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The validity of junior driver programs (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull)


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#1 Reddington

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:29

​We are all well aware that Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren etc have their junior driver programs where they let their future F1 drivers develop. Of course they need to validate these programs and therefore will only want to use the drivers that they have under contract. All good, they invest in them, so they want to bring them up through the ranks and also show that these drivers are bred by themselves so to speak.

 

I see two issues arising the last years though:

 

Firstly, let's take Red Bull as an example. They want to persist in putting drivers into their F1 cars who came from the junior program. As long as these are quality drivers, all is good. But what if the quality isn't up to scratch in certain periods. Can happen, right? Next year they want to go for the WDC and WCC titles if they can build to car to do it with. But next to Max, the other three are maybe showing some potential, some not even, but still they feel the need to use them because it needs to be a "Red Bull driver". In my book they would be better off hiring outside. An experienced proven driver who can make sure RBR can optimize in-race strategy, steal points from the other contenders from Ferrari and Merc for example. But it seems to validate their program, maybe even plain personal pride from someone like Helmut Marko, they are not closing the best drivers they can get, but simply one they have.

(Mind you, their two top drivers ever, Seb and Max, didn't come from the RBR junior program, so I don't know why they are so incredibly rigid at this moment).

 

Secondly, the opposite scenario which we used to see at RB and currently at Mercedes. Doesn't really matter what one thinks of Ocon, fact is that he is benched because he is under contract of Merc and they just didn't get him a seat, for known reasons, but still. Someone like George Russell might be stuck at Williams for some years to come too if Lewis decides to go for an ultimate record hunt (assuming Ocon will be next to him in the future)

 

So here's my question: should drivers and teams be held hostage due to the need to validate junior programs when in reality either drivers are of a lower quality or if you have too many good ones you can't get a seat for. Regardless of the investment.


Edited by Reddington, 13 August 2019 - 10:31.


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#2 Risil

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:46

Talented drivers are not necessarily able to self-fund or arrange sponsorship to get them through karting and the junior single-seater formulae.
 
F1 teams know there is a value in investing in (and getting an option on) the next Lewis Hamilton when the alternative is getting an established star for top dollar or making do with the Lance Strolls and Sergio Perezes of this world.
 
Sometimes it turns out that a team has bought a young driver at too high a price, or that a driver has sold their career too cheaply. But nobody can predict the future. Especially given that it takes years for youngsters to make their way through the gauntlet, and who really knows if a young driver's development exclusively comes from within themselves or if it's determined by mentors, who they proved themselves against and whether they were lucky enough to get the right machinery at critical times.
 
So where's the issue here? It would be better if it was cheap enough for drivers to get on the F1 career track without needing to hook up with an F1 team. But I'm not sure the junior driver programmes are inflating the cost or just reacting to it.


#3 Marklar

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:54

.
(Mind you, their two top drivers ever, Seb and Max, didn't come from the RBR junior program, so I don't know why they are so incredibly rigid at this moment).

Vettel is the clearest Red Bull junior of them all. Supported since his karting days.

I kinda find the entire young driver deal misguided anyways. Most get picked up at F3-ish level nowadays. That's not a young driver program but a sponsoring program imo.

#4 noikeee

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:55

(Mind you, their two top drivers ever, Seb and Max, didn't come from the RBR junior program, so I don't know why they are so incredibly rigid at this moment).

Pretty certain Seb did.



#5 sopa

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:57

It's a shame that drivers are locked into firm academy relationships these days. On a proper open market Hulkenberg, Perez and Ocon would all be in the running for that Red Bull seat.



#6 Reddington

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:58

 

So where's the issue here? 

 

 

Benched drivers.

Mediocre drivers in seats where top drivers are available.

 

Kind of my whole point...


Edited by Reddington, 13 August 2019 - 10:58.


#7 Risil

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 10:58

Vettel is the clearest Red Bull junior of them all. Supported since his karting days.

I kinda find the entire young driver deal misguided anyways. Most get picked up at F3-ish level nowadays. That's not a young driver program but a sponsoring program imo.

 

Why do you think things changed? I'd say Vettel and Hamilton are the canonical examples of a major F1 team getting involved very early on in life and assisting them through karting, Formula Renault/BMW etc.
 
Diminishing returns? The difficulty of knowing which go-karters will make the step up into heavier and more powerful machinery? Or...?


#8 Reddington

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:03

Vettel is the clearest Red Bull junior of them all. Supported since his karting days.

 

I stand corrected. I thought he was in the BMW program.



#9 Sterzo

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:16

Mediocre drivers in seats where top drivers are available.

...is the result of a one-off misjudgement each time. None of the F1 team driver programmes sticks rigidly to a rule that only their own juniors will get a seat. They have all made exceptions: Ferrari (Vettel), Mercedes (Bottas), Red Bull (Verstappen), and Renault (Ricciardo). There are no downsides for the teams, other than investing in some people who turn out to be not good enough.



