Marko calls out Ferrari and Mercedes for ‘copying’ driver development system

19-08-2019 15:04
by Bevan Youl
Marko calls out Ferrari and Mercedes for ‘copying’ driver development system

Head of Red Bull driver development programme and adviser to the team Helmut Marko has claimed that Ferrari and Mercedes “merely copied” their driver development system that has brought through the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull Junior programme was officially formed in 2001 with the key idea being that it offers funding and support to young drivers that are part of the programme to help them with their future career.
Vettel was the first of the programme that saw the programme translate to success in Formula 1 when he won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso, before going on to win four consecutive World Championships with Red Bull from 2010-13.
But Marko believes he pioneered the system that both Ferrari and Mercedes copied from him and use currently in today’s F1 where Red Bull has linked with seven drivers in Vettel, Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon.
He said to Auto Sport Web in Japan when asked on why teams are struggling to find young talent: “Before answering that question, I want to say that I pioneered the current driver development system, and Ferrari and Mercedes merely copied it.
“And I personally believe that the Red Bull system is functioning really well. I think that’s evident by looking at past Red Bull drivers.
“This is merely a short-term problem. Our young talent is developing nicely.”
With the development programme the Austrian says he looks for a few aspects in a driver to determine whether or not to bring them onto the programme.
“I don’t want to expose trade secrets, so I’ll say one thing. Quickness,” he added.
“Over one lap, not overall race pace. I was once interested in a driver (a current F1 driver), and thought he was a very good driver.
“However, he lacked one lap pace, so I passed on bringing him into the Red Bull program.
“Today, he races quite well on Sundays, but is falling behind his teammate on Saturdays.
“My view of him was correct in the end, and his qualifying performance is hampering him.”
“Mental toughness,” was another factor that Marko looked for in a driver.


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