Helmut Marko vehemently denies Max Verstappen claim

Max Verstappen has been in exceptional form in 2023, helping Red Bull continue to dominate Formula 1.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has insisted that Red Bull’s dominance is down to reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, “not the car”.

Red Bull have won every race so far in 2023, whilst Verstappen is responsible for 10 of the team’s 12 victories this season.

He heads to this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix on an eight-race winning streak, with him having the chance to match Sebastian Vettel’s record for nine consecutive wins.

Most expect him to eclipse this record with ease, given how he’s won most of his races by at least 20 seconds.

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Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur has put Red Bull’s dominance down to the Austrians being “simply perfect” everywhere.

“They are simply perfect in every discipline,” Vasseur said ahead of this weekend’s Dutch GP, “regardless of whether it’s the chassis, aerodynamics, engine, driver or strategy.

“That’s what makes the difference.”

Whilst Marko agrees that the RB19 is a “very good car”, he insists that Verstappen is ultimately the difference maker.

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The 80-year-old does seemingly have a point, given that if the Dutchman wasn’t included in the results this season, then five different teams would’ve won a race.

If Verstappen wasn’t included, then Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren would’ve won a race.

Instead, it’s just Red Bull who’ve tasted victory, with most expecting that to stay the same for the remainder of the season.

“Of course we have a very good car, which we have improved compared to last year,” Marko told Motorsport-Magazin.com. “Our rivals Ferrari and Mercedes have been surprisingly disappointing.

“They have remained at the same level and are still struggling with a variety of problems. Our car is by far the most versatile and the fastest on the track.

“But the advantage, sometimes reaching half a minute at the finish line, is Verstappen,” Marko insisted.

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“Having Max is key,” he continued. “The reason for the superiority of Red Bull is the speed of Verstappen, not the car.

“You have to compare him with Sergio Perez, who is definitely one of the five fastest drivers. And on average, Verstappen is faster by half a second – sometimes more – in qualifying.

“And in the race, the situation is the same,” Marko said.