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Marko critical of ‘political’ Alonso

3 December 2012

Instead of basking in the glow of victory following Sebastian Vettel's third F1 world championship success in as many years, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has chosen to criticise the German's biggest rival.

Speaking as Vettel celebrated with a demonstration run in front of a large crowd in Graz – before then taking his RB8 down the local autobahn to the Red Bull Ring – Marko accused Alonso of seeking to influence the situation away from the track if he cannot be successful on it.

“He seems to have problems if he doesn't win,” Marko told journalists, “When he doesn't win, then he develops incredible political skills.”

Marko's comments were no doubt inflamed by the recent situation where Vettel's championship hat-trick was called into question amid claims that he passed Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flags at the Interlagos finale. Had he been guilty, Vettel could have been demoted from sixth on the road to eighth, which would have been enough for Alonso to claim the title, but video evidence showed a green flag waving before the German completed his move.

Although footage of an earlier move on Kamui Kobayashi had been investigated and cleared Vettel of any wrongdoing, it took close examination of onboard video from the German's car to confirm the outcome of the Vergne move. Ferrari requested a clarification of the situation from the FIA, while Alonso subsequently endorsed his team's move during a press call at the weekend.

Alonso's repeated references to Adrian Newey's influence on Vettel's success has also rankled with the Milton Keynes team, with Marko inadvertently suggesting that the second Red Bull entry isn't the same sort of force without the German at the helm.

“Our Spanish adversary does not seem quite up to date with his knowledge of the quality of Herr Vettel,” he spat, “Yes, Vettel races in a Newey car, but [Alonso] seems to have missed [the fact] that we put two of them [on the grid] at the start and, at the end, it is always Vettel who wins.”

With both teams fielding unchanged line-ups in 2013, and McLaren being weakened, in his opinion, by the departure of Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes, Marko sees a repeat of the Vettel-Alonso battle next year.

“We assume that we will have a competitive car, so why should things change so much?” he asked, “We have the same team, McLaren has been weakened significantly by the departure of Hamilton, so that leaves only Ferrari. It will surely be a tough fight with them again.”