Vettel’s focus gives him edge over Alonso, says Marko

2013 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Sebastian Vettel’s concentration is what sets him apart from his top F1 rivals.

That’s the view of Red Bull’s motorsport director and former F1 driver Helmut Marko.

Speaking to Red Bulletin, Marko said: “Sebastian’s driving was virtually flawless. But he is a phenomenon: it is always like that.

“After the summer break, his performance curve shoots up. That?s what happened in previous years, too. I don?t know how he does it, but to keep doing it cannot be a coincidence.

“That brings us back to his method of preparation, the way he shuts himself off from the rest of the world, so that he can still call on reserves that other drivers might not have: Fernando Alonso, for example, who is busy with politics and funny comments.

“Vettel ignores it all, he doesn?t read the newspapers, or the internet. And that?s the point, you see, we concentrate on our job: to make the fastest car and the best team possible.”

Marko said Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber reaches similar peaks in performance but can’t sustain them:

“It seems to me that Webber has on average two races per year where he is unbeatable, but he can?t maintain this form throughout the year.

“And as soon as his prospects start to look good in the world championship, he has a little trouble with the pressure that this creates. In comparison with Seb?s rising form, it seems to me that Mark?s form somehow flattens out.

“Then, if some technical mishap occurs, like with the alternator for example, he falls relatively easily into a downward spiral. No driver remains unaffected by this, because the tension is palpable.

“In 2010, it was particularly extreme. Webber headed into the final race with better chances than Vettel, and he probably carried easy, of course; this would gnaw away at anyone?s confidence. It?s more than understandable.”

“There’s no need for Vettel if we can’t give him the car he needs”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2012Marko added chief technical officer Adrian Newey was “very irritated” by the setbacks suffered by the team during the year. Newey’s response was to “increase his work rate ?ǣ which was already significant.”

“First, he concentrated on understanding the relationship between the car and the tyres, which was a very, very finicky job [last] year,” said Marko. “Secondly, there was his response to the supposed illegality the front wing.”

“Third, he had to deal with the prohibition of the ‘exhaust blowings’. This was perhaps the hardest setback for us, because we were absolutely brilliant when it came to using the exhaust. Our old method has actually been reinstated, albeit in a modified form.

“Lastly, we can say that, at that stage of the season, the ideal Vettel set-up had yet to be found. It is quite different from that of the Webber cars. Only with that set-up can you see the incredible, 110 per cent Vettel in qualifying.”

Marko admitted he suffered sleepless nights at this point in the championship: “The tension was there, but problems make me even more focused than usual. The harder it gets, the calmer I see things, but my sleep suffers.

“I told my people, ‘Boys, there is no need for Vettel if we can?t give him the car he needs in order for his skills to shine.’ Everyone made such an incredible effort, but for a while even we didn?t quite understand what was going on.”

Thanks to Red Bulletin for supplying the quotes. Visit to read the full feature and to download the Red Bulletin iPad app for free, for more sports, culture and lifestyle content.

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208 comments on “Vettel’s focus gives him edge over Alonso, says Marko”

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  1. Why must Mr. Marko never shut his mouth…? By saying these things, he is only damaging his and RBR’s reputation.

    1. To be honest, I think you’re quick to judge just because it’s mr Marko. I quite enjoyed the read, and the insight in brings. Sure, it’s all from the Redbull point of view, but still interesting. It’s not like he’s saying stupid things that no other man even dears saying. It’s reasanable, in my oppinion.

      1. @me4me @vettel1 Maybe I was a bit quick to judge, I’ll admit that. But the guy just seems so pretentious sometimes – there are certain quotes in the article that Marko would have been better off leaving unsaid, as @sdtaylor91 notes below.

      2. vuelve kowalsky
        8th January 2013, 17:02

        i agree. he is a breath of fresh air, in the politicly correct world of f1. He speaks his mind, and i agree on most of it.

    2. @southpawracer I would agree with you usually but he actually makes some reasonable points here. Obviously he is sucking up to Vettel but he explains his reasons in the article and it’s actually quite interesting (for once)!

    3. Well Marco is completely unbiased…

    4. Yes, the headline suggested it was Marco praising Marco by proxy but in fact the analysis was fair (although I think Webber can win more than 2 races if he has the full support of the team) and to the point, with the early season car they could have substituted a number of drivers for Vettel equally successfully but when they got the car in the zone Vettel became supreme.

    5. He does always seem to come on very strongly at the end of the season does Vettel: whether that is down to the opposition simply not being able to sustain performance as well as him I’m not sure but I think Marco has made some good (if not biased) points.

      1. Not taking anything away from SV when I say this but I’m sure some of the credit for SV looking strong at season’s end goes toward AN’s cars only being better and better as the season goes along. Not literally race after race necessarily, but in general.

        1. @robbie or perhaps SV’s driving suiting Tilkedromes. Vettel has an incredible track record with Tilkedromes (credits go to @magon4 for this) – I think there is something that Tilke uses – whether it’s the type of tarmac he uses or the kinds of entry/exit radii he designs into layouts – that just beautifully fits Vettel. Suzuka of course is the exception.

          1. Drop Valencia!
            9th January 2013, 9:49

            And Melbourne?