#10 maximilian

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:19

Red Bull are the only ones who really utilized their program to bring drivers in, of course this is a lot easier with Toro Rosso at their disposal.  Then again, even Ferrari and Mercedes have potential satellite teams they can place drivers in, but not to the same level as Red Bull does, with complete control.  Red Bull's problem has been HOLDING ON to some of their prime product.  Letting Vettel and Ricciardo run off was a mistake.  Also, letting go drivers who turned out to have great potential after all - Vergne above all - were not great decisions in hindsight.

 

Ferrari somewhat validated their program (which had been useless for years, essentially, with people like Massa and Raikkonen hogging seats beyond their expiration date) by putting in Leclerc as a sophomore driver.  One could speculate they would have placed Bianchi into the factory team, as well - if things were less unfortunate.  Before Leclerc, though... crickets chirped for their Juniors.

 

Mercedes' program meanwhile has been a joke.  THey shafted Wehrlein when they had a chance, they shafted Ocon, and now there's STILL a chance Bottas will stay on once more.  If they had any guts at all, they would have thrown Wehrlein, Ocon and now Russell into the factory seat to see if any of them swim.  Even now, I would put in Russell for next year, as the kid shows more promise than the other two ever did.



#11 Marklar

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:32

Mercedes' program meanwhile has been a joke. THey shafted Wehrlein when they had a chance, they shafted Ocon, and now there's STILL a chance Bottas will stay on once more. If they had any guts at all, they would have thrown Wehrlein, Ocon and now Russell into the factory seat to see if any of them swim. Even now, I would put in Russell for next year, as the kid shows more promise than the other two ever did.

If you can only barely beat Haryanto/Ericsson and Perez respecively you should get the best seat? Surely that would be regarded as a joke?

You got it the wrong way: you have to prove yourself first before getting a top seat (although of course there are exceptions like Hamilton back then). In Red Bull's case it already backfired multiple times and if they had a Gasly-esque driver last year Mercedes would have lost the WCC. Their problem is not the concept of their young driver program since they pay the seat of their young drivers for a couple of seasons, but the quality of its drivers: They didnt had a Vettel or Leclerc yet.

Edited by Marklar, 13 August 2019 - 11:33.


#12 Reddington

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:40

...is the result of a one-off misjudgement each time. None of the F1 team driver programmes sticks rigidly to a rule that only their own juniors will get a seat. They have all made exceptions: Ferrari (Vettel), Mercedes (Bottas), Red Bull (Verstappen), and Renault (Ricciardo). There are no downsides for the teams, other than investing in some people who turn out to be not good enough.

 

Sorry, but that's not a good counter whatsoever:

Vettel was with RBR for a long time and only left when he was contractually free. Same exact thing for Dan. You can't expect these contracts to last a lifetime, now can you. But they do have long contract periods.

Bottas was something that couldn't be helped due to Rosberg. And Max just didn't want to commit to either Merc, Ferrari or RB before he was ready to sign himself.


Edited by Reddington, 13 August 2019 - 11:41.


#13 Rodaknee

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:48

RB kisses a lot of frogs, they've not found many Princes.  Fortunately, RB has a massive advertising budget, because they make huge profits from their gloop, which allows them to put money into dozens of different sports.  RB money keeps a lot of competitors solvent and able to race.  Even those it dumps continue to have some relationship with RB.  In the long term, RB does help all the sports it's involved in, but sport is only a vehicle to promote their own product.  A product that is aimed at the young, which is why they support young competitors.

 

Here's a list of drivers who've received money from RB, going back nearly 20 years.  Many of them are still involved in racing.  How many non-supported drivers have given up over the same period?  Perhaps Marko does pick winners, sadly he lacks the patience to wait for them to succeed.

 

https://en.wikipedia...ull_Junior_Team



#14 Marklar

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:51


Why do you think things changed? I'd say Vettel and Hamilton are the canonical examples of a major F1 team getting involved very early on in life and assisting them through karting, Formula Renault/BMW etc.

Diminishing returns? The difficulty of knowing which go-karters will make the step up into heavier and more powerful machinery? Or...?

They are still doing it, or at least some of them. Albon is actually a good example: he got dropped after struggling his first few seasons in race cars after having been supported in karting. Ocon was supported by Genii early on. Stroll was originally signed by Ferrari when he was 11. Mercedes recently also signed some kart drivers. I guess it just happens to be the case that the F1 team supported kart drivers turned out to be less impressive than others for this generation.

#15 Risil

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:51

RB kisses a lot of frogs, they've not found many Princes.  Fortunately, RB has a massive advertising budget, because they make huge profits from their gloop, which allows them to put money into dozens of different sports.  RB money keeps a lot of competitors solvent and able to race.  Even those it dumps continue to have some relationship with RB.  In the long term, RB does help all the sports it's involved in, but sport is only a vehicle to promote their own product.  A product that is aimed at the young, which is why they support young competitors.
 
Here's a list of drivers who've received money from RB, going back nearly 20 years.  Many of them are still involved in racing.  How many non-supported drivers have given up over the same period?  Perhaps Marko does pick winners, sadly he lacks the patience to wait for them to succeed.
 
https://en.wikipedia...ull_Junior_Team

 

Hey, Narain Karthikeyan was a Red Bull junior! Who knew?!



