in India, leading every lap. He won easily in Japan. Any grand prix is hard, that's true, but in comparison to most other grands prix, those two were veritable cruises for Vettel.


Sam Michael, JAonF1 end of year podcast.


If you are not the 'Horse Whisperer' perhaps you are the notorious Jean Todt. The same Jean Todt who as Ferrari team manager gave us years of double talk about Michael Schumacher's excesses on the track.


Are you the "Horse Whisperer"?

I do see your point tho


Damn. Busted.:-)


This only proves old characters (Ecclestone, Marko, Lauda) should be at home , gardening. Give way to a newer generation, with fresh ideas. This Marko insanity has gone for years. The day Vettel leaves that team this grandpa is over. Remember my comment then.

Long live YOUNG F-1!


dont think the comments were made to motivate, bbc gossip column said Mark had been put on probation by the team for being "obstructive" in Brazil towards sebastien.

i think this may well be true and that linked with the fact Mark deals with dietrich not marko has made marko react rather pathetically and gone for a cheap swipe at his own driver that he obviously wants gone by 2014.

never liked marko, always stupid comments and despite anything vettel does he is always in the right. only a blind man could say turkey 2010 was All marks fault and that vettel was flawless last season-simply not true.


I wonder whether Marko's motivation here might be his own position and future. His stewardship of the Red Bull junior driver programme has produced Vettel, undeniably a success, but he more recently felt compelled to drop Buemi and Alguersuari amid much public debate; while their predessors and contemporaries have largely fallen off the radar without too much impression being made.

Current F1 graduates Ricciardo and Vergne are not disgracing themselves but nor are they screaming 'future World Champion'. The next generation is showing signs of promise but is as yet unproven.

By being critical of Webber, Marko is perhaps deflecting attention from himself and, at the same time, hoping to create a vacancy into which he can be instrumental in placing the driver, thus extending and prolonging his influence.

Marko is a tough character who has suffered some hard knocks, from the death of his childhood friend Jochen Rindt, through the premature end of his own F1 career in a freak incident the cost him an eye, to the fatal accident at Watkins Glen of his first (highly promising) protege Helmuth Koenigg in 1974.

Following a decent junior career and stunning speed in sportscars, including victory at Le Mans, Marko's subsequent success has largely been vicarious, managing other drivers (such as Gerhard Berger) and race programmes for his own and other teams. He might not always be likeable but he has earned the right to his views.

Scuderia McLaren

+1 - good post. TBH, I am not a huge marko fan, but you are right Werewolf and its not like what he said about Webber or Alonso were really that misplaced.

I'd do it differently, have said what he said differently BUT I did not win Le Mans, lose my eye an have my career cut short, lose a champion friend and protoge' to an F1 crash, race in a few GP's and help a team to 3 WCC's and 3 WDC's on the trot.

The political warfare this year will be as epic as the on track warfare I believe.


Full respect for Helmut Marko. He drove the Porsche 917 to victory at LeMans and was super fast at the legendary Targa Florio in Sicily. As an F-1 team advisor Marko tells it like it is. We need more like him.


Great post.


It is somewhat inconsistent that people accept Ferrari mistreating its second driver openly while an honest assessment about their driver (who is given equal status unlike in Ferrari) is being criticized. Yes, giving it away in public is improper, but RedBull at least have not publicly done anything as bad as Ferrari does almost every race to Massa. The Silverstone 2010 front wing has been discussed already where Webber claimed that he was more comfortable with the older version and hence the newer wing was given to Vettel. I'm surprised that even James Allen mentions this issue as a favoritism when it clearly isn't.


Ferrari at the moment is like a family, unlike Red Bull. In Ferrari it goes both ways. They give a lot to each other, but they also expect a lot from each other, like you'd expect and give to your closest ones.

Massa did find himself in situations where team asked him to take one for the team, but in turn they have always been straight forward with him, and have given him more time and support then any other team ever did for their drivers as far as I can remember. Massa would have been fired by now from any other team.

