Red Bull drop Beitske Visser from young driver programme

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    Antonio Felix da Costa, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Daniil Kvyat, Beitske Visser, Tom Blomqvist, Callan O'Keeffe, 2013

    Dutch racer Beitske Visser has been dropped from the Red Bull young driver programme.

    She finished eighth in the Formula ADAC championship this year, the same as last season, with a single win at the Sachsenring compared to her two in 2012.


    Seems to me that Red Bull are quite quick to drop a member of their team after some difficulties. That’s why I fear for da Costa, although he eventually did finish 3rd, which is far from bad.
    Still, Visser beat O’Keeffe this year. The latter was a rookie, but she would have beaten him even considering her own rookie results. Even compared to Blomqvist’s declining results in European F3 she was not doing so bad.


    A shame, but expected as it is in line with the Red Bull philosophy (one strike and you’re out).

    I don’t appreciate this philosophy, but on the other hand: supertalents like Vettel, Hamilton and Hülkenberg never had an off-season in feeder series.

    Iestyn Davies

    That’s what I thought, that they would drop the other two first, and keep on to her for 1 more year of PR gold, and see how she adapts to F3 level. But I imagine that Marko (he’s always talking about development curves) just thinks she can’t get any faster in single seater cars from here.

    Maybe it’s a physical thing, I don’t know. In the cars without power steering (think GP2), for some girls a lack of musculature must be a disadvantage for speed. In F1 (power steering, jockeys needed) maybe not – Wolff was only a few tenths off (same as most juniors/rookies first time out), while Tatiana Calderon has just set a very quick time in AutoGP testing (top 3).. and obviously this is a generalisation, as each case will be specific to each person. Since my athletics days I have lost muscle bulk, while my sister who is serving in Afghanistan (army lance corporal) has gained muscle bulk. Physical thing above said, speed capacity is mainly down to the brain and not the physical. Kubica is still WR2 champion despite a handicapped right arm. Physical limits will only stop you from reaching your full limits.

    It’s true about the super talents – even in their learning year they will be fighting for podiums and wins by the end of it. Hulkenberg’s worst season ever was a 5th place championship finish I believe (in what you could call his ‘yips year’, first year of German F3)? All other seasons he is top 3. Similar for Vettel and Hamilton. Frijns, Vandoorne and now Kvyat all sit in that box, along with Alonso, Raikkonen and Button. Grosjean, Bianchi and Bottas could also join I think.. Look far enough and most of the grid could really. Only Pic and Chilton don’t have any junior championship titles (they took the ‘Vettel route’ and moved up a bit earlier than ideal, when scoring top 3/ top 5 championship finishes. All 3 doing so to secure an F1 seat above all else).


    A shame I think. She was probably the best female prospect for a while. But if she’s not really improved since last year then I can understand why Red Bull don’t see the point in keeping her on. Back to the drawing board, I guess.


    This is a good take on the whole matter…

    Force Maikel

    This only adds to my doubts that Helmut Marko is not really a good talent scout. Sure he has managed to get quite a lot of talent in his programme but they way he has handled those talents is dubious to say the least. With two exceptions and those are Vettel and Ricciardo.


    Red Bull are quite strict in these matters. Vergne and Alguersuari are not bad drivers, but not good enough for Red Bull’s standards, appearantly. One bad season in junior series, and you’re out. RBR want to ensure that all the talents which they do bring to Formula 1, absolutely deserve to be there, no less.

    This makes me fear for Da Costa, I think he could be the next to go.


    After reading this, to me R.B.T.J seems to me to be almost like a place to avoid for youngsters from 15 to 23-ish.

    Yes – I really do like strictness, but I dont like harsh firings of good drivers, and having a toxic policy/environment around the drivers and other members of the team.

    A question comes to mind: can somebody please explain in short words if Mclarens or Ferraris (or others) junior teams are a little better? I mean, is it sort of less stressful for a young late-teenage driver than being in RBJT? :)


    @il-ferrarista The McLaren Young Drivers’ Programme consists of Kevin Magnussen (champion of Formula Renault 3.5), Stoffel Vandoorne ( runner-up in that very series), Nyck de Vries (5th in Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup) and Ben Barnicoat (frontrunner in karting).
    The Ferrari Driver Academy consists of Jules Bianchi, Raffaele Marciello (European F3 champion), Antonio Fuoco (Formula Renault 2.0 Alps champion) and Lance Stroll (frontrunner in karting).

    Neither programmes have as much experience as Red Bull Junior Team, although McLaren’s did produce Lewis Hamilton (Ferrari’s produced Sergio Perez). McLaren’s drivers are doing quite well, with the possible exception of de Vries, who had an uninspiring sophomore season. The haven’t kicked him out yet, and it’s just as well, de Vries probably has a better karting record than anyone in F1 right now. Ferrari, onthe other hand, fired Mirko Bortolotti and Brandon Maisano when they had one poor season, so I don’t think they re too different from Red Bull.


    I don’t like RB’s philosophy eiter, but it did prove to be successful for quite some drivers. Klien, Liuzzi, Vettel, Buemi, Alguersuari, Ricciardo, Vergne, Kvyat all made it to F1. It’s very unlikely that all of them would achieve this on their own. No other junior team comes close to this record.

    Yes, I feel for drivers like Alguersuari who was dropped like a stone, but he did get 3 years and he was probably no champion material.


    McLaren’s drivers are doing quite well, with the possible exception of de Vries, who had an uninspiring sophomore season. The haven’t kicked him out yet, and it’s just as well, de Vries probably has a better karting record than anyone in F1 right now.