#16 Viryfan

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:51

If you can only barely beat Haryanto/Ericsson and Perez respecively you should get the best seat? Surely that would be regarded as a joke?

You got it the wrong way: you have to prove yourself first before getting a top seat (although of course there are exceptions like Hamilton back then). In Red Bull's case it already backfired multiple times and if they had a Gasly-esque driver last year Mercedes would have lost the WCC. Their problem is not the concept of their young driver program since they pay the seat of their young drivers for a couple of seasons, but the quality of its drivers: They didnt had a Vettel or Leclerc yet.

 

Then why Mercedes does not release the driver if they are not up to it?

 

Reality is that Ocon would've had a seat if he was not tied to Mercedes.

 

Wehrlein would've stood also a chance in 2018, as soon as Alfa entered in frame he was erased because of his Mercedes contract.

 

The difference between red bull and mercedes, is that Mercedes does block its drivers with insane release clause.


Edited by Viryfan, 13 August 2019 - 11:53.


#17 Rodaknee

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:53

 

Ferrari somewhat validated their program (which had been useless for years, essentially, with people like Massa and Raikkonen hogging seats beyond their expiration date) by putting in Leclerc as a sophomore driver.  One could speculate they would have placed Bianchi into the factory team, as well - if things were less unfortunate.  Before Leclerc, though... crickets chirped for their Juniors.

 

Mercedes' program meanwhile has been a joke.  THey shafted Wehrlein when they had a chance, they shafted Ocon, and now there's STILL a chance Bottas will stay on once more.  If they had any guts at all, they would have thrown Wehrlein, Ocon and now Russell into the factory seat to see if any of them swim.  Even now, I would put in Russell for next year, as the kid shows more promise than the other two ever did.

 

Neither Ferrari nor Mercedes have enough money to support dozens of drivers over many years.  They work differently to RB, their investment has to produce solid results.



#18 Pimpwerx

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:57

Don't sign the contract, if you don't want to abide by its stipulations. That's just common sense. If the drivers are still getting paid without a ride, then there's no issue IMO.



#19 Sterzo

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:28

...is the result of a one-off misjudgement each time. None of the F1 team driver programmes sticks rigidly to a rule that only their own juniors will get a seat. They have all made exceptions: Ferrari (Vettel), Mercedes (Bottas), Red Bull (Verstappen), and Renault (Ricciardo). There are no downsides for the teams, other than investing in some people who turn out to be not good enough.

 

 

Sorry, but that's not a good counter whatsoever:

Vettel was with RBR for a long time and only left when he was contractually free. Same exact thing for Dan. You can't expect these contracts to last a lifetime, now can you. But they do have long contract periods.

Bottas was something that couldn't be helped due to Rosberg. And Max just didn't want to commit to either Merc, Ferrari or RB before he was ready to sign himself.

You were arguing that the junior programmes lead to "Mediocre drivers in seats where top drivers are available" because (from another post) "teams (are) held hostage due to the need to validate junior programs." My point was simply this: every one of the teams has chosen drivers from outside their programme when they needed to. A junior programme does not force anyone to keep mediocre drivers simply to justify the scheme.



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#20 Jazza

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:53

My concern is if teams like Ferrari and Mercedes start to go the RedBull style of driver program the silly season could become a thing of the past.

Every driver in Toro Rosso is a RedBull Jr. Since Mark Webber every RedBull driver has been a Toro Rosso driver. This means that the RedBull team is locked out to outsiders, as they will only use their own.

So what happens if other teams use the same system. Ferrari drivers only using Ferrari jr drivers coming up through Alfa Romeo? Mercedes having a B team and only having their drivers coming through? The days of Hamilton, Alonso, Kimi, Schumacher, Senna, Prost, etc, changing teams will be long gone as the big teams won’t be hiring from outside. At the moment, a driver like Vettel could switch out of a RedBull to Ferrari, but one day teams could become locked into their own academy. Worse still, what happens when the next big independent talent comes in that wasn’t linked to a driver program? They could find themselves stuck in a midfield/backmarker team their entire career because the top teams only signup their own.

The RedBull system isn’t too big of an issue at the moment, but I would hate to see other teams emulate it. Could be the end of the driver market as we know it.

#21 Talisman

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 14:27

Neither Ferrari nor Mercedes have enough money to support dozens of drivers over many years.  They work differently to RB, their investment has to produce solid results.

 

Ferrari doesn't work in the same way as Red Bull.

 

Red Bull pays for its drivers to race in junior grades.  It gets financial payback by not paying that much initially even for its RBR drivers if it can get away with it.  Gasly would have been paid a tiny fraction of what MV was on.  Same for Ricciardo though he would have been paid more than Gasly but far less than his market rate as his Renault offer and Red Bull's similar counter-offer last year showed.

 

Drivers pay Ferrari for the honour of being in its junior driver programme with a chance at a drive in a satellite team.  It is a money making scheme.  Therefore as long as its juniors keep transferring the money it is producing the solid results the Italians want.


Edited by Talisman, 13 August 2019 - 14:27.