    6. Klaas de Vries
      8th January 2013, 20:41

      I noticed that there’s not a bit of respect between RedBull and Ferrari. Many teams won championships but no other liked to rub it in their rival’s face as RedBull do. And speaking about mind-games I think it was RedBull who started them, back in 2010 when they released their Christmas card mocking Ferrari, then Vettel’s stinging comments adressed to Alonso during PC, even the most recent one in Austin whe Vettel commented about Massa’s face after the gearbox penalty. Then immediately came into my mind Mark’s face after the quali in Silverstone 2010.
      That’s why I (and many people as I noticed) won’t have any respect for RedBull – they can’t behave like true champions, and their hypocrisy is as huge as Newey’s talent. RedBull should really get rid of this Marko guy or at least hide him from the journos.

      1. Very well summed. There’s nothing uglier then such an arrogant winner.

        McLaren, Ferrari, Ensone (in it’s Benneton and Renault names) and Williams have been rivals for decades, yet I have never seen any of them being so classless when it comes to voicing their opinions on their rivals.

        It only gets better when you think of all the shady business going on with Red Bull’s finances and exploiting one additional team in form of Toro Rosso to gain more info for Red Bull.

  2. The comment from the article chosen for the headline is clearly done to be inflammatory. Having read the article I’d say it’s not entire rubbish but I still don’t believe Vettel was the best driver last year and probably not even the second best. So, to say he was superior because his focus was better than Alonso because he didn’t make smart remarks is a bit daft.

    1. Then what do you suggest the title should have been: “Vettel doesn’t read the newspapers.”?? Helmut made the comment, a controversial one, so why not run it as a headline?

      1. @AdrianMorse Exactly, I’d say it’s even a conservative headline, given all that Marko is saying.

        ‘Vettel cannot read newspapers’ would be perfect though :D

        1. Hilarious second line! :O)

    2. The headline chosen is intended to be an accurate reflection of what Marko says and, naturally, introduce readers to one of the more interesting quotes to encourage them to read it.

      Whether you consider it “inflammatory” says more about your response to Marko’s point of view. Clearly others here do not consider it as unreasonable as you do.

      1. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. Apologies to you Keith. Inflammatory was probably the wrong word. Let’s just say the headline picked up on the one point out of all those made that had the most chance of creating contention. Intentionally I’m sure and rightly also. That is why I came here and that’s what gets people in.

        1. had the most chance of creating contention

          Although I suspect ‘Vettel cannot read newspapers’ would have created more, it is probably a credit to Keith’s judgement that he always picks headlines that summarize a major point of the article.

          Also I vote @adrianmorse as Headline writer. ‘Vettel cannot read newspapers’ Hahaha :D

          1. @mike @adrianmorse @girts @keithcollantine Maybe a headline like this will work:

            “Marko: Vettel is unlike the rest of us, humans, and he does not expend time googling himself and tweeting ; on the contrary he spend his summer vacation in a amish retirement “

    3. I’d say the article headline is fair representation of Marko’s comments.

  3. Marko is really beginning to cheese me off with these incredibly heartless comments about one of his own drivers. Mark is far too wise to let this get to him, but is he gonna do this when his replacement arrives? How is a young driver supposed to feel when your own boss writes you off for the championship before it’s even started?

    To say that Alonso gets distracted is just insulting. He just delivered one of the greatest seasons in the history of the sport and gave the absolute maximum every race. I interpreted the ‘his performance curve shoots up’ comment as ‘he didn’t perform 100% at the start of the season’ … which Alonso did.

    1. @sdtaylor91 – I actually thought Marko was pretty fair on Webber. To me it sounds like he was saying Mark can be as fast as anyone in races but isn’t able to sustain that over the course of the season – could Webber, looking back at the last 2 seasons, really argue with that?

      He also made clear that the drivers have different preferences in terms of set-up. He didn’t say that they made Mark use Vettel’s setup but clearly when it goes beyond setup to car development they will develop towards Vettel’s needs as the main championship contender in the team. The alternative would be like suggesting Ferrari focus development on Massa’s preferences.

      Mark had the chance towards the end of the last decade to earn the right to number one status in the team. He had a two year headstart at the team and that period predates exhaust blowing which is supposedly his achiles heel. He failed to do that and Vettel grabbed the chance with both hands. If Marko had suggested that Mark was as good as Vettel it would have been ridiculous so why berate him for telling it straight.

      I guess the real problem is you, like many, don’t like Marko, so what he actually says is unimportant. I don’t particularly like/dislike the guy, but I prefer to have something insightful to read during the winter break from someone who actually knows plenty about F1.

      1. @jerseyf1 Surely insulting one of your own drivers is, a bad thing? And it is very much an insult.

        1. @mike
          I don’t see how its insulting. Its just a more realistic assessment of the two drivers performances compared to the usual PR bull that we are normally presented with. Both Vettel and Webber will have had to face their shortcomings in order to work on them and improve.
          Would it make Webber feel better if Marko gave him credit for things he didn’t deserve?
          Webber is a big guy. I think he is fairly realistic about his abilities and his shortcomings.