As Massa and Ferrari take one for each other, you never get a feeling that something is done behind each other backs, while in Red Bull you have a constant feeling of Mark being one on the outside, looking in, and having hard time being in the loop with whats going on at all.


I second that. Many people blame Ferrari for playing the team game but at least they are totally honest about it. At Red Bull, they always say they are fair to their two drivers and in the meantime you have Marko trashing Mark Webber at every possible opportunity and now even before the season as even started. This is so hypocrite. Marko is playing a stupid and very obvious political game so for him to complain about Fernando Alonso being a political animal makes me laugh. Marko driving a wedge between his two drivers will help the cause of the other leading teams! Everybody knows that Mark is treated by some at Red Bull (obviously Marko) as a second driver as much if not more that Felipe is at Ferrari but Marko is not honest enough to admit it and say it which is pathetic! Thanks god Christian and Adrian are supportive of Mark.


Personally haven't heard Felipe Massa complaining about being #2.

Haven't seen Felipe Massa attempt to destroy his teammate's chance for a 3rd WDC in the last race of the year.

What in the hell is Mark Webber's problem? Get the job done, mate, or move on.


Helmut Marko, what a hero: 10 f1 races, no points


Career-ending injury. I'm sure you just forgot to ad.

free ice cream for all

The english language internet-press likes to make a mountain out of a molehill everytime Marko gives an interview that involves Webber somehow. Maybe its a cultural thing, you can´t criticise a member of your own team in public in Britain ? I don´t know. Well in the german language press, from which these quotes are sourced from (like so often) you obviously can. And if Mark Webber was german or austrian himself Marko would still say the same, maybe he would be even more harsh with him because he wouldnt have to worry about the consequences of what the international press makes about this. Because lets face it, it would still be true that Webber crumbles under pressure.

Maybe its because the #1 driver Vettel is german and native english speaking Webber has fallen into the classic #2 driver role ala Cevert, Berger or Barrichello, so a role that was traditionally reserved for foreigners from a british perspective. As Brits(Aussies as well but Webber lives in Britain anyway) arent yet accustomed to play second fiddle in F1, particuarly when the lead driver is german and much younger = upstart. So with the exception of the Hakkinen/Coulthard situation at McLaren traditionally they aren´t used to it and naturally don´t like it and can´t yet deal with it in the internet age as this article and the comments once again prove. For me this is the core of this (non)"issue", not some platitudes uttered from Marko that everybody in F1 is aware of anyway.

Maybe in a few years we get a second round of Aussie-German competition at Red Bull if they team up Hulkenberg and Riccardo with Ricciardo beeing Markos petproject this time. The villain in the english press, surprise, would still be Hulkenberg if he would beat Ricciardo or not !

I think Webber has only himself to blame should he feel that he has gradually fallen into a permanent #2 driver position. But i doubt that´s even the way he feels and he will have a realistic chance to compete for the drivers title once again this year. It´s just that he is less likely to win it compared to a Vettel or Alonso. And that has 90% to do with him and only a little with Red Bull.


Hmm, lots of reaching, and lots of seeing things that just ain't there.



You must realize that journalism is a business. James's reason, as with all bloggers, for posting this story is to generate traffic on his website. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

I've always got the impression that he likes Seb, for what it's worth.


I think Webber is a very good driver, but I suspect the car is designed to suit Vettels style rather than Webbers. It's clear that Marko regards Vettel very highly, but I suspect if he had Hamilton or Alonso along side him we would see just how much is car and how much is Vettel. There's no doubt that Vettel improved because of the improvements in the car last year otherwise he would have done better earlier in the year. Marko is being bullish about Vettel and I suspect he wants a new team mate for him soon. On the other hand I really hope Webber now gets the bullet between his teeth and gives Vettel a run for his money, and I don't believe all Marko says racing is more complex than that.


Marko is a genius.


I genuinely don,t think Seb will be to chuffed with these comments.I warmed to Vettel last season. I am not saying he is perfect(far from it) but you have to say he is very gracious in both winning and losing. With that in mind the comments do nothing to improve his image both on and of the track. Webber is an nice bloke but does he have the winning mentality of a Vettel or Hamilton?I think not! Therefore do not be surprised to see Marko,s unfotunate comments coming true!


