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F1's unlikely duo Wolff and Marko hint at collaboration

F1's unlikely duo Wolff and Marko hint at collaboration
© Reuters
Toto Wolff and Dr. Helmut Marko are notably warming up to each other as the persistent rumors about Max Verstappen's potential team switch continue to circulate.

Toto Wolff and Dr. Helmut Marko are notably warming up to each other as the persistent rumors about Max Verstappen's potential team switch continue to circulate.

Historically, the Austrians Wolff and Marko have been in heated conflict, often clashing over their fierce Mercedes versus Red Bull rivalry and starkly differing personalities.

Yet, with Red Bull facing internal conflict and a scandal involving Christian Horner, a suspicious camaraderie has developed between Marko, Red Bull's F1 advisor, and Wolff, Mercedes' team principal and co-owner.

"Because we stand for the same values," Wolff explained to the Austrian publication Osterreich in Monaco.

Marko also spoke to the same newspaper, indicating a significant easing of their past tensions.

"There are no longer the tensions that we had in recent years," he acknowledged. "I heard that we are now blood brothers, but that is clearly an exaggeration."

Wolff hinted at potentially welcoming Marko to Mercedes in a role reminiscent of Niki Lauda, especially if it could facilitate bringing Verstappen over.

"That's nice," Marko responded with a smile. "But it's all so far away. Our goal now is to calm the team down and win the world championship, which will be difficult enough."

He also acknowledged, "Niki would certainly have been a great help to Mercedes right now."

Wolff confirmed that his relationship with Marko has significantly deepened recently.

"We have become much closer," Wolff disclosed. He suggested that recent actions by Horner at Red Bull had played a part in their newfound unity.

"Despite the rivalry," Wolff elaborated, "there are common values that we stand for. With all the things that have happened in the past few months, we have realized that we think alike."

He also hinted that both Marko and Verstappen, who share a strong bond, might eventually move to Mercedes.

"It's less about Max than about the behaviour of some people," Wolff stressed. "That's where we think similarly. But let's put it this way - anything is possible in F1."

Amid these developments, there is a bit of positive news for Red Bull in Monaco, with the reported renewal of chief engineer Paul Monaghan's contract.

Speculation had swirled that Monaghan might leave following Adrian Newey. Newey was seen in Monaco not in team gear but in casual clothes, excluded from Red Bull's technical meetings.

"You almost suspect that they've slowed down a bit ever since the Adrian Newey news," former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos commented to Ziggo Sport. "But that cannot be the cause."

When questioned about his casual appearance in Monaco, Newey responded playfully to Sky Italia, "Should I be on holiday? 50-50."

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