Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has explained why the team wouldn’t partner Lewis Hamilton alongside Max Verstappen, stating it is better to have a “hierarchy”.
Hamilton and Verstappen went head-to-head for the 2021 Formula 1 Drivers’ title, clashing several times throughout a tense championship duel that went to the wire.
Verstappen eventually prevailed and the Dutchman has dominated the sport since, notching a record 15 wins last year before winning 10 of the first 12 races in 2023.
Despite the crushing advantage the Red Bull RB19 has held over the competition, team-mate Sergio Perez has struggled considerably since winning two of the opening four races, resulting in the Mexican trailing Verstappen by 125 points.
Subsequently, speculation over Perez’s future has grown, with ex-Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo’s return to F1 with AlphaTauri only heightening that pressure.
However, Marko underlines that Red Bull will not seek to accompany Verstappen with another top-line driver, citing the toxic rivalry that emanated between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna whilst at McLaren.
“The public, the TV viewers and the journalists will certainly love that,” Marko told Motorsport-Magazin regarding the potential for either Hamilton or Norris to join Verstappen.
“But we as team management want success and we want to win the championship – if possible both the Drivers’ and Constructors’.
“Then it is better if you have a hierarchy, where it is clear who is the clearly faster number one and who is the number two driver.
“Norris I can still imagine but with Hamilton as a teammate, I have a hard head.
“The whole team atmosphere and our performance should not suffer. In the past, we saw, for example, Senna and Prost, two superstars, who only looked at each other and put the team in second place.”
Although Prost and Senna strived to exceed the limit to defeat the other, the legendary pair still managed to deliver 11 consecutive victories to open the 1988 season.
McLaren’s MP4/4 would clinch the winners’ trophy 15 times out of the 16 available that year, with the Woking squad’s run only being disrupted at the Italian Grand Prix.
However, McLaren’s record streak has since been beaten this year by Red Bull, who are currently enjoying a run of 13 successive wins dating back to the end of last year.
The Austrian outfit aims to become the first side in F1 history to win every race in a single campaign, with a further 10 rounds remaining beyond the summer break.
Next time out, Verstappen will endeavour to create a historic feat of his own, as the reigning World Champion has the opportunity to equal Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive wins.
Verstappen will be aided by the roaring support of his home crowd at Zandvoort: the circuit where he has won on both occasions since it returned to the F1 calendar in 2021.