I think Vettel is overly gracious in winning, but the same can't be said when he's losing. Budapest 2010, anyone? Besides, you could script his in-lap radio chatter 10min before he says it!


I think Marko is trying to apply heat to Webber. He has dropped hints that he'd like Hulkenburg in the seat next to Vettel. I think this is Webber's last season at Red Bull, which is probably wise.

Vettel probably feels he has the measure of Webber now and doesn't see him as a long term threat over a season.


I wonder what he will say about vettel when he jumps ship to another team in the future. By the way Webber is a better formula one driver than he (marko) was or ever will be...


Hi All,

I believe we are forgetting a very important person in all of this.... Adrian Newey. He has often spoken of Marks ability in developing and setting up a car as very helpful and constructive for the team as the season develops, remember Ferrari wanted Mark's services for this year he knows all of RBR secrets ... Newey wants him in the team Markos comments are just hot air... let him have his moment.



Firstly, put Marko and Webber in the 2 Red Bulls side by side at any circuit - let Marko pick the circuit. Just the two of them - the race is 5 laps - at the end of lap 5, Marko would likely be a lap down. Enough said.

Secondly, if Marko doesn't think Webber can perform, maybe Marko should be let go for having Webber on the roster in the first place.

Thirdly, if Webber outguns Vettel this year, maybe Marko should be let go for slagging Webber.

Fourthly, did Marko put Algersuari and Buemi in there? If so, maybe he should be let go for that one too.


I'd be hugely impressed if any of F1's senior managers or consultants could get anywhere near their current drivers in modern machinery!


I seriously doubt if Marko will still be employed at RBR in 2014. What RBR needs for an advisor is the likes of previous F1 drivers with actual proven credentials. For example, Sir Jackie Stewart could be an outstanding mentor to all 4 RBR drivers. He has the obvious talent and therefore the credentials to be passing judgement on these drivers certainly from a more suitably mature standpoint. When a team officer, especially one who never really amounted to anything in F1, passes negative judgement on a driver in the public press, it's no more than backstabbing. There's no doubt Webber has the maturity as a totally straight shooter to let Marko's public comments roll off his back, but the damage is done. These races are measured in tenths of a second. Nobody, especially Red Bull Racing, needs a headwind like Marko slowing these drivers down. Part of the problem, however is that Dietrich Mateschitz and Helmut Marko are both Austrian and so the likelihood of Marko getting the heave-ho anytime soon would have to be hindered by that, although he will hopefully be taken aside by the CEO and reminded that the team is really meant to be moving forward. In reality, Marko's backhanded comments should serve to incite the competition to wax RBR really good this season.


Marko was blinded in one eye, thus ending his career, he did reach F1. He is also slightly older. He is an ass, but not incompetent.


Marko is correct. What in the hell does Mark Webber bring to Red Bull? Disparaging remarks about favoritism. Mysterious bicycle injuries before the final race while leading the championship. Helping Ferrari's Alonso in another championship deciding race rather than his own teammate. If Mark is going to take Red Bull's money he should work for Red Bull. Not attempt to sabatoge the team.


I know Mark is not a cooperative teammate.

I've been disappointed with these two performance of Mark:

1. I expect of Mark is to have done way better than crashing out in AbuDhabi. That was really appalling.

2. In Brazil, he could have done more like the way Massa did for Alonso but he chose not to.

IMO, Mark could have gone for purple lap times for a few laps then before the race finish, let Vettel pass to add safety buffer for the team's chances. That way, it would have showed that he is definitely fast but also a genuine team player. Anyway, if there was ever a chance when Mark is in the running for the driver's championship, I doubt there will be any favors from his teammate.


Try 179 points to the team's total in 2012, helping them win the WCC. Or the 258 points in 2011? Or the 242 points in 2010? Or what he contributes in developing and setting up the car? How about taking points off their rivals? Obviously it's a simplistic way of looking at it, but let's say hypothetically Webber hadn't been around to take the Silverstone win from Alonso last season...


