Helmut Marko on talent, vision and professional approach: the way to the top (and to stay there)
Posted by Riccardo Paterni on 21/06/2017

Helmut Marko on talent, vision and professional approach: the way to the top (and to stay there)

Since the very beginning of the Red Bull Racing project, Helmut Marko has been a key asset to the venture by the way he has been able to find, select and nurture talents towards the very top (while crushing some of them along the way).

In recent interview to Motorsport magazine (July 2017 issue) he has pointed out key aspects of his managerial methods driven by clear thinking guiding relentless rapid action. Marko was a very promising driver himself during the ‘70s, well on his way to the very top until he lost his left eye due to a stone debris accidentally lifted by a car on track in front of him. Possibly what he has gone through in racing has shaped his approach to drivers’ scouting and development.

Pragmatic approach

He is very pragmatic in an overall vision of that drivers need to show since the beginning of their career; a vision that goes well beyond the sheer talent shown on track. An anecdote illustrates this, it refers to Vettel that has been one of the first young talents that Marko has noticed as destined to a bright future. Marko observed the way that Vettel (still a kid with braces) was interacting with his very experienced manager: Vettel was the one to keep stressing the need to constantly improve on everything. The talent on track was not enough to Vettel himself even back then.

It is quite clear that to Marko talent is simply the very first step towards being consistently competitive; he points out trouble starts when promising drivers begin to become overconfident and overvalue themselves because of the entourage of people and professionals that care about all of their needs and wants.

Driven by vision

In other words, consistent top results on track depend on an overall vision of things that encompasses the entire drivers’ experience on-and-off-track: an attention to details driven by a professional approach to deal with the team and raise everybody's overall game.

Therefore a key aspect to leveraging on talent is the way that a sense of confidence and humbleness are balanced. This is not easy, mostly at young age, yet this represents a key additional selecting factor that ensures the success of Marko’s method. 

Enabling professionally grounded talent

Let’s take Verstappen as an example: no argument on his sheer talent, yet arguably his aggressive approach has been progressively matched by a more marked sense of perspective and ‘calmness’ to deal with the struggles due to technical difficulties of the car this season. He shows a pragmatic concern for the situation and stimulates pragmatic methodical action by Red Bull to solve lack of performance and dependability issues. This is similar to Vettel’s approach as a rookie F1 driver.

A sound approach also beyond the track

Marko’s talent scouting and nurturing is tough yet arguably can be considered a key factor to the growth of racing drivers as people even before than racers. A key to his professional achievements and the consistent success demonstrated by many of the drivers he spotted? 

This approach can be very useful in shaping the development of all the talent needed within the overall Motorsport Industry at any organisational level. Rapidly changing knowledge needs and knowledge transfers require as well talent driven by an encompassing organisational vision joined by individual determination and a sense of balance between grounded confidence on skills, experience and an healthy dose of humbleness.

Our services dedicated to Motorsport organisations suit specifically also these kind of needs.