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Red Bull Racing Boss Helmut Marko on the motorsport season 2017

Reading time: 4 min

Smoking tires, roaring engines and nail-biting overtaking maneuvers. Sunday marks the start of the 2017 racing season. As a new partner of Projekt Spielberg, OMV is now bringing motorsport fans even closer to the action on the Red Bull Ring.

The cooperation was presented at the OMV filling station in Shuttleworthstraße, Vienna, and Helmut Marko – motorsports boss of Red Bull Racing – was also there. We took the opportunity to interview him shortly before the start of the Grand Prix season. Here you can find out why it will be an exciting season for Formula 1 and why Bernie Ecclestone will be missed.

Helmut Marko Motorsports boss of Red Bull Racing
Formula 1 needs to become more attractive overall. The absolute focus must be on the drivers, not on the engineers. Nobody is interested in pretentious engine regulations. Viewers have to be right in the thick of it during a Grand Prix and that means the overall range has to be more appealing, but also more cost-efficient.
Helmut Marko, Motorsports boss of Red Bull Racing

You took second place in the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championships – almost 300 points behind Mercedes. What’s the goal for the 2017 season?


In 2016 we took another step towards being more competitive – with a very, very good chassis and improvements in performance and reliability by Renault. There are completely new rules for the chassis in 2017. The significant increase in G-forces means that the drivers will be at the forefront again. The speed on curves will increase, the braking distance will fall. This favors top drivers. The engine regulation has been in play for a longer time, this means that the competitors of Mercedes – i.e. Ferrari, Honda and Renault – can close the gap, we hope. But we won’t really know what this detail will look like until the test drives in Barcelona and the first races overseas. There won’t be a clear and meaningful picture until Barcelona, when the European season begins.

After Liberty Media took over the Formula 1 rights beginning of  this year, Bernie Ecclestone has now stepped back from Formula 1 at the start of the year and rumors suggest it was not entirely voluntary. Will you miss him?

Bernie was an institution; he made an incredible contribution and was always a breath of fresh air with his subtle, British humor and the way he approached things. He will be missed. We are all hoping that he will show up from time to time. But I don’t know if it would really be much fun for him when he no longer has the power to influence things.

A lack of youth interest in Formula 1, more attention to environmental responsibility – will the series even exist in 2030? And if it does, what will it look like?

There are studies that have found exactly the opposite. The more restrictions there are on the normal roads, the more attractive something like Formula 1 becomes. Where every viewer goes “Wow!”, that’s something I would never dare to do, something I can’t do, pretty much a superhuman feat. Of course youngsters today are sensitized a bit differently. But here Liberty Media is getting involved this year to open up the whole Social Media aspect and make it more appealing. This should certainly increase the interest from youngsters.

What do you guess about the partnership between OMV & Red Bull?

Here is where two partners meet, partners that offer emotions. The product MaxxMotion delivers on a clear goal: Filling up for better performance. Projekt Spielberg is an ideal platform for showcasing this advantage.

Let’s end with a short Word Rap: Motorsport for me is…

Kick-off event OMV and Red Bull Ring: Helmut Marko and OMV Board Member Manfred Leitner

Not my purpose in life, but it has massively influenced my life.

Performance for me is…

Performance is the only truth. Performance is the differentiator – that means that without performance nothing works. Not just in motorsports.

The 2017 Formula 1 champion will be…

I hope it will be a Red Bull driver.

Balance is for me…

Balance for me is reading a book on the plane, for example. Or walking through the woods and thinking about forestry.

Partnership is for me…

Partnership is where you have the same goals, the same approaches, and especially where you can rely on the other person.

Experience Maxximum performance: OMV teams up with Red Bull Ring

In our cooperation with Red Bull Ring, we aim to bring fans closer to all the action on the racetrack. (PDF, 226,9 KB)  In the following video you can see how motorsport fans will benefit from the new partnership and see the former Formula 1 driver Patrick Friesacher and Helmut Marko gushing about Austria’s greatest playground and OMV MaxxMotion.

About Helmut Marko

Helmut Marko (* 27 April 1943 in Graz) is a former Austrian racing driver and has been head of motorsports for the Austrian beverage producer Red Bull since 2005, advising the Red Bull Racing Team. Helmut Marko started his racing career immediately after obtaining his doctorate. He won the prestigious race 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971 and competed in nine Formula 1 races in 1971 and 1972.

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