Dr Helmut Marko admits the risk is real that Max Verstappen will quit Formula 1.
The likely-in-2023 triple world champion actually has a contract through 2028, but Verstappen has warned that he could quit as the F1 calendar swells and the controversial new 2026 regulations loom.
“Max doesn’t just say something like that,” Red Bull’s Marko told Osterreich newspaper.
“I hope he keeps his contract, which runs until 2028, to the very end. But who knows. Maybe one day he’ll come and say ‘Thanks, that’s it’,” he added.
Marko admitted that one of Verstappen’s biggest concerns is the 2026 rules, after the Dutchman said he is worried the sport will turn into an “engine competition”.
When asked if Red Bull’s rivals must be hoping that Red Bull falters with its new Red Bull Powertrains project, though, 80-year-old Marko smiled: “I think that’s wishful thinking.
“Let’s see how everything develops. In 2026 there will be new regulations that could throw everything overboard,” he admitted.
But for now, Verstappen and Red Bull seem to be breaking long-standing records at every single grand prix.
“I’ll be surprised what they dig up next and I’m sure I’ll be made aware of it,” Marko smiled.
“Honestly, I would never have dared to dream that we would one day advance into these spheres. The Vettel years were already scary for me.”
The next record can in fact be broken next time out in Hungary, where Red Bull can oust the utterly-dominant McLaren team of 1988 as owners of the longest winning streak in F1 history.
“We’ll see how our car is doing in Budapest,” Marko said. “We thought such a winning streak was unlikely, but we have to enjoy it while it lasts.”
He admits Red Bull could end up with a full clean-sweep of victories in 2023.
“At Budapest we’re only halfway,” said Marko. “There’s still a long way to go. But so far it’s true.”
Finally, Marko agreed with Verstappen that he’s not too excited about the Formula 1 movie starring Brad Pitt that saw plenty of filming take place last weekend at Silverstone.
“It’s not really my thing,” Verstappen said.
“In the end, a movie is to create a bit of a show, because of course not everything is going to be real.
“I think they’re going to use some shots from around the world and onboard cameras and things, but actually I’m not very interested,” he added.
Marko agrees: “I was in a meeting until just before the start and didn’t even realise that a movie car was said to have stopped on the installation lap.
“I really liked the Niki Lauda film, but otherwise I prefer to experience the whole thing live.”