Helmut Marko is not worried about the next two Grands Prix. The Red Bull Racing advisor fully trusts the qualities of Max Verstappen and states that Mercedes no longer have their flexible rear wing at their disposal.
Smaller advantage for Mercedes
With two races to go Verstappen is still eight points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the battle for the world title, but with two wins in a row the momentum is on the Briton’s side. Marko is not worried about this though, as he doesn’t think we’ll see Mercedes’ phenomenal top speed in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
”We saw in Qatar that Hamilton’s advantage on the straight was no longer so great because the FIA has introduced stricter tests for the rear wing, which means Mercedes can no longer drive with the flexible rear wing. Mercedes will use the ‘rocket engine’ from Brazil again in Saudi Arabia, but without that rear wing it won’t give a four-tenths advantage anymore”, says Marko at F1-insider.com.
Qualities of Verstappen
While many see the street circuit in Jeddah as a typical Mercedes track, Marko sees it differently. ”A powerful engine helps, but it’s not just a straight. There are also some fast corners, so with a good setup, Red Bull can then have an advantage. It’s also a street circuit and there are often other rules.”
According to the Austrian, his star driver also comes into his own on the street. ”We trust Max’s qualities on street circuits. He won in Monaco and in Baku, it was clear he was dominating the race until his blowout. I think the driver can make the difference again in Saudi Arabia,” concludes Red Bull’s top executive.