Helmut Marko brands Lando Norris ‘pathetic’ after Verstappen Austria comments

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris collided at the 2024 Austrian GP with the pair embroiled in a war of words afterwards

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has criticised Lando Norris following the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix, calling the McLaren driver’s radio communications ‘pathetic’, following after a dramatic Formula 1 race where Max Verstappen and the Brit collided.

The crash between Verstappen and Norris was the significant talking point after the race with Norris claiming the Red Bull driver was desperate, and McLaren team principal Andrea Stella firmly pinning the blame on Verstappen for the incident. 

“The heat was enormous – atmospherically and on the racetrack. It was very intense,” Marko told Austrian outlet OE24.  “A win would have been better. At least we extended our lead in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships

“It was pathetic how Norris acted on the radio. But such things happen, and I would chalk it up to a racing incident, although Norris did overstep the mark.”

During their battle on track, Norris was constantly complaining of Verstappen moving under braking, and pushing him off track. While Verstappen claimed he was divebombed by Norris. Eventually, Verstappen was handed a 10-second time penalty by the stewards for the incident, and Norris was given a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits.

Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during 2024 Austrian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during 2024 Austrian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Norris and Verstappen are known to be close friends outside the F1 paddock, but immediately after the Austrian GP, the McLaren driver indicated that their friendship could well be impacted by the incident if Verstappen didn’t apologise and admit he was at fault. 

Norris’ comments that Max should apologise are not very helpful. However, they will eventually have a discussion,” Marko went on. 

“They usually fly together, but this time they were travelling separately. So Max had a quiet return flight.”

String of Red Bull errors in Austria 

Red Bull were fully in control of the race in Austria, but a slow pit stop allowed Norris to close the gap to Verstappen and eventually get himself into the DRS zone, which ultimately led to their coming together. 

“A nut jammed – but that can happen,” Marko said of the botched pit stop. “We’ve executed over 50 pit stops in the two-second range, some of which have decided victories. I am not blaming anyone for this.”

Regarding Verstappen‘s performance under pressure, Marko said: “Max was out on a used set of tyres and suddenly had no grip. He didn’t go off track, but it cost him time.”

Any suggestion that Red Bull are on the decline was firmly rejected by Marko, who was quick to issue a warning to his F1 rivals ahead of the British Grand Prix this weekend. 

“We will strike back there [at Silverstone], we are bringing an upgrade. Our goal is the world championship, and the Austrian GP has still contributed to that,” Marko affirmed.

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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