          1. @mads Great comment. He was totally fair in his assessment of Webber in particular, although maybe I agree with that as Marko (of all people!) articulated exactly how I feel about Mark – brilliant on occasion, but can’t stay brilliant for a whole season.

          2. @colossal-squid

            Mark – brilliant on occasion, but can’t stay brilliant for a whole season.

            Yeah I am in the same camp.
            I must admit that I previously thought that Webber’s few good performances were simply flukes. Either with Vettel doing poorly for whatever reason and the car just allowing Webber to do his thing and be good enough. Something along those lines.
            But I have come to realize that Webber is actually a bloody fantastic driver. When he is on it he is virtually unbeatable. But he does that on a few select tracks once in a while. Usually a couple of times a year. The rest of the year he just isn’t quite the same driver.
            Which is odd, and quite a shame. But at least he is brilliant in Monaco, so he will have so far at least two fantastic Monaco wins under his belt to look back at when he one day retires.

      2. I agree with a lot of what marko says. But its his job to extract the best out of the drivers, and that means motivating them. I feel so sorry for Webber, because if he won the title and Vettel came 2nd, certain people at Red Bull would despise him for it.

        Finally, how is it that a driver whose best finish in a GP was 8th, gets to tear into a driver with 34 podiums, 9 of them wins and who has battled for the championship. It’s the tone of his comments that really boils my blood

        1. @sdtaylor91

          inally, how is it that a driver whose best finish in a GP was 8th, gets to tear into a driver with 34 podiums, 9 of them wins and who has battled for the championship.

          Well, Marko did win LeMans in a 917. That’s impressive by any standard. He also has the fastest race lap record at the Targa Florio.

          As for is F1 career, he only had 10 races before being blinded. You’d be hard pressed to find one racer who would look down on what Marko accomplished.

          Of course, how many people on this or other forums, with ZERO racing experience, tear into the drivers (whether it’s Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Maldonado, etc.)?

          1. True true, its just the principle of slagging someone off who has achieved more than you in the same field.
            I’d just wish he’d say it in a more graceful way. Take Brundle for example, is always open and honest with his opinions but never in a condescending or big headed way.

            This guy works for Red Bull though, surely its his responsibility to motivate the drivers in order to extract the best from them. I feel sorry for Mark cos if he won the title and seb came 2nd, some people in red bull would despise him for it.

    2. That comment is spot on. Marko didn’t critizise Webber this time but he did a few days ago in an Austrian publication and that was disgusting to read.

    3. @sdtaylor91 Totally agree with what you are saying about FA. This to me is where HM loses credibility and appears to be grasping a bit in order to promote SV. I think FA has done enough in F1 to prove that if he might seem to distract himself in ways such as HM suggests, he makes it work for himself…it is just his way. Doesn’t make it wrong or an inferior approach to that of SV’s. He owns 2 WDC’s and on this site got number one driver of the year in spite of SV winning the WDC. SV’s ‘way’ is also to come across as quite childish at times too, and he made that work for him this year, but I wonder how well it would have worked for him if he had started off the year in the ‘dog’ of a car the Ferrari was described as and without the intense work done by AN on the EBD.

  4. I partly agree with the comparison between Vettel and Alonso as Vettel really seems to be less concerned with mind games than Alonso. Marko and Horner do that for him.

    As for the rest of the quotes, the gist is: Webber is a mediocre driver, who cannot withstand pressure, which is why we don’t even bother to try adjust the car to his wishes & needs.

    Marko’s opinion of Webber is pretty well-known but it’s a bit surprising that the performance of one of RBR drivers gets belittled like this in his team’s official magazine.

    1. @girts I don´t think that those are the comments that Marko intended. If I remember correctly more than once has been pointed out in this site that Webber always shines in two tracks: Monaco, Silverstone. So I don´t see any controversy in there.

      As I read the article he is saying things that have always been mention:
      1. Vettel needs the right setup to shine
      2. Webber has two great tracks: Silverstone and Monaco
      3.Vettel does great in Asia part of the championship
      4. Alonso y very political
      5.Marko/ Horner do the politics in Red Bull
      6.Alonso is great at playing mind games, and he tweets (wheter you like his anime related tweets, obsessed with Samurai Pizza Cats, if everone´s choice)

      So I don´t see the controversy.

      @keithcollantine I think you should start protecting your site for copy rights, is my impresion that a lot of spanish speaking sites tend to get their material from here

      1. @celeste For sure, it’s a matter of interpretation and yes, some of the things that he says are true or at least not far from the truth. But some are clearly not, for instance, that Vettel’s driving is always flawless because it isn’t. If he criticises Webber, then it would be fair to criticise Vettel for his few mistakes and few underperformances as well.

        Secondly, he doesn’t even mention the need to improve Webber’s car to give him the chance to demonstrate ‘the incredible, 110 per cent Webber’ although that would have totally made sense in 2012, given that Webber was only 8 points behind Vettel in the standings after the Italian GP.

        I don’t think that Red Bull = Helmut Marko but Helmut Marko clearly talks as a Vettel fan, not as a neutral team member, whose task is to ensure that both drivers start every new season with equal chances, even if he personally expects one of them to be ahead.