#22 noikeee

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 14:35

My concern is if teams like Ferrari and Mercedes start to go the RedBull style of driver program the silly season could become a thing of the past.

Every driver in Toro Rosso is a RedBull Jr. Since Mark Webber every RedBull driver has been a Toro Rosso driver. This means that the RedBull team is locked out to outsiders, as they will only use their own.

So what happens if other teams use the same system. Ferrari drivers only using Ferrari jr drivers coming up through Alfa Romeo? Mercedes having a B team and only having their drivers coming through? The days of Hamilton, Alonso, Kimi, Schumacher, Senna, Prost, etc, changing teams will be long gone as the big teams won’t be hiring from outside. At the moment, a driver like Vettel could switch out of a RedBull to Ferrari, but one day teams could become locked into their own academy. Worse still, what happens when the next big independent talent comes in that wasn’t linked to a driver program? They could find themselves stuck in a midfield/backmarker team their entire career because the top teams only signup their own.

The RedBull system isn’t too big of an issue at the moment, but I would hate to see other teams emulate it. Could be the end of the driver market as we know it.

Drivers get locked for a few years to the parent companies that funded them, but not forever. Typically by their mid-late 20s they're either free or in a new contract signed when they're already established stars. See Vettel and Ricciardo, they were free to go under their star contracts (Ricciardo's ran out), and Verstappen is rumoured to have exit clauses similar to Vettel's - he was so good he had the negotiation power to force such a clause to exist when he renewed his contract.

It's an issue but nowhere near as big as you're making it to be. Plus it's only really Red Bull and to a lesser extent Mercedes that are committed to this all the way midway into their F1 careers, Ferrari seem to only have 1 or 2 serious prospects at most at any one time, and Renault are the other way around, they sign drivers by the dozen and cut them off before they reach F1 because invariably almost none of them are good enough (I suspect Lundgaard will be the first to make it ever since Renault came back).

Edited by noikeee, 13 August 2019 - 14:37.


#23 Jazza

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 23:38

Drivers get locked for a few years to the parent companies that funded them, but not forever. Typically by their mid-late 20s they're either free or in a new contract signed when they're already established stars. See Vettel and Ricciardo, they were free to go under their star contracts (Ricciardo's ran out), and Verstappen is rumoured to have exit clauses similar to Vettel's - he was so good he had the negotiation power to force such a clause to exist when he renewed his contract.

It's an issue but nowhere near as big as you're making it to be. Plus it's only really Red Bull and to a lesser extent Mercedes that are committed to this all the way midway into their F1 careers, Ferrari seem to only have 1 or 2 serious prospects at most at any one time, and Renault are the other way around, they sign drivers by the dozen and cut them off before they reach F1 because invariably almost none of them are good enough (I suspect Lundgaard will be the first to make it ever since Renault came back).


I didn't say it’s a big issue now, I said my concern is that if other teams go the RedBull direction driver movements will come to a halt.

Whilst we have seen drivers leave RedBull when their contract is up, not since Mark Webber has someone joined the RedBull team. If other teams started taking the same approach (i.e Ferrari only promoting from within), then it won’t matter that a driver’s contract is up in their mid-to late twenties because there will be no other teams for them to switch to (i.e Vettel would never have been able to move to Ferrari if Ferrari had the same approach to drivers as RedBull).

The problem is not now. It’s if others start to take the RedBull approach then drivers will find that they have nowhere to go. (Remember, we have actually seen a version of this issue already with F2/GP2 when it comes to to moving up to F1. RedBull are the only ones taking this to the extreme in F1, but if others do the same it will ruin F1)

#24 pitlanepalpatine

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 06:42

 

(Mind you, their two top drivers ever, Seb and Max, didn't come from the RBR junior program, so I don't know why they are so incredibly rigid at this moment).

 

 

Ummm Seb was a Red Bull Jnr https://en.wikipedia...ull_Junior_Team, He started part of the karting team back in the late 90's I think even.



#25 absinthedude

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 08:41

It happens in plenty of other industries....a company spends a lot of money developing a young talented employee and expects something in return....often a contract will be signed making it difficult for the employee to move elsewhere without a long period of notice.

 

Nobody forced Kvyat, Russel, Ocon or Giovinazzi et al into their contracts at gun point. Yes, RBR in particular seem to be quite without mercy, but that is known when a driver signs up for the programme. It's not the way I'd run things, but it has got RBR a lot of success. 

 

As others point out, some (possibly most) of the drivers who have been funded by bigger teams might never have had the chance otherwise. It's seen many drivers get their chance at the top level, and I am sure Russell would rather be impressing everyone at Williams than not in F1 at all. Ocon, on the other hand, has been very unlucky and Mercedes have kind of shafted him by only offering him for 2019. That does lead me to think that they are seriously thinking of dropping Bottas. As for Wehrlein, I don't understand the hype. He didn't perform when he was given the chance. And has been quietly dropped from the Mercedes programme. 

 

The programmes themselves are valid. They've given us the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Leclerc. The main problem is what happens after a driver has been ejected from the comforts of such an environment....he's seen as "damaged goods"....for example if Kvyat or Gasley are dropped, where next? Will anyone take a chance on either driver....both probably have the talent to do well in F1 but have been damaged by their RBR experiences.



