Dr Helmut Marko clarifies who Verstappen’s replacement at Red Bull would be. Last week Max Verstappen had to fear for his start at the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. In the event of a cancellation due to illness, the Formula One world champion would not have been replaced at Red Bull by substitute driver Daniel Ricciardo, as motorsport chief Dr Helmut Marko revealed after the race.
A stomach bug troubled Verstappen before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. In the end, the Dutchman was able to take part in the sessions in Jeddah and even advanced from 15th to second place in the race on Sunday.
Around Formula 1, however, there was puzzlement over who would have replaced the 25-year-old in the event of retirement ahead of the race weekend.
“Liam Lawson, our Formula 2 driver and Super Formula man in Japan, who was also here,” Red Bull motorsport boss Dr Helmut Marko gave the appropriate answer to this question to Sky.
With Daniel Ricciardo, the reigning Constructors’ World Champion was able to sign a prominent replacement driver for the current Formula 1 season. Whether the returnee will complete another race for Red Bull in 2023, however, is extremely doubtful in the eyes of Marko.
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1v1 us on FIFA, @SChecoPerez 😏 pic.twitter.com/KMuW5hCGsn
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) March 21, 2023
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Verstappen had to fear for his commitment
In Saudi Arabia, the Red Bull Racing team would have relied on Lawson, who is only 21 years old. According to Marko, Verstappen had a “relatively high fever at the beginning of last week and it was unclear whether he would be fit at all”.
“It got better day by day. He was sweating in a way that you don’t normally do to that extent. He was certainly not 100 per cent fit,” the 79-year-old explained.
Red Bull is currently the measure of all things in Formula 1 again. In the team standings, the Austrians are already clearly ahead of Aston Martin with a lead of 49 points after the first two races. The drivers’ championship seems to be decided solely between Verstappen and Sergio Pérez.
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Driver less than 100%, car is also less than 100%, yet Max goes from 15th to second
on a track known for difficulty in passing! What a drive, what a driver!!!
The self-styled GOATs with nonstop boasts must hang their heads in shame.