Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen opened up on Sergio Perez, Alexander Albon, Honda/Mercedes, F1 2020/2021 and more.
Marko and Verstappen were the guest on Servus TV’s Sport & Talk Programme, where they opened up on the recent happenings. They discussed about the 2020 F1 season, which ended on a high with the Dutchman winning handsomely in Abu Dhabi.
It was also a good show from Red Bull on the whole where Albon was just behind Lewis Hamilton for third. The key, though, is for the F1 team to start 2021 well, which they believe they can since the regulations don’t change as much.
Interestingly, they feel the MGU-K issues which Mercedes are facing, could be beneficial to Red Bull as Honda had been reliable mostly in 2020. The engine part is linked to the signing of Perez on a one-year deal, where the team is looking to use his expertise.
Perez has been driving the Mercedes engine for the last seven years and even though he gets the customer spec, he has sound knowledge which Red Bull wishes to use in 2021 in the fight against the German manufacturer in the last year of Honda.
“It was a relatively short contract negotiation,” said Marko on Servus TV. “It’s a one-year contract, but we have an option, we can step in if he gets other offers. The reason for it is where you have to bring Max in. Since he’s been with us, the second car, except with Ricciardo, has always dropped off. Now we are looking at how a driver who was very fast in a Mercedes copy will perform.
“Perez has an incredible tyre management and he brings a lot of know-how about how the Mercedes engine works, the drivability. After they [Racing Point] terminated the contract with him, he was naturally very attentive to everything Mercedes does, so we are hoping for a lot of input,” summed up Marko, as he added on the Honda/Mercedes engine.
The Austrian updated on the negotiations with regards to having Honda IP. “The Honda engine will gain significantly in power,” said Marko. “Mercedes has durability problems, they need to look at fixing the MGU-K errors. And what Honda has promised us is also coming. We also see a significant gain in driveability and clipping.
“As for the negotiations, it’s a complex topic, but I would say we are 85%/90% close to the target. Honda has been very helpful. This means that we can continue to use the engine, also with technical help from Honda. But we need a freeze on development.
“The development is the most expensive thing and needs technical capacities that we cannot afford in this form. But the rest looks good. We might be able to finalise it by the end of the year or shortly into the new year,” summed up Marko.
Talking about the Red Bull juniors, Marko has full faith still on its programme as they now have Juri Vips and Jehan Daruvala to look at for 2022 after promoting Yuki Tsunoda in 2021. “We brought a very fast Japanese driver [Tsunoda] into F1 after I think 10 years. We have Juri Vips, Lawson and Daruvala who are absolutely capable of moving up to F1 if they perform well in F2,” he said.
Meanwhile, Verstappen, welcomed Perez in the team but has nice words for Perez too. “It’s going to be fine,” said the Dutchman. “Sergio is relaxed too, and he is fast on the track but we need that in the team. Sergio has done a great job with Racing Point this year, so I hope that we will be at the front with both cars next year.
“It’s obviously a pity. I like Alex, of course. We’ve known each other for a long time. But he is still in the team. He is fast, but this year has been difficult for him. Maybe next year there will be another chance,” summed up Verstappen as he added on his early days with his father Jos and Marko taking over him as a mentor.
“I still talk to him [Jos] every day during a race weekend [even if he did not attend much in 2020],” said Verstappen. “With WhatsApp I clarify a lot of things with him, but that’s also just so that he gets the information at home. And yes, Jos left me on the highway once after the championship in 2012. But 10 minutes later he was back again. I can laugh about it now, but those were difficult times back then.
“But now, I get along very well with Helmut. He is always very honest, and maybe he is a bit like a second father. I had the same experience with my father before, but since I came to F1, my father is more in the background now and Helmut took over everything,” Verstappen summed up.
Here’s the full video of the show: https://www.servustv.com/videos/aa-21y9yrq6d2112/
Here’s Max Verstappen on knowing Red Bull needing to start quick
Here’s the drivers’ Top 10 of 2020
Here’s stats difference from 2019 to 2020
Here’s how FIA Gala panned out
Here’s latest on Albon, Perez, Kvyat and Verstappen
Here’s Christian Horner on taking Sergio Perez + thoughts of Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas & Lewis Hamilton from FIA F1 Gala
[Note: The translation and short quotes was provided by @Vetteleclerc]