Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Melbourne, 2014

Red Bull’s shortage of driver options is a legacy of Verstappen’s rapid rise

2019 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo’s impending departure from Red Bull leaves the team in the unfamiliar situation of needing to fill a seat for next year, knowing the incumbent is off to a rival team.

They did not see this coming. Before Ricciardo’s departure motorsport director Helmut Marko said publicly the driver lacked any realistic alternatives to them for the 2019 F1 season. Afterwards, team principal Christian Horner admitted the development caught him by surprise.

It leaves the team scrambling for a new driver to place alongside Max Verstappen. Unsubstantiated reports earlier this week claimed Verstappen has a ‘veto’ over who can join him at the team next year. None of the publications peddling the story appear to have offered anything to support that claim.

However Red Bull’s long-established modus operandi indicates they are likely to promote one of their juniors. After all this is the team which, uniquely, has gone to the trouble of running an entire second F1 team just to blood new talent for the top squad.

Horner indicated this is the plan again, saying they intend to “invest in youth” rather than seek a more experienced hand to join Verstappen next year.

But do they have enough talent available to promote entirely from within? Four years on, the speed with which they promoted Verstappen to the top team has left them short of options for the three seats they now need to fill.

As far as replacing Ricciardo goes Red Bull have two clear options: Carlos Sainz Jnr, currently on loan to Renault, and Pierre Gasly.

“Both of those guys are very quick drivers,” said Horner. “This just gives us an opportunity to take a breath. They’re under contract anyway to the end of the summer or beyond. We’ll just look at the options available to us and make sure we make the right decision for the team.”

However he dropped a hint that the many calls to his phone from those outside the Red Bull scheme would not be ignored. “It’s an incredibly attractive car to drive,” he added. “I don’t think we’re going to be short of requests and offers.”

In theory Sainz, who ‘graduated’ from Toro Rosso last year, should be first in line. But the fact he hasn’t been announced already indicates Red Bull is giving serious thought to alternatives.

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Before Ricciardo’s move was announced, Sainz said he was unhappy at facing uncertainty over his F1 future for the third year in a row.

“I am used to it, I know how to live with it,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be looking forward to sign a two-year deal with my future team to make sure the next year I’m not in this position.” But now the duration of his next deal is likely to be less of a concern than where he’s going to end up.

Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Melbourne, 2014
Will these two be reunited at Red Bull next year?
This reflects poorly on Sainz’s form this year, which is unfair. He’s increasingly been a match for his highly-rated team mate Nico Hulkenberg over the first half of the season.

Whether or not Sainz foresaw Ricciardo moving into his own seat, he has been assessing his options and is known to have had conversations with McLaren. If Red Bull decide not to take up their option on him, which expires at the end of September, he faces a potentially serious career setback.

But if Red Bull turn Sainz down in favour of Gasly, they will find themselves needing another new driver at Toro Rosso. This is where the knock-on implications of Verstappen’s rise through the ranks comes into play.

In the same interview Horner made an interesting revelation about the discussions five years which led Red Bull to promote Ricciardo to the team in 2014 instead of his then-Toro Rosso team mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

“When Mark Webber left in 2013 it was going to be a disaster. We considered Kimi Raikkonen, we considered all the drivers, but in the end it came to a clear-cut choice between Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo. Daniel got the nod.

“The concern we had about him was his racecraft. We hadn’t seen him race anybody. He could qualify a car alright. And then ironically it turned out the moment he got in our car he never stopped overtaking people. So it just goes to show until you give somebody the chance in your own environment sometimes it’s quite difficult to gauge.”

While Ricciardo settled in at Red Bull, Vergne began his third year at Toro Rosso, joined by rookie Daniil Kvyat. Meanwhile in Formula Three, a remarkable young driver called Max Verstappen was making waves.

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Red Bull beat Mercedes to getting Verstappen’s name on a contract by offering him a deal to drive for Toro Rosso in 2015, replacing Vergne. But then came another unexpected development.

Vettel stunned Red Bull by telling them he was leaving to join Ferrari. For the second year running Red Bull needed another new driver. With the experienced Vergne already on his way out of Toro Rosso, promoting him was out of the question, despite the fact he’d been under consideration for Ricciardo’s seat a year earlier. Their only option was Kvyat.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya
Does Red Bull have its eye on a McLaren junior?
Kvyat lasted little over a year at Red Bull before being dropped in favour of Verstappen. In an unprecedented move, Red Bull relegated Kvyat back to Toro Rosso, where he stayed for another year and a half before finally being shown the door.

Red Bull had burned through its stockpile of Toro Rosso reserves at an accelerated rate. It didn’t help matters that maturing talents such as Alex Lynn and Sergio Sette Camara were dropped from the programme, and that Red Bull kept Kvyat on for 2017 instead of promoting GP2 champion Gasly to F1.

Ultimately, dispensing with Vergne so hastily while they scrambled to get Verstappen into the team has left them with a shortage of options four years on. This is also why Brendon Hartley was given a second chance, seven years on from his departure from the Junior Team, a move Vergne said he found amusing given their record in the junior categories.

Now, if Red Bull choose not to pair Sainz with Verstappen again, they will likely have to obtain a junior driver from outside the Red Bull universe.

Dan Ticktum, the top driver on the Red Bull junior programme, cannot score enough superlicence points to be able to drive in F1 next year. Nirei Fukuzumi, a Red Bull Athlete with obvious appeal to new engine supplier Honda, will only be able to if he finishes fourth in F2 this year, and he’s currently 18th.

This looks positive for Hartley, who faced speculation over his future following a shaky start to the year. “A lot of things are out of my control,” he admitted. “I feel very content that I’m doing the best that I can and working with the team the best that I can and hopefully the results will follow.”

“Two months ago I was getting asked questions every second if my Formula 1 career was over and all these things,” he added. “I guess it changed my attitude a bit.”

If Red Bull is going to look beyond its current junior driver roster, could it bring in one of its rivals’ young stars? It has already shown interest in McLaren’s Lando Norris, and as the Woking team is eager to procure Toro Rosso’s designer James Key as quickly as possible, each party has something the other wants.

But the compromised decision Red Bull faces now has its roots in the decisions it took when Verstappen arrived on the scene. Was it worth it to get their hands on a driver many consider F1’s next great star? As with Ricciardo’s big career gamble, we’ll only be able to answer that with the benefit of hindsight.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 127 comments on “Red Bull’s shortage of driver options is a legacy of Verstappen’s rapid rise”

    1. Interesting article. On top of that: If I’m not mistaken, because Verstappen’s remarkable debut, the FIA introduced the Superlicence points. So because of Verstappen the likes of Dan Ticktum, Jake Dennis and Nirei Fukuzumi will have an insufficient amout of points to be promoted.

