Helmut Marko says tensions with Carlos Sainz led to Max Verstappen’s promotion

Max Verstappen won his first race in Formula 1 on his Red Bull debut at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.

There is no doubt that we are currently at the start of the Max Verstappen era, with the Dutchman having dominated the 2022 World Championship.

In a complete contrast to 2021, where the fight went to the season finale, Verstappen has sealed his second crown with four races remaining, meaning he can somewhat enjoy the final part of the season.

It was always known that the 25-year-old would win multiple titles, with the question now being just how many he’ll go on to achieve.

Given that the current regulations won’t change now until 2026, there is a very high chance that Verstappen could win the next three World Championships, given the likelihood that Red Bull will have a highly competitive car.

READ: McLaren fire FIA demand as they want Max Verstappen and Red Bull to be penalised

Verstappen’s second consecutive crown comes eight years on since his debut season in 2015, where the driver who was just 17 at the time, proved to all the world that the Red Bull family had a legend in the making.

Given that his first season came with Toro Rosso (known now as AlphaTauri), it’s remarkable that the Dutch driver claimed eight points finishes from the last 10 races, with a personal best of fourth at the United States Grand Prix.

He took his 2015 form into 2016, where he claimed a points finish in the first three rounds of the season, before his sudden promotion to Red Bull.

At the time, it was believed that Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull as a result of Daniil Kvyat underperforming and being dubbed as the ‘Torpedo’; however, it’s been revealed by Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko that this isn’t the case.

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Marko explained in a recent interview that there was an “unhealthy relationship” at the sister side, with Verstappen and his team-mate at the time, Carlos Sainz having somewhat parental issues.

Ex-F1 driver Jos Verstappen and racing driver Carlos Sainz Sr. were vocal figures in the team, stemming an unwanted friction in the side.

It was because of this that Red Bull had to take action, something they did by switching Verstappen and Kvyat around.

“We had Sainz and Verstappen at the same time. That wasn’t a healthy relationship with Toro Rosso,” Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.

READ: Ex-F1 champion aims dig at FIA over anti-US system

“On the one hand the shrewd politician Carlos Sainz Senior, on the other hand, the emotional three-way Jos Verstappen. Sometimes things really got down to business.

“With the promotion of Max, we defused it in one fell swoop. Father Sainz was of course offended to death and no longer understood the world.

“Internally we sometimes had to take tough action, even if it was to the outside world always looked harmonious.”

Promoting Verstappen in the fifth round of the 2016 World Championship has proven to have been the Austrians greatest decision, as the Dutchman won his maiden race for the side at the Spanish Grand Prix.