Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko celebrates his 80th birthday today. To mark the occasion, RacingNews365.com has spoken with many people close to him, including Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
While the two have worked for Red Bull since 2005, their first meeting took place much earlier in 1996, when both parties had nothing to do with the energy drink manufacturer. Horner, along with father Garry Horner, set up a Formula 3000 team called Arden, which he himself would go on to race for.
Horner sourced his inventory from everywhere, and as such traveled to Graz to meet with Marko, who himself was active with RSM Marko in the junior classes leading up to Formula 1: "I heard he was selling some kit and so I met him at his hotel.
"Bearing in mind I went there to buy a trailer, he basically interviewed me in terms of what it was I was doing and why and how and so on."
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Striking a deal
A deal was eventually struck: "We shook hands on a deal on this trailer and some other pieces of equipment, and I borrowed and financed, [did] everything I could to pay for this bloody thing.
"He said he'd deliver it to Calais, but he wanted money upfront for it, so I paid him everything I could upfront. I remember speaking to my father [later] and said, 'I bought a trailer', and he said, 'Well, where is it?'.
"I said, 'Well it was [from] this guy in Austria.' [My father said], 'You just paid a deposit, then?' I said, 'No, I paid the whole lot! He seemed like a decent guy.'
"I must have rang him every day for a week until the trailer arrived [in England]!
"But that was really when I first met him, in his hotel in Graz."
Horner: There's a few more years in the old dog yet
Now, almost 30 years on, Horner and Marko are working more closely together than ever before. Together they celebrated driver successes with Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, and Mark Webber and Sergio Perez contributed respectively as teammates to bringing in a total of five Constructors' titles.
When asked for a message to Marko for his 80th birthday, Horner shared a compliment for his colleague.
"That was 20 years ago [that we joined Red Bull together]. He was 60, and he often says that he only just got going at 60," Horner said.
"At 80 years of age, he's got just as much energy today as [he did] 20 years ago.
"[With] his eye for talent, he's given so many young drivers an opportunity. He's been a big part of what we've achieved here [in the team].
"We've always enjoyed a great relationship. It's been great working with him through all these years, and I think there's a few more years in the old dog yet."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the last week in F1.