Helmut Marko, driver advisor at Red Bull Racing former driver and head of Red Bull's driver development, during the Austrian GP, Spielberg 27-30 June 2024, Formula 1 World championship 2024.

F1 News: Marko admits key clauses in Verstappen’s contract

(GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has admitted for the first time that Max Verstappen’s place at Red Bull is directly connected with his own role at the F1 team.

After a recent period of relative calm following the power struggle and conflict earlier in 2024, Max’s father Jos and Christian Horner are clashing once again at the energy drink concern’s own race in Austria.

“The more noise there is, the faster Max drives,” Jos smiled to the Dutch media on Saturday, amid a clear return to top form for the Dutchman.

That ‘noise’, however, has been instigated by Jos himself at the Red Bull Ring, as he pulled out of a legend’s parade claiming Horner was trying to veto or even sabotage his runs in an older F1 car.

“I heard that I even had to watch out for whether the thing would brake,” Verstappen, 52, told Viaplay.

“For someone who leads the team and who wants to create peace within the team, I think this is very strange.”

Max broke his silence on the commotion on Saturday, admitting it had been “not nice” for his father but also Horner and the entire team.

“Of course I can understand my dad’s opinion on that,” said the triple world champion. “On the other hand, I’m here to focus on performance. So I want a good relationship with everyone.”

Jos Verstappen (NED) father of Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda, and former F1 driver, for Arrows; Tyrrel; Benetton; Footwork; and Minardi , during the Austrian GP, Spielberg 27-30 June 2024, Formula 1 World championship 2024.

Some expressed surprise that Verstappen senior didn’t simply leave the circuit once the ruckus broke out, but Jos insists he is putting his son first.

“He will get the peace he needs,” Jos said. “But Max himself doesn’t talk about it. He was sitting there when this was first said to me, and he just shook his head.

“It’s a bit sad,” he added, “but on the other hand it’s about forgetting and moving on. I hope they keep building a car for Max to win. Then Max will be fine, and I also do everything so that he is fine.

“But as soon as that is no longer the case, we know what will happen,” Jos warned.

Indeed, the big threat is that the Verstappen camp has designed into the 2028 contract certain ways in which the 26-year-old can escape the deal prematurely.

One of them is that Dr Helmut Marko must always be part of the team.

“We need peace and quiet to guarantee success and that’s why we sat down together,” Marko told Kleine Zeitung, referring to earlier rumors that he might be ousted.

“I have a contract until 2026 and, provided that all my functions remain unchanged, I will fulfil this contract,” he explained. “Then Max’s release clause will not play a role. And his performance clauses are currently irrelevant anyway.”

81-year-old Marko, however, admitted he was unimpressed with the latest Verstappen-Horner clash. “I would use the German word kindergarten here,” said the Austrian.

“I’m annoyed about the whole thing. “First of all, Jos is not exactly the easiest. And Christian does not understand that Jos is Jos. He is not going to change him, and he will always do what he thinks is right.

“Whether it is really right is another question,” Marko smiled.

For his part, Max backed his father and Red Bull team boss Horner to sort out their differences for the sake of harmony.

“I think they’re mature enough to talk about it eventually,” he said. “We have to remember, it’s going to be a tough year. There are still penalties coming for me if I have to change an engine. So I’m busy trying to get as many points out of it as possible at the moment.

“Again, this is all very unnecessary, and it needs to be addressed better,” the world championship leader added.

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