‘Austrian Authoritarianism’ maybe the way for F1 competitors? Helmut Marko has done little to banish the stereotype of Austrian dictators of yore.
1934-1938 saw a pre-WWll Austrian totalitarian regime epitomized by leading politicians such as Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg. The result was an authoritarian government based on a mix of Italian Fascist and conservative Catholic influences.
To be honest, Helmut Marko is really not in Dollfuss or Schuschnigg’s league. He is in fact just an outspoken and opinionated character who has the ear and trust of one of F1’s big money men.
Much of his perceived ‘power’ is inherent in Marko’s ability to shock by being brazenly outspoken.
Ironically, when Helmut was interviewed in the pre-2020 season break, he suggested that in the coming year Max Verstappen should not fight all his gripes in the media.
“Sometimes you have to put the truth aside a bit to keep everyone happy,” Marko commented.
Helmut Marko advocating tact and diplomacy? This advice from Marko to Max to show some restraint is somewhat entertaining given the Austrian’s history of speaking his mind, However, to be fair, the ‘loud and proud’ image is not solely a Marko trait, but runs through Red Bull Racings DNA.
For many, Christian Horner has mastered the art of defending the indefensible. This was particularly obvious when in 2014 RBR were duplicitous over their bypassing of the FIA’s fuel flow rate regulations at the Australian GP.
For those of us who have been following F1 for 40 odd years, none of this ‘Piranha Club’ behaviour is out of the norm, or even beyond the pale. And to this end, Helmut Marko’s recent suggestion his Red Bull Racing drivers go get the Covid-19 virus and hide away in a camp until they get better is hardly headline material.
The world is at present throwing billions of squidodollar at paying people to go on what many see as an indefinite holiday and to keep knackered businesses afloat, whilst the virus will eventually infect about 80% of us all. We all will pay what governments are now spending in taxes for 10-20 years.
Anyway, back to Helmut Marko’s suggestion that his drivers get a mild dose of CV-19. Is it so so ridiculous?
In fact, isn’t this is called vaccination. Every year I get jabbed with Flu by my doctor, with the hope it’ll prevent me from dying with the other 17,000 annual English Flu fatalities.
Why not F1 drivers get voluntarily exposed to CV-19, to ensure they are fit should this season ever gets under way?
The lesson? Maybe even the ‘crazy Austrian dictator’ gets it right sometimes.