‘He is angry with me to this day’: Infamous ex-F1 driver reveals Helmut Marko grudge

Juan Pablo Montoya worked with Red Bull’s chief advisor Helmut Marko before he entered Formula 1.

Many drivers take different pathways into Formula 1, with success in other racing series sometimes being enough to secure a race seat in F1.

Juan Pablo Montoya went down the IndyCar route, experiencing success at the Indianapolis 500 before making the step up to race in Formula 1 with Williams.

Prior to all of this however, Montoya raced in F3000 for RSM Marko, Helmut Marko’s team, making the Austrian his boss and mentor.

In 1997 while taking part in F3000, Montoya narrowly missed out on the championship, finishing only 1.5 points behind the eventual winner Ricardo Zonta.

READ: Ferrari hoping practice makes perfect

The penultimate round of the 1997 season saw Montoya only finish in third place, meaning that he could no longer win the championship, much to the annoyance of Marko.

Montoya has now suggested that Marko still holds a grudge against him from this race, with the Austrian believing that he let the championship slip on purpose.

“He is angry with me to this day. He thinks I deliberately let the championship slip away on the penultimate lap at Mugello,” he explained.

“We had just misadjusted the top gear. Every time I went to top gear, the engine started stuttering because the gear was made too long.

Article continues below

“But Marko still has the idea that I gave away the championship.”

The Colombian has however admitted that his time working under Marko made him a much better driver, despite the Austrian’s harsh techniques.

“At the time itself it was tough, but in the end he made me a better driver,” he claimed.

READ: Max Verstappen says Red Bull ‘never really talk about’ budget cap punishment

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

Montoya’s son Sebastian has recently signed for the Red Bull Academy, meaning that he will also have to deal with Marko’s unorthodox mentoring.

With the racing talent running in the family, it may only be a matter of time until fans see a Montoya back on the Formula 1 grid.