Christian Horner breaks silence on Helmut Marko retirement rumours

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko turned 80 on Thursday.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes advisor Dr Helmut Marko has “a few more years” in him still, with the Austrian having reached a milestone birthday.

Marko celebrated his 80th birthday on Thursday ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where he’ll likely be hoping for a Red Bull 1-2 as the perfect gift.

Horner and Marko have certainly worked extremely closely together since Red Bull joined the grid in 2005; however, their first encounter with one another actually came in 1996.

In 1996, Horner and his father were setting up a Formula 3000 team, which the Red Bull boss actually raced for.

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The Briton travelled all over the place in search of inventory, which resulted in him buying a trailer from Marko in Graz, Austria.

“I heard he was selling some kit and so I met him at his hotel,” Horner recalled to

“Bearing in mind I went there to buy a trailer, he basically interviewed me in terms of what it was I was doing and why and how and so on.

“We shook hands on a deal on this trailer and some other pieces of equipment, and I borrowed and financed, [did] everything I could to pay for this bloody thing.

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“He said he’d deliver it to Calais, but he wanted money upfront for it, so I paid him everything I could upfront. I remember speaking to my father [later] and said, ‘I bought a trailer’, and he said, ‘Well, where is it?’.

“I said, ‘Well it was [from] this guy in Austria.’ [My father said], ‘You just paid a deposit, then?’ I said, ‘No, I paid the whole lot! He seemed like a decent guy.’

“I must have rang him every day for a week until the trailer arrived [in England]!

“But that was really when I first met him, in his hotel in Graz.”

Times have certainly changed since their first encounter in 1996, with the pair having developed one of the most successful Formula 1 teams of all-time.

They nurtured the likes of four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel and reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, whilst Marko has also been vital to the development of junior Red Bull drivers.

Horner was asked to give a message for Marko’s birthday, with the Red Bull boss instead choosing to compliment his work partner.

“That was 20 years ago [that we joined Red Bull together]. He was 60, and he often says that he only just got going at 60,” Horner said.

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“At 80 years of age, he’s got just as much energy today as [he did] 20 years ago.

“[With] his eye for talent, he’s given so many young drivers an opportunity. He’s been a big part of what we’ve achieved here [in the team].

“We’ve always enjoyed a great relationship. It’s been great working with him through all these years, and I think there’s a few more years in the old dog yet.”