Dr Helmut Marko ‘Surprised’ By Ongoing Three-Year Mercedes Slump

Helmut Marko
Helmut Marko

Dr Helmut Marko admits he is surprised Mercedes has still not mastered the new-in-2022 ground effect regulations for three consecutive seasons and running.

Former F1 driver Christian Danner said recently that he thinks the death of Toto Wolff’s former sparring partner Niki Lauda might explain Mercedes’ ongoing struggles, which have resulted in Lewis Hamilton departing for Ferrari for 2025.

“It’s not that simple,” Marko, the top Austrian F1 consultant at Red Bull, told Osterreich newspaper.

“You don’t enter a slump like this overnight,” he added. “But what is alarming is that they have not been competitive for a third season now.”

Some observers think Mercedes’ crisis has even deepened in 2024, after the Brackley based team abandoned its ‘no sidepods’ concept over the winter and adopted a more Red Bull-esque solution.

Team boss and co-owner Wolff, however, is putting a brave and often positive face on the situation, when others suspect that every alarm bell should be ringing.

“They probably are ringing,” Marko said. “What confuses me the most is that their car is really fast at times, making me think ‘Now they’ve got it!’ But it’s always just a flash in the pan.”

Another Austrian newspaper, Kleine Zeitung, wonders if Marko has any advice for Wolff, having overseen the Mercedes slump following so many years of domination.

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I’m surprised by the situation myself.

“In Brazil 2022, after George Russell’s victory, they believed things would get better. But so far they haven’t brought any consistency.

“The car works well on some tracks and not at all elsewhere. The reasons are certainly more to do with the chassis, and they haven’t found the solution yet.”

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