Marko, is that you?


James, I think you are missing a point here. I don't think Marko feels threatened by Alonso and even if that's true, it's Alonso who spills unconditional media bites against Vettel by downplaying his abilities and praising Newey and Hamilton. That's the kind of words you would hear from a man threatened by a 'kid' who snatches away all the 'young' mantles held by Alonso. Marko just responded to those silly comments pointing out the pressure Alonso's in mentally. I mean last year this time Alonso joked with the media, 'let's see who's gonna be the 3 time WDC'. It's Vettel and on two out of three occasions, his triumphs came at the last race beating Alonso. I think Vettel in a short time has achieved more than what Alonso and his rivals especially Hamilton could have possibly fathomed. That's why even you see comments from Hamilton that state how he thinks Vettel's car and good luck brought him championships.

Conclusion: Alonso and Hamilton are jealous of Vettel's achievements, well nothing wrong in that but they make a mockery of themselves by downgrading Vettel in public who in my view is more than a match for these two drivers considering his age, maturity, skills and outright pace.

- From a Kimi fan


While I honestly think that Alonso and Hamilton were just being forthright in their comments this year. I think they regard Vettel as a good driver, but not quite at their level. So sure, they reach for the car as the differentiator. And while they may be right (I would agree with them) it doesn't help their situation any. It's Vettel in the class car, and he's a good enough driver to clean up in it.

Alonso responding to Marko's comments on Twitter were unnecessary, and frankly pathetic.

It's just the sporting nature of F1, where it's often not cut and dried who the best driver is, b/c there are so many other external variables that cloud the picture. Alonso and Hamilton just have to accept that Vettel snagged a good ticket with RBR and this current era of regulations.


Agree! Alonso and Hamilton really showed signs of jealousy with many comments. Like Hamilton calling Vettel "Luckiest" and prefer Alonso to win than Vettel.

Kimi is totally different. He does not get infected with this jealousy at all. He would be congratulating from his heart (not for public image) and then have an ice-cream or beer.


I think he'd just have the ice-cream.

"I don't care about the others!"

No favouritism there.


It's funny he says that about consistency when Webber was beating Vettel when the car wasn't very good, and it was only when they put the big update on the car that he started beating Webber. Horner even admitted that the update benefited Vettel, and shows that Vettel isn't very good unless the car has a huge amount of downforce.


Would you say the same if Vettel had won in Valencia? Just curious, not trying to start a fight.


Didn't they also put a big update on the car for that race?

Lets be honest, Vettel hasn't really won a race when the car wasn't the best, where as Hamilton and Alonso have won many, many races with inferior equipment. Alonso also alluded to this when he was asked who his main rival is going forward.


How anyone could say Vettel had inferior equipment in the 2011 Spanish GP is beyond me!

Red Bull qualified 1-2, both three-quarters of a second faster than Hamilton in 3rd!!!

Seeing as RBR increased their lead in the WCC that weekend, dunno where you get "inferior equipment" from!


He was slower in the races


Ummm...wasn't he on pole Monaco 2011 and Bahrain 2012? He was also 2nd on the grid in Spain 2011, so hardly had an inferior car.


Bahrain 2012, Spain an Monaco 2011, just of the top of my head. Last year Kimi should have won, he made a mistake trying to pass on the wrong side. In 2011 he drove good defensive races with a faster McLaren behind, forced into a one stop at Monaco. Just my opinion.


I feel that he is saying these comments not only to motivate Mark, but also to give himself a yardstick with which to hit Webber with mid season.

Helmut would have been annoyed that they signed Webber on the back of a good start to the season without waiting until the end of the year. He will want to make sure this does not happen again.


The thing is, when two people are doing the same thing, one will ultimately be better than the other. Seb is a better Formula 1 driver than Mark. To the unbiased mind this is the only logical conclusion.


