Former F1 driver reveals brutal Helmut Marko response and opens up on ‘tough' relationship

Asia's Tech News Daily

Former Formula One driver Jean-Eric Vergne has opened up on the tough relationship he shared with Helmut Marko throughout his career, pinpointing one key moment that summed up their hot and cold relationship.

Vergne competed on the Formula One circuit between 2012 and 2014, and competed for Toro Rosso during his short spell, whilst also spending a year as Ferrari’s test driver.

During his time with Toro Rosso – which is now known as AlphaTauri – the Frenchman worked alongside current Red Bull advisor, and former F1 driver Marko who he shared a difficult relationship with.

Speaking to Formula One’s ‘Beyond the Grid Podcast’ Vergne discussed how the veteran advisor laid large amounts of pressure on his shoulders, most notably after a race in Monaco which he lost.

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Former F1 driver reveals brutal Helmut Marko response and opens up on ‘tough' relationship
© GETTY Helmut Marko

The 31-year-old told the podcast: “The race after, he said ‘you better win.’ I won the race after that one. He called me and told me off because I didn’t drive the fastest lap.

“I had won two races, [secured] two pole positions, but I didn’t have the fastest lap. Now I can see the humour, but when you’re young that is quite tough,”

Following on from his time in Formula One, the Frenchman made the move to Formula E where he went on to be crowned champion.


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The new championship posed a fresh challenge to Vergne to showcase his skills on a more level playing field, with all competitors driving in the same car.

After his change and the evening of the field the French driver admitted it felt like a revelation to no longer drive a slower car than his competitors.

He commented: “I felt like we were moving a bag full of stone and that I could finally run again. It was a liberation.”

Former F1 driver reveals brutal Helmut Marko response and opens up on ‘tough' relationship
© GETTY Jean-Eric Vergne

He went on to reveal that one main aim following his switch was to prove his talent to Marko, but even after securing a pole position the veteran was still less than impressed with the 31-year-old.

He added: “Helmut Marko was at this race and he came to me and said: ‘I’m surprised that you are slow in qualifying.’

“I told him ‘you know very well that [Danill] Kvyat always had ten kilos less than me and that I could not even say it in the press.'”

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