Helmut Marko comments on retirement plans

Dr Helmut Marko used to call Dietrich Mateschitz after every session, before Red Bull's co-founder sadly passed away.

After a turbulent first seven years of the turbo-hybrid era, Red Bull have returned to their dominant ways in the last couple of seasons, largely due to the sensational development of double world champion Max Verstappen.

Verstappen has always been fast and immensely talented; however, for the first few years of his Formula 1 career he was prone to mistakes, something he rarely makes anymore.

The 25-year-old is undoubtedly the most in-form driver at the pinnacle of motorsport currently, with him being near-unbeatable.

He claimed victory at last weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with ease, marking the perfect start to yet another title defence.

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The imperious Dutchman is pushing for his third consecutive title this season, whilst Red Bull are in search of a second consecutive constructors’ championship.

With all of that in mind, things certainly appear to be going swimmingly for the Austrians; however, behind-the-scenes there has been an incredible amount of change.

Red Bull were rocked at the United States Grand Prix last season by the news that co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz had died, with him having been largely responsible for making the Milton Keynes-based team as sensational as they are.

As saddening as his death has been for the Austrians, life does go on very quickly in F1, with Oliver Mintzlaff having taken his place as CEO.

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Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko was very close friends with Mateschitz so has understandably kept in contact with Mintzlaff, who he’s “met twice” to discuss the F1 team.

“We met twice. He got insights. It remains to be seen how far he will respond to our ideas,” Marko told Speedweek.com.

“Red Bull Racing has always been very independent.”

As with any business, a change of CEO can result in adjustments to how the company is run, with Marko no longer speaking to the CEO “after every practice session and race” since Mintzlaff’s promotion.

The Austrian has been impacted by the loss of his close friend, with him having revealed the personal effect Mateschitz’s death has had on him.

“It’s no longer the case that I report by phone after every practice session and race. The direct, personal and friendly relationship is no longer there. Didi was a visionary, had emotions. I don’t see that anymore.”

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Since the loss of Mateschitz, Marko’s future with Red Bull has been questioned, given that he works supposedly on a ‘handshake basis’.

He admits himself that he is a “free person” and is allowed to leave the team “at any time”, something only time will tell.

“I am a free person I can stop at any time if I’m no longer happy. Wait and see how the future turns out.”