Red Bull Formula 1 advisor Helmut Marko says there is no number one driver at the team, saying that Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are treated equally.
Verstappen signed a new long-term deal with Red Bull in October, rumored to provide a significant pay hike that Marko denied earlier this week was in the same league as that of world champions Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
Red Bull said at the time of the Verstappen announcement it would look to build the team around the Dutchman in the future, leading to concerns about Ricciardo’s long-term future, with his contract expiring at the end of next season.
Speaking to the official F1 website, Marko was full of praise for Verstappen’s performances through the year despite a lack of reliability through the middle of the season, but stressed there was no number one driver at the team.
“In qualifying he was most of the time faster. With seven DNFs, his season was not a walk in the park and sometimes his morale was really down,” Marko said of Vertappen.
“But it was a steep learning process for him and he came out better than he was before. His two wins were the proof.
“We don’t have a number one. Both drivers are equally treated and it is up to them to define the pecking order.
“I will always love the faster one!”