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Red Bull doesn’t give racers a second chance. Are endless layoffs beneficial?

Date: February 26, 2024 Time: 20:28:53

Only five stages have passed since the start of the season, and in Formula 1 the first resignation is already approaching. Alpha Tauri rookie Nyck de Vries had a poor debut at the Royal Races. So much so that Helmut Marko publicly issued an ultimatum to the Dutchman: de Vries has three stages to improve the results, otherwise one of Red Bull’s “academics” will take his place.

The impulsive dismissals and the relegation of Red Bull drivers to the drivers of a subsidiary team is one of the characteristic features of the management of the bulls. Is this personnel policy beneficial? We have studied everything.

Vettel debuted in Toro Rosso thanks to the dismissal of the scandalous driver

You may get the feeling that Dr. Marco embraced the craze for emergency personnel changes in the 2010s that were “well fed” for Red Bull Academy, but this is not entirely true. Changes in the composition of the pilot right in the middle of the “bullfighting” season practiced in the first years of the formula project. However, these permutations were not dictated by the unsatisfactory results of any particular broker.

For example, in 2005, bullfighting bosses planned for Christian Wedge and Vitantonio Liuzzi to alternately serve as co-driver; according to the idea, the young drivers were required to change in the Red Bull cockpit every few stages. And at first, that plan even worked: after the first three Grands Prix, Liuzzi took Klin’s place. After driving four races, the Italian handed the car back to Christian and he did not start fighter driver duties that season.

Liuzzi chasing Mark Webber at the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix

Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Attempts to combine two drivers of approximately the same level did not really lead to anything, but the upcoming adjustment in the driver composition during the Red Bull season was much more important. In the summer of 2007, Scott Speed ​​fell out with Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost, for which he left the team; his place was taken by the most promising (at that time) “academician” of the Austrians. , Sebastian Vettel. So, thanks to the scandalous nature of Scott Speed, the future four-time champion had to take over the duties of the Toro Rosso driver early.

This was arguably Dr. Marco’s first successful (if somewhat forced) personnel decision. The Austrian leader provided the academy’s top talent with regular competitive practice in F-1, at the same time that he got rid of a very rowdy and unpromising driver.

How was the fate of the pilots fired from “Red Bull”?

Dismissed to Kvyat. What did the drivers get rid of for Red Bull?

Kvyat’s “demotion” is an important precedent for Red Bull’s personnel policy

Whether the previous castlings were planned or forced, in 2009 the results on the track served as the reason for the driver’s dismissal: in the middle of the season, Sebastien Bourdet was expelled from Toro Rosso. The Frenchman’s place in the Red Bull subsidiary team was taken by another Bulls pupil, Jaime Alguersuari.

In 2009, such a move seemed controversial, but even more justified. The Frenchman, who did not live up to expectations, was exchanged for a promising young “academician”, who a year earlier had become the champion of British Formula 3. However, as nice as this exchange may seem on paper, it did not bring much benefit to the Austrian company: Alguersuari spent two and a half years with Toro Rosso, after which Dr. Marco terminated the young Spaniard.

Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen in 2015

Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The next time Helmut Marko ventures into personnel changes during the season will not be until 2016, and this time the lineup changes will take place in both the main team and the Bulls affiliate. Yes, we are talking about the same castling Kvyat – Verstappen.

The Russian driver had a pretty good debut season as part of Red Bull, ahead of more experienced teammate Daniel Riccardo in the championship. The start of the 2016 season for Daniil was also eventful, especially the third stage in Shanghai. At the start of the race, the Russian unbalanced Sebastian Vettel by making an aggressive attack on the German driver (he made contact). In the end, that story ended with a “happy ending”: both participants in the starting incident, following the race results, got on the podium.

Kvyat finished in the top 3 for the second time in his career and apparently strengthened his position in the Red Bull system, but it didn’t stop there: the next stage in Sochi for Daniil was his last as part of the main bull team. During the first lap of the race, Kvyat twice hooked Vettel’s Ferrari: after the second contact, the German’s car collided with the striker. For his part, Daniil continued the race finishing it in 15th place.

