Marko: Mercedes not a ‘serious opponent’ to Red Bull

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has criticised Mercedes’ recent derisory comments, claiming “they are not a serious opponent” these days.

Mercedes and Red Bull famously locked horns in a titanic title battle that saw tensions spill over on multiple occasions throughout 2021, but the two haven’t gone head-to-head for the championship since.

While Red Bull has dominated the current technical regulations to win 24 of the last 25 races, Mercedes has struggled for competitiveness in the latest ground effect era, only scooping a solitary victory.

On the eve of Max Verstappen clinching a record-breaking 10th consecutive win at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton questioned the calibre of team-mates the Dutchman has had in his career.

Meanwhile, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff downplayed the significance of Verstappen’s achievement, brandishing it as “irrelevant” and a “Wikipedia” statistic.

After ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle condemned the Mercedes pair’s remarks, Marko has said Red Bull will not retaliate to the German marque’s comments until they return to being a threat on the race track.

“This is exactly the difference,” Marko said via “We look at our own team and try to perform as well as possible.

“We are not involved with Mercedes as long as they are not a serious opponent.

“We look at ourselves, we do our best and we don’t create stories for nothing like they do.”

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19. 03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day

Red Bull is aiming to become the first-ever side in F1 history to go an entire season unbeaten with eight rounds remaining.

The Austrian outfit has already surpassed the previous benchmark for the most successive wins by a team, previously held by McLaren in 1988.

However, the Woking-based side’s legendary partnership of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna lost out on a sole race victory in that season, incidents and technical trouble handing the glory to Ferrari at Monza.

Ferrari threatened to upset Red Bull’s run at the same circuit 35 years after Gerhard Berger became the only non-McLaren winner of the 1988 season, with Carlos Sainz beating Verstappen to pole position.

But while the Spaniard was able to valiantly resist the menacing advances of the Red Bull for several laps, the might of the RB19 soon came through and both Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez secured a 1-2 finish.

The result means Red Bull currently possess a 310-point advantage over Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, with Verstappen’s 364 points haul alone enough to lead the teams’ standings.

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