Dr Helmut Marko insists pre-season comments he made about Mark Webber were never supposed to be interpreted as criticism of the Australian driver.
Austrian Marko, seen by most as team owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s right hand man, said before the 2013 championship kicked off that Webber “can’t maintain form” throughout an entire F1 campaign and “has a little trouble with the pressure”. Webber hit back by saying it is obvious he is not “part of Marko’s agenda”. Marko’s apparent criticism might have gained new significance in the wake of the recent ‘Multi-21’ affair, where despite the fact Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders in Malaysia, it is Webber’s place alongside him that appears most in doubt.
But Marko is quoted by Spain’s El Confidential as insisting all the fuss about his pre-season Webber comments was exaggerated. “First, the interview was conducted in German,” he said, “it just happened to be Christmas, and so it was translated into other languages. “I was asked why Vettel is champion and not Mark, so I tried to explain the differences with some facts. “I did not think it would be taken as a criticism of Mark,” he insisted.
Marko continued: “Mark has always been a driver with a good reputation, and I have always said of him that when he has a good car, he is a winner. “But when he has a good car, unfortunately for him so too does Vettel. So, psychologically, it must be very hard for him. “In the circumstances,” Marko insisted, “the magazine tried to say that I was against Mark.”
Marko made the comments about Webber in an interview with Red Bull’s in-house magazine, Red Bulletin.