#26 Reddington

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 09:20

Ummm Seb was a Red Bull Jnr https://en.wikipedia...ull_Junior_Team, He started part of the karting team back in the late 90's I think even.


Yep, and if you read the thread you would have seen that was corrected already and I said I stood corrected.

#27 Anderis

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:34

I didn't say it’s a big issue now, I said my concern is that if other teams go the RedBull direction driver movements will come to a halt.

Whilst we have seen drivers leave RedBull when their contract is up, not since Mark Webber has someone joined the RedBull team. If other teams started taking the same approach (i.e Ferrari only promoting from within), then it won’t matter that a driver’s contract is up in their mid-to late twenties because there will be no other teams for them to switch to (i.e Vettel would never have been able to move to Ferrari if Ferrari had the same approach to drivers as RedBull).

The problem is not now. It’s if others start to take the RedBull approach then drivers will find that they have nowhere to go. (Remember, we have actually seen a version of this issue already with F2/GP2 when it comes to to moving up to F1. RedBull are the only ones taking this to the extreme in F1, but if others do the same it will ruin F1)

I don't think it's ever going to happen. If there's an obvious excpetional talent out there, there's no way every top team is going to ignore him. Someone will realise there's more value in having a competitive advantage by just hiring a better driver.

 

And one of the reasons why Red Bull sticks to their approach is that they've been able to secure at least one top-level driver ever since they are a top team. If Albon proved to be no better than Gasly and Verstappen left after 2019, I'm pretty sure they would consider someone from outside their program too.

If all top teams had their own programs and only promoted internally, it's only a matter of time until one of them finds itself with talent shortage, recognises it and makes the only sensible move by hiring the best prospect there is available on the market regardless of where that driver came from. I just can't imagine a team like Ferrari ever insisting on not promoting drivers from outside their program if that's clearly the best option they have.



#28 taran

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:45

I think the problem with these programmes is the data teams collect about their drivers.

If a Verstappen stand-out driver appears in feeder categories or in a back-of-the-grid team, you can easily recognise his potential and decide to hire him.

But what with the good but not sure how good drivers?

 

Teams will have to chose between their junior driver whose simulator data etc. they have or a driver in another team whose actual performances might be great or flattered by circumstances.

 

Given the great risk aversion shown by teams over the years, they'll probably opt for the known quantity, thus closing the market for many non-aligned drivers.



#29 Talisman

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 10:57

The programmes themselves are valid. They've given us the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Leclerc. The main problem is what happens after a driver has been ejected from the comforts of such an environment....he's seen as "damaged goods"....for example if Kvyat or Gasley are dropped, where next? Will anyone take a chance on either driver....both probably have the talent to do well in F1 but have been damaged by their RBR experiences.

 

I think its pretty clear that rejected drivers ARE seen as damaged goods.  Few of them get drives elsewhere and make a decent career within F1.  Some people may mention Sainz but he was traded away by RBR to Renault rather than being rejected.

 

Also if drivers discarded by RB were rated by other teams they would have the effect of depressing driver salaries, after all they have increased the supply of F1 ready drivers singlehandedly quite significantly.  Yet because they aren't rated highly they aren't in competition with genuinely highly regarded drivers and so have no impact on salaries.



#30 Fisico54

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:00

Then why Mercedes does not release the driver if they are not up to it?

 

Reality is that Ocon would've had a seat if he was not tied to Mercedes.

 

Wehrlein would've stood also a chance in 2018, as soon as Alfa entered in frame he was erased because of his Mercedes contract.

 

The difference between red bull and mercedes, is that Mercedes does block its drivers with insane release clause.

 


What seat would Ocon have got this season if he wasn't tied to Mercedes? I can't see any

#31 Marklar

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:12

The thing that concerns me is that currently the wrong teams appear to have the talented drivers.

The Red Bull program is pretty dire ever since the Vergne/Ricciardo days, but they are the ones that give the best chances, which creates the situation where a not that much talented driver gets a top seat, while a more talented driver has to wait at the back of the field, because Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari dont parachute their drivers up before proving themselves. I'm not saying that these drivers would deserve it either, but some of them probably would rather get a shot if they were at RB. McLaren is the only other team that tends to promote quickly (in fact they are the only ones that properly gamble), but with them being in the midfield it isnt too different from the Mercedes/Ferrari system of putting drivers in midfield teams.

In simple terms: if Norris for example was a RB junior he pretty certainly would be sitting in a Red Bull already. And if Gasly/Kvyat, etc were Renault juniors they potentially wouldnt have ever made it into F1. With that in mind it surprises me that the young drivers are currently distributed like this. You would think that Red Bull with the bigger opportunities they offer could attract the most talented talented drivers and Renault the least, but somehow its not the case? Vips might actually be the first in years that maybe could change that, though.

#32 Marklar

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:19

Then why Mercedes does not release the driver if they are not up to it?

Reality is that Ocon would've had a seat if he was not tied to Mercedes.

Wehrlein would've stood also a chance in 2018, as soon as Alfa entered in frame he was erased because of his Mercedes contract.

