Helmut Marko the Red Bull team adviser has recently during an interview given insights about the deal that Red Bull and Honda made ahead of the 2017 Formula One season.
Helmut Marko has revealed that Honda wanted to get out of Formula One after an unsuccessful time with McLaren but stayed in F1 because of the promise that he made to the Honda boss.
In 2015 Honda returned to Formula One with McLaren but the tie-up didn’t bear any substantial fruit for the Japanese manufacturer and they parted ways with the McLaren team.
According to Helmut Marko, Honda’s exit from Formula One was “imminent” but it was because of Red Bull and Marko’s last-ditch efforts that they were able to stop Honda’s exit and were able to get them on board from 2017 onwards. “They already wanted to quit at that time.”
Helmut Marko: Honda deal was important for Max Verstappen’s contract extension
Max Verstappen back in the day was progressing rapidly as a driver in Formula One and it was really important for him that Red Bull was able to make a deal with Honda.
According to Helmut Marko, if that hadn’t been the case then the dutchman could have looked for opportunities with other teams on the grid and those were worrying times for Marko and Red Bull.
Marko believes that the new deal with Honda gave Max Verstappen a perspective regarding the direction that the team wanted to go in and also indicated that it helped in convincing Max to stay with the team.
After the deals with Honda and Verstappen were signed, Marko promised the world title to Honda. Everyone is well aware of how the next few years panned out for Red Bull with them usually seeing the back of the then high-flying “silver arrows.”
However, in the 2021 Formula One season Max Verstappen was able to win his first driver’s title and that helped Marko in keeping his promise to Honda.
Moreover, Max Verstappen during the championship celebration was seen waving the Honda flag and even clicked photos with the Honda Boss.