Max Verstappen seen during a photo shoot of the kit launch of Red Bull Racing in London, United Kingdom in 2023. // Red Bull Racing / Red Bull Content Pool

F1: Marko says Verstappen will be back to full health in Melbourne

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Dr Helmut Marko has a warning for Sergio Perez and the rest of the F1 grid ahead of the Australian Grand Prix next weekend – insisting that fans will see a different Max Verstappen in Melbourne.

Red Bull’s chief advisor had previously explained that Verstappen missed the post-qualifying briefing as he was struggling with illness throughout the weekend.

Before the GP in Saudi Arabia, the double world champion caught a gastrointestinal virus. For a time it was unclear whether he would even be able to take part in the GP. As a precaution, Red Bull had the New Zealand replacement pilot Liam Lawson (21) flown in, who drives in Japan in the Super Formula. But Verstappen gritted his teeth. “In the end he was approximately 80 percent,” Marko suspects.

Speaking with the German news outlet F1 Insider, Marko explained Verstappen’s Saudi struggles: “Max was not one hundred percent fit.

“But now he is doing everything he can to be able to bring maximum performance again.”

“We will see another Verstappen again in Australia”.

To be 100 percent fit again for the next GP in Melbourne, Verstappen changed his plans. Instead of flying directly from Saudi Arabia to Australia for better acclimatization, the Dutchman traveled to his adopted home of Monaco for a medical check-up first.

One thing is certain, the experts and his Red Bull team agree: A healthy Verstappen without technical problems has no opponents in Formula 1 at the moment. How good the Red Bull really is, you couldn’t even tell in Saudi Arabia. The team set lap times for their drivers to run to to prevent breaking their cars.

Only in the last lap did Verstappen not slow down and snatched the fastest lap from Perez. “Typical Max,” grinned Helmut Marko. The fact that Perez kept to the target lap time is not true. He tried to set a fastest time with one lap to go knowing Verstappen was going to do the same, but choked and made a mistake.


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