Think Marko is unhappy with the way Mark drove in brazil, especially as he left vettel little room at the first corner

But he's lucky he's got a number 2 as good as Mark, the constructors isn't won by just one good driver, especially three in a row

Marko may have found Vettel, but he hasn't found much else


AussieGritt to win the Melbourne GP.


Have to agree with Marko when it comes to Webber's "2 unbeatable performances" a year comment. It's so true. Webber just isn't the very top level driver that Vettel/Alonso/Hamilton are. He can win when all the cards fall on their right side, but otherwise will always be the very good #2 like Barrichello always was.


I can't help but imagine Marko's wardrobe containing nothing but regimentally arranged indentical short sleeved white shirts and Levi 501s. No doubt he also has a framed picture of vettel at his bedside. A questionable character indeed..


I'm pretty sure that Marko is in fact Vettel's father, possibly with Ecclestone has his uncle.

The truth will come out eventually, I have no doubt.

pear-shaped pete

So this is the Doctor of law's critique that Webber can't handle pressure?

The way I understand it Dr Marko's BEST result in F1 was to be outqualified by his teammate by over 2 seconds, finish 8th 3 laps behind his teammate who won the race. (Monaco '72)

Kind of hard to value his opinion thinking on that.

IIRC Webber outqualified Vettel 2 out of the last 3 races of 2012.


pear-shaped pete


It's difficult to be really objective about Marko's F1 career because he was nearly always driving older machinery (under the Marlboro Austria banner) than his BRM 'team mates' in the 9 races he started in 1971 and 1972. For the record, however, his best grid position was 6th, 3.4 seconds quicker than 'team mate' Reine Wissel, at Clemont-Ferrand in 1972.

Best race result was indeed 8th at Monaco the same year, which was a bizarre, wet GP that went on ... and on for well over two hours and provided BRM's last and Jean-Pierre Beltoise's only victory.

As a rule of thumb, Pedro Rodriguez, Jo Siffert and Peter Gethin were out Marko's reach in 1971, as were Beltoise and Gethin in 1972, but he was on a par with or quicker than the various other BRM drivers of the time.


So, he's "qualified" to critique drivers with same validity as Stewart or Lauda? or Andretti or any one time GP winner? or you and I..?

Ok, way more qualified than me - I would have finished way more than 3 laps down.. no I wouldn't have finished 🙂

Maybe he didn't get equal BRM equipment - maybe that goes some way to his "odd" views seeming to point to some "persecution complex"?

He sure has a right to an opinion, I'm just trying to work out how credible/important it is. As others have pointed out his assessment of Turkey 2010 defies logic and fact, and I've never heard a proper explanation for it.


pear-shaped pete


Sports management/consultancy is about analysis, psychology, intellectualization and communication not the former successes of the practitioner.


I seem to vaguely remember Marko after the famous AND er...imfamous world-wide and completely legendary "Turkey incident". After Vettel drove into Webber and Marko was questioned by journos that RBR/he was clearly favouring Vettel he seemed stunned into gibberish that they had the audacity to question him. "Dur...dur...dur!" I'd like to listen to it again.


Yes, let's ignore the rest of their four years as teammates, only the last three races count, when Seb was playing it safe and Mark had no pressure.


I wouldn't say he was outqualified because he was "playing it safe". Playing it safe was what he did at Monaco where he chose to sit in the garage and not set a time to save tyres for the race (and maybe not take on Webber head to head when Webber was so strong?).

Markos point was that Seb performed best under intense pressure - Sure we've seen plenty of examples of that - but to be fair - we've also seen examples where under the pressure of a WDC fight, he's been outqualified by his teammate 2 of the last 3 races (2012). You think there's absolutely no possibility that he underperformed in those qualifyings?

I know their overall record, Seb sure holds the upper hand . But Marko put the focus on "under pressure".


pear-shaped pete


Fair enough, though when they both had title pressure in 2010, Vettel dominated. He also raced well in the last 7 races of 2012.


It's perferctly clear Marko dislikes Webber and his attitude to team orders.

Marko told the German press Webber was not compliant in Brazil but actually Webber did comply - just not at starts/restarts and not really the best circumstances to engineer such manoeuvres.