      Reading this article: how bad whould it be to bring Vergne back? Perhaps because Vergne himself doesn’t want to return to Red Bull.

      1. how bad whould it be to bring Vergne back?

        Somebody took his three letter abbreviation :P
        @matthijs

        1. I’m sure he’d be happy with JEV. That’s what everyone calls him anyway.

      2. I’m sure he has plenty of bitterness left from the RB relationship. That being said, big JEV fan, he had some mega drives at TR. I’d love to see him back at RBR.

        1. Yes, I have no doubt vergne would do well, he was close to ricciardo, however he might not want to be back to red bull and red bull will also be stubborn to not go back to the decision.

          1. I will put 5 euro on a RB surprise move and that they bring in Marc Marquez… (unlikely but you never know)

        2. Mega drives at TR? lol other than his two or three good races per season, there were nothing mega about them. If they were that mega, obviously RBR or any other F1 team would have picked him up once he dropped out of TR.

          People keep thinking he was close to Ricciardo but he had the worse qualifying record of all team-mates on the grid and the biggest gap against Ricciardo. In dry race points over their two seasons together JEV got smashed.

          Fans keep having this misconception that JEV was close to Ricciardo based on the 2012 points where it was close as JEV scored most of his points in mixed conditions which he was better than Ricciardo at. Everything else though…

          1. Jean-Éric Vergne isn’t as good as Ricciardo but as Ricciardo is now one of the best on the grid, that means Vergne is probably about as good as Hulkenberg or Perez.

      3. @matthijs, it is a little more complex than that, as the FIA had already begun work on overhauling the Super Licence system, and that of the licences in lower series, before Verstappen came along.

        At the time, the existing licencing system was struggling to keep up with changes in junior series: the old Super Licence requirements referred to multiple series – the GP2 Asia Series, the International Formula 3 series, the Formula 3 Euro Series and the previous iteration of the Formula 2 championship – that, by 2016, had ceased to exist.

        The arrival of Verstappen seems to have been the catalyst for those changes to finally come to fruition, but I suspect that those regulations probably would have come sooner or later anyway – it was generally accepted that the existing regulations had to be reformed, and it sounds as if some aspects of the current system were already planned for introduction beforehand.

        As an aside, it is worth noting that, even if the previous regulations were still in force, Dan Ticktum, Jake Dennis and Nirei Fukuzumi would not automatically have qualified for a Super Licence anyway. Only one of those three drivers – Jake Dennis – would have finished high enough up in a championship that counted towards the old Super Licence criteria, assuming that the FIA treated the European F3 series as a continuation of the International F3 series, but because his 3rd place finish was more than two years ago, it would have been too long ago to count towards a Super Licence application anyway.

        it could also be pointed out that there is one former driver whom I think Red Bull could still draw on, which would be Buemi – Red Bull still list him on their website as their reserve driver and under contract with them, and acquiring a Super Licence would be easy given that he’s already held one in the past.

        At this rate, why not consider putting him into a seat for 2019 if they really are struggling that much to find a suitable candidate? There might be value in using him to improve the correlation between their simulators and the track data, and it would at the very least buy them time to find a longer term solution.

        1. Anon, thanks for the explaination

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          11th August 2018, 18:59

          Was the minimum age also considered with the Superlicence points change?

      4. @matthijs The only direct change made in response to Verstappen was a minimum age requirement of 18 years to enter a Formula One race.

    2. Kvyat was also rushed a little into STR, I remember at the time da Costa was supposed to get that seat, eventually it didn’t materialise. Not only RBR has been rushing through the talent at STR but also STR has been jumping through the junior formulas with ease.

      Regardless, it is still the best program that is in F1, the number of driver they have managed to bring into the formula is amazing

      1. Félix da Costa didn’t get the seat because his advertisers didn’t come through. Much as it happened to Álvaro Parente.

      2. They brought many drivers into F1 but also discarded most of them at still very young age…effectively destroying careers before they could really take off. At the time, there was some feeling that Alguersuari was promoted to F1 primarily because Red Bull wanted to grab the headlines of introducing the youngest-ever driver. Among the others, Kvyat was good talent, I think.

        1. My tought exactly. Some drivers would have been picked up by others teams without RB and probably last longer (thinking of JEV here).

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            11th August 2018, 19:02

            @x303 I recall at the end of 2011 both Buemi and Algeursuari had STR’s word that they would be kept for the 2012 season. Of course, that didn’t happen. There were rumours of Vergne getting the other Lotus seat alongside Raikkonen but that was quickly taken by Grosjean. Buemi still got by by being RBR’a reserve driver but Ricciardo ended up taking Webber’s spot when he retired.

    3. McLaren will be reluctant to let Norris go. Maybe Nick de Vries? Overall, it is what it is. Relating this all the way back to a speedy promotion of Verstappen is not that relevant imho. He beat RIC, but needs to work on his consistency. So you would want Verstappen in that seat anyway. All the others that may or may not have been sacrificed in the process just didn’t cut it. Let’s look forward. Move Gasly next to VER, keep Hartley and trade de Vries (by lack of being abel to acquire Norris) for Sainz with McLaren. Or try Sainz at RB. Do not totally agree he held his own vs Hulkenberg however. Clearly don’t have the data the team has, but their choice to maintain the Hulk next to RIC is an indication as well. Still he might just make it work in a RB

      1. Gavin Campbell
        10th August 2018, 13:01

        Well the team didn’t have the contract on Sainz – a fact that keeps getting overlooked. They have to wait until 1st September when Sainz becomes a free agent. He was loaned to the team from the end of 2017 and 2018 but is still fully signed to Red Bull. It also became more of an issue as Red Bull have left Renault and gone with Honda.

        Renault already had Hulkenberg signed for next year and had no rights to Sainz only the possibility to sign him once he becomes a free agent. Thus with Ricciardo coming in they opened a hole at Red Bull so they had every right to call Sainz home so it just made sense to ensure continuity with 1 new driver coming into the team (Renault/Lotus have always kept 1 driver on in recent years. Hence why Palmer stayed another season when they signed up hulk for 2017).

        Im not saying Sainz beat Hulk but its pretty irrelevant to whos got the seat in this scenario.

      2. Sainz/James Key for Vandoorne and De Vries?

        McLaren has it’s desired all spanish line-up plus they get Key a yr early and STR has an experienced driver in Vandoorne who knows Honda and get a young piece for the future.

      3. McLaren will (?) let Norris go to Red Bull/Toro Rosso if James Key is released from Toro Rosso.

      4. @mayrton
        He beat RIC…

        Ummmm…no he hasn’t.

        1. @nick101
          The oranges just can’t help themselves. And his promotion of De Vries..

        2. Just on raw pace really.

          1. Just on raw pace really.

            As long as there is lots of runoff, really.