        1. @girts Actually we don´t know what else he says about Webber, until we read the entire article on Redbulletin, I will buy it but it doesn´t sell in my area…

          1. @celeste You’re right and that is actually related to one of my theories, namely, that Red Bull published this interview to draw people’s attention to their monthly magazine and make them subscribe to it :)

          2. @girts I think is worth it, I used to download it when it was free and avalaible to my zone, at it have great articles about sport, art, music, etctera. The photography is always beautiful.

        2. jimscreechy (@)
          8th January 2013, 17:09

          Gotta agree with you there.

      2. I think you should start protecting your site for copy rights, is my impresion that a lot of spanish speaking sites tend to get their material from here

        The leading Latvian F1 website does that, too (no, I’m not the editor there and it’s actually one of the reasons why I’m here, instead of posting comments or writing articles in my native language). For example, they just ran a series of articles about the best races of 2012, where all races, videos and descriptions coincidentally matched the ones in this F1 Fanatic article :)

        1. @girts One of the two main Lithuanian sites does the same. Funny how people don’t have a clue where it came from and keep thanking site’s editors for the articles:)

  5. Vettel’s focus gives him edge over Alonso, says Marko

    Marko does know that the season is over and that there is no further need for mind games … right?

    “Sebastian’s driving was virtually flawless. But he is a phenomenon: it is always like that.”

    Like when he crashed into the polystyrene DRS bollard in Abu Dhabi.

    Or when he went beyond the limits of the circuit to complete a pass in Germany.

    Or when he ran over a cucumber in Malaysia.

    Or when he crashed into Bruno Senna in Brazil (though to be fair, everyone from Michael Schumacher to Jaime Alguersuari crashes into Bruno Senna).

    1. For sure, Vettel’s driving is not always flawless as all drivers have ups and downs and they all make mistakes. However, team members often praise their drivers like this so the songs of glory would be understandable if there wasn’t so much criticism for Webber in the same interview.

      Articles like this make people think that the team’s management are blinded by love for Vettel so they go out of their way to ensure that he is the number one in the team. Vettel is a great driver, who doesn’t need such publications to prove his worth.

      1. Maybe Marko is just living through Vettel. His own Formula 1 career was pretty average – with a best place of eighth at the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix – before it was cut short by a stone that kicked up by Emerson Fittipaldi’s car, penetrated his visor and blinded him in his left eye.

      2. I’d go as far as saying he makes almost as many mistakes as Maldonado, far more than the other big 2 drivers Alonso and Hamilton and his own team mate Webber.

        1. All of them make mistakes, that are incredibly talented, yet still human.

        2. @jedoublef91 – As many mistakes as Maldonado? You’re having a laugh.

          1. To be fair when he’s in a crowd he probably does, or at least not far off. Their overtaking style is pretty similar, they just use sheer courage and muscle their way past

          2. @skett – I highly doubt that. We’re comparing the world champion to a driver who has both gained a reputation for using his car as a weapon and probably threw away more points through mistakes than he actually managed to bring home in 2012. It was a joke of a comment for him to make.

          3. When it comes to driving wheel to wheel its just he gets pole most of the time and doesn’t drive wheel to wheel. Although the difference I see between Vettel and Maldonado is although I think they both make quite a few mistakes Vettel’s are not as severe and he tends to learn from them (which is what made him 10 times as good as he was when he won in 2010)

    2. @prisoner-monkeys I agree partially on your first point against Vettel’s “flawless driving” (although I would say both parties were just plain unlucky but Vettel it seemed did have a slight lapse of concentration); the second also agree with (although only because that was clarified pre-race); the 3rd I disagree with: the evidence from the forum suggests the opposite was true and the stewards correct; Brazil is very marginal as Senna had come from behind to dive up the inside of the corner but Vettel could’ve given more room so racing incident (I don’t hold either driver accountable).

      So yes, not flawless but undoubtably very good indeed (and as Marko has pointed out he seems to have he edge over everyone else late season).

      1. (and as Marko has pointed out he seems to have he edge over everyone else late season)

        I disagree – if Alonso hadn’t retired in Belgium or Japan, then he would likely be the 2012 champion. Vettel’s championship win hinged on his having a car dominant enough to win three consecutive races (I’m not counting Singapore, since Hamilton had the pace to win), a few other results going his own way and the FIA being unable to prosecute the team for having parts that existed within the letter but outside the spirit of the regulations. Yes, I know your feelings on the latter, but the point I’m trying to make is that the reality was actually very different to the story Marko is telling. Marko’s comments about Vettel’s “virtually flawless driving” would be better-suited to his 2011 title.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys Then again Alonso’s mistake caused the retirement in Japan. Spa is a fair point, but it’s impossible to know how Alonso would’ve finished had he not retired and Red Bull would’ve probably played some races – especially Brazil – differently if Alonso had more points.

          But this is a bit offtopic. It’s normal that teams exaggerate their drivers skills and achievements. The way Marko constantly diminishes Webber is a lot more interesting.

        2. @prisoner-monkeys – that’s not what I said though. I said he seems to be stronger than everyone else, which is obvious from his 4 wins on the trot (on of which a Grand Chelem in Japan) and his Abu Dhabi and Brazil drives.

          I agree with the last part though: I have pointed out his flaws in 2012 and agree that particular comment would be better suited to his 2011 title campaign.

