Red Bull junior opens up on pressure from Helmut Marko

Dr Helmut Marko has a history of making harsh and cut-throat decisions with his Red Bull talent, particularly in the last six years.

Red Bull junior driver Juri Vips has suggested that Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko is a lot more “straightforward” with his drivers than many believe.

Dr Marko has a history of making harsh and cut-throat decisions with his Red Bull talent, particularly in the last six years.

Daniil Kvyat was ousted from the team after just four races in 2016 following a collision with Sebastian Vettel at his home Russian Grand Prix despite scoring a podium just one race prior in Shanghai.

His replacement and new world champion Max Verstappen has now gone on to win 20 races with the team, and he has out-qualified a combination of team-mates – Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon and Sergio Perez – 90 times in 118 races, proving that heading into a team led by the Dutchman is always going to be a tough challenge.

READ: Marko responds to Abiteboul’s rumoured Red Bull move

Gasly was also demoted to the junior AlphaTauri team, then known as Toro Rosso, while Albon found himself without a seat for 2021 after being dropped by Red Bull at the end of 2020.

Ricciardo himself revealed in a Red Bull end-of-season chat with Verstappen several years ago that Dr Marko once phoned him up to call him an “idiot” following a crash in his junior days.

The Austrian, who plays an instrumental role in Red Bull’s academy, is therefore viewed by many as a very hard man to get along with but Vips dismisses this, saying that he simply wants his drivers to perform well.

“He is simpler than people think,” he said in an interview with

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“He is going to put you under pressure but if you are doing well, then he is very nice and very straightforward. Perform, and everything is good.

“That is the thing with the Red Bull Junior Team. If you don’t do well, then you might get kicked out. But if you do well, you get to F1.”

The Estonian agrees with the approach of shedding dead weight if a driver is not performing up to expectations.

“They throw people out, yes. But why would you want to keep and pay drivers who are not going to be worthy of F1?” he added.

“They want only the best talent and I think that’s the right approach. They keep the best and they give them the chance.”

Alpine academy driver Guanyu Zhou will join Alfa Romeo in 2022 having finished the Formula 2 championship third with four wins last year.

The Chinese driver said he looks up to Alpine driver and double world champion Fernando Alonso, who was always happy to help and advise in the 22-year-old’s development.

READ: 2022 Renault power unit ­will not be a ‘burden’ for Alonso and Ocon

“Fernando helped me a lot,” he said.

“In the last three, four years, that is the most I have ever been helped by another driver.

“We did the track walk together and he was giving me details during that, telling me about the surface and the bumps, and we went through the on-boards in the engineer briefing and he was explaining everything to me,” explained Zhou.

Zhou will partner Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo, with the Finnish driver joining following a five-year stint with Mercedes.

Vips is to remain with his Hitech Grand Prix team in F2 this year having claimed six podiums last season.

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