Has Max Verstappen’s ultimate Red Bull boss Helmut Marko raced in F1?
Jack NicoleDecember 11, 2021
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Helmut Marko was never far from Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Formula 1 garage during race weekends, but has Marko ever raced in F1 himself? What is he doing for Red Bull now?
Max Verstappen secured pole position at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina, giving him an edge over rival Lewis Hamilton.
In a winner-take-all matchup, he will start on soft tyres compared to Hamilton.
F1 will claim its first eight world championships, or the 34th different driver to win.
One person has been instrumental in guiding Verstappen to the cusp of world championship glory: Dr. Helmut Marko.
But who is he, and has Marco really raced in F1 himself?
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Who is Dr. Helmut Marko?
You may have noticed that on the Verstappen side of the Red Bull Garage there always seems to be an old guy in a white shirt listening to or talking to the engineer.
Alternatively, Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz put the microphone under his mouth for comment immediately after the race.
In any case, he is the head of Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s famous young driver development program.
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Marko’s job is to find and develop young drivers who could one day become Red Bull F1 drivers.
Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Verstappen all found it this way.
Marko became an adviser to Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz when he joined F1 in 2005.
Has Helmut Marko ever raced in F1?
Yes, Marko himself was an excellent racing driver in the 1970s, having participated in several F1 Grand Prix races.
He made his debut at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix – at what is now the Red Bull Ring, finishing 10th.
His best F1 result came in a wet race at the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix, where he finished 12th in a privateer BRM.
Andrei Isakovich/AFP via Getty Images
However, at the French Grand Prix a few weeks later, Marco suffered a life-changing injury – through no fault of his own.
Emerson Fittipaldi’s lotus flower bounces off a stone and pierces Marco’s face shield.
The injury meant he was permanently blinded in his left eye.
Has he ever won anything?
In the same year that he made his F1 debut, Marco won the overall championship at the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Driving alongside Gijs van Lennep, the pair completed 397 laps of the Sarthe circuit in a Porsche 917.
Marko also finished third overall and first in the class in the 1970 24 Hours.
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Jack usually writes or reads anything related to motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British truck racing. His work as a motorsport reporter has been published in prestigious media such as Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News. In addition to racing, he is an avid amateur astronomer, podcast listener, and enjoys walks in the park with his three dogs.
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