Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has responded to ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher after the German accused the 80-year-old of having a “problem with the Schumacher name”, in regard to AlphaTauri signing Nyck de Vries for 2023 rather than Mick Schumacher.
The son of Michael Schumacher was linked to Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri seat for 2023; however, nothing ultimately happened between the pair, with the 24-year-old having later been released by Haas.
Mick now finds himself at Mercedes as their official reserve driver, although he is searching for a seat on the 2024 grid.
Interestingly, the young German claimed the Mercedes reserve role after De Vries vacated it to move to AlphaTauri, where his future is already in doubt.
De Vries has reportedly been shown the “yellow card” by Marko to show significant improvement, or risk being dropped from the Faenza-based team.
With De Vries finding life difficult at AlphaTauri, Ralf doesn’t understand why his nephew wasn’t signed by the Red Bull sister team, making him wonder if Marko has an issue with his family’s famous surname.
“It seems that Helmut Marko has a problem with the Schumacher name,” Schumacher said, as reported by Crash.net.
“Even though I have a good exchange with him personally, it seems he has some problem with Mick because otherwise, it’s not understandable to me why it didn’t work out from the beginning.
“To be honest, I don’t see anyone else in the squad who would fit in there at the moment. That’s why I’m surprised by what Dr. Helmut Marko is doing.”
De Vries actually claimed his best result of season last Sunday after finishing P12 at the Monaco Grand Prix, with him having crucially finished ahead of team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.
The pressure is certainly still on the Dutch driver to get amongst the points though, with just him and fellow rookie Logan Sargeant yet to achieve a top 10 finish this season.
Marko has actually defended the team’s choice to sign De Vries amid Ralf’s comments, with the advisor firstly admitting that he has “no problem” with the German’s famous surname, and that they had to consider performance rather than marketing ahead of signing a replacement for Gasly.
“I have no problem with the name Schumacher,” Marko told oe24. “For me Michael Schumacher is the greatest.
“I talk to Ralf regularly. But he is confusing one thing: our F1 programme is based on performance, not on marketing.”