The difference between red bull and mercedes, is that Mercedes does block its drivers with insane release clause.

Ocon rejected the Williams seat because he wanted to be free in 2020. McLaren and Renault wanted him even with the Mercedes ties, but he waited too long for the former and the later had then the chance to sign Ricciardo.

With or without Mercedes ties Ocon would have been without a seat in 2019, unless he'd joined a different junior program.

As for Wehrlein: He was never in the running for the Sauber cockpit in 2018 because Ericsson was seeded and the 2nd seat was promised to Ferrari.

Edited by Marklar, 14 August 2019 - 11:21.


#33 noikeee

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:24


What seat would Ocon have got this season if he wasn't tied to Mercedes? I can't see any


Either Grosjean's or Kimi's seat.

#34 sopa

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:26

Renault academy is a weird one. Not only has no-one made it into F1, but no-one has even been anywhere near an F1 seat. If you didn't look deeper, you'd think Renault academy didn't even exist. I wonder, what is the plan of Renault with their drivers at all? Or are they just waiting till the next great champion somehow ends up in their academy, so they would promote him to F1, while discarding all the rest? Just that unlike Red Bull Renault decides future greatness already in feeder categories. Of course, Renault isn't just in F1. They could use their drivers in Formula E too (for Nissan)... or elsewhere.


Edited by sopa, 14 August 2019 - 11:27.


#35 noikeee

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:27

The thing that concerns me is that currently the wrong teams appear to have the talented drivers.

The Red Bull program is pretty dire ever since the Vergne/Ricciardo days, but they are the ones that give the best chances, which creates the situation where a not that much talented driver gets a top seat, while a more talented driver has to wait at the back of the field, because Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari dont parachute their drivers up before proving themselves. I'm not saying that these drivers would deserve it either, but some of them probably would rather get a shot if they were at RB. McLaren is the only other team that tends to promote quickly (in fact they are the only ones that properly gamble), but with them being in the midfield it isnt too different from the Mercedes/Ferrari system of putting drivers in midfield teams.

In simple terms: if Norris for example was a RB junior he pretty certainly would be sitting in a Red Bull already. And if Gasly/Kvyat, etc were Renault juniors they potentially wouldnt have ever made it into F1. With that in mind it surprises me that the young drivers are currently distributed like this. You would think that Red Bull with the bigger opportunities they offer could attract the most talented talented drivers and Renault the least, but somehow its not the case? Vips might actually be the first in years that maybe could change that, though.


Drivers rightly avoid signing for RB when there's other options, because they know they might get more chances of making it to F1 but once they've made it, you'll be treated as absolute **** under enormous pressure. Sometimes this backfires of course, as in the famous case of Robin Frijns who apparently rejected them then never made it. But Frijns was unlucky and/or a bit dumb, since at the time RB didn't have half the competition they have now, as it was in the period the manufacturers had ran away from F1, and Merc/Ferrari hadn't seriously started investing in youngsters yet.

#36 sopa

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:34

Drivers rightly avoid signing for RB when there's other options, because they know they might get more chances of making it to F1 but once they've made it, you'll be treated as absolute **** under enormous pressure. Sometimes this backfires of course, as in the famous case of Robin Frijns who apparently rejected them then never made it. But Frijns was unlucky and/or a bit dumb, since at the time RB didn't have half the competition they have now, as it was in the period the manufacturers had ran away from F1, and Merc/Ferrari hadn't seriously started investing in youngsters yet.

 

Getting a seat in the Red Bull A team (like Kvyat, Gasly or now Albon) isn't being treated as ****. Heck, none of the Merc juniors has yet got a Mercedes seat. Ferrari has finally promoted a driver into their A team (Leclerc). Of course, McLaren has promoted straight into their team in F1 as well, but they aren't a top team any more, so drivers may want to look for a better option anyway in the long term.

 

Of course, Red Bull may have a bad reputation due to Marko's character, but if you want to have a good career and a truly realistic chance of making it into the Big team itself, you should swallow a bit of your pride... Also, once you are promoted into a top team, there are rightful expectations that you should perform too... If you don't, you can't expect to hang around forever (sorry, Gasly). If Leclerc had only 1/3 of Vettel's points, Ferrari would also re-consider, what to do with their junior...


Edited by sopa, 14 August 2019 - 11:35.


#37 Burai

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:44

The thing that concerns me is that currently the wrong teams appear to have the talented drivers.

The Red Bull program is pretty dire ever since the Vergne/Ricciardo days, but they are the ones that give the best chances, which creates the situation where a not that much talented driver gets a top seat, while a more talented driver has to wait at the back of the field, because Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari dont parachute their drivers up before proving themselves. I'm not saying that these drivers would deserve it either, but some of them probably would rather get a shot if they were at RB. McLaren is the only other team that tends to promote quickly (in fact they are the only ones that properly gamble), but with them being in the midfield it isnt too different from the Mercedes/Ferrari system of putting drivers in midfield teams.