        3. @prisoner-monkeys
          There is no point saying if Alonso hadn’t been crashed off in Spa and japan he would have been champion.
          For all you know, he could have crashed off in those races anyway, or finished outside the points, and if you include retirements that weren’t a particular drivers fault, you have to look at monza and Valencia as well for vettel.

          1. jimscreechy (@)
            8th January 2013, 20:32

            Completely agree. You cannot have all the ‘IFs’ in your favour but discount them otherwise… or in the favour of someone esle. Better to accept what has happened and argue the points as they stand.

          2. @hotbottoms, @xjr15jaaag, @jimscreechy

            Completely agree. You cannot have all the ‘IFs’ in your favour but discount them otherwise… or in the favour of someone esle. Better to accept what has happened and argue the points as they stand.

            You all seem to be missing the point that I’m trying to make. I’m not arguing that Alonso would have been champion if this had happened or if that had happened. I’m arguing that Helmut Marko is wrong in the way he is depicting the 2012 season. To hear Marko tell it, Vettel had another season where he was in complete control at all times, and that he was the driver which all the other drivers were judged against. But this is patently untrue: Vettel came very close to losing the title, and one different result somewhere along the line would have changed everything. It was not the dominant display Marko is making it out to be.

        4. Vettel’s championship win hinged on his having a car dominant enough to win three consecutive races (I’m not counting Singapore, since Hamilton had the pace to win), a few other results going his own way and the FIA being unable to prosecute the team for having parts that existed within the letter but outside the spirit of the regulations.

          Your emotions really get the better of you at times.

          1) In the hands of Webber that car was emphatically NOT dominant enough to win three consecutive races. He finished 9th, 2nd and 3rd in the three races in question.

          2) I’ve seen you rage often (tediously often) against the supposed injustice of the FIA not stripping points from Red Bull. It doesn’t reflect well on you.

        5. @prisoner-monkeys

          and the FIA being unable to prosecute the team for having parts that existed within the letter but outside the spirit of the regulations.

          Since when did other teams start to follow the ‘spirit’ of the rules?
          McLaren using flexi wings, copies of RB. Ferrari as well. The Double DRS? The recent interpretations of the F-duct?
          Ferrari’s way too high rear wing Gurney, which wasn’t even within the letter of the rules and therefore out-ruled.
          And of cause the rules which should limit exhaust blowing of the floor? The intend, or ‘spirit’ was of cause to stop teams from using the exhaust as a means to gain downforce. Yet pretty much all teams started the season off with a rear design which was exclusively intended to use the exhaust gas to gain downforce.
          If FIA wanted to enforce the ‘spirit’ of the rule they would have to disqualify pretty much every team from last years championship, as only a select few did not use the exhaust as a downforce generating device.
          But they could also punish teams for simply understanding a written text differently then the FIA intended. So simple misunderstandings, or alternative interpretations would be punishable, even if the team didn’t intend to use a loophole.

    3. “ran over a cucumber” LOL.

    4. Marko does know that the season is over and that there is no further need for mind games … right?

      The mind games never stop. Psychological warfare in sports must be applied long-term and decisively, otherwise they are insignificant side notes. Telling somebody they suck (or at least are not as good as, in this case, Vettel) once is pointless, you need to rub it in for it to work.

  6. To some extent Marko is right. He just forgot to say that he does the dirty fight for Vettel. Sometimes I have the impression that Marko is allowed to speak publicly specifically to play the mind games, taking all the negativity from Vettel. Vettel meanwhile is being told “shut up and drive, we’ll do the talking”. This probably to protect him as he proved on many occasions that he can’t handle to pressure quite as wall as his main rival and engaging in the mind games himself might put him off balance. This also proves Seb is not as mature and complete driver as his titles would suggest. Also this PR shield in person of Marko is not enough to improve Vettel’s stature, voices saying he’s not on par with his rivals skill-wise do not seem to subside.

    1. Forgive my typos :)

    2. And what makes you think that Vettel will play mind games if Marko wasn’t there? You sound so sure that he is into that “game” and only the team stops him from talking.

    3. He will and has cracked all year under any major pressure and this is what teams looking for him in the future need to look out for and at the same time Red Bull need to make sure while they do that they don’t make him feel the same way as Hamilton did about McLaren.

      1. you talking about the same guy who one two races to win the 2010 championship and won four and the trot to go from contender to leader of the 2012 championship. that guy cracks under pressure…interesting

      2. you talking about the same guy who one two races at the death to win the 2010 championship and won four on the trot to go from contender to leader of the 2012 championship. that guy cracks under pressure…interesting

        1. 2010 He didn’t have anyway near as much pressure either he wasn’t expected to win the championship.

          Also the guy who was lucky to win this year after he ran into a DRS sign under SC conditions in Abu Dhabi and in Brazil on the 1st lap lost spots off the start (which isn’t normal for him showing how the pressure effected him) and then didn’t check his mirrors properly and turned in on Bruno Senna and got lucky that he didnt cause more damage to his car.