More about the same race in Sochi:

Five years of Kvyat and Vettel collide: the blow that derailed the Russian’s career

At the next stage in Spain, 18-year-old Max Verstappen took Kvyat’s place in the Red Bull cockpit – the Russian driver went in the opposite direction. Formally, the reason for such a shakeup was not only the unsuccessful home race conducted by Daniil, but also the poor results of the Russian in qualifying. And yet, Dr. Marko’s main concern was not to get rid of Kvyat, but to get Verstappen behind the wheel of a Red Bull as soon as possible. Helmut Marko used the Sochi race only as an excuse for an extraordinary promotion for the young Dutchman.

From a purely human point of view, the Austrians may not have acted very fairly with Daniil, but from a purely sporting point of view, the replacement of Kvyat by Verstappen was 100% successful due to the direction of the bulls. Max would win his first race with Red Bull, thus becoming the youngest winner in F1 history, and five years later he would return the crown to the Austrian team in full.

As for Kvyat, a year later, the Russian was again removed from the cockpit for the season, this time from Toro Rosso. Daniil’s 2017 season, frankly speaking, did not go smoothly (two top-10 finishes in 14 races), so replacing Kvyat with reigning GP2 champion Pierre Gasly seemed like a logical move for the Red Bull management.

How might Kvyat’s career have played out if not for the Bulls’ decision?

Kvyat was called in Ferrari! What went wrong and what would have been his career at the Scuderia?

The next castling of the bulls turned out to be a failure

It is ironic that the next person to be “downgraded” by Dr. Marco, without waiting for the end of the season, is the French driver. Replacing Daniel Ricciardo, who left for Renault, Gasly lasted just 12 races in the Bulls’ main team.

In 2019, the Austrians acted according to a well-established scheme: the Red Bull driver who did not live up to expectations left for Toro Rosso, and a young driver from the subsidiary team took his place, this time Alex Albon received a promotion.

As history has shown, the Gasley-Albon trade was Dr. Marco’s most disastrous personal decision. Also, this castling seemed strange in 2019. Yes, Gasly did not shine in the first Red Bull races, but the results from him can hardly be called absolutely terrible. And also, we must not forget the adaptation period that the young driver requires when changing racing teams.

The second controversial moment of this exchange is the figure of the pilot who was promoted to Red Bull. If in 2016 Helmut Marko got Kvyat for the main talent of the Verstappen generation, who was already in his second season in F-1, then three years later, the rookie Alex Albon will take the place of the “demoted” Gasly. And it cannot be said that a native of London at that time was considered a gifted driver – in Toro Rosso races, Alex was not bad, but he did not show anything supernatural.

We saw the outcome of this story in 2020. Albon failed miserably in his first full season with Red Bull: in 17 races, he only finished in the top 3 twice, despite having the second fastest car in the field at his disposal. According to the results of the championship, Álex is in the seventh line of the individual classification, surpassing Pérez, Riccardo and Sainz, who had a more modest technique.

Albon’s failure was so resounding that Red Bull’s management even had to review the driver team’s training philosophy: for the first time since 2013, the Austrians dared to invite a driver who had not risen above Red Bull’s vertical. . As you can see, the dismissal of Pierre Gasly was not justified. However, the failure of the transfer of Helmut Marko helped Red Bull to some extent to find the ideal co-driver in the person of Sergio Pérez.

Albon is one of the worst drivers who has played in the best teams:

F-1 drivers who failed in the best teams. Against the background of partners, they were just terrible.


Looking back, two conclusions can be drawn regarding Red Bull’s personnel policy. Firstly, the Austrians have a low tolerance for mistakes, so they can say goodbye to failed drivers without waiting for the end of the season. Secondly, not all impulsive reorganizations in the pilot staff end with a happy ending: the bad decisions of the “taurine” could not be avoided.

As for the story of Nick de Vries, in the situation with the Dutchman, Helmut Marko’s task is facilitated by the fact that we are talking about the driver of the second bull team: less risk, less scope for failure. Furthermore, the figurehead of potential Alpha Tauri rookie Liam Lawson, who made an incredible debut in the Super Formula championship this year, inspires optimism. However, de Vries should not be dismissed prematurely either. In stock, the Dutchman has at least a couple of stages to convince the Red Bull bosses not to return to the practice of unplanned castling.

Lawson and other potential F1 rookies:

Who to expect in Formula 1 in the near future? Here are 5 top candidates

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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