The Red Bull production line
- 6th August 2014, 13:29 at 1:29 pm #269594Ben NeedhamParticipant
I’m interested to hear what others think about the drivers currently stood on the ladder reaching for racing in F1 for Red Bull. In the main team we have Vettel and Ricciardo, with the latter currently putting the moves on the World Champion. Clearly, Vettel has not become a bad driver over night, but Ricciardo is certainly not one to be labelled a number two driver. I believe these two have the drives for as long as they want them.
The centrepoint of this post is the Toro Rosso team, particularly Jean-Eric Vergne. Vergne has been supported by Red Bull for most of his career and has, in my opinion, improved year on year. Certainly, I believe he was closer to matching Ricciardo in 2013 than Vettel is in 2014. I don’t buy the argument that this makes him a better driver than Vettel, as this is clearly not the case. But I also don’t believe that he warrants being kicked out of the Toro Rosso team, guilty only of providing 3 years of loyal service, because there is no space above him.
Kvyat will obviously get more time, which means Vergne is the cork in the Red Bull bottle for the likes of Da Costa, Sainz Jr, Verstappen (a bit young in my opinion), Gasly, Lynn etc…
I believe Vergne has done everything that can be expected of him and I think it would be a shame for him to go the same way as Buemi and Alguersuari simply because “time’s up”.
I’m not criticising the system, as I think it’s great that they are so keen to introduce new talent, I’m just curious to find out what everyone else makes of it.6th August 2014, 14:05 at 2:05 pm #269596Keith CollantineKeymaster
@ben-n Might want to see this thread:27th August 2014, 22:10 at 10:10 pm #272484AnonymousInactive
Red Bull/Toro Rosso like to build up a reputation of a nurturer of young talent, but instead they hire and ditch drivers with no qualms at all. Buemi and Alguersuari’s final year together at TR generated loads of points – more than Ricciardo and Verge after them – yet no-one was interested in either driver. Red Bull could have placed Sebastian and Jaime in any number of funded drives – yet cast them both adrift. Yes Buemi became RB test driver, but what did that really mean?
I feel RB/TR’s attitude towards its young drivers is fickle and ruthless; I wish more people saw this cold-hearted organisation for what it really is.27th August 2014, 22:47 at 10:47 pm #272488MazdaChrisParticipant
But you can’t argue with the end result. Yes the highest level is brutal and unforgiving, but it has yielded multiple world championships and race wins, with two of the best drivers on the grid right now. And even those who are cast adrift end up with brilliant careers off the back of it. They’ll have been given chances few other drivers are given, even if the ultimate standard is probably the highest in the world. Buemi now drives for Toyota in WEC, Alguersuari is going to be racing i Formula E next year. The participation in the Red Bull scheme has given them both a fantastic platform from which to pursue their own destinies. At the end of the day Red Bull are trying to find literally the best drivers in the world. As promising as Jev, Buemi, and Jaime may be, you’d have a hard time arguing that they met that criteria, but by the time you’re in Toro Rosso you’ve already reached an elite level and graduated with honours. Enough to take you into pretty much any racing category you might choose.27th August 2014, 22:57 at 10:57 pm #272491AnonymousInactive
@MazdaChris can’t argue with a lot of what you say – but I personally don’t look at RB/TR with a sense of admiration of what they have achieved. I largely see the ‘production line’ (as mentioned in the headline of this thread) of drivers picked up and thrown away. Klien, Speed, Liuzzi, Doornbos, Bourdais, as well as those we’ve named already … the list is kinda long!27th August 2014, 23:09 at 11:09 pm #272492MazdaChrisParticipant
Most of those weren’t Red Bull driver programme graduates though were they. They were taken on or inherited from other teams. Point out one of those drivers who ever looked like they could be even remotely successful at the sharp end in F1. They were never going to make the grade, and so were dropped. But again, pretty much all went on to have ongoing careers elsewhere. Yeah, you can look at it like a production line, but it’s a production line which takes raw karters and then sponsors them throughout pretty much their whole career. Where other drivers are having to scrabble about trying to find sponsorships, those in the RBR programme don’t have to worry about any of that; they just have to focus on the business of convincing RBR that they are worthy of a seat in the top team. And even if they don’t manage that, they are still supported with sponsorship when they go elsewhere, when they will generally have their choice of other series’ to join because of the great reputation that Red Bull drivers have. That sounds like a hell of a good deal to me.
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