Helmut Marko: “Carlos Sainz was simply unlucky enough to have Max as a team-mate.”

“We have a good relationship, but at that moment there was a Verstappen there, and there’s a [performance] difference between the two.”

by Sead Dedovic
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Helmut Marko: “Carlos Sainz was simply unlucky enough to have Max as a team-mate.”

There was a lot of pressure on Red Bull when they decided to give Max Verstappen a seat instead of Carlos Sainz in 2016. The difference between them was not big, but it was obvious that Verstappen was fast
“There was an outcry because some felt Carlos had been overlooked,” Marko recalled to Red Bull Racing, as quoted by planetf1.

“His development was also very good, and the difference between the two was often very minimal, but despite having less experience, Max was the faster driver, hence our decision to move him to Red Bull Racing. “Carlos was simply unlucky enough to have Max as a team-mate”.

Sainz's father opposed such decisions, but Marko believes that he was not objective and that he did not see things from the realistic side. “I wouldn’t say he has a political father, rather one of those motorsport fathers who doesn’t look at it objectively – which is understandable – and just always does what he thinks is best for his son.

“But it’s not an isolated case, and by far not the worst”.

Helmut and Sainz

Helmut was aware of Sainz's qualities even then, but he knew that he was far from Verstappen. Even then, Verstappen showed quality and great maturity for his age.

Over time, he showed that he really is one of the greatest talents “When you get right down to it – Carlos is quick, we would not have signed him otherwise, but he is no Verstappen,” he said. “We helped Carlos with his career and we didn’t have to let him go.

But we allowed the move to Renault and then to McLaren. “We have a good relationship, but at that moment there was a Verstappen there, and there’s a [performance] difference between the two”. Max Verstappen congratulated Carlos Sainz after Silvestone win. “Well done mate,” he said. “Well done you deserved it”.

Helmut Marko
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