Responding to the ex-F1 race winner’s accusations, Marko states that he has no problem with the Schumacher family while adding that the Red Bull motorsport stable is based solely on performance merits rather than chasing marketing benefits.
“I have no problem with the name Schumacher,” Marko told Austrian newspaper oe24. “For me Michael Schumacher is the greatest.
“I talk to Ralf regularly. But he is confusing one thing: our F1 programme is based on performance, not on marketing.”
While Tsunoda has progressed promisingly in his third F1 year to deliver a series of strong results early in 2023, de Vries has struggled immensely in his rookie campaign.
The Dutchman, formerly a champion in Formula 2 and Formula E, has seen his place come under pressure after lagging behind Tsunoda in pace terms and being responsible for several incidents.
But after qualifying and finishing 12th in Monaco at the most recent race weekend Marko praised de Vries’ performance, explaining that is the standard Red Bull expects of him on a consistent basis.
However, if de Vries, one of only two drivers still to score a point in F1 this year, fails to use his assured drive around the challenging Monte Carlo streets as a springboard for better displays, Marko has addressed that Red Bull junior drivers Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa would be the two contenders ready to step up to replace him.
Therefore, Schumacher’s opportunity to mark a comeback in 2024 could boil down to whether Logan Sargeant can do enough to earn a second season with the Williams side.
Following a solid debut outing in Bahrain, the American newcomer has since hit a patchy run of form in trying circumstances.
Current Williams team boss James Vowles was previously a core member of the Mercedes side Schumacher is now a part of, intensifying reports that the ex-Haas driver could land a seat with the Grove squad.
Despite Schumacher harbouring hopes of making an immediate full-time return next year, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has been more reserved in his assessment of the German’s chances.
“It’s a difficult situation because the cockpits are taken with us [Mercedes],” he disclosed to SkyDeutschland, “even though I wish Mick would get a seat, he would have deserved it.
“The situation in 2024 is so unfavourable. In 2025 a few doors will open again. We’ll have to wait and see how the pace develops at Williams, but it’s not easy.”