In simple terms: if Norris for example was a RB junior he pretty certainly would be sitting in a Red Bull already. And if Gasly/Kvyat, etc were Renault juniors they potentially wouldnt have ever made it into F1. With that in mind it surprises me that the young drivers are currently distributed like this. You would think that Red Bull with the bigger opportunities they offer could attract the most talented talented drivers and Renault the least, but somehow its not the case? Vips might actually be the first in years that maybe could change that, though.

 

Red Bull pick up their drivers at the earliest stages of their career and everyone develops at a different pace and some just don't make it at all. You could pick up ten kart champions, but you've no guarantee you'll end up with ten F1-calibre drivers.



#38 noikeee

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:53

Renault academy is a weird one. Not only has no-one made it into F1, but no-one has even been anywhere near an F1 seat. If you didn't look deeper, you'd think Renault academy didn't even exist. I wonder, what is the plan of Renault with their drivers at all? Or are they just waiting till the next great champion somehow ends up in their academy, so they would promote him to F1, while discarding all the rest? Just that unlike Red Bull Renault decides future greatness already in feeder categories. Of course, Renault isn't just in F1. They could use their drivers in Formula E too (for Nissan)... or elsewhere.


None of their drivers so far are anywhere near enough. Maybe Rowland at a push - and there's a reason why he'd been cut off by Mclaren and didn't make it. Renault were hiring in numbers and trying to see if any would stick, and none did. I maintain Lundgaard is the first real top prospect they have, but even for him it's too soon to conclude whether he'll be good enough or not.

#39 noikeee

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 11:58

Getting a seat in the Red Bull A team (like Kvyat, Gasly or now Albon) isn't being treated as ****. Heck, none of the Merc juniors has yet got a Mercedes seat. Ferrari has finally promoted a driver into their A team (Leclerc). Of course, McLaren has promoted straight into their team in F1 as well, but they aren't a top team any more, so drivers may want to look for a better option anyway in the long term.

Of course, Red Bull may have a bad reputation due to Marko's character, but if you want to have a good career and a truly realistic chance of making it into the Big team itself, you should swallow a bit of your pride... Also, once you are promoted into a top team, there are rightful expectations that you should perform too... If you don't, you can't expect to hang around forever (sorry, Gasly). If Leclerc had only 1/3 of Vettel's points, Ferrari would also re-consider, what to do with their junior...


True but RB gives you poisoned chalices. They don't train you or try to mould you into a better driver, they just expect you to be the next Senna in every single step of your journey, and you're at risk of your career ending at any tiny misstep. They do give you more F1 opportunities than the other junior programmes, but mismanage the vast majority of drivers they have, unlike the competition. No wonder people hesitate before selling their souls to them.

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#40 Talisman

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 12:06

They don't train you or try to mould you into a better driver,

 

They do.

 

RB juniors have access to a lot of training support whether physical, mental or how to deal with the media etc as well as having their drives funded.  This is probably to a greater extent than the other programmes.  In return they are ruthless but don't dismiss the support they give.



#41 Hellenic tifosi

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 12:15

Also, I think that the lack of testing puts even more pressure on drivers to make the correct career choices. 20 years ago, each team would have a couple of test drivers who would drive at least 4 days per month.

#42 noikeee

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 12:26

They do.

RB juniors have access to a lot of training support whether physical, mental or how to deal with the media etc as well as having their drives funded. This is probably to a greater extent than the other programmes. In return they are ruthless but don't dismiss the support they give.


Well okay I might've exaggerated but the public perception is that they aren't supportive.

Just see how they handle drivers' career choices. They regularly promote drivers before they're ready, risking exposing them and burning them out. They change things mid-season at any one given time (Kvyat given way to Max by the first European race of the season??). They completely cut off drivers permanently mid-season in the feeder series already, only to years later figure out they were wrong and hire them again. They refuse to place drivers in the premier F1 training category (F2) and ship them off to Japan instead (this isn't even a new thing, I remember they wanted to do this to Albuquerque all the way back in 2007). They pass up on you when you're ready, because that kid 3 years younger than you just had 2 good races (ask Felix da Costa, ask Vergne, who both got passed up by an unprepared Kvyat on momentary good form, and now ask Kvyat who got passed up by Albon). They even demote drivers back to their B team, I can't think of anything more humiliating and killing off a driver's confidence which is EVERYTHING in a driver. They do this just 2 weeks after they've reassured the driver he's safe for the season. They wait until the drivers market is closed before announcing to drivers they won't be retained anymore, therefore locking them out of the grid (ask Buemi and Alguersuari). They've even attempted to ROTATE drivers in several occasions (remember the Liuzzi/Klien rotation of 2005, or the Sainz/Gasly/Kvyat/Hartley nonsense of a couple years ago?) which just deprives you of competitive rhythm.

So no I don't know how supportive they are behind closed doors... But from what we can tell on the public sphere, they are the worst possible employees you could possibly have in managing your career. Anything can happen at any given time, you have no career security and no margin for error whatsoever. And you know how humans improve and get better at anything in life? Through making mistakes. How do you expect anyone to get better at anything if they're given absolutely zero room for making any mistakes?

#43 Burai

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 14:29

Well okay I might've exaggerated but the public perception is that they aren't supportive.

