F1's 70 greatest influencers: 2010s
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F1's 70 greatest influencers: 2010s

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In the final part of our series celebrating the most influential figures in world championship history, RICHARD WILLIAMS examines a decade in which driver personalities became ever more intertwined with the forces of big business as Formula 1 grew steadily more corporate - and, finally, passed beyond the Bernie Ecclestone era of 'benign dictatorship'...

When the energy-drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz arrived in Formula 1, he brought a fellow Styrian with him. Helmut Marko was from Graz, only 40 miles from Murztal, Mateschitz's birthplace. What the two men had in common was ambition, and what Marko brought to the operation was a sharp and ruthless eye for what makes a racing driver. If anyone questioned his judgment, he could point to his own record behind the wheel.

Marko raced in only a handful of grands prix. In the ninth and last of them, at Clermont-Ferrand in 1972, a stone smashed into his helmet and cost the 29-year-old law graduate the use of his left eye. But one achievement had already defined Marko's career as a driver: six weeks before the accident he had finished a close second in the Targa Florio in Sicily, setting a lap record for the 45-mile mountain circuit that would stand in perpetuity.

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Series Formula 1
Author GP Racing