        3. Oh, come on. Stop fighting it, really

          1. *loves to scream “peace” after starting some ish*

            1. @mayrton isn’t suing for peace so much as trying to assert (what they think is) the unassailability of their statement that VES has beat RIC….which is fair to doubt – I can see why one would think VES drove better but even points aside RIC has to be doing something right to be offerred $20mil (per year iirc?) by team Enstone.

      5. Lol lst time i check max finished behind daniel ricciardo in the championship three season in a row with equal retirements thats not beating someone

        1. @Carlos Medrano Scoring more points only tells you so much.
          Beating someone is more than only score more points. On race pace and trackperformance VER Has beaten RIC most of the races. Everybody knows reliability and bad luck dropped VER behind in points. RIC did not score more points because he was better.

          Dan is a great driver, but Max has the better of him in races.

    4. Gavin Campbell
      10th August 2018, 12:52

      Some further possibilites – F2:
      Alexander Albon – Needs 17 points (5th or better) to qualify for a license and he’s Thai which could be popular with Red Bulls other owners. He also finished 2nd in his first season of GP3 and after a copule of podiums in his first F2 season he is sat 3rd in the standings in his second (with 3 wins).

      They could also go digging in the Formula E roster –
      Felix Rosenqvist is an option (would have super license points from 15/16/17 seasons)

      If they go with youth, put Galsy in the main team and dump/sell Sainz – Albon would be my pick for an unattached junior who ticks a lot of boxes for them. The other option is putting Sainz in the main team for a year and Galsy remains at Toro Rosso and Hartley gets replaced by a junior. They more have a wealth of options rather than a lack of.

      1. Albon, like Hartley, is also a former Red Bull driver. Picked up in the karts, but dropped after a few years of poor results in FR Renault 2.0.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if he got the call if they can’t get Norris or Russell for the TR drive.

    5. RBR doesn’t need a great driver as they are interested in VER winning a WDC knowing a WCC is not doable in the near future. The other driver will ideally be a rear gunner type like Kimi.

      They don’t want friction within the team like Torro had when SAI and VER were teammates. If they bring in another potential young star such as Gasly or Norris and they are competitive with VER, things could get interesting.

      1. YellowSubmarine
        11th August 2018, 13:08

        Have mentioned it a couple times here – Kimi would be perfect for RBR. Experienced enough to help improve the car, Fast enough to score points but not so fast as to challenge Max…plus he’s a natural number two driver, never rocks the boat much, and his seat is going to Leclerc.

    6. Was it worth it to get their hands on a driver many consider F1’s next great star?

      Hmm, kind of answers itself.
      For all those feeling that Ricciardo was ‘slighted’ (apparently not qualifying ahead of your junior team mate means you’ve been slighted: the thought process of the ‘entitlement generation’?) it’s worth recalling that Vettel left precisely when he was being well beaten by Ricciardo. If Red Bull are in a dilemma, it’s because they’ve been lucky with an overabundance of racing talent. So they should continue the same way and promote Gasly or do a deal for Norris. Whatever Verstappen may or may not want is irrelevant, he needs pushing.

      1. Verstappen hasn’t earned the right to veto a potential team mate. Let’s see him actually beat a team mate over a whole year first.

        1. That wasn’t really my point. I mean that it’s in Red Bull and Verstappen’s interest to have someone at least as good as Ricciardo, which may be difficult. I don’t see Sainz or Hartley in that category, for example. Personally I think vetoes suck in general and having the two strongest drivers possible is better for the team, the drivers and the fans.

          1. You go to great lengths just to spread your MaxGospel. How on earth would it be in MVs interest if he would have to take on a driver at least as good as DR? Unless you think that we live in a Dragon Ball – like universe in which your favorite hero, Son Lewis or Son Max, can let his powers grow infinitely, according to the challenge thrown at him. Doesn’t work like that over here. Max is already giving his max, yet is getting beaten by DR already.

            1. Maybe the point is that a good driver lifts the level of the team and his team mate. No need to turn this into a RIC vs VER discussion again. That battle is over. Accept that you look at championship points (in which case RIC is better) and others (incl the RB team and other team principles) look at potential

            2. Down under reality seems to kick in very late…

              yet is getting beaten by DR already.

              keep repeating.. you already start to believe it ;)

            3. Yeah I was well aware that being the point made (probably), that’s why I said that it doesn’t work that way indefinitely. At one point you simply meet your match or worse and then he become’s anything but something in your interest.

              And no, @mayrton, I don’t look at the points (alone), that’s why I provide context in contrast to others. So I’m not gonna accept that what you made me for.

              About looking at potential, you’re right. I usually don’t rate in those terms, unless I’m explicitly talking about one’s potential. And yes, MV may turn out to be the one with the bigger potential. But problem with this kind of assessing is where do you start? Max obviously had his potential, like any of us, pre birth. So were you and all of those people who rate according to potential, saying back in ’97 that you rate him higher than Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve? No, of course you weren’t. So I’m just looking at what actually happened and I conclude that this season DR has outperformed MV, and quite decisively too. This doesn’t mean that I (will) never assess MVs performance as being better than that of DR. So I’m not turning this into a DR vs MV thing again, it was just to exemplify why to me it wouldn’t make sense, from Max’ point of view, to have an even stronger teammate.
              And yeah, I agree, that battle is over for now.

              You also make up another ‘fact’, namely that RB and other teams are looking at potential and therefore, implicitly, say they prefer MV over DR. But I’ve never noticed anything such like that. Is it bc you see RIC leaving and MV staying? Negotiations are a lot more complex than that. If you would just simply allocate the best two drivers to the best team, etc, you’d have had a total different grid. Ask Alonso.

              And erikje, resident troll, I don’t have to put on my orange glasses to immediately accept reality for what it is. And I don’t even have to be down under :-))

            4. So I’m not gonna accept that what you made me for.

              You randomly make posters indifferent towards/who likes VES (even if they e.g. predate VES being here) for things ranging from trolls to “FBoys” to Orangists to preaching “MaxGospels” pretty liberally and then simply “not gonna accept that what you made me for”?

    7. Incredible that in a short space of time Red Bull have a shortage of drivers, while down the pit lane Sauber had more drivers signed up to race than cars!

    8. Mclaren could put norris into their f1 car and let toro rosso have vandoorne?

      1. Not sure how getting Vandoorne would benefit STR and RBR. He seems to be in his way out of F1.

        1. McLaren seems to be terrible handling their young drivers.

          Vandoorne is suffering the same way KMag was. I bet his problems are more McLaren related then anything else. Give him a decent car and some good support and I bet Vandoorne will shine.

          1. Tru that – look at KMag now! Great point. I’d bet money on Vandoorne if he wasn’t at McLaren.

            1. And another team might be able to teach Vandoorne how to distinguish between Donkey Power and Horse Power:-)

    9. 7 Billion people…

      1. Who was it who said “somewhere out there is someone quicker than Fangio, but they’ll never get an opportunity to prove it”…

        1. I don’t know but it makes perfect sense, you need so many money to make it to f1 that some schumacher-like drivers will never make it there.

