Christian Horner makes admission about Helmut Marko ‘going rogue’

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and senior advisor Helmut Marko have often made controversial decisions in their running of the team.

Christian Horner has referred to Helmut Marko as a “communication manager’s nightmare” when he “goes rogue” and candidly expresses his opinions.

Horner, as the team principal of Red Bull, has control over almost everyone in the team with the notable exception of Helmut Marko.

Marko’s official role is senior advisor to the Red Bull team, but he frequently acts as the unofficial spokesperson, unafraid to articulate his thoughts, regardless of how harsh they may be or how they may be interpreted.

The pair have worked together for over 20 years, as Horner and Marko’s collaboration dates back to 1996, when Horner’s need for a Formula 3000 trailer first brought him to Marko’s attention.

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Ten years after this initial meeting, Marko endorsed Horner to manage the newly created Red Bull F1 team, a decision that is perhaps one of the most astute the Austrian has ever made.

Together, they have clinched five Constructors’ titles and six Drivers’ championships for Red Bull, and appear on course to add one more to both records.

Max Verstappen has been doing most of the winning for the team in recent years, and he is set to claim his third consecutive F1 crown in 2023.

“I’ve known him for a long time,” Horner shared with ESPN. “When I first met him in 1996, I needed to buy a trailer for the Formula 3000 and Formula 2 team that I had.

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Continuing, he said: “Helmut, first of all, he’s a passionate racer. He was a good driver himself until his accident and he’s just very direct.

“With junior drivers, he’s selected some excellent ones. He’s a stern operator with the young drivers, but if they can’t cope with Helmut, they won’t make it in Formula 1.

“He’s 80 years young, he’s still attentively observing every Formula 3 session and following young talent with dedication. I’ve always maintained a very candid and positive relationship with him.”

Marko’s knack for spotting talent is matched by his ability to make headlines, recently suggesting Sergio Perez had “woken up” from his championship dream.

Horner compared Marko to fellow Austrian Niki Lauda in this regard.

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“He’s a communication manager’s nightmare,” Horner elaborated. “When he goes rogue, then you chaps [the media] only need to nudge him, and you’ll have a headline.

“But he simply states it as he sees it. He’ll be frank with you about what he believes, a trait that in many respects resembles Niki Lauda.

“That same generation, same character in many ways. But there is enormous respect for Helmut and his contributions over the years, and at 80 years of age, he’s still searching for purple sectors.”