Red Bull “Has Gone Through a Lot of Talent at a Lot of Expense” – McLaren

Published 12/24/2020, 1:19 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – McLaren’s Lando Norris during practice Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace


McLaren displayed an impressive performance this season as they finished in the top-three of the Constructors’ Championship. For any team, their young drivers’ program is an essential aspect of their talent acquisition.

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Red Bull are infamous for running through drivers from their junior program. In the last two years, they have gone through two talents from their program. In 2019, Red Bull pushed Pierre Gasly out mid-season. His replacement, Alex Albon was also out of a contract after one year.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during practice Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

Meanwhile, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown pointed out a key difference between their and Red Bull’s approach regarding their drivers’ academy.

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He said, “While it’s great that Red Bull has found Max, they’ve gone through a lot of talent to get there, and at a lot of expense.

“We’re paying attention to what is happening in the junior formulas. We don’t have anyone really on a junior programme at this point, because I think we wouldn’t really have a home for them,” he added.

McLaren lays out their philosophy

McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull are a few teams that have brought several drivers into Formula 1 through their junior program. Currently, two of McLaren‘s academy drivers are on the grid, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – McLaren’s Lando Norris during a press conference ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Brown pointed out that their philosophy differs from that of Red Bull or Ferrari.

He pointed out, “I think you do run into the problem that the others have, where they have too many drivers and they start trying to place them with other teams, or they don’t have a seat available.

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According to Brown, this is exactly the scenario that McLaren tries to avoid because it’s a loss for everyone involved.

“McLaren, especially with our recent progress, will always be a team that most drivers have a high desire to drive for, especially as we continue to progress,” Brown added.

McLaren has signed Daniel Ricciardo for 2021. Interestingly, Ricciardo was a part of Red Bull’s young driver’s program. He moved on from Red Bull towards the end of 2018 to Renault.

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McLaren will hope that Ricciardo, with the learnings he gathered from his years with Red Bull and Renault, will help build on their impressive season next year.

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Ayush Manjunath

586 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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