          1. There isn’t just someone out there somewhere who is faster, but don’t have the possibility to prove it. You have to start in racing early, train a lot, and be motivated, pushed, mentored, trained and learn up through ranks, years and various series, before You can reach the pinnacle. Sadly a lot of talent within all kinds of subjects, also engineering, medicine, business etc. never get the right conditions, mentoring etc. to reach their full potential, but that is both because of money, learning structures and lack of windows of opportunity. Read Malcom Gladwell: “Outliers: The story of Success.”

    10. Red Bull arguably had the best driver tandem in F1 with Ricciardo and Verstappen. Ricciardo got sick of the preference in the team being given to Max, with several incidents this year highlighting the fact that Helmut Marko favors Max, therefore on track, the team and the strategy favor Max. I don’t blame Daniel for looking for the exits. Christian Horner can say he’s “surprised” at Daniel’s decision all he wants, but given the way the team has treated that driver as of late, he really shouldn’t be.

      1. @medman I still haven’t seen this preferential treatment Max has allegedly gotten, and some around here love to point out that DR is ‘beating’ Max, so sorry if I don’t buy into your storyline that DR is ‘sick of’ anything, or is less preferred. If he was actually sick of anything, one would think his move to Renault would not have been the tough decision DR says it was.

        1. You need to open your eyes robbie

          1. Happy to have them opened for me. Show me where DR has been held back from ‘beating’ Max, as he sits ahead of Max now, and scored more points than Max last year.

            1. Explain the pit stop strategy at Baku @robbie?

              We all know the result but just how did Rik end up behind… again?

          2. @DRG
            Do you actually use the Baku pitstop ‘strategy’ as an excuse for Riciardo being overtaken (twice) by Verstappen..?
            FHS…Ricciardo had the undercut, what else could he wish for… the ‘strategy’ was in favour of him anyways.

            Ric
            Lap in 1:50.554
            Lap out 2:02.845
            Stop 19.9 sec
            Ver
            Lap in 1:49.815
            Lap out 2:01.646
            Stop 19.8 sec

            Verstappen faster on old tyres (lap in), Verstappen faster on new tyres (lap out)

            1. No facts please. You are destroying their fantasies.

        2. @robbie

          If he was actually sick of anything, one would think his move to Renault would not have been the tough decision DR says it was.

          Really dude, how old are you?

          1. @nick101 A response like that just tells me you don’t know the answer to the question either. So I’ll ask again. If people are loving telling me how DR beat Max last year, and how he is beating him this year, exactly where is this favouritism toward Max? Exactly where has DR been held back from beating Max? How about a mature answer from you?

            1. Ricciardo is better liked than Verstappen among fans…
              The reality is, F1 is a mechanical sport, it’s not always the best driver that wins… Kvyat 2015, Rosberg 2016 and so on. How easily we forget Kvyat beating Ricciardo on points and consistantly remain repeating Ricciardo scored more points than Verstappen. DNF’s due to mechanical issues are ruled out for the overall picture, even when the driver that mostly finishes in front of the other, we only are interested in points, cause points are a favour of the driver that’s the fans favorite.

              Tables will turn in 208 probably, Verstappen will probably take a lead on points.
              ‘Ricciardo is better than Vettel’ , though Vettel left RBR that year and gave up on the fight. As soon Ricciardo will be behind on points we, the fans, will say it’s cause the team favours Verstappen and Ricciardo is already focussing on 2019.

              Ricciardo can not loose

            2. I wouldn’t say there’s much preferential treatment either, they said they’re building the team around verstappen, but they just let them race in baku, ricciardo was faster, so one could say letting them race was verstappen favouritism, and also blaming them equally for the crash when verstappen moved 2 times to defend a place he had already lost before the round of pits.

              Austria episode was because of a rule red bull has, where drivers alternate and always go out in the same order in the same weekend, and then switch the next weekend, austria was ricciardo’s turn to be ahead, however silly it is that he couldn’t beat a haas car in qualifying due to not having the tow.

              In general they’re treated as 2 number 1 drivers, look at hamilton-bottas and vettel-raikkonen if you want to see number 1 and number 2.

            3. Ricciardo is better liked than Verstappen among fans… – Max has more fans

              The reality is, F1 is a mechanical sport, it’s not always the best driver that wins… Kvyat 2015, Rosberg 2016 and so on. – Kvyat 2015? Kvyat was nowhere in 2015, what are you ralking about? Rosberg was the best in the Merc in 2016. He took the WDC while being a team player in Monaco at his own expense and settling for second in the last four races, bc that would suffice to take the crown.

              mechanical issues are ruled out for the overall picture – You have to take mech issues into account for sure. Also don’t forget other incidents. So let’s see what this means for a fair comparison between MV and DR thus far this season:
              Max has had 2 DNFs this season of which just 1 was not self inflicted without a question. So just one and maybe, just maybe, two.
              Now let’s have a look at his teammate: 3. That’s only in the race and only the race ending ones and of a technological nature.
              He also had Monaco, which wasn’t race ending.
              He’s also been taken out by Max in Baku, bc of Max “would rather drive them off track than let them pass”-philosophy.

              Now have a look at quali and FPs. One time RIC decided not to go all out and save tyres bc he had a 20-place grid penalty (though he had a car failure later on in the race anyway).
              One time he couldn’t participate in the FP in which drivers establish their quali-setup. Yet he was only 0.15 slower than Max in quali (btw Max also had a FP during another weekend in which he had car problems, but that was a FP in which they were working on their race-setup).
              And just last race weekend he got unlucky with a yellow in Q2 after Stroll crashed and it wasn’t possible any longer to qualify bc of the rain.
              Also, he got a very harsh 3-place grid penalty in Australia for not slowing down enough for something that occurred at the other side of the track.

              So all in all, DR has had a lot more mech and other issues out of his control, yet he’s still leading MV by 13 points.

              ‘Ricciardo is better than Vettel’ – I think more people don’t think 2014 was that representative than there are people that do. If it was that clear that DR is the better one, then Ferrari’s decision to hang on to Vettel, among other things, would be strange.

              Tables will turn in 208 probably, Verstappen will probably take a lead on points. As soon Ricciardo will be behind on points we, the fans, will say it’s cause the team favours Verstappen and Ricciardo is already focussing on 2019. – Yes, this could be the case, but I don’t think it will be bc of DRs lack of focus (not in the first few races), instead I wouldn’t find it strange if RB would treat MV as a clear(er) number one. Makes sense, bc DR is leaving for a competitor.

