Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Marko forbade Verstappen from joining Nurburgring Nordschleife demo run

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko refused to let him take part in the team’s upcoming demonstration run at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Sebastian Vettel will drive the infamous, 20.8-kilometre, 172-turn track in a Red Bull RB7 of the type he used to win the 2011 world championship. Daniel Ricciardo is also due to take part in the event.

However Verstappen said Marko made it clear the team’s star driver would not be allowed to take part.

“I wanted to do it, but I was not allowed by Helmut because he knew that I would try and go to the limits,” he said. “I would have loved to do it.”

F1 cars rarely tackle the formidable circuit, which last held a round of the world championship in 1976. But Verstappen, who is on course to win his third consecutive world championship for the team and is contracted to drive for them until at least 2028, said he didn’t want to “start unnecessary issues” by demanding the team let him take part in the event.

“I find it quite funny,” he explained. “I heard this thing was coming up and Helmut, we were sitting at the table when it came up, and he said “no, no, no, you’re not doing that.”

Asked whether he would have attempted to beat the track record – a 5’19.546 set by Timo Bernhard in the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo, a modified WEC car – Verstappen said “I would have definitely given it a go.”

However he pointed out Vettel and Ricciardo will have to use special demonstration tyres for their appearance at the circuit, which limit performance. “You need not the demo tyres, you need some proper tyres, which is not allowed,” he said.

Verstappen said he is eager to tackle the circuit one day. “Ideally, that would have been amazing in an F1 car,” he said. “But if it’s not allowed in an F1 car, probably one day in a GT3 car or whatever.”

“It’s also risky to drive here,” he said in the paddock at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, “it just depends how you hit a barrier. But that’s normally not the plan, of course.

“But hopefully one day I can do it.”

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2023 Canadian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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13 comments on “Marko forbade Verstappen from joining Nurburgring Nordschleife demo run”

  1. “It’s also risky to drive here,” he said in the paddock at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, “it just depends how you hit a barrier. But that’s normally not the plan, of course.

    “But hopefully one day I can do it.”

    Interesting ambition – I don’t anyone has ever planned to hit the wall of champions before :)

    1. Fingers crossed… what a race that would be!

    2. I think you should get a job in media, you seem to know exactly how it works. :)

    3. Naughty boy ! you made it he was talking about the wall of Champions but he was talking about the green hell …. well done!

  2. I hope RB lets Max do it one time, I wanna see that lap record belong to F1.

  3. might have to do with the same reason why no proper laps are ever performed at LeMans with F1. The run Alonso did last time was an example. F1 would destroy the records and put too much on the shade everything else, cars, championships, drivers… which I guess is not worth it

    1. The current F1PU wouldn’t perform well at LeMans because it can’t store enough energy to deploy on the long straights.
      The PUs would be clipping for most of the lap which means onky running on the ICE

    2. I think the asfalt is also slowing the F1 cars it’s very bumpy and some corners damaging for your car if you are so close to the road. But i hope it will be done once in the future.

  4. Strange this Red Bull aversion to setting lap records. Same when Liam Lawson demonstrated the Red Bull RB7 F1 car at Bathurst. Never did a complete full noise lap to try and better Jenson Buttons fairly tame McLaren F1 benchmark.

    Worth a look for the noise alone.

    1. I agree that it’s weird. Maybe if they never set a benchmark time, then it can’t be beaten in the future??

  5. His stance is understandable, given the risk of something going wrong, which is always possible when pushing on the limit, that would force sitting out a GP or GPs.

  6. Red Bull is in the game for the views right? The attention, the clicks?
    Well, I’d watch that.

  7. Why would Marko be given the Veto on that decision (I know it’s a sensible choice), but then RB doesn’t always stick to common sense from management.
    I’d have thought it would have been Horner’s job to shut that aspiration down !

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