Red Bull backtrack on decision to sign Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has claimed the team is not preparing to replace Sergio Perez despite ongoing rumours over the Mexican’s future.

Dr Helmut Marko has addressed the recent controversy surrounding his comments regarding Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez, asserting that his words were taken out of context. 

Marko stated that he will evaluate Ricciardo’s performance during the post-British Grand Prix Pirelli tyre test, emphasising that it is not solely based on the sporting aspect. 

He also highlighted the need to keep options open for Perez’s successor.

Speaking to Kleine Zeitung newspaper ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Marko clarified: “A lot has been taken out of context. 

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“Daniel Ricciardo will do some testing, yes, but that doesn’t have much to do with the sporting side.” 

He further commented on Perez’s recent performances, saying: “Perez has had some very good races and some very bad ones – now he has to concentrate again and deliver the best. There is no need for dreams about a world title. 

“The positive side is that he’s the first one to last two seasons alongside Max.”

Marko attributed Perez’s struggles to the pressure of potentially surpassing Max Verstappen for the 2023 title, stating: “He would have been the first Mexican in modern times to lead in Formula 1. 

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“That kind of threw him off track.” 

However, he cautioned against expecting Ricciardo to be a miraculous solution, as the Australian “did not leave McLaren with great honour.”

Beyond the driver situation, Marko expressed concern about rival teams attempting to poach Red Bull staff members. 

He referred to the situation as “massive” and highlighted the surprising nature of such recruitment efforts despite the budget cap. 

Marko noted that competitors are offering salaries more than twice the amount Red Bull provides, suggesting that they may be cutting costs elsewhere. 

However, he reassured that the core trio of himself, Christian Horner, and Adrian Newey remain united.

“This continuity sets us apart from the others,” Marko emphasised.

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“Newey has been with us for 17 years, Horner for 19, and for me, it was even longer. 

“It was difficult after 2013, when we had a similar success and then woke up to Mercedes’ superiority. 

“We had to keep the team together, which is much easier with success. Everyone wants to work for someone like Verstappen.”