              Ricciardo can not loose – I wouldn’t say that. I think DR will regret his decision if RB will turn out to be team to be at in the next couple of years.

            4. @robbie

              How exactly did Ricciardo beat Max last year? Really? Ok, so clearly no one has explained to you how the F1 championship works. Let me enlighten you…

              When the guys compete in races, they are awarded points if they finish in the top 10 in each race. At the end of the year, the guy with the most points will be the F1 world champion. If you score more points than your team mate, that means that you have beaten them in that years championship.

              In 2017, Ricciardo finished with 200 points, Verstappen finished with 168 points.

              Now, keep with me here.

              200 is a bigger number than 168. Hence the person who got 200 points beat the person who got 168 points.

              Stay with me here, nearly finished.

              That means Ricciardo beat Verstappen. Not sure how much simpler I can make it for you. Maybe I can draw a picture?

              Regarding the favouritism – I never said that Ricciardo was being hard done by or being prevented from racing Verstappen because I don’t think he has been.

            5. José Lopes da Silva
              11th August 2018, 7:40

              The way the F1 championship works is not the same way hiring (and rating) drivers works. This is why, in spite of Kvyat having more points than Ricciardo in 2015 – a fact well underlined by the time he got kicked off – Red Bull decided to kick him off to Toro Rosso.

            6. My post obviously was cynical.

              it seems impossible to explain to Ricciardo fans why Verstappen gets rated higher by team bosses and critics. FHS it’s not only the biased opinion of a couple of Max-fans. Verstappen also has had the intrest of Mercedes…the team wich had no intrest in Ricciardo though he was kind of offering himself.

              Ricciardo scored more points in 2016, 17 and 18 so far, that must count for something….

              2016 I would already rate Verstappen above Ricciardo. Ric had nof single DNF while Verstappen DNF-ed in the US and took damage at Spa (p2). If we add those points to the total score Verstappen would have more points. Add the Malaysian GP where Ric won by luck of VSC… he was 22 sec behind Verstappen at the moment VSC came in…that was just pure luck.

              2017 Verstappen DNF-ed 7 times f wich 6 times ahead of Ricciardo, meanwhile out of the 6 times Ricciardo DNF-ed he was only 1 time in front of his team mate. Max was in front 70% of all laps and outqualified Ric by great margin. Yes if we ignore the above than Ricciardo did better…would RBR gave them a more reliable car then the outcome would have been much different as Verstappen DNFed at an average P3 against P7 for Ricciardo.

              2018 makes Verstappen look quite a inconsistant driver, though his races where overall quite good.
              Aus, Chi wheren’t not that good, Bahrain was a race incident and in Monaco Verstappen showed a very solid race, but not able to qualify made it a lost weekend.
              Overall Verstappen did better in Spain, Canada, France, Austria, GB, Germany and Hungary > 4 podiums
              Ricciardo did better in Australia, China and Monaco > 2 podiums
              Undecided: Bahrain and Baku
              Verstappen DNF-ed 3 out of 4 in front of Ricciardo
              Ricciardo DNF-ed 1 out of 4 in front of Verstappen

              Verstappen dominates Ricciardo on all area’s. but for scored points merely due to DNF’s.
              As for this season it’s hard to rate Verstappen above Ricciardo…even as a Verstappen fan.
              Verstappen made costly mistakes, though Ricciardo is consistantly slower… the last 9 races will decide the outcome.

            7. @nick101 I stopped after your first sentence as you have misunderstood my point. My point was that considering how DR beat Max last year and is beating him this year, as some love to tell me, then how is it that the team favours Max? How exactly has DR been held back, if he keeps beating Max?

            8. Matn, your post was obviously that of a FBoy.

              And why do you say that comments that only state facts, and all of the facts, must be coming from RIC fans? Too objective for your liking?

              Negotiations are a lot more complex than what you make them for. True intentions may sometimes not be so clear. Why theorize about these scenario’s that never materialized instead of assessing the battle that has been ongoing for over two years now?

              2016 – You again just go on mentioning all the luck that RIC got and the bad luck MV. I’ve read it all before from you, hahostolze, anunaki, robbie, gethla?, david br and the rest of the orange clan. Most of it isn’t even true and secondly you always hide the mishaps of DR and luck of Max. 2016 wasn’t even a battle really. DR back then was the better one in every aspect. And that was nothing to be ashamed of for Max, he was settling in and at the end of the season he was a lot closer to DR quali-wise.

              2017 – I don’t have the data on this one honestly. This was at least a battle, that’s for sure. And I remember Max taking out DR who was running in front of him in Hungary in the opening lap, so MV, who went on to take ‘best of the rest’, took some good points off DR.

              2018 – I’ve already commented on this one. I see you sugarcoat your countryman’s performance though: “(..) in Monaco Verstappen showed a very solid race, but not able to qualify made it a lost weekend.” Yeah right :-))
              And you simply say that in almost every race that RIC didn’t win, he did worse than MV, which simply isn’t true.

              Verstappen dominates Ricciardo on all area’s .. – Just not true. Not true at all.
              The only area in which MV has a positive balance, is qualifying and he doesn’t dominate DR. He’s been about one and a half tenths quicker in quali in more or less equal circumstances. And besides, DR has on average actually qualified higher up the grid than MV (see the stats). Furhermore, quali is just that, ie a format in which the starting order of a race, the only points awarding event of a GP weekend, is determined. Considering the strenghts of the grid, this usually means they line up next to each other. Now is quali almost non-significant? No, bc between the top 6 it’s hard to overtake. Track position is important (I’ve seen several times that DR is behind Kimi who is behind MV, while both Kimi and DR were faster than MV), but keep in mind that all the BS stops at the finish, not 1 lap prior, not halfway not at the start. And during those 305+KMs, drivers have to drive a car that changes every lap, make crucial decisions, execute overtakes, or letting themselves get overtaken etc etc. And bc of all this, you can’t simply point towards the guy who’s faster in quali, in which almost everything is different from any single lap during the race, as being the essentially better driver, or faster guy even. Different ball game. Ask Prost-Senna. If quali was thé thing, then why still bother racing on Sunday? Just call it quits after q3.

              .. but for scored points merely due to DNF’s – Another thing you and other FBoys just won’t accept is that those DNFs are a fundamental part of racing. Laps leading your teammate aren’t that interestin; you have to capitalize on them. For Max to finish first, he first has to finish.

              Ricciardo is consistantly slower – Nope, RIC has had faster race pace. How many times have we seen him trailing MV, sometimes with another driver in between, this season already? Plus the sum of all the race craft makes DR the faster one, thus far, in races

            9. @Krxx… at least you’re motivating wich is a lot more than just blundly say…”points” like moost Ricciarod fan seem to do.

