Analysis | How much young talent has Red Bull's academy yielded in 20 years?

20-11-2020 11:14
F1 News
Analysis | How much young talent has Red Bull's academy yielded in 20 years?

The Red Bull junior team has been discussed a lot in recent months. Should Red Bull Racing choose someone from their own academy or not? GPblog dives into the statistics of the Red Bull junior team over the last 20 years. 

Marko's set-up

The Red Bull junior team naturally originated with Helmut Marko. The Austrian driver starts his own team in 1999, who competed in Formula 3000 under the name of the Red Bull Junior Team. Between 1999 and 2003 Marko is active there and with success because in 2004 the first driver made his debut. The Red Bull program: Christian Klien.

Klien was the first to make his debut, but certainly not the last. The Austrian gets his chance in F1 at Jaguar, which is bought by Red Bull a year later. Klien drove for two years before changing roles to reserve driver at Honda and BMW. Just like many young talents, Klien gets plenty of opportunities in other classes. He drives around in different racing classes and has won several races.

With the founding of Red Bull Racing in 2005 and Toro Rosso in 2006, things are moving fast with Red Bull's talents. Where they were initially supported by the brand, there is now actually a chance to drive at Red Bull in Formula 1 and from day one Red Bull have taken advantage of that, by giving Scott Speed, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Klien the chance. David Coulthard was brought in as the figurehead for Red Bull Racing.

The training team

Drivers get the chance at Red Bull and that is something that had not yet been seen to this extent in Formula 1. Of course, young talent existed but never was one team fully developing their own drivers. That is the role of Toro Rosso, currently known as AlphaTauri.

Toro Rosso was used as a test case for the greatest talents over the years. Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Sebastian Bourdais, Sebastian Vettel, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon. Yes, the list is immensely long. All these drivers belonged to the top of their class and were given the chance by Red Bull to show something in Formula 1. Some with more success than others.

In 2020, there will be seven drivers on the grid who have entered Formula 1 through Red Bull. An enormous number, especially for a team that is not even a car brand and then you can also look at the bigger picture because drivers who do not make it to Formula 1 are also supported by Red Bull afterwards.

A career in motorsport

Consider, for example, Sebastien Buemi, who became Formula E champion and also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times. Also, Antonio Felix da Costa, who won the Formula E title this year. There are many more drivers from the list who have a career in motorsport because of Red Bull.

The list of Red Bull is very long and communication is sometimes very hard. Marko is direct and says it immediately if you have not performed well enough and thus puts immense pressure on the young talent. A lot of guys drop out, but you can also ask yourself whether they could have endured the pressure of Formula 1?

Ready for Formula 1?

Marko prepares them for the real thing so they can stand on their own when they get to F1. Only the great drivers will survive, but those stars will always make it to Formula 1. It is that second row of drivers, who have been given a chance by Red Bull and especially Marko. They would never have had a career so easily if Red Bull had not supported them.

In recent years, Red Bull's training has dried up a bit. The generation of Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc is very strong, but behind it are not many talents. However, the talents out there now are not on Red Bull's radar. Callum Ilott, for example, was already removed from the set-up and Mick Schumacher has been associated with Ferrari from day one.

With Yuki Tsunoda, another talent is on its way to Formula 1. He can fill in the place of Daniil Kvyat, who has had sufficient opportunities. In this way, the talent continues to flow and the current Red Bull Junior Team can hope for a good career. Juri Vips, Jack Doohan, Dennis Hauger, Johny Edgar, Liam Lawson, Jehan Daruvala, Igor Fraga and Jak Crawford can still hope for that seat in F1, but above all, they have to work hard to turn this unique opportunity of Red Bull into a wonderful career in motorsport.

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing is a different story in that respect. The last two years it seemed a bit like a playground, now that there were also tests with talents who had not really made it yet: Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon. Where Red Bull had a strong driver duo with David Coulthard / Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel / Mark Webber, they then started to lean too much on their youngsters. 

The duo Ricciardo / Kvyat did not turn out so well, whereas Verstappen was perfect for the first team.

This article was originally published on the Dutch version of GPBlog. It was written by Tim Kraaij. 

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