    Yes, De Vries’ second season was disappointing, but he was one of the best drivers in the second half of the season. Furthermore, he scored close to 100% of the team’s points tally this year and he did have two teammates. It’s very likely that team Koiranen had some problem with the car or the team early this season. Once that was cleared up De Vries proved to be a front runner.

    Having said that, it’s quite possible that De Vries would have been dropped had he been a RedBull driver.


    @matthijs Yes, de Vries’s turn around after Moscow was astounding, and had it not been for that chaotic Spa race, he would have finished on the podium in all of the last six races. Given that this year’s field was a competitive one (Gasly, Rowland, Ocon, Dennis, Tunjo etc.), his performances in the second half have been astounding.

    Regarding Visser, my opinions are slightly different. While I won’t go as far as to say Red Bull did the right thing, but there is probable cause for firing her. In her second season in ADAC, she could only replicate her first year’s performance. Okay, Lotus/Motopark had a poor year, but Visser was beaten by one of her teammates (Indy Dontje). Also, she was beaten by three rookies. While I understand Maximilian Gunther (Mucke) and Marvin Dienst (Neuhauser) were in teams that did better overall than Motopark, KUG’s Swiss driver Ralph Boschung also beat Visser. Boschung’s teammates got a handful of points, literally, whereas he got six podiums and a win. In this light, I must say Visser’s performance wasn’t good enough.

    I guess we have to go back to March and try to understand the reason behind Visser’s appointment. Was it because Red Bull thought she was the next Vettel? Or was it because she was a female driver who did reasonably well in her debut year? If it’s the former, I can understand why Red Bull did so. But if it’s the latter, then Red Bull’s expectations were probably less, and they pretty much got what they expected, so there isn’t any justification for their decision that way.

    I don’t know whether @fastiesty is right, whether female drivers do struggle with lack of power steering. But looking at the facts, I think that might well be the case. The last female driver to do well in a high power pro series in Europe was Natacha Gachnang, who finished third in the Spanish F3 main class and won the Copa class. The other female drivers who’ve done well have done so in amateur series, like Alice Powell in F3 Cup (she was also making a step down from GP3) and Sarene Ziffel in the little-known Formula Premium. Maybe it’s time for some introspection.


    It’s a shame Sophie Kumpen never made it to open wheelers, she was a Belgian karting driver (who later married and divorced Jos Verstappen and is the mother of Max) with similar results to Beitske Visser in karting.

    I’m not too sure about her physicality being too much of an issue this season; she had a lot of incidents with other drivers (elsewhere I’ve called her ‘Di Resta unlucky’ rather than ‘Webber unlucky’) and some retirements she couldn’t help, often from top 6 positions. To be completely honest, I was not at all familiar with Formel ADAC before she joined the series, but I don’t think her team was that great (as said by @wsrgo) and the field has a handful of very strong drivers (and a few who should consider getting a day job).

    Visser is quite a small girl, whereas Gachnang has a more sturdy build. It’d be more likely to be a lack of strength for Visser than Gachnang, but looking at a driver like Jan Lammers, who I towered above at age 12, I hardly think guys like him have that much more natural physical strength than a driver like Gachnang.

    I think Visser was being considered by Lotus to join their junior programme (Boullier mentioned wanting to sign someone from the Netherlands in some shape or form back in 2012) and her karting results are still impressive, so it doesn’t have to end here for her.

    As for Red Bull dropping drivers, I think Helmut Marko works in mysterious ways. He won Le Mans in those ways, but their effects might be a little less consistent in developing drivers.

    Iestyn Davies

    I did think Maisano was unlucky, as he beat Marciello in their first season together. But I think Ferrari decided to fully back Marciello from the second season onwards. Their position is interesting – they’ll be bringing through some very good drivers soon, so after Alonso/Raikkonen retire, Vettel/Hulkenberg paired with Bianchi will be a good bet, with Marciello in a satellite backmarker, and Fuoco then doing well in something like FR3.5. Bianchi/Marciello and then maybe eventually Marciello/Fuoco could save Ferrari a lot of money (they pay huge salaries), thus allowing them to spend more on their car development again, while having world class Italian drivers driving the cars.

    It may take a step like this to compete with Red Bull if their huge yearly budget continues in the years ahead. Ferrari make the most income from F1, so I’m surprised they don’t spend more (record profits in the car division as well) to compete with RB.

    McLaren have an issue now in that they could have 3 strong drivers coming through and nowhere to place them. One place will open up when Button retires, but that could still be a few years off. Alonso to McLaren is also a rumour that refuses to go away. Perez looks like he will have another chance in 2014, and if no Mexican investment turns up, then Magnussen will be put in the seat for 2015 (unless it’s Alonso/Button!).

    Unlike Ferrari, McLaren have to take commercial considerations into account and this stops them running young drivers unless they are PR gold like Lewis Hamilton (and also top-top calibre, backed for 10 years). De Vries could turn into a similar world beater once he turns into an adult and it seems like maybe this is starting to happen now. But you have to fear Magnussen and Vandoorne may not get an F1 chance, unless McLaren satellites are in too much debt and have to take them on to relieve this.

    I thought strength must be an issue, as it usually takes time for a lot of drivers to adapt to GP2 and it’s lack of power steering on such a powerful racing car. Mansell keeps saying how the drivers in his day were strong – perhaps this gave them the advantage of being able to reach their limits easier, even if that limit was lower than someone else’s (i.e. more speed in the here and now). I always thought physical fitness must be why Trulli often went off the boil in races, but was up there on a single lap.

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