              The key thing to this whole discussion are DNF’s, sure they are a part of F1.
              But in all honesty if you DNF from P3 on average or you DNF from P7 on average, that makes a world of difference. That is also the exact reason why Verstappen got rated 2nd best driver and Ricciardo 4th over 2017. Once Ricciardo fans will acknowledge DNF’s have hit Verstappen more than Ricciarod then we’ll have an open discussion… but somehow this doesn’t seem their intrest of discussion.

              Qualifying is usually a good parameter of how drivers compare, usually less influence by other driver and just pure raceperformance. Being at a WDC potential team gridposition will always be a key factor as races are foten won from pole. Verstappen is not 0.15 sec sec faster on average like you mentioned, but 0.675… a world of difference. This gap is realy immense and since 2017 among the largest between two team mates.
              Not to put Ricciarod down, but these are just real life facts, only Palmer, Stroll and Hartley done worse against their team mates.

              in all fairness, we sometimes loose out eye to reality in these discussions.
              2016 I would rate then as equally, Verstappen did a good job being new to the team, there where a couple of races Ricciarod was lucky though, Germany by team strategy, Belgium, Malaysia and Mexico. In these four races Ricciardo was outraces, but took the points due to circemstances neither driver had in influence in.

              2017 doesn’t really seem to be worth discussing, Verstappen has way more potential, but saw it ruined by DNF’s. All critics and team bosses agreed on ranking Verstappen higher than Ricciardo…only die-hard fans ignoring the so important details will deny.

              2018 is far from easy… Ricciardo slower nearly every race…sure he picks up some pace with a different strategy sometimes, but never overtakes Verstappen. Saying Ricciardo has better racepace is ignoring what is in front of you. Can you name the races Ricciardo was, by facts, overall faster than Verstappen….??

    11. ”Vettel stunned Red Bull by telling them he was leaving to join Ferrari. For the second year running Red Bull needed another new driver. With the experienced Vergne already on his way out of Toro Rosso, promoting him was out of the question, despite the fact he’d been under consideration for Ricciardo’s seat a year earlier. Their only option was Kvyat.”
      – How come? Yes, JEV was on his way out of STR, so how promoting him to RBR in place of Seb would’ve been out of the question then? I don’t really get the point in this paragraph. To this day, I still think he should’ve been given the RBR drive for 2015 instead of Kvyat since he both outscored him (22-8 in final Drivers’ Championship standings) that season, as well as, was also more experienced than him at the time (he was in his 3rd season while Kvyat was a rookie). Based on these two aspects, he deserved it more than Kvyat.

      1. @jerejj I agree that Vergne should have been promoted. The problem is that Red Bull had, in a manner of speaking, already fired him.

        The ego is too big in RB to take that back. Maybe in a few years a la Hartley!

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        11th August 2018, 19:09

        Did Kvyat put in any outstanding drives in 2014? I know he became the then-youngest point scorer in either his first or second race, so he was on the ball right away.

    12. RBR is a great chance for every one in the midfield but choosing to be around Verstappen, Marko and Horner is a tough pill to swallow. Can’t imagine a more toxic triumvirate in F1.

      1. Lol what nonsense.

        1. @Robbie Being a Verstappen camp grouppie entitles you to that opinion. Still as long your golden boy is watching DR’s back for the 3rd year in row your comments sound all the more ridiculous.

          1. @philby Bitter much? Third year in a row? So DR coming off losing to Kvyat in 2015 beats Max in 2016 when Max didn’t even start the season in a Red Bull, didn’t do pre-season testing in one etc, but I guess you figure that’s irrelevant, then beats him on points only in 2017, with both drivers having highly unreliable cars, both finishing together only 7 times, Max having the overwhelming pace advantage, and now this year they’re fairly neck and neck at this point, and Max would be leading but for his dnf at the last race, still with the overwhelming pace advantage, and we have 9 races to go yet. But ya if you want to equate that to DR beating Max 3 years in a row, knock yourself out. If that’s what you have to do to sleep at night that’s on you. At 9 years younger than DR and with already 4 wins to DR’s 7, I’m pretty confident Max has a much bigger career ahead of him than DR. And he’s so darn exciting to watch. Too bad you’ll have to suffer through the next 15+ years looking the other way.

            1. @robbie I agree in general, 2015 was an outlier that kvyat got more points than ricciardo, 2017 if you take away mechanical DNF they were really close with a slight edge to verstappen, who in general retired from more valuable places, but in 2018 you shouldn’t really exclude the last DNF from verstappen, he’s been luckier than ricciardo this year, you should consider he made more mistakes and threw away a lot of points this year, if he doesn’t make any more most likely he will beat ricciardo in points assuming equal reliability this year.

            2. “Bitter much?” And then goes on his usual rant in which he mentions every disadvantage for Max (be it true or not) and then goes on Kvyat. What has he got to do with this? @philby was only talking about the current situation at RB.

              “then beats him on points only in 2017” – He also beat him in 2016. Robbie mentions that Max didn’t start the season in a RB, yet he doesn’t mention that he got outqualified (something that he seems to find more important than the actual race), outraced and outscored by DR anyway in the 17 races together. And he’s now also trailing DR in the points standing, so yes for the third time in a row.

              Mentions the dnf of Max, but lets out the 3 dnfs of DR. Sadly, the typical orange glasses disease.

              “with the overwhelming pace advantage” – Simply a lie. But whatever it takes for him to go to sleep peacefully (I see he plagiarized me, good for him).

              I’m pretty confident Max has a much bigger career ahead of him than DR – Could very well be true, yes, but that doesn’t have anything to do with this.

              Max certainly isn’t a boring driver to watch.

            3. @esploratore Oh absolutely you’re right, I have always fully acknowledged Max’s own blunders that have cost him and the team points and in some cases handed them to DR. That’s an undeniable part of F1 history in the annals. As is his outright pace last year and this. And his form since Monaco.

              And people shouldn’t get me wrong that I have it in for DR. Not at all. What’s not to like about the guy. I just don’t happen to pull for him on Saturdays and Sundays. I know I sound like I’m anti DR sometimes, but that’s only when I’m responding to someone who I think is being unreasonable toward Max.

    13. I’d be surprised if RBR hasn’t had a plan for replacing Daniel in place for quite some time as they must have realised that there was a realistic possibility of him leaving.

      Toro Rosso is the team that’s more likely to have the issue as they’ll have to pick up the pieces after RBR have made their announcements.

      My guess for what it’s worth:-

      Sainz to RBR
      Gasly to stay at Toro Rosso ( but ready to be promoted if Sainz doesn’t perform)
      Hartley to stay where he is until the next Red Bull Junior gets sufficient points.

      RBR are just stringing us all along in the meantime because it’s good publicity.

      1. @dbradock Yeah the Sainz to RBR thing is an interesting one, and I’ve tried (with only a small amount of effort mind you) to figure out what is up there. The general consensus based on articles here on this site seems to be that he is not a shoe in to replace DR. But little is really offered as to solid reasons why.