Just see how they handle drivers' career choices. They regularly promote drivers before they're ready, risking exposing them and burning them out. They change things mid-season at any one given time (Kvyat given way to Max by the first European race of the season??). They completely cut off drivers permanently mid-season in the feeder series already, only to years later figure out they were wrong and hire them again. They refuse to place drivers in the premier F1 training category (F2) and ship them off to Japan instead (this isn't even a new thing, I remember they wanted to do this to Albuquerque all the way back in 2007). They pass up on you when you're ready, because that kid 3 years younger than you just had 2 good races (ask Felix da Costa, ask Vergne, who both got passed up by an unprepared Kvyat on momentary good form, and now ask Kvyat who got passed up by Albon). They even demote drivers back to their B team, I can't think of anything more humiliating and killing off a driver's confidence which is EVERYTHING in a driver. They do this just 2 weeks after they've reassured the driver he's safe for the season. They wait until the drivers market is closed before announcing to drivers they won't be retained anymore, therefore locking them out of the grid (ask Buemi and Alguersuari). They've even attempted to ROTATE drivers in several occasions (remember the Liuzzi/Klien rotation of 2005, or the Sainz/Gasly/Kvyat/Hartley nonsense of a couple years ago?) which just deprives you of competitive rhythm.

So no I don't know how supportive they are behind closed doors... But from what we can tell on the public sphere, they are the worst possible employees you could possibly have in managing your career. Anything can happen at any given time, you have no career security and no margin for error whatsoever. And you know how humans improve and get better at anything in life? Through making mistakes. How do you expect anyone to get better at anything if they're given absolutely zero room for making any mistakes?

 

In short, because Red Bull are a championship-calibre team and are,naturally, looking for champions, not merely good racing drivers. You get the opportunity to learn the ropes and get mentally tough in the lower formulae and at Toro Rosso. If you get the call up and you aren't ready, you'll probably never be ready.

 

It's worth remembering that most of their rejects have managed to make respectable careers elsewhere and aren't exactly struggling for employment. Red Bull "rejects" have got multiple championships and class wins in WEC and Formula E under their belts and even the least successful have forged decent careers in GT racing, NASCAR and rallycross.



#44 noikeee

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 14:42

In short, because Red Bull are a championship-calibre team and are,naturally, looking for champions, not merely good racing drivers. You get the opportunity to learn the ropes and get mentally tough in the lower formulae and at Toro Rosso. If you get the call up and you aren't ready, you'll probably never be ready.

It's worth remembering that most of their rejects have managed to make respectable careers elsewhere and aren't exactly struggling for employment. Red Bull "rejects" have got multiple championships and class wins in WEC and Formula E under their belts and even the least successful have forged decent careers in GT racing, NASCAR and rallycross.


And that served them well so far. But now that they need not a champion, but a good racing driver to support Verstappen, they're ****ed. If only they had kept a Sainz, a Vergne or a Buemi...

And by the way they're also ****ed if they lose Verstappen, because there's no potential champion lined up in their ranks. Just a bunch of drivers they've been messing with and destroying their confidence, arbitrarily moving them up and down.

#45 Burai

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 15:04

And that served them well so far. But now that they need not a champion, but a good racing driver to support Verstappen, they're ****ed. If only they had kept a Sainz, a Vergne or a Buemi...

And by the way they're also ****ed if they lose Verstappen, because there's no potential champion lined up in their ranks. Just a bunch of drivers they've been messing with and destroying their confidence, arbitrarily moving them up and down.

 

Buemi's been Red Bull and Toro Rosso's reserve driver for 8 years now. There's nothing stopping them from giving him the call if they thought he was good enough.

 

If they lost Verstappen now, they'd hire from outside.



#46 noikeee

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 15:20

Buemi's been Red Bull and Toro Rosso's reserve driver for 8 years now. There's nothing stopping them from giving him the call if they thought he was good enough.

If they lost Verstappen now, they'd hire from outside.


He's got the talent to be Verstappen's #2, he's good enough. The problem is he's been out of racing non-electric single seaters for too long. See how well that went for Hartley. Or Kubica. Or Badoer back in 2009.

#47 CoolBreeze

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 15:52

I think there's nothing to shout about Red Bull's programme. Who is the only person actually succeeded? Max?

 

I can't think of anyone else. 



#48 sopa

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 15:53

Would Buemi or Vergne really be better than someone like Kvyat? As a rookie Kvyat was very competitive against Vergne. And I saw nothing in Buemi's F1 career to indicate he operates on a promising level than a Kvyat or a Gasly.



#49 PayasYouRace

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 15:54

I think there's nothing to shout about Red Bull's programme. Who is the only person actually succeeded? Max?

I can't think of anyone else.


I know Vettel is not doing too hot right now but he’s been fairly successful, no?

#50 Anderis

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 16:30

I think there's nothing to shout about Red Bull's programme. Who is the only person actually succeeded? Max?

 

I can't think of anyone else. 

Former Toro Rosso drivers actually make up more than a third of current grid and 3 out of 4 best paid drivers in current F1. If that does not prove their program delivered, I don't know what else would.