According to Motorsport-Total.com, what looked like a clever Red Bull strategy back in 2013 backfired. Helmut Marko, the good Doctor and consultant for Red Bull Racing team, told Mercedes that they ought to sign Lewis Hamilton for the 2013 Formula One season.
It was an attempt to weaken the then strong McLaren, but it ended up helping to form a partnership that has already won four world titles in six years, sending the then disgruntled single title world Champion over to the most dominant team in history.
Marko recalls conversations with the late Niki Lauda, then non-executive president of Mercedes. Helmut was interested in the British driver, but already had Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber confirmed for 2013.
“Lewis was not happy with McLaren and we didn’t have a spot,” comments Marko, interviewed by ‘Motorsport-Total’.
“So I thought it would be better if he went to Mercedes and I supported Lauda to go after him.
“McLaren was our strongest rival at the time, but it would have been better if he had stayed there. Now you can see how you can fool yourself with a strategy once in a while,” muses the Austrian.
The 2012 Mercedes, despite a few podiums, was far from being able to fight for titles. McLaren, on the other hand, was doing very well still in what would be its last victory in F1 so far – Jenson Button at the Brazilian GP in a McLaren car that was arguably the best chassis / engine combination on the grid.
The German team was fifth in the World Construction Championship that year, while the McLaren was third with more than twice as many points.
These days Mercedes are within a whisker of winning yet another overly dominant Constructors and drivers title, whereas Red Bull is experiencing a relative drought.
How things could’ve been huh?
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