Helmut Marko responds to AlphaTauri sale rumour

Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz passed away during the United States GP weekend following a long battle with an illness.

It’s a tough time to be part of the Red Bull family right now, with so much having taken place in a relatively short period of time.

Despite the intensity of the Formula 1 calendar already being an incredibly tough task to deal with, in the last month alone, the Austrians have had to deal with the budget cap scandal and the tragic loss of co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

After being deemed to have breached the 2021 cap by $2.2 million, Red Bull were punished by the FIA with a $7 million fine and a 10-percent reduction in permitted aerodynamic research, meaning a cut in their allotted wind tunnel time.

The investigation was postponed momentarily, though, at the United States Grand Prix, where it was revealed by Red Bull that Mateschitz had lost his life.

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It represented the loss of one of motorsports most influential figures, given the success the energy drink company have had in racing, but also the youth system they’ve put in place.

It’s seen a management restructuring take place at the side, with the brand having been forced to adjust to the loss of their co-founder.

An immediate task for the F1 team at least, was to decide how to pay the fine to the FIA, with some reports having suggested that sister side, AlphaTauri, may be sold.

This is believed to have been said by new CEO Oliver Mintzlaff; however, close friend of Mateschitz, Dr Helmut Marko, who is a senior Red Bull advisor, revealed to AMuS that AlphaTauri are not for sale and that the current target is to get them towards the front.  

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“The group is doing well,” Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.

“There is no financial need to sell the team. There is more of a need to bring them back to a higher level in terms of sport.”

Mintzlaff’s promotion from football club Red Bull Leipzig to his role as CEO of the brand’s Red Bull F1 project is just a small part of the huge overhaul of change that has taken place.

Marko is expecting things to “certainly change” with new people in charge, but that the team are the brand’s “strongest and most efficient marketing tool”.

“It was a de facto autocracy,” he said.

“But Red Bull Racing is the group’s strongest and most efficient marketing tool and we worked very independently in the past.

“We were the only ones who didn’t have to follow certain company rules. That autonomy existed with Mateschitz’s consent.”

It’s not just the brand that has seen change, with Marko having also been asked about the future of the Austrian Grand Prix, which is, of course, held at the Red Bull Ring.

Marko revealed that the circuit is owned not by Red Bull but the “Mateschitz foundation”, with the energy drink simply a sponsor for it.

“It is owned by the Mateschitz foundation,” explained Marko.

“It’s separate from the group. There is a sponsorship deal between Red Bull and Projekt Spielberg. We’ll have to see how things go with the private foundation. But as I said, that is independent of Red Bull.”

With all the change taking place, is Marko set for a new role at the company?

The Austrian admitted that he is “independent” but that everything is “going well”, with negotiations regarding the brand set to take place in Asia.

“There will soon be business negotiations in Thailand,” said the 79-year-old.

“I’m independent. It depends on the overall structure. But we still have a lot to do and it’s going well. We work very efficiently.”

Whilst the side have been changing following the co-founder’s death, there is still the ‘Cashgate’ penalty to deal with.

In regard to that, Marko is expecting Red Bull to be below this year’s budget and any future budget.

Incredibly, the side are set to save money by having less time in the wind tunnel, with Marko joking that the team’s current wind tunnel “takes a while to heat up”, which costs more money.

“The problem with our wind tunnel is that it is a post-war product,” he said.

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“It was set up by the English ministry of defence and is under monument protection.

“It is insanely long and not isolated, so it takes a while to heat up, especially when it’s cold outside. Adrian Newey has complained for a long time which is why we’re building a new one.

“That’s actually idiotic because the whole development is going towards CFD simulations. So it’s another 50 million because again we (the F1 teams) couldn’t agree.”