JANUARY 20, 2017
Marko would have taken Wehrlein risk
Dr Helmut Marko says that in Mercedes' place, Red Bull would have taken a punt on a young driver rather than sign up someone like Valtteri Bottas.
In the end, Mercedes weighed up between extracting Bottas from his Williams deal or taking a punt on its available youngster, 2016 Manor rookie Pascal Wehrlein.
Red Bull's Marko, the head of the energy drink company's well-known and notorious young driver programme, said: "For us, we would have done differently.
"We would have trained a junior. No risk, no fun," the Austrian told motorsport-magazin.com.
However, some might argue that Bottas was a wise choice by Mercedes, as the Finn might now be regarded as a clear 'number 2' to Lewis Hamilton.
At the same time, Red Bull's highly competitive lineup of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen could be fighting for the title against Mercedes whilst taking points off one another.
"This danger is quite real," Marko admitted, "but it does not change our racing philosophy or enthusiasm in any way.
"With us, there are no team orders. We are more racers than that."
Mercedes' other prominent junior driver is Esteban Ocon, and the German marque has now also signed up George Russell, an 18-year-old Briton who will race in GP3 this year.