Former Red Bull junior Chandhok defends Marko's approach

Karun Chandhok has spoken out in support of Helmut Marko, his former boss at the Red Bull Junior Team, in the wake of the decision to swap Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Former Red Bull junior Chandhok defends Marko's approach
Karun Chandhok, Test Driver, Red Bull Racing
Karun Chandhok, Test Driver, Red Bull Racing
Karun Chandhok, Test Driver, Red Bull Racing
Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing with with Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant on the grid
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing celebrates his first win in parc ferme with Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari with Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Motorsport Consultant
Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kyvat, Red Bull Racing and Dr. Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid

Red Bull's and Marko's decision to promote Verstappen to Red Bull Racing - and demote Kvyat to Toro Rosso - was widely questioned but would pay off nicely in Barcelona as the Dutchman went on to claim his maiden grand prix win on his senior team debut.

Ex-F1 racer and current Channel 4 pundit Chandhok, who was part of Marko's Red Bull Junior Team back in 2008, says the results make it difficult to be critical of the Austrian's policy.

“It was obviously very harsh on [Daniil] Kvyat, a severe move for him and his career but F1 is a harsh business and that’s a sad reality for him,” said Chandhok to Motorsport.com.

“I feel bad for him but at the end of the day Helmut Marko, I know from my time, he’s a hard taskmaster.

“But he gets results - at the end of the day you look at the drivers he has brought up from the fold, you look at the drivers with whom he has had success and so it’s hard to say he's wrong,” he added.

Chandhok also noted Red Bull was "spoilt for choice" and suggested the team simply took advantage of that fact.

“I think the reality was Red Bull is in a luxurious position in spoilt for choice for drivers, they have four very talented drivers with them, all four who are deserving of a career in F1,” he started.

“And therefore they are in the position where they can pick and choose who they put where. [Looking at the results] you have to say that Verstappen, [Daniel] Ricciardo and [Carlos] Sainz have probably been the best out of the four, so why not make a change, [when] they have the luxury.”

Ferrari needs ‘one-lap’ pace

With Ferrari struggling to close in on Mercedes - or to hold back Red Bull in the fight for being the second-best team - Chandhok believes the Italian team's qualifying pace woes are the key to recent struggles.

“Ferrari is odd, they have shown in various moments that they have a competitive car especially in the races but for whatever reason they aren’t able to get that one-lap performance,” he said.

“They haven’t been able to qualify well and maximise the situation and, therefore, they have always put themselves on the back foot.

“So you still have to say that across all, Mercedes have the upper hand, [but] the Ferrari and Red Bull battle will be one to watch out for, especially with the Renault upgrade in Canada."

2017 performance uncertainty affects driver market

With a big rule change coming for 2017, Chandhok thinks the driver market will play out in interesting ways this season.

“The last time we had such a huge rule change was back in 2008/09, where all of a sudden Red Bull and Brawn came forward and others went backwards.

“So it is tricky for all the drivers this year, if they choose a team based on this year’s performance, in 2017 the car performance could be completely different.

“All of a sudden you are in a situation where you have made a right choice and end up winning races or completely the wrong choice and end up in the midfield."

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