          Don’t get me wrong he is an ace driver but I think the support Red Bull give him makes him better, I don’t think he could have achieved what he did in a different team with less support (ie McLaren and their 2 equal driver policy)

  7. I think this article demonstrates just how much power Helmut Marko has within the team. I can’t think of any other person involved with the management of a team who could get away with such tactless comments about one of their drivers at all, much less on a regular basis. If they’re disappointed or upset with one of their drivers, they at least try and be diplomatic about it, even when a driver does something so ridiculous that they could probably do with a swift kick in the pants to make them see sense. Case in point: Lewis Hamilton posting his and Button’s telemetry on Twitter. We’ll probably never know just how much he compromised the team then, but looking over the reactions, Martin Whitmarsh at least managed to be civil about it. On the other hand, Mark Webber didn’t really do anything wrong last year – even if he didn’t manage to get the most out of the RB8 – but is once again subject to a verbal and very public roasting from Marko. It’s bad enough when he does it during an interview with a publication like Autosport, but to do it in the team’s official publication is worse by a whole order of magnitude. And yet not one person in the team – not Christian Horner, not Adrian Newey, not Sebastian Vettel; not even Dietrich Mateschitz himself – has ever given a dissenting opinion. Sure, they’ll go into damage control and lick at the wounds a bit, but not once have they ever shown anything more than a cursory amount of support for Webber.

    Perhaps the more-challenging question is why Webber tolerates it at all. Year in and year out, he condemns himself to such verbal abuse and public humiliation; I get the sense that if he finished second in the championship, Marko would criticise him for not winning it, but if he did win, Marko would criticise him for beating Vettel. Webber’s skin is probably thick enough that Marko’s scathing opinions barely graze him (if at all), but the alternative to putting up with it – leaving – must be so horrible that being bad-mouthed at every opportunity has to be the lesser of two evils (especially when he had the opportunity to race for Ferrari this year). Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, I suppose.

    1. Webber is smart enough to know that the best defence against the critics is to win.

      The best way to win is to be in a red bull at the moment.

      He’s also quite well aware that in a battle of “frank commentary” he’d win against Marko easily.

    2. “Perhaps the more-challenging question is why Webber tolerates it at all.”

      Because he wants to be a world champion and Red Bull, based on their form since the middle of 2009, is the taem most likely to give you the tools to achieve that aim.

      1. Well we know this…F1 is very political and backstabby. So I don’t think comments such as Marko’s or any other equivalent person on another team should come as any surprise. Perhaps Marko is overinflating (imho) SV, but then they do have both Championships this year to back that up. And if he is running MW into the ground a bit, perhaps Marko thinks this will get MW to up his game. I don’t know. But he is entitled to his opinion. And within F1 and without, there is no shortage of those.

        @prisoner-monkeys I take your point about a bigger question being why MW tolerates it, but I think hairs and Geemac have said it. At least Red Bull is a winning team. I think it is incorrect to say firstly that MW had the opportunity to race for Ferrari…we don’t know that and the fact that FM is still there proves that MW had no opportunity. Rumours are often just that. And secondly, even if MW wanted to go to Ferrari and had the opportunity because Ferrari wanted that, and he went there, it wouldn’t be to the devil he doesn’t know…it would be to the devil we all know is only interested in one rooster.

        So I think that MW knows full well how the game of F1 is played both on and off the track, both within and without teams, and come the end of the day it is up to him to shut everyone up with results on the track in the best car on the grid for the last 3 years. And I fully appreciate that it might be the case that just as at Ferrari, the desire on the team is just not there for anyone but SV (their rooster) to succeed at Red Bull, and so it may not be an apples to apples comparison to SV and MW. Perhaps the only difference between Red Bull and Ferrari is that Ferrari admits their one rooster rule and Red Bull still insists there is racing going on. I sure hope so, and perhaps MW does too. Or not. But he sure knows without doubt the alternative on one team…namely Ferrari.

        1. I’m pretty sure Webber openly said he was contacted by Ferrari, considered it a bit and then turned it down, instead opting to renew with RBR. I think Ferrari later also admitted in passing that they had contacted Webber’s management.

          1. Fair enough…perhaps he decided better to be the non-rooster on a WCC winning team than on a 3rd place team. I’m still not convinced Ferrari were serious about replacing FM for 2013 or even the last half of 2012 as rumours had it. I think it was just a lot of talk and perhaps Ferrari’s offer to MW’s management was meager. It obviously wasn’t attractive enough. And they still have FM, not someone else.

    3. Nowadays just being paid to drive should provide a fair degree of self-worth. Despite the criticism from HM and the clear emphasis on developing the car for SV and the fact that there would be legions of drivers willing to pay $multi-millions for his seat the team prefer to pay Webber. Pity RBR don’t see the need to develop a car to suit MW but I guess they can blame the budget cap for that.

      1. Or…perhaps they could have saved themselves some money and left MW’s EBD alone and relatively ineffectual, which seemed to be his preference. You’re right…it is a pity.

  8. I’m going to have to step in and defend Marko here.

    If there’s one thing that is said up and down the pitlane about Alonso, it’s that he’s just not focussed enough. Team bosses, mechanics, reporters, team mates, ask anyone you like, they’ll all tell you the same thing: “that Alonso fella is a nice bloke, but he just can’t keep his mind on the job.”

