Sebastian Vettel was told to “raise his game” by Helmet Marko after a disappointing start to the season, the Red Bull motorsport advisor has revealed.
Marko, a former-racer and the overseer of the Red Bull junior programme which brought Vettel into Formula One, explained ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix that he had to tell the four-time champion to knuckle down and stop complaining about his car and the sports new rules.
“I told him: ‘There are 50 engineers working on this engine and they can’t sort it out,’” said Marko. “‘You’re a top driver, it’s up to you. You have to do it.’
“If he can’t sort out the car, the easiest thing is the driver. He has to raise his game.”
Marko confessed that he had questioned Vettel’s commitment and his approach over the early part of the season, as he complained about the poor reliability of the RB10 and F1’s all-new hybrid power units, but the Austrian insisted that the four-time champion had since dismissed those fears with his improved form since the Spanish Grand Prix.
“Sebastian was complaining about having such a bad car,” he added. “Sebastian wants everything absolutely right.
“His main problem was the downshift was always destabilising the rear and he couldn’t understand that we couldn’t solve it.
“Furthermore, he thinks the way F1 is going is not the right one – the cars should be monsters, not relatively easy to drive.
“With all these problems, maybe he wasn’t as committed as he should have been, but that has changed. Already in Spain we saw already a different approach from this guy.”
Marko also revealed that Red Bull had briefly considered signing Lewis Hamilton at the end of 2012 before his move to Mercedes, ultimately deciding against a move for the 2008 champion due to a fear of upsetting the balance within the team.
“We were considering it, but we thought it wouldn’t work,” said Marko. “To be successful, you need a certain amount of harmony.”
The 71-year-old concluded by admitting that he, like the rest of the Red Bull team, had been pleasantly surprised by the early-season form of Daniel Ricciardo, who took a maiden Formula One win at last week’s Canadian Grand Prix.
“Don’t forget we didn’t test. We had some outings – one lap or two laps if it was a good day – but no-one could see his potential.”
Image courtesy of Red Bull Media/Getty Images