Former Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari ‘wakes up crying’ after having nightmares about Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko, which left him in need of therapy.
Alguersuari became F1’s youngest driver at 19 years and 125 days in 2009, when he was dropped from Formula Renault by Red Bull and given a seat with sister team Toro Rossi midway through the season.
That record was then broken by 17-year-old Max Verstappen, while Alguersuari enjoyed three seasons in F1 with the now-named team Alpha Tauri, recording a respectable 31 points in 46 Grands Prix.
Like a number of Red Bull junior drivers, Alguersuari’s F1 career was short-lived, with world champions like Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel two of the few to excel in the programme.
Alguersuari blamed much of that on adviser Marko, saying he and other Red Bull drivers suffered “trauma” from the 79-year-old Austrian.
Speaking to Spanish outlet El Confidencial, Alguersuari, who is now a DJ, said: “I’ll tell you one thing: I’m still dreaming, when I’m sleeping, very strange dreams have been coming to me, very strange all this time. .
“Mostly the helplessness and the frustration of never arriving, of seeing Mr. Marko still angry, beating me up. As if we were children. I see myself like that.
“It created a trauma, and I am convinced that [fellow Red Bull junior Sebastien] Buemi lives it too, and many others.
“I couldn’t clean this up. Look, I did therapy, and when I retired, several psychologists helped me try this to get my life back, but I wanted to try this to clean up everything that I had experienced before.
“Now, even so, strange things come to mind. And sometimes I wake up crying, in times when I’ve done a big lap, and I find Mr. Marko’s face looking angry. All this since I was 15.
Unlike many F1 rookies, Alguersuari was thrust straight into the thick of things at the Hungaroring in 2009, with no pre-season testing or time to learn the car.
He finished a respectable 15th on his debut, but failed to take a point in his eight races at the end of the season.
“It was outrageous, I was 19,” he said of the shock debut.
“Not so much because of my age, but because I didn’t take the car and started mid-year.
“At that time he was in charge of the junior team, he had won Formula 3 in Great Britain, and they invented it.
“But it was the only opportunity I had, maybe it wasn’t the best, but it was the one there was.
“I wasn’t ready to go, anyway, but there was no other way. You can’t say no because you don’t know when it’s going to happen again.
“Red Bull is kind of like your parents, because they’re the ones who paid for your race so you could race, and they’re the ones who make the decisions.”
Continuing to chat about Marko, Alguersuari, who is now a DJ known as “Squire”, said he had only seen the adviser once since, and detailed how he learned that he had lost his place in the team.
“I never saw him again,” he said. “And I would love to.
“The only thing I know of all this is that when Franz Tost [Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri team principal] called me the day after the Cepsa event at eight o’clock in the morning to tell us that Red Bull could no longer help us and that they had bad news.
“He hung up on me because I guess he didn’t want to talk to me. I pick up the phone and call Helmut Marko directly. ‘Is this a joke?’ “You already found out, didn’t you?” “What is it, Helmut?” And he said to me: ‘I couldn’t do anything’.
“It’s done, the years have passed, but he made me understand that at Red Bull it’s not just one who decides, but a ‘board’ behind, with different interests.
“But it was clear to me that Marko doesn’t decide, from what he told me. And that was the last time I spoke to him. When I was a commentator at the BBC, I used to greet him in the paddock, nothing more.