    I’ve lost track of the number of times a glaringly obvious opportunity for advantage slipped past him because he just wasn’t paying attention. Frankly, he’s lucky he’s had such dominant cars in the last few years, otherwise we’d all see his layabout ways exposed.

    1. You’re being sarcastic … right? There’s a reason why Alonso has been called “the most complete driver on the grid”, and also why he was able to finish second overall in a car that looked like an absolute handful to keep going in a straight line (much less turn when you wanted it to) at the start of the year.

      1. doh, PM, don’t ruin a brilliant comment.

    2. This is the best, not sure what version of F1 you watch or who you speak to but I think the majority of people in F1 say that Alonso is one of the most complete drivers on the grid.

      I really can’t tell like PM whether this is sarcasm or not though!

      I can kind of see where Helmut Marko is coming from but I don’t really see it having any great impact on Alonso’s race craft.

    3. Brilliant comment, when you think about what is said about Alonso and Vettel :D

    4. I’ve recently picked up on a rumor exactly why Luca di Montezemolo has decided to stay with Ferrari and not become a politician. Fernando Alonso will appear as a late entry for the 2013 Italian elections. Fernando is believed to pursue a career as comic if he doesn’t succeed.

      Meanwhile, Vettel’s neighbors have complained about the late-night ‘WOO’s, ‘THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT’ and ‘RINGDINGDING!’s from his bedroom.

    5. I don’t think people realized how sarcastic you were. :)

      1. from the comments it does seem that many missed the point there, doesn’t it.

        1. @BasCB I don’t think that Marko truly believes that ‘politics and funny comments’ distract Alonso from racing and make him a worse driver. In my opinion, Marko’s interview is just as much politics as Alonso’s remarks about fighting against Newey and having ‘the best team’ around him.

          1. I perfectly agree with you there @girts, with his comments Marko fits in nicely with that part of off-track competition.

  9. This is very true, and I’m glad Marko has brought the real Alonso to light. The Spaniard with his holier-than-thou attitude thinks he is some sort of gladiator who is a hero and can trump anyone. The truth is he knows his time is running out. He came to Ferrari thinking he’ll be the next Schumacher. And now that he’s realised Sebastian’s the next Michael, he’s trying to brag about his so-called greatness. But Marko’s shown everyone the true Alonso.

    1. How bizarre. I don’t think I have known Alonso in the last few years paint himself to be any kind of great gladiatorial character.

      He moved to Ferrari for many reasons not necessarily to become the next Michael Schumacher, and he’s only 31 (we were born on the same day!), if you look at Webber…even Schumacher there is plenty of time left yet!

      1. Schumacher had a very good season at the age of 43, he made few mistakes and had at least equal pace to Rosberg. However, Mercedes’s horrendous pace and reliability hides this. Alonso has plenty of time left.

  10. So Marko has come out and said Vettel is “virtually flawless” while essentially calling Webber a moody choker who buckles under pressure and who can only produce around two great performances a year. If I was Webber I’d find it incredibly difficult to refrain from punching Helmut Marko in the face after that.

    It must be incredibly difficult knowing that there is someone in the team, with not insignificant influence I might add, who has feels the need to say things like this.

    1. While I don’t disagree with what you are saying about HM’s remarks toward MW, I don’t think these remarks would have such an impact on MW that he wants to punch him in the face. Let’s not forget that a couple of years ago MW was remarking ‘not bad for a number 2, eh?’ ie. what appears to us like secondary treatment on the team from the recent quotes of HM’s in this article, is likely old news for MW.

      I think MW is a big boy, and there’s nothing he hasn’t seen or heard in F1 by this time. And I think there is a chance that MW and those within the team that look after him have had frank discussions with him about his tenure there. ‘Mark we have noticed that you shine at some tracks but seem to not be able to hold that kind of strength throughout a season. How can we help you improve on that?’

      And the bottom line is that he doesn’t have the results that SV and others have, whether that is because he is not the rooster on the team or not. And that’s the way F1 can be. What have you done for me lately?

      Also…if we are going to spend a season saying FM needs to up his game as the non-rooster at Ferrari, or he’s gone, which I equated to ‘the beatings shall continue until morale improves’ then why wouldn’t HM be within his ‘rights’ to have gone even further with his remarks and said if MW doesn’t up his game he will be gone. This is a team that doesn’t even claim a one rooster rule. Why then aren’t there rumours galore about a proven WDC going to Red Bull to challenge and push SV if they are that unhappy with MW’s performance?

      Answer: I think they are perfectly happy with things the way they are at Red Bull, with the results to back that up. HM has his opinion about MW, but he’s not saying up it or be gone.

  11. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    8th January 2013, 10:39

    Marko raises some insightful points and opinions about Vettel and Webber’s respective performance windows, as well as Red Bull’s work ethic. Yet he manages to deliver those points with such hyperbole (Sebastian’s driving was virtually flawless) and zeal, as if his comments are designed to be as controversial as possible. At times, I wonder if it’s PR strategy, mind games, or genuine stand-out opinions – quite likely a mix of all three.

  12. There’s no doubt that Marko doesn’t rate Webber very highly, as least relative to his golden child.

    I wonder if his frequent criticism of the Australian isn’t, at least in part, a sign of frustration that Marko doesn’t have the total power at RBR that most people assume he wields.