        There was a bit of friction between CSjr and MV over Sainz refusing a team order to let Max by when they were on different strategies but that seems to me to have been pretty small potatoes and easily forgettable for the two drivers. So I’m not convince Max has any issues with Sainz.

        Where there was more friction though was when in July of 2017 CSjr stated to the media he didn’t see himself at STR for 2018 because they have never kept a driver for 4 years. Horner rebuffed that right away by saying he doesn’t know where Sainz will go then because he is under contract for STR for 2018. Ie. he found Sainz’s comments a surprise. At the same time Horner rebuffs rumours of Sainz being loaned to Renault, as ‘why would we do that when STR are ahead of Renault.’ And ‘I cannot imagine a scenario where we would loan Sainz to Renault.’ Two months later, mid-September they were announcing that very thing. What happened in those two months?

        I think if RBR has an issue with Sainz it is more one of attitude or friction between Horner and/or Marko than anything to do with Max or Max’s preference, if he even has input at all, which I think would be minimal at best.

        1. That. Plus the Sainz camp and spanish newspaper Marca is a toxic combination. A couple of times now they released untrue stories to destabelize the relationchip between RBR and Verstappen. Remember in Austria last year the story that Verstappen asked RBR to be released to Ferarri. And they are also behind the story that Verstappen has a veto who his teammate wil be

        2. As I understand it Sainz ended up being part of the PU supply deal. Renault asked for Ricciardo knowing they’d not get him and got Sainz which gave them a cheap option during their initial rebuilding.

          That was supposed to allow Kyviat time to get his act together and to develop Gasly but unfortunately Danil K just spiralled donwards, something I don’t thing they really expected.

          Sainz started making noises b cause with Dan and Max at RBR, he couldn’t see the Red Bull “team” option as being open to him for many years to come. Now that it has become an option, he’ll be pushing like crazy to get the seat. I think he “thinks” he’s just as good as Max so has no concerns about being there.

          RBR actually has all the cards (and contracts) to make everything pretty seamless and I suspect that’s the way it’ll play out unless one of the other manufacturer teams provides them with a really good deal ($ or technology) to take one of their Juniors.

          I imagine if Mercedes offered them Ocon plus Honda the secrets behind “party mode” – that might change their lineup but otherwise after all the posturing I still think it’ll be Sainz to RBR while Gasly has another season (or 1/2 season) at Toro Rosso.

    14. Daniel Ricciardo’s impending departure from Red Bull leaves the team in the unfamiliar situation of needing to fill a seat for next year

      Not unfamiliar if we think about Hartley’s reappearing in Red Bull gear last year. They already knew last year that there was a massive shortage of drivers coming to F1, and they didn’t do anything to solve it. So now that Daniel left, they are again in that situation and Hartley’s place is either saved or they’ll need 2 more drivers to fill the gaps!

    15. Blah blah blah poor Red Bull.

    16. I understand that DR is scared that MV will get prefference in the long term, but currently that is definitely not the case. They are treated exactly the same now. I think that Daniel is ready for a new adventure and knows that if Red Bull has a championship winning car, it is very unlikely that he will outperform Verstappen to win the championship..

      1. Despite the fact that out performing verstappen over the course of the championship is exactly what Ricciardo has done every year they’ve been team mates so far.

        Give me a break!

        Maybe Dan just weighed everything up and decided Renault was the best choice. Renault are only 1 place behind in this year’s championship and next year they won’t have the uncertainty of Honda engines. They may have also offered him a bigger contract.

        As Horner said, it will either be a great decision or a poor decision, but based on everything we know right now, seems like a pretty even better to me.

        1. Just look at the laps ahead statistics and you will get why Daniel dont wanna look at Maxes back anymore.

        2. 1 place in the championship is the only thing that matters, not the fact they lap 1,4-1,5 sec slower?

          Ricciardo was starting at the back in a track where it’s difficult to overtake, hungary, he got past both renault, they seemed like they weren’t even moving, so easy it was!

    17. Too bad Kimi is 38. Everyone seems to think he’s ready for pasture. It might be nice to see him in the Red Bull, see if he can shine. I know that its not going to happen. Just wishing out loud. In seriousness, how about Nico Rosberg? He seems to be free and is very good.

      1. I imagine Barrichello wouldn’t say no!

        1. Ahah, he needs to defend his record for most races from alonso!

    18. Funny how the topteams have to look beyond F1 for new drivers. That alone speaks for how many paydrivers F1 currently are fielding.

    19. GtisBetter (@)
      10th August 2018, 16:22

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they go after vandoorne. And either have alsonso or raikonnen at McLaren next to norris.

    20. Verstappen doesn’t care. There is no team mate available to compete with. Even RIC new that.

      1. Probably not indeed, I’d like to remind in general that ricciardo wasn’t an average driver, he is also by all means a top driver; outperforming him by so much on pace says a lot about verstappen’s speed.

    21. How about Ocon or Perez?

      Won’t one of these two have to leave Force India so that Stroll can be given a space? Ocon is not going to Renault now either which many people expected.

    22. It’ll have to be Gasly, he’s gulping up valuable Honda data and has shown the calm turn of speed in Bahrain that Red Bull are looking for.

      As for STR, they could always to back to Alex Lynn.

    23. Is it true that Newey said in his book that Alonso and Mateschitz had a talk some years ago that went so badly as to the Austrian vetoing any possibility of him joining?

      If so it would explain them now dismissing Alonso out of hand and saying they only wanting youngsters to fit the Red Bull brand, when that is obviously non-sense seeing as they sponsor ageing athletes in other sports.

      About a Verstappen veto, I would say that if they hire Gasly then there is hold to the rumors as both Alonso and Sainz would surely bring home more points.

      1. The rumors aint based on real things.

    24. So I suppose the problem is, who can RB get that is willing to play wingman to Verstappen even if they are quicker, paid less than half the money and be attacked publicly if they dare move on. Mmmmm sounds great where do I sign :))

      1. Drama queen.

        1. What a withering retort’.

          1. Well come on John what do you expect? What am I supposed to say when you even have Red Bull being so inept they would use a quicker driver than MV as a wingman, and when you are just assuming his teammates salary without even knowing who the teammate will be and what his resume will command in terms of compensation, be he junior with little shown or experienced with wins under his belt. And to call what Horner said a public attacking? Wow talk about drama and overstating of reality. Please. Hey I get it, you hate RBR and Horner and Max and Marko, but at least criticize them for actual, factual truths rather than projected, fantasy, drama queen, tabloid ridiculousness.

            1. :)

              and when you are just assuming his teammates salary without even knowing who the teammate will be and what his resume will command in terms of compensation

              I’m guessing it’s Gasly and he is under contract to RB. So if he wants to step up to the maim team he will do it on their terms.

