Max Verstappen ‘wouldn’t tolerate’ Helmut Marko being sacked amid dispute

Max Verstappen first met Helmut Marko when he was just 15 years old and quite early in his racing career.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher has revealed that Max Verstappen “wouldn’t tolerate” Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko being fired, something it’s been reported team boss Christian Horner is trying to do.

According to Brazilian outlet Globo, Marko will be ousted at Red Bull at the end of the current season; however, the 80-year-old has quashed the report and insisted he has a deal until the end of 2024.

Marko has stressed that he’ll only leave Red Bull on his terms and when he’s ready to do so, although he has admitted to there being a power struggle between himself and Horner since Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz passed away.

Supposedly, since the co-founder’s passing during the 2022 United States Grand Prix, Horner has asked for more control of Red Bull’s F1 operations, including sister team AlphaTauri.

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The Red Bull team principal is believed to have been a part of recent driver and director discussions ahead of 2024, with the Faenza-based outfit set to undergo a huge rebranding.

According to Schumacher, Red Bull’s top bosses insisted that they required more support, something the German believes Horner agreed to if he could have “more influence” on the company’s F1 operations.

Schumacher expects Horner to try and develop AlphaTauri into a stronger outfit alongside his current team principal role, to either get them performing at a higher level or to increase their value should Red Bull decide to sell their sister side.

“In the past there was a rumor that AlphaTauri was to be sold. But the sale was then prevented from Salzburg because it was another wish of the late Didi Mateschitz,” Schumacher said on Sky Sports Germany.

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“Then it was decided that more support was needed. Christian Horner, in turn, took this as an opportunity to say: If I should support more, I also have to have more influence.

“The owner family was originally of the opinion that there wasn’t necessarily a need for two teams in Formula 1.

“Now I have the feeling that Horner should take over the AlphaTauri theme and make the team as successful as possible to achieve it, possibly being able to sell at a higher price at some point. That’s the intention behind it.”

As for Marko’s position in the team, Schumacher has stressed that Verstappen would be furious if Horner removed Marko, with the Dutchman supposedly being more in favour of the Briton leaving than the Austrian.

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Marko and Verstappen are believed to have a very special bond, as Marko was a huge believer in the 26-year-old from an early stage in his career.

“The connection between Dr. Marko and Verstappen should not be underestimated,” Schumacher explained.

“Dr. Marko promoted him very early on and is always on his side. We hear that Verstappen wouldn’t tolerate it, but could rather do without Horner.”