Gates To Red Bull Bullpen Open on Tough Conditions in the Search of the Next Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel

Published 01/23/2023, 12:45 PM EST

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Establishing yourself in Formula 1 can sometimes be easier than just getting in. Once you’re in, the spotlight’s on you. If you can cope with it and perform, chances are you’re in for the long haul. However, the journey to Formula 1 is where most of the talent crumbles beneath the weight of the many barriers to entry, such as cost and time. But as times have progressed, so has the sport. Now, we see teams with their own driver academies that aim at providing young, talented, and hungry drivers with a platform and an opportunity to make it to the big leagues. And the Red Bull driver academy is the most prestigious out of them all.

There was a time when the commercial lucrativeness of a driver was given the upper hand over their actual racing potential. But Red Bull became the pioneer of righting that wrong. In 2005, the Austrian energy-drink goliaths bought out Jaguar Racing to enter the sport. Then, an acquisition of Minardi (which then became Toro Rosso and now AlphaTauri) in 2006 led to the two-team approach the organization has taken in F1 since. Even though the resources for the Bulls were bountiful, the reason why they’ve had so much success in the sport with their academy drivers is down to one man setting the tone for the whole affair.

via Reuters

The academy’s headmaster Helmut Marko told AMuS, “We only took people who had the potential to win a Grand Prix.” But the clever Austrian who has brought so much success to the team in terms of his racing acquisitions had another way of gauging a driver’s pedigree even without them running a single lap!


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“It also depends on the attitude. Sometimes the question arises whether the father is more ambitious than the boy. I’ve already seen that you ask the boy a question and the parents answer. Even at a young age you have to Have self-confidence and a certain ruthlessness. The overall package has to be right.”

Marko summed up the ‘Red Bull way’ in one sentence. “No effort, no price.”   

Red Bull Prodigy Exposes Helmut Marko’s True Colors in Front of Entire Motorsport World

Max Verstappen is one of the greatest drivers to come out of that coveted Red Bull academy. And Marko would agree. But the very first time a Red Bull junior impressed the Austrian was a long way back in 2004.

A young German once ticked every box for Red Bull’s boss

Red Bull has a solid legacy in Formula 1. Even discounting the 6 drivers’ titles and 5 constructors’ crowns they’ve won since their relatively recent inception, the drivers that have come out of their academy have gone on to do superbly in F1 and other racing series. However, it all started in 2004, when a young Sebastian Vettel was busy leading the pack in Formula BMW.


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via Getty

In the same interview, Marko reminisced, “In 2004 he celebrated 18 victories in 20 races in Formula BMW. But afterwards he was dissatisfied because he would have liked to have won the two remaining races. His father tried hard in the background , to keep the career going. He signed everything that brought in a little money.” That’s when Marko decided to give the German a shot.


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4 championships later, it’s safe to say that Vettel repaid that favor to Marko and the entire team.


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Watch This Story: Max Verstappen Has Spent 25% of His Fortune on This Beauty – Have a Look!

Which one of the current drivers in the Red Bull junior stable do you think can become the next Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel?


Written by:

Anirban Aly Mandal


One take at a time

Anirban Aly Mandal is a Formula 1 Author at EssentiallySports. In his pursuit for a Bachelor's degree in Law from Symbiosis Law School, he has written multiple academic papers centered around the domain of motorsports. Not only that, but due to his love for F1, he aims to work as a legal advisor in the most prestigious racing series in the world some day.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh