A new rumour has taken flight in the F1 paddock – about a rival team making a bid to lure away Red Bull’s mercurial yet powerful team consultant Dr. Helmut Marko. It comes hot on the heels of Fernando Alonso getting similarly caught up in a swirl of speculation, issuing a stark warning about the spread of false narratives concerning his own career.
Albert Fabrega, a Spanish journalist, stepped forward to issue a mea culpa for his part in the melee. “I want to apologise for my tweets about the rumour I heard in the paddock,” he stated from Interlagos. “It was a mistake and I apologise to anyone I may have caused offence to.”
When presented with the rumblings about Alonso’s possible move to Red Bull, Dr. Marko – who had accused the Spaniard of concocting the stories himself – added a concise dismissal to his previous remarks, simply branding the speculation as “Absurd.”
The Austrian, a permanent fixture at Red Bull whose consultancy deal runs out late next year, now finds himself at the centre of a new set of rumours published by Business F1 magazine. The report suggests that amid a backdrop of reported friction with team principal Christian Horner, Marko had been approached by a competitor. Previous unrest had hinted at Horner’s alleged ambitions related to Red Bull’s sister team, Alpha Tauri. “There was once an attempt to sell to a Czech investor. But that was rejected. Alpha Tauri is not for sale,” clarified Marko, quashing that particular piece of gossip to f1-insider.com.
However, the whispers about Marko’s potential defection to a rival team were tentatively addressed by journalist Tom Rubython, who described the claims as “unconfirmed” yet “factual according to sources close to Marko.”
The story took another twist with Business F1 magazine reporting that any such overture was “politely rejected” by Marko. The rationale for this dismissal, it seems, was Marko’s belief that the interest from the unnamed team stemmed more from a desire to tap into his deep knowledge of Red Bull’s inner workings rather than a genuine valuation of his expertise.