‘Mega pressure’ from Helmut Marko at Red Bull chief contributor to F1 driver losing his job: Former racer

Red Bull technical advisor Helmut Marko is known to be very pragmatic when it comes to his management style.

He is reportedly the one who put pressure on Nyck de Vries to perform at AlphaTauri following a slow start to his F1 career, which ultimately was too much for the Dutchman to handle as he faced the axe.

This is the opinion of former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde, who believes Marko put ‘mega pressure’ on Nyck.

De Vries arrived with lofty ambitions as he hand finally got his breakthrough in the pinnacle of motorsport racing through a full-time seat at AlphaTauri.

However, he was unable to make much of an impression and after just 10 races, Daniel Ricciardo was roped in as his replacement.

Helmut Marko. Credit: planetf1.com
Helmut Marko. Credit: planetf1.com

After sacking De Vries mid-season, Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko said: “What’s brutal about it when the performance isn’t right?

“We made the move with De Vries because stagnation set in. There was no progress and he didn’t meet expectations. He just didn’t fit.

“We gave him a chance, and there are only 20 Formula 1 drivers. Not everyone can become that.”

Van der Garde is also a former teammate of De Vries for Racing Team Nederland in the World Endurance Championship. He, therefore, knows a thing or two about the ability of the 28-year-old.

Although he accepted that De Vries did not get the results he would’ve liked ‘on paper’, but that was only half the story.

Had Marko not exerted unnecessary pressure from the top, De Vries could have very well grown into a very successful driver at this level, especially owing to the fact that he had accrued plenty of experience through junior Formula circuits and was not as raw as most entrants.

“A difficult question,” Van der Garde said when asked if Ricciardo proved Red Bull right in replacing De Vries.

“Purely on paper, then you will say yes. But that is not entirely fair. After all, don’t forget that the AlphaTauri was completely jerky at the beginning of the season and Yuki Tsunoda couldn’t handle it either.

“Nyck was struggling and was under mega pressure after just a few races. We know how difficult it is when Helmut Marko yells every weekend that it has to be better, that it has to be faster, that you have to be ahead of Tsunoda, because you are supposed to be the team leader. Then you snap at some point.

“Of course, it is not normal to think that when you are new to Formula 1, you can attract such a team to you in one go.

“That takes six months to three-quarters of a year. But everyone thought after that one race in the Williams that he would show it, but it doesn’t work like that.

“It is therefore incredibly unfortunate that he was not given more time.

“It’s also a boy who sometimes needs a bit longer to show what he really has up his sleeve and I know how good he really is and above all how dedicated he is.”

He argued that if De Vries was allowed to stay till the end of the season, his performances could have been better than the ones put in by Ricciardo and Liam Lawson.

“I think so, yes,” he said.

“He would have been better in his rhythm by then and maybe Helmut Marko would have been a bit calmer and more relaxed by then too, because there were some points on the scoreboard anyway.

“And when the team is more relaxed, you automatically start performing better. You become more one with the car.

“So I think what those guys showed, Nyck could have shown as well.”

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