Red Bull’s advisor Dr Helmut Marko has brushed off recent criticism of Red Bull’s driver academy and says Ferrari and Mercedes’ recent success is only down to copying his innovation.
The likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen have found fame and fortune after graduating to F1 through the Red Bull system, while Pierre Gasly, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz and Alexander Albon are all on the current grid after passing through.
The pool of drivers has seemed to dry up since Verstappen’s promotion, prompting Marko to draft in three drivers who had previously been dropped by the system in recent years: Brendon Hartley, Kvyat and Albon, who will spend the remainder of 2019 in the senior line-up after replacing Gasly.
Ferrari have enjoyed success this year with Charles Leclerc in their line-up, while Mercedes have Esteban Ocon and George Russell in the wings, but Marko says Red Bull’s system remains the one to beat.
“I was the first to create a driver training system like this,” Marko told AutoSportWeb.
“Ferrari and Mercedes just copied it.
“I’m proud that the Red Bull system works very well. It’s obvious if you look at successive Red Bull drivers.”
Of the drought, Marko countered: “It’s just a short-term problem. Young talents are growing well.”
Red Bull’s clutches reach far and wide, with Marko recounting his decision not to sign a driver in his younger days that is now a feature on the F1 grid.
“I once had an interest in a driver, who is active in F1,” Marko said.
“I thought he was a very good driver. But he lacked the speed over one lap. So I decided not to hire him, but as a result my view was right.
“He is still doing well in the race, but inferior to his team-mates in qualifying. I think that there is a problem there that cannot make a step forward.”