Helmet Marko, who serves as an advisor for the Red Bull Formula 1 team, has asked Sergio Perez to improve his qualifying form, deeming the Mexican's pace on Saturday as Red Bull's biggest weakness.
Despite outqualifying teammate Max Verstappen in Imola, Perez has largely struggled to match the Dutchman's pace during any of the other qualifying sessions this year. This has left the Mexican with a mountain to climb on the Sundays with two fourth places in Monaco and Portugal being the Red Bul man's best result in 2021.
"He's been too weak in qualifying so far," Marko told Sport Bild.
"If he were on par with [Valtteri] Bottas, I don't think Mercedes would have played a two-stop strategy in Barcelona. That's our biggest handicap at the moment."
Marko also provided his customary compliments to Verstappen, praising the Dutchman's maturity this year.
"He has learned that the overall package is important," Marko explained.
"That you don't explode if, for example, something goes wrong in the first practice session or you aren't that fast. It's a long season and I hope that he has more reserves [than Lewis Hamilton].