“As far as the chassis is concerned, we are probably the strongest team,” he said.
“But we still have to work on reliability and also the engine.
“We have had six failures this season, and I’m especially sorry for Max Verstappen,” Marko added.
Recently Verstappen’s father has denied the Red Bull driver is looking for a way out of his contract.
Amid rumours his clearly-frustrated 19-year-old son would like to accept a Ferrari offer for 2018, former F1 driver Jos last week said on Twitter that an explanation by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was “bullsh*t”.
Horner had said Verstappen’s troubles with reliability were “through no fault of the team or the effort the team is putting in”.
When a story about Jos’ foul-mouthed response was written, the former Benetton and Minardi driver told the reporter: “Don’t make your own stories. We are happy at Red Bull.”
Austrian GP Preview – Red Bull Racing
Back-to-back race weekends are always an intense experience but when the double header takes in both of your home races then things tend to get revved up just a little bit more. Indeed, while motor racing might be a sport driven by empiricism and hard data, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the sensation that there’s just a bit more pressure, a tiny bit more desire to perform and that the stakes are just that little bit higher.
So, as we head to our Austrian home from home, the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, and also look forward to our local race, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, how are our drivers feeling about this double home run?
Until last year our Austrian home wasn’t the happiest hunting ground, but you turned that round last year. What are you memories of your second place last year?
“Before the race it was a bit unknown how the tyres would play out, so I just tried to feel my way in and keep life in them. That allowed me to complete a one-stop strategy, which was always going to be a gamble, but in the end worked out really well. This year we have to make sure the car is working well in the corners in order to be up with the front runners and then just try and be as competitive as possible on the straights. It’s always a bit of a compromise.”
One of the most memorable things about last year’s race was the sea of orange in the grandstands. Were you pleased to see that level of support?
“The fans at the Red Bull Ring are always extremely passionate and of course there was a big Dutch turn out last year which is always special for me to see – plenty of caravans and orange around the area. I already tried my hand at caravanning at the track earlier this year. It was such good fun to be able to tow a caravan in an Aston Martin, and drift it!”
Austria’s a pretty high-speed circuit but after that we head to one of the fastest of all – Silverstone. What can we expect there in light of the fact the new cars are a lot quicker, especially through high-speed corners, which Silverstone has plenty of?
“Heading straight to Silverstone the weekend after will hopefully again bring me a good result. With the new cars and regulations I think it will be really physical so I’m looking forward to testing myself there. I always enjoy driving at Silverstone and now with the new cars I think Becketts and Maggotts are going to be the stand out corners and a bit different than last season. Going flat out through Copse is also something that gets the heart beating every lap; it’s a unique circuit and one I am always looking forward to on the calendar.”
We’re heading to the home of Red Bull this weekend. Is it a much different experience to any other grand prix for you?
“We get the full Red Bull hospitality when we’re at the Austrian Grand Prix and you definitely feel part of a big family as a Red Bull athlete. We have done some pretty crazy things at the track; wearing the lederhosen race suit is something different and a few weeks ago Max and I raced caravans there. To be honest I’m not sure they would have let us do that anywhere else as the caravans were destroyed, but we loved it!”
The circuit is short but pretty quick, so it places a bit of a premium on power. Is it going to be a case of removing as much wing as possible to find the speed on the straights?
“At any kind of power circuit like Austria you want to be smooth and get good exits in order to give yourself the best chance on the long straights. The compromise is always the aero package. In the middle to the end of the lap you want more downforce because the corners are quite fast, but more downforce means you are slower on the straights, so the key is to find a good balance throughout the lap. I really enjoy the track and the only downside is that I wish it was a bit longer. I wish it had a few more corners, but the corners that do exist are great fun.”
You’re a man who likes his grub, so is it Schnitzel-o’clock yet?
“I know we always get on to food (laughs) but I really do look forward to a good Schnitzel. Ooh, I love schnitzel with fresh lemon and cranberry jam; it’s so good.
There’s another power circuit on the horizon with Silverstone coming the week after the Red Bull Ring. It’s a circuit that seems to stir the emotions of drivers. Does it do it for you?
“I actually made my F1 race debut at Silverstone so it will always be a special track for that reason. I have driven at Silverstone since I raced in British F3 and I’ve always enjoyed the high-speed combinations of Copse, Maggots, Becketts and Stowe; that part of real estate is seriously some of the best in Formula One. This year with the higher speeds Silverstone will be even better. I think Copse should be full throttle and if so, that will be intense. We will be getting a lot of Gs through the high speed sections and it will be one of the biggest physical challenges this season.”
It’s another home event for us, too. How’s the support there?
“The British fans are amazing. We’ve raced there in boiling heat – well, not boiling heat really but for the English it’s boiling heat – and also hail and rain and they will come early in the morning and stay until late in the evening. They are real motorsport fans, they love it and they are also loyal – loyal to the local drivers but also happy to see any of us drivers and show us support. It’s a great atmosphere.”