    Now maybe Red Bull keep signing Webber because they like having someone who is competitive, but not an absolute threat to their number one driver. However, I think a more likely explanation is because Horner and Newey, the people whose opinions matter most within the organisation, greatly value what Webber brings to the team.

    I find it hard to believe that if Marko was the all powerful puppet master he is often portrayed to be, that Webber would be in the team at all.

    Whatever the explanation, having a prominent member of a team so publicly denigrate one of its drivers is truly bizarre.

    1. Totally Agree. I am sick of Mark Bashing by this jerk !! Every opportunity he finds he rebukes Mark..!!

  13. Has Helmut Marko actually ever said a good word about Mark Webber? Every time we hear from him, Marko is so far up Vettel’s **** that it is almost sickening. Or, should it be the other way round? Either way, the day Marko praises Webber for something, anything, will be a day to remember.

    1. Drop Valencia!
      8th January 2013, 11:53

      He did say in early in 2012 that Vettel needed more rear downforce, while Webber just nedds 4 wheels… that’s the closest he has come to a compliment I think….

      1. Yeah, it was in China last year, where Vettel was struggling with the car being unstable and Webber coped better. Marko said Sebastian needs his car to be suited to him whereas Mark adapts to a bad car better.

      2. he did say that Webber can be unbeatable.

      3. That will make 2014 (If they give MW a contract) interesting when they plan to reduce the rear downforce again through means of having no rear wing beam allowed and the exhaust positioning is being greatly restricted.

    2. I think that Webber is the better driver in adverse conditions.

      I also think that Vettel needs the winning car to win races.

      Look at the state of the RBR at the start of the season and look at Vettel’s performance then. The Ferrari has stayed relatively constant this past year. I mean, yes, they’ve had upgrades, but nothing close to the development pace of the Red Bulls.

      If Alonso hadn’t been shunted off twice in as many races, he would have had the championship stitched up before Abu Dhabi. If he had pitted for the final sprint in Montreal(?) he would have won that race instead of dropping into the single figure points. He is, in my mind, the most consistent driver, and consistency wins championships. He has a good few years in him yet, and if Massa can keep his form from the second half of the season and keep the hounds at bay, there is no reason why Alonso shouldn’t run away with the trophy this year.

      1. Look at the state of the RBR at the start of the season and look at Vettel’s performance then.

        Yes, he won in Bahrain and was 2nd in Australia.

  14. Oh boy, will he pay hard for these comments? What an amateur!

  15. Thing is… Marko is SPOT ON!
    For once

    Whether Vettel improves late season or all the others fall away is another issue.
    Vettel has the ball in his court on mind games. He’s seen off Webber, Hamilton and Alonso in 2 and a bit years in the mind games- all 3 have plenty to say when they need to go defensive.

    Webber is great round some tracks, good round a lot but too inconsistent to win a 20 race championship against this field of drivers.

    Though whether Marko should be criticizing one of his drivers is up for debate.

    1. He’s not too wrong on Webber indeed. Mark has the speed to win a world championship, but he’s lacking consistency.

      1. Excluding 2011 for obvious reasons, Webber seems to have a weekend or two every season where he’s untouchable.

        1. @enigma usually it appears round Monaco and Silverstone which happen to be very testing drivers’ circuits. So maybe if the calendar was less “Tilkefied” the we’d see him being competitive!

  16. Unfortunately like it or not like it Alonso is the best driver in the grid… Marko you gonna live with it

    1. Like it or not, you can’t treat such claims as fact.

      1. +1, read my comment below please

    2. Unfortunatlly like it or not Vettel is the 3 time WDC on the grid and you just have to live with it. Thing is if you asked Alonso whether he would be highly regard or have more WDCs he would go for the latter as would any other driver. FACT

  17. While I don’t like Marko, he is right about Webber. In places like Monaco and Silverstone he can be quite the unstoppable force yet others he is absolutely nowhere like Spain and Abu Dhabi this year. It says a lot that all 9 of his wins have come on ‘traditional’ circuits.

    1. His first win was at the revamped Hockenheim, so how does that fit the cards?

      1. *Nurburgring*

  18. I guess you could say Marko has an eye for these kinds of things.

    Seriously though, I think he was a great sportscar driver and I respect him a lot for that. But I often wonder whether or not he’s been hired by Red Bull to keep the publicity going and being a scapegoat, or to actually serve as some sort of motorsport director.

    1. I guess Marko can’t enjoy a 3D movie so :P (cruel joke you can ban me and I’ll accept it… sorry but I had to say it

  19. Oh Helmut…I think most of us are inclined to agree on many points but certain things you should keep to yourself…i.e your opinion on Webber’s ability. You’re a team so don’t drive a wedge in there.

  20. Mark Webber can be is a good as Seb Vettel. True.
    Seb Vettel is more consistant than Mark Webber. True.
    eb Vettel has a greater end-of-the-season form than Fernando Alonso. True from 2008-2012, check it out.

    One might not agree with all the wording, but Helmut is speaking his mind honestly, not doing PR. That’s what he thinks, and it is less far from the truth than many are ready to admit.

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