JULY 19, 2022

No retirement plans for 79-year-old Marko

Dr Helmut Marko insists he is nowhere near the finish-line in Formula 1.

Dr Helmut Marko, Austrian GP 2022
© Red Bull

Dr Helmut Marko insists he is nowhere near the finish-line in Formula 1.

The former racing driver, who lost an eye in the 1972 French GP, will turn 80 next year but he insists he is having no retirement thoughts at all.

"Everything is a story of passion and I am a great enthusiast," Marko, the top Austrian consultant for Red Bull's F1 project and in charge of the notorious driver program, told France's Auto Hebdo.

"I love this sport and I love winning," he added. "None of my activities are stressful for me.

"I feel good and as long as I can continue to do this job properly and I don't get fired, I will."

Although notorious for its toughness, Marko's F1 driver program has been incredibly successful, producing drivers including quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel.

But he insists the Max Verstappen success story is his greatest achievement.

"Yes," Marko admits, "because we have put an end to the great domination by Mercedes which began in 2014. We suffered a lot during all those years.

"Honda went to great lengths to deliver a quality engine and then we won the title with a member of our own junior team, beating a seven-time world champion," he said.

"Of course that was the greatest moment."

Marko is also happy that Verstappen's first title has resulted in the 24-year-old taking a more relaxed approach to Formula 1.

"His father Jos initiated him when Max was 4 years old and was very hard on him, but it obviously worked well," he said.

"After his title, we could feel a great relief within the whole family. Max always had to deal with enormous pressure from Jos and still does, but it's a little less now.

"But all of this made him more mature. He is 24 years old and he is a young world champion. The rest will now be just a bonus," Marko added.