Marko should keep his mouth shut or resign. Sending those messages out isn't doing RBR any favours.


Team orders? Red Bull don't issue team orders, do they??

Just kidding...


Team: Webber, move over for Vettel the next lap. That's not an order.

Web: Huh? *carries on*

Team: I said, move over! Just to make it clear that's not an order! Watch out for your contract though which'll be up for renewal in two weeks time.

Web: ........

*Marko grins like there's no tomorrow in the background*


Typical stuff from Helmut here so no surprises.

The thing that annoys me as a loyal Webber fan is the reaction on the pit wall when Webber has won a race vs the reaction when Vettel wins.

It tells a lot about the team. Im not saying there is a conspiracy but the body language is obvious.

I read Webber's book and comments from Webber's partner as to what the mood in RBR was like when

he won Monaco the first time. His partner said words to the effect the mood was like someone died.

I think he should have moved to Ferrari last year.


Webber has written a book?


James thanks for a great article. It would fantastic to get some feedback on what Dietrich Mateschitz and Christian Horner have to say (if anything ) about this . Obviously both support Mark and this goes against the grain. Also their view on the Brazil race and Marks actions in that race- to me that was a real contract killer in anyone's books.


Sorry, but there's just not enough outrage toward Marko's unprecedented and inflammatory 'anti-Webber' remarks for my liking.

So here's a dose:

How can Mark and those in his camp sit idle, and mute, after what has been said?!

And how can Mark, in good conscience, continue to work for this monstrously insidious, [mod] organisation?!


Success for them is as for Ferrari and Schumacher. Vettel gets the best car, the best treatment, etc. The designer has no problem 'fiddling' the cars specs if he can get away with it. FIA turns blind eye to it. Finally, too much success has them acting stupid in public. Next step it's over.

I hope Vettel does not actually believe he's that good - poor lad has had his head turned by greedy people and will pay for it later.

Surely now Webber knows he's been stitched up for years by them. They just needed someone eager enough to fall for the role - as Barrichello did.

I don't buy the motivation reason. You do not motivate anyone this way - you demotivate them. Webber's just had muck thrown in his face. They want him to go.


Almost all the F1 experts include Vettel in the top three, maybe top four, all very close. Yet the armchair experts know better. Strange that Ferrari are fooled into thinking he is worthwhile pursuing, maybe McLaren will also be fooled when the time comes to replace Button.


If you want 'expert' opinion only, then go elsewhere. Why bother repeating what they might be saying. BTW experts regularly get it wrong: eg they all said Button would be eaten by Hamilton.

Ferrari didn't want Perez, Ferrari didn't want Hamilton etc. But of course if Ferrari wants you you must be the best.

I note that you are simply spouting the words of others - experts - from your 'armchair'. At least I took a stab at thinking for myself. Need I say more?


The difference between experts and fans are data and emotion. You and I are being emotional, and I apologize for my outburst. It is just that our personal prejudices get in the way. Fans don't like Vettel, or Red Bull, or Marko, or Horner, so they must've cheating, or it's all Newey. The teams also have 1000 times more information than us, and Vettel keeps getting high votes in things like team principal votes. Again, sorry for the tone of my previous comment.


Helmut Marko is like that. He is hard on everyone at RedBull including Sebastian Vettel. The comments from Seb in the Red Bull documentary showed Seb didn't always enjoy Marko's method but on hindsight it was the right approach.

I think James Allen is right about motivating Mark Webber with these critical words. It will be good to see Webbo's red mist again. Hehe...

Finally, please... no more on the subject of unfair treatment between the two drivers. RedBull is the fairest team I've seen in years! If you disagree then tell me which other team has done a better job?

Also, the 2010 Turkey collision was Webber's fault. Just go back to all the interviews of Horner, Vettel, Marko and Webber. It is only Webber who says 'these things happen and we have to moved on'. Everyone else in the team said, 'it is very disappointing and should not have happened'. Why Webber said this? Because deep down he knew he should have avoided the collision but he decided not to. The guilt is there.