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(Motorsport-Total.com) – “Max is an exceptional figure – in many areas,” says Helmut Marko enthusiastically. The Red Bull Motorsport consultant looks at the season in an interview with 'Motorsport-Total.com' 2019 and the performance of his protege. The Grazer reveals how the first encounter with the Dutch went and why he was 15 – year-old convinced from the start.

Max Verstappen, Helmut Marko

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Helmut Marko has been promoting Verstappen since 2015 Zoom Download

Verstappen not only has an “extraordinary driving skill”, but is also mentally very strong, clarifies Marko. The sits in his office in the center of Graz with a view of the Schlossberg – Year-olds at the table where he first sat across from Verstappen.

“Da battle he about 15 years [alt]. I usually talk round 20 minutes with a driver, so that I can get a picture of the personality and the whole structure, “says the Austrian. At Verstappen it was different: “I sat with Max for an hour and a half.”

Formula 1 use “no insignificant risk”

Today Marko can still remember his first impression: “There is a very young body sitting there, but with a mind that is certainly three to five years ahead battle. ” Meanwhile, today 22 – Year olds developed so far that age and maturity have harmonized. “But both are far above average.”

It was clear to the ex-racing driver battle from the start that an exceptional boy was sitting opposite him. The conversation lasted longer because Marko was already thinking of a Formula 1 race in the back of his mind. “And of course if someone 15 years old and only one year in a formula category, that's a risky step and also a not insignificant risk. “


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Therefore, he had to talk to Verstappen first to find out more about the young man. “Then I saw how mature he was and how much he had learned during this karting time and with what effort he tackled this whole racing sport.”

Marko: “I would do it again”

That was also a prerequisite for Red Bull to be able to stake out 2015 to enable the Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso. At that time the son of Jos Verstappen just barely 17 years and 163 days old – a new record. This personnel decision was accompanied by a lot of criticism.

Red Bull was accused of acting irresponsibly. But ultimately the experiment showed that it was worth it – “and also went well”. The FIA's response was not long in coming. Meanwhile, all pilots must at least 18 be years old.

Marko speaks of an “excessive reaction” and criticizes the Points system for the super license . “I hope that this will be revised, because there are many drivers who 40 have points, but not the potential to succeed in Formula 1 and there are many youngsters who would have the hobble but not the necessary points. “


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Some Formula 1 drivers before Verstappen would already be there points failed, under other Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button or Pascal Wehrlein. Before his Formula 1 debut, Verstappen had only one season of experience in formula racing (Formula 3 European Championship). 2016 he was eventually promoted to the top team Red Bull.

“So Max triggered incredible emotions and reactions, but in retrospect I would do it again,” emphasizes Marko. Meanwhile, he was allowed to win eight Huge Prix victories with the Dutchman and 23 celebrate further podium finishes.

Verstappen is also for Team leader at Red Bull . 2019 the Dutchman slipped into this role at Red Bull. After the departure of Daniel Ricciardo battle he suddenly became the clear number 1 in the crew. With a few exceptions, Marko was delighted. “”

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