On the track, fans were treated to one of the most contested title battles in recent F1 history, one which saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen take an eight-point lead over Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton in the penultimate race in Saudi Arabia.
But it is safe to say that not all talk has been made on the track, indeed Red Bull and Mercedes have clashed all season over several issues, most recently the Mercedes rear wing which Red Bull says flexed too much to increase their top speed.
Earlier in the season, Mercedes complained about the flexibility of Red Bull’s rear wing, prompting regulatory changes.
This for Marko was a major flashpoint in what he feared to be inconsistencies in the verdicts, and so he had talks with the FIA and Formula 1 owner Liberty Media, who convinced to reconsider this point of view.
“When Mercedes saw that we were equal or even faster, they came up with flexible fenders first, then all kinds of other bogus arguments,” Marko told Motorsport.com.
“We took these actions as a very unsportsmanlike gesture and then we also focused on what is happening at Mercedes, for example with these fenders. This is all part of it when the battle is as intense as this year and especially when someone is not used to another team offering competition.
“If it doesn’t come from Mercedes itself, then a team close to Mercedes is offered, sometimes McLaren is offered and then it’s Aston Martin again.
“We felt that there was a certain bias in the decisions. But in the meantime we have had several discussions with the FIA and also with Liberty, so I would say that is part of “part of the game”.
Tensions have not eased between the leaders of Mercedes and Red Bull, however.
Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner have regularly engaged in spicy exchanges throughout the season, which has drawn criticism from some staff around the Formula 1 paddock.
Marko believes, however, that these bickering also fall within this “part of the game” rhetoric.
“As long as it’s not below the belt, I think that’s part of the game too,” Marko said of the Wolff-Horner rivalry.
“You are supporting your own driver, of course, and yes, in doing so, you are discrediting your opponent to some extent. But anyway: it makes sense in itself, as long as it stays within the limits.