Helmut Marko Applauds Sergio Perez's Adaptation to Max Verstappen's Set-Up Approach

“Checo used to be fast with cars that were good-natured. But good-natured cars are rarely fast."

by Sead Dedovic
Helmut Marko Applauds Sergio Perez's Adaptation to Max Verstappen's Set-Up Approach
© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

Red Bull senior advisor Helmut Marko wants his team to achieve equally great successes this season as in the previous ones. The first two races have shown that Red Bull will likely be the main contender for winning the championship. What can also please Red Bull's leaders is the fact that Sergio Perez finished second in both races this season. Although he has often criticized Perez, Marko emphasized in his Speedweek column that the Mexican no longer wants to experiment as in previous years. Instead, he has a similar or identical basic set-up to Verstappen.

“This year he is no longer experimenting, but is starting with more or less the same basic set-up as Max. There are just more nuances in which they set up differently.”- he wrote in his column.

Marko believes that Perez enjoys driving cars that are good-natured, such as the RB 18 from 2022. Although the RB 18 wasn't particularly fast, Perez enjoyed driving it. It's true that it was stable and had a lot of understeer, but Marko stresses that Ferrari was significantly faster than them in the first part of the season. 

However, mistakes from their driver are the reason why Red Bull had the advantage. 

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez© Agustin Cuevas / Getty Images Sport

The leaders of this team are really doing a great job, analyzing every detail and taking into account everything that can help them make a breakthrough and progress. Helmut has once again confirmed how impressed he is with Verstappen, considering that Max is doing great things despite the 'nervous rear'. The Dutchman is an example of a driver who can adapt to all conditions, and that's exactly what makes him such a great driver.

Checo used to be fast with cars that were good-natured. But good-natured cars are rarely fast.

In 2022, it worked in his favour that our car was overweight. As a result, it had a more good-natured tendency with more understeer and a stable rear end. But it wasn’t fast – Ferrari was actually faster in the first half of the season. It was only strategy and [Charles] Leclerc’s driving mistakes that tipped the balance in our favour.

Now our car is very fast, and the fact that Max copes better with a nervous rear end than anyone else is down to his extraordinary talent and makes all the difference.”- Marko wrote.

Helmut Marko old statements 

Looking at Helmut Marko's statements, we can't help but see that he has a great opinion of Max Verstappen, which is not exactly the case for Sergio Perez. Last season, Marko was frustrated by the poor performances of Sergio Perez, emphasizing several times that the Mexican must do better or he will leave the team. 

Perez didn't want to react to Marko's statement but was angry for sure. In moments when things are not going your way, the last thing you want is for your team leaders to make such statements. Those are the moments when you need support and confidence. However, the Mexican had to accept things as they were and try to progress.

The fact that Marko had a somewhat racist statement about Perez caused even more chaos in the F1 scene. Marko said then;

"Let's remember that Perez is South American, and so he is not as focused as Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel was."

The Mexican confirmed in a media interview that he has nothing against Marko and his statements. The most important thing for him is that Helmut apologized and that they continued to have a great relationship. Checo also confirmed that the two of them never had a bad relationship and that they always aimed to be on great terms and help the team progress.

“I had a one-on-one conversation with him. He apologised. That was the most important thing for me. Now let's put that behind us.

Knowing Helmut like I say, I have a personal relationship with him. I know he doesn't mean it that way. And I personally didn't get offended at all.

Whatever he or I say in the media is different than what we discuss in person. We have a good relationship.” - he said.

Sergio Perez will have to be significantly better this season if he wants to achieve the result that the leaders of this team expect. Having Verstappen as a teammate is not an easy thing. The expectations of you are immediately higher, but the Mexican is aware that he has to deal with the pressure. Checo is ready to take a step forward and make the success that everyone expects. This season has started well. Let's hope he can maintain consistency.

Helmut Marko Sergio Perez Max Verstappen