              And to call what Horner said a public attacking?

              That I will not back down on Horner was out of line saying those things publicly, very unprofessional.

              you hate RBR and Horner and Max and Marko,

              I’m guessing you are fairly young and that’s not meant to be derogatory (I was young once). Hate is a very powerful word and is used way to often mostly by younger people. I defiantly do not hate Marko or Horner or Verstappen, RB is a company it has no feelings so no point.
              You know being a sports journo is just like being a political journo. They know a lot about who’s sleeping with who and where the skeletons are buried. So sports journos can’t tell all they know because that would upset the natural balance of things. They would lose access and that’s their oxygen, so the fans only ever get parts of the story, and I do not condemn them for that.
              Maybe one day someone will write a warts and all book about the current era of F1. The politics the dirty deals and the colourful characters both on and off track.
              Just to let you know where I’m coming from. I started going to races when I was about 8 or 9 to a little track called Warwick Farm in NSW
              I was lucky enough to see Brabham, Clark, Stewart, McLaren, Courage, Rindt, and Amon race in there open wheelers and sports cars. So I’ve seen a few good drivers. I’ve never said Verstappen is a bad driver. I have said he needs to calm down. He needs to get better at his craft if he is to win a WDC.
              Most of those blokes I mentioned above are dead, so their experience and knowledge is gone. But if Verstappen were to sit down and have a chat with Stewart I think he would walk away a lot wiser.
              Jos Verstappen and Helmet Marko were both very good in their day. In fact Marko was blisteringly fast, but neither ever won a WDC.

      2. You forgot more consistent.

      3. Ricciardo isn’t quicker than verstappen, like the other user said he’s more consistent, he’s like alonso one of the most consistent drivers of recent times.

    25. As far as the rumour of veto power for Verstappen, I’m very skeptical. Joe Saward has mentioned more than once that neither Vettel or Hamilton have veto. So RB giving a 20 yr old (or Jos Verstappen) that amount of power over who drives for them is to far fetched I think.

      1. Wow we actually agree on something:)

        1. Lets just keep that between ourselves eh :)

      2. Agreed, why would any team allow it unless you attrack a multiple championship winner. And even then I would pity their insecurity and laugh in their face

    26. Sainz Jr deserves that seat.
      JEV is a great driver. It would be interesting.
      Will Sergio Perez continue with Force India ? Or he may be available.
      For Gasly it would be a lucky break.
      Vandoorne ? I Don’t think so.
      Leclerc ? Mmmm It sounds good.

      1. Maybe Sainz blew it however. He has been Alonso style political at TR and subsequently not shown enough vs the Hulk. Hope he finds a seat at all

        1. Sainz is just boring on the track. Nothing special. I hope he don’t get that seat. Sainz is not boring outside the track. He is more like an idiot there. I still hope he don’t get that seat.

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            11th August 2018, 19:32

            Better than Palmer!

    27. Liberty should do their damndest to try and find a way to put Josef Newgarden in the free Red Bull seat for the next two years. Prove his metal in one of the best cars this fastest era has to offer before it ends.
      The changes coming to the formula in 2021 will shake things up, not only the cars but as so many Bernie-contracts with promoters, teams and other ancillaries are up, F1 as we know it now is not going to be no more and we start building a newer , slower but hopefully a racier F1.

    28. Guys, do you ever think about the fact that a driver can be more valuable to team team other then points (btw the team gets paid for the standing in the wcc, not the drivers individual points). RIC woke up in Spain 2016, before beating Kyv. He thought he was quick etc. Never seen anybody happier beating his teammate in quali. (an 18 year old in his first race for the team).
      Car development (ric called Ver a nerd because his was talking about technical thinks he never heard about (oops)) and handling. I don’t know if you ever noticed, but ric’s engineer informs him regular about where to win time (brake earlier there, more throttle there, take a wide line etc). These line and times come from Ver. So this benifits ric also, and makes the whole time “quicker”. Also, ric drives with more downforce, to save the tires. Ver is a better tire manager. All these things play a part in a team, and I personally don’t think anyone gets a better treatment at RBR. Ver himself has always stated he don’t want that either. Fair and square outpacing a teammate has his preference, and adds more value to himself as a driver. I think he’s right.

      1. Potential vs knowing what we have (stable for a decade). It’s clear cut to me and apparently also to RBR. But haters will be haters. I love both drivers. Pity they won’t team up again

      2. The teams get paid for WCC points but have to pay for WDC points for a super licence for their drivers each year.

    29. Potential vs knowing what we have (stable for a decade). It’s clear cut to me and apparently also to RBR. I love both drivers. Pity they won’t team up again

    30. With the experienced Vergne already on his way out of Toro Rosso, promoting him was out of the question, despite the fact he’d been under consideration for Ricciardo’s seat a year earlier. Their only option was Kvyat.

      That’s where it all stopped making sense for me. They couldn’t promote Vergne by virtue of … “No”?

      So, either this is a faulty conclusion, or it’s missing several explanatory steps.

    31. This is what I think will happen:

      Red Bull have learnt their lesson and will not ruin Gasly’s career by promoting him too early – they will leave him at Toro Rosso for another year.

      In the meantime, they will bring Sainz in. He’s a safe pair of hands, a known quantity, and he even may shine very brightly.

      Just because they haven’t mentioned Sainz yet doesn’t mean they won’t take him. They are just weighing up all their options. And I believe he’s the best one.

      After a year, they can weigh up what to do with Gasly. Perhaps he will also be making strong demands for a long-term contract at the top team, just like Verstappen did. And I doubt very much that Verstappen has a clause that he can veto driver placements alongside him. He’s already got so much out of Red Bull.

    32. I hope Horner is just trying to make Sainz grateful for the RBR seat when he eventually gets it…instead of thinking he is a shoe-in and deserves it. He will need to shine tho, as the clock is ticking.
      RIC has more or less done the same as the Hulk by taking a seat at a manufacturer team when he knows the MB/Fer seats will not come his way and hes not getting any younger…and of course dont forget the Honda effect, no one knows just how wrong this could go next year!!

    33. Dale Wickenheiser
      14th August 2018, 15:50

      What I’m curious to see is how the rest of the season plays out now that everyone knows DR is looking to next year. If i was Horner and a part of the RBR crew, I’d feel less motivated to help a driver that I knew was voluntarily changing teams at the end of the season. My effort would go towards the guy who is staying.

      I can’t imagine who thought that having drivers change teams mid – season was a good idea.

      As far as bringing new drivers in, the lack of experience is going to show with more crashes. Besides Grosjean, most of the accidents this year involved newer drivers. Half the field could be 20 years old or younger next year. It’s no coincidence that the richer teams hire the most experienced drivers. To win a race, you have to finish a race.

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