Helmut Marko has been an integral part to the Red Bull operation since its inception, as he is the main talent scout that makes decisions on drivers.
It’s one of the reasons why Red Bull has enjoyed success in recent years, after it signed Max Verstappen to a seat in 2015 straight from Formula 3 before Mercedes could get their hands on the Dutch driver.
But as this season has shown, Marko and Red Bull can be unforgiving on drivers that fail to meet expectations. Nyck de Vries joins the long list of Red Bull’s rejected drivers having only completed 10 races with AlphaTauri.
It’s this ruthlessness that makes him an important part of Red Bull Horner told the ESPN Unlapped podcast: “He’s a tough operator with the junior drivers but if they can’t survive Helmut, they’ll never survive F1.”
Horner: You only have to break a rule to have another headline
He continued: “He’s a communication manager’s nightmare. So when Helmut goes rogue, then you guys only have to prod him and you’ll get a headline.
“But he just calls it as he sees it. In many respects it’s very similar to how Niki Lauda was, they come from the same generation and have the same makeup.
“At 80 years of age he’s still looking for purple sectors.”
Scouting for young racing talents continues as usual for Marko, who will be looking for the next talent to propel Red Bull to championship success.
Horner adds: “He’s still watching every Formula 3 session, every F2 session, every split time and following the young talent religiously. I’ve always had a very straightforward and good relationship with him.”