Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is under fire for his comments about Valtteri Bottas that suggested he’s a ‘loser’ when it comes to overtaking.
Marko is known for being blunt and straightforward about his assessment of drivers in F1. However, his recent comments on former Mercedes driver Bottas, has stirred up more controversy than usual.
In an interview, the Red Bull chief was talking about Sergio Perez’s debut season with the team. Perez finished the season in fourth behind Bottas. Regardless, Marko stated that he’d prefer having Perez in his team over the Finn.
He cited Perez’s overtaking abilities as the reason behind his preference. Marko went on to talk about how Bottas’ defensive skills are sub-par, using the Russian GP in 2021 as an example.
Bottas has done well in qualifying throughout his Mercedes stint, but the 32-year old was not particularly convincing in races. Perez on the other hand, had an underwhelming start to his Red Bull career. He picked up form in the latter stages and put up some impressive performances to help his teammate Max Verstappen win the World Title.
“That’s the big difference between him and Bottas, who is a loser when it comes to overtaking,” Marko said in a recent interview. For these comments, the 78-year old has come under immense fire from the Formula 1 community.
@redbullracing seriously can’t help themselves can they, imagine working in an organisation with these kind of people. 🤢
— F1FaNaTiC (@KJ16976372) January 31, 2022
They are a group of lunatics
— Maureen Mpiira (@MMpiira) January 31, 2022
Valtteri Bottas can’t match Sergio Perez when it comes to race-pace, the Red Bull chief insists
The fact that Marko labeled Bottas as a ‘loser’ when it comes to overtaking, was not met with positive reactions from F1 fans. Many lashed out, calling him out for defaming a driver who played such a key role in Mercedes’ dominance over the last eight years.
And he still finished ahead of perez with worse luck 🐐
— ZENVIX (@scuderialonso) January 31, 2022
@SkySportsF1 @HillF1 @karunchandhok – i think this is the sort of abuse directed from a team to a driver on another team that should absolutely be called out. Following Latifi’s statement and the support it got, this should absolutely be given the same energy.
— PepsiKirsten (@pepsikirsten) January 31, 2022
Marko however, does not undermine Bottas’ quickness. He feels that the former Williams driver is fast, but can’t seem to cut his way through traffic.
He also went on to say that no driver in F1, can match Verstappen’s performances currently. “It’s clear to us that there is currently no driver who can stand up to Verstappen in qualifying,” he said.
“But then you need someone who won’t break – that has happened with Perez.”
In spite of Perez’s exceptional race craft, Marko wants to see more consistency from the Mexican driver. “If you start ninth or 11th, all the qualities he undoubtedly has in the race won’t help you,” he continued.
“He’s driven at the same level as Verstappen in x number of races. Bu tit just fizzles out by the time you’re through.”