‘He always yelled’: Infamous ex-F1 driver reveals Helmut Marko tensions

Juan Pablo Montoya got his break in motorsport racing for Helmut Marko.

Juan Pablo Montoya is a household name for most Formula 1 fans, but the Colombian did not take the orthodox pathway to racing in F1.

Unlike most drivers who progress through Formula 4, Formula 3 and Formula 2, Montoya made the move to F1 from IndyCar, having already won the Indianapolis 500 race before making the switch.

Before any of this however, Montoya made his name in Formula 3000, racing for RSM Marko, the team owned by Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko.

The Colombian has expressed his gratitude for Marko’s help in his career but has admitted that the Austrian could be a tough boss, recalling a story from their time working together.

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“It was tough at the time, but in the end he made me a better driver,” he told Motorsport.com.

“He always yelled that I had a lot of problems and that I was crazy and everything. But he did so with the right intentions. He was pushing me all the time to be a better person.

“I remember one time he invited me to have lunch at his house. I was served a salad but I didn’t eat vegetables in those days. He then made me run back to his office. It was more than an hour of running. 

“At the time I was very angry with him, but looking back I realise it was his way of pushing me forward.”

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Marko’s harsh methods must have worked for Montoya because he went on to win seven Grand Prix during his Formula 1 career, where he started 94 races.

The Colombian must have a lot of faith in Marko’s leadership, despite his management style, as his son Sebastian has now signed to work under the Austrian as a Red Bull junior.

“Most teams give their drivers star treatment and pamper you completely. But Helmut wants to make a man of you and believes that if you want to achieve something, you have to fight for it,” said Montoya.

“I think it’s great that Sebastian has been given this opportunity. He can learn a lot there and they have a very good training program.

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“Now it’s up to him. I am here for him and will give him all the help I can, but everyone knows how Red Bull works – he will have to perform.

“I hope it works out well for Sebastian, that he can show great things and that he can grow within Red Bull.”

Montoya will be hoping that Marko can be as important to his son’s career as he was to his, with the racing talent clearing running in the Colombian’s blood.