How Sainz & Verstappen Inadvertently Pushed This Talented F1 Driver Out of the Red Bull Programme

Published 10/30/2021, 6:24 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 21, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Mike Blake


Red Bull are known to bring in the best talent to the Formula One grid. Drivers such as Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz were part of the team’s driver program, but, as it turns out, it came at the cost of letting go of Jean-Éric Vergne.

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The then-Toro Rosso driver explained how Sainz and Verstappen inadvertently got him kicked off the team. He recalled the conversation he had with the team advisor, Dr. Helmut Marko, about being replaced by the Dutch driver.

Ex-F1 driver opens up about how Verstappen and Sainz accidentally kicked him off the team

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The Milton-Keynes squad are known to be a bit ruthless when it comes to selecting their drivers. And through their program, they have got Sainz and Verstappen on the F1 grid. Vergne talks about the conversation he had with Marko when the two replaced him at the sister team.

Speaking on an episode of the podcast, Beyond the Grid, as quoted by Motorsport. Vergne said,I got this call in the summer saying that I would be replaced by a younger driver, I knew it was Max Verstappen. And I was like kind of you know that’s the game, that there was no place in Red Bull.”

“Helmut Marko told me, “It’s over at the end of the year, so it was nice actually for him to tell me so early in the season, but at the same time it was probably my biggest problem that he told me so early.“

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 24, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the race REUTERS/Mike Blake

He added,Franz Tost (director of Scuderia Toro Rosso) really wanted to keep me, because he wanted to have an experienced driver together with Max, but then once again Red Bull could have said ‘OK, we will keep Vergne at Toro Rosso’, but there was another very young rider and promising coming with Carlos Sainz. So they put him instead of Kvyat, that went to Red Bull Racing.”

Watch Story: When F1 Drivers Had a Blast on Top Gear Featuring Hamilton, Vettel & Ricciardo

Where are the two drivers from Red Bull’s program now?

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Verstappen finds himself on the main team, alongside Sergio Perez. The Dutch driver is currently leading the championship and is having an intense battle with Lewis Hamilton for the 2021 title.

Meanwhile, Sainz is at Ferrari where he drives alongside Charles Leclerc. Max and Carlos find themselves with top teams on the grid and often put on a great battle during a Grand Prix weekend.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 24, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during a press conference after winning the United States Grand Prix FIA

The next race on the Formula One calendar is the Mexican Grand Prix. What is your prediction for Sainz and Verstappen for the upcoming race? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Arpit Gomes

1085 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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