Dr Helmut Marko has played down a major narrative that emerged from the Belgian GP weekend – that Max Verstappen is increasingly at odds with his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase.
Radio traffic between the pair, as Verstappen dominated at Spa-Francorchamps, indicated that the 25-year-old and Lambiase may be on a collision course to a split.
But Marko says the pair, who have worked together at Red Bull Racing from the outset, actually get along very well.
“It’s great fun for journalists and the public,” the Austrian said when asked about the narrative of increasing tension.
“The things they talk about always have a serious undertone, but if you know the background, you understand it,” Marko told De Telegraaf newspaper.
“I don’t want to explain it in detail but first of all it was about the fastest lap and then about taking it easy and whether the other driver (Sergio Perez) was doing the same.”
Ultimately, the latest controversy is probably simply a symptom of the media not having a lot to talk about at the very front of the field at present.
“Even the most extraordinary successes become routine with Verstappen,” the Italian newspaper Tuttosport noted.
“The gap between the Dutchman and his rivals is widening. Verstappen is an alien who only drives against himself.”
Indeed, a new narrative might be to wonder if any driver at all could actually go toe-to-toe with Verstappen at the wheel of the Red Bull.
“Who can beat Max? I think only (Fernando) Alonso,” Marko told DAZN. “But with the same car it would still be very difficult.”
What is clear is that Red Bull no longer sees a place in the energy drink company’s family for Indycar driver Colton Herta, whose debut for Alpha Tauri this year was stopped because he could not secure a super license.
“He is relatively old,” Marko told motorsport-total.com when asked about the 23-year-old. “He also does not have the necessary experience.
“Last year he still suited us, but not now.”