Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Helmut Marko has slammed the toxic nature of Red Bull’s rivalry with Mercedes by insisting that Ferrari have been much less political in going about their business since the start of the new season. The historic Italian outfit have emerged as the early favourites to win this year’s Constructors’ Championship title and look set to push Red Bull all the way in their ongoing battle for supremacy over the course of the entire campaign.
The newly-created rivalry between Red Bull and Ferrari is well and truly taking shape in the absence of Mercedes, who have slipped away from the top of the order due to their struggles under the all-new technical regulations. Marko has since insisted that he is enjoying the battle with Ferrari significantly more than last year’s fight with Mercedes as a result of the overly political methods that are said to be employed by the German team with the aim of gaining an advantage.
“Ferrari and we have a similar approach,” Marko told F1 Insider. “There’s passion, fascination and sport in the foreground. At Mercedes, there was a lot of politics involved with them, which creates a different atmosphere.
“With Ferrari there is a better relationship. What’s more, Max is now driving against [Charles] Leclerc, they grew up together in karting, have known each other for a long time, are a generation.
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“It was different with Lewis Hamilton. He is much older, he was the king whose throne was shaken by a much younger one. From a psychological point of view, this is a completely different requirement.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Verstappen will be able to defend his Drivers’ Championship title by moving ahead of Leclerc in the standings between now and the end of the campaign. The Dutchman has been forced to retire from two out of three Grands Prix this season due to Red Bull’s poor reliability and will be desperately hoping for things to improve as a matter of urgency over the coming weeks and months.
“The two defects we had were of different nature,” added Marko. “Together with our engine partner, we are working tirelessly to prevent this from happening again, but basically two failures in three races are an absolute no-go.
“We have 20 races left. With Sebastian Vettel we were 44 points down at the halfway point in the season, but we still won. Even then against Ferrari.
“In addition, in the first two races of the season we were on par with Ferrari. Only at the third event in Melbourne did we not stand a chance against Charles Leclerc, at least in the race.”
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