Christian Horner assesses Red Bull’s junior talents as Pierre Gasly looks to join Alpine

Red Bull have produced two world champions in Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.

Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, believes that the team’s junior programme remains a strong one despite one or two “underwhelming” performances in 2022.

Liam Lawson, Juri Vips, Jehan Daruvala, Ayumu Iwasa, and Dennis Hauger have all been plying their trade in Formula 2 as part of the Red Bull system this season.

In Formula 3, Isaac Hadjar has out in some superb performances, while Jonny Edgar has been a standout driver since his return from Crohn’s disease.

Vips was given a Friday practice outing with the Austrian team in Barcelona, and he stared 2022 as their test and reserve driver, but was dropped after an incident in which he used a racial slur.

READ: Christian Horner explains why he was shocked by Red Bull’s 2022 car

Hadjar is set to be promoted to F2 next year along with the rest of the junior talent, none of whom are expected to be moved up to Formula 1.

Daruvala is the highest-placed driver in the F2 champion heading into the final round in Abu Dhabi in December, and fifth may yet become third, depending on how results play out at the Yas Marina Circuit.

All in all though, adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, is not entirely pleased with the way his juniors have performed, and even if Pierre Gasly leaves for Alpine next year, drivers outside the pool, such as Nyck de Vries, ae being considered to replace him at AlphaTauri.

Nonetheless, Horner is satisfied with where the junior programme is at the moment.

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“Yeah it is [in a good place],” he told Tom Clarkson on the Beyond the Grid Podcast. 

“We are continuing to invest in youth, we’ve got some great youngsters in the programme, all the way from karting or stepping into Formula 4 for now, upwards. 

“And I think it’s something that Red Bull have done so well, is giving these kids a chance, investing in young talent and giving opportunities that otherwise they wouldn’t have had.”

The 48-year-old pinpoints Iwasa as the cream of the crop in F2 this season.

“There’s a few guys, I mean, Isaac Hadjar in Formula 3 this year has had a great debut season. I think Iwasa in in F2 has been a standout driver for me,” explained Horner.

“So they’re just two of the guys, on the programme. Liam Lawson’s had a tough year, but he’s another talent. 

READ: ‘Everything to lose’: Team principal claims Max Verstappen ‘rattled’ Lewis Hamilton

“Dennis Hauger has been a bit underwhelming in F2 after such a dominant year in F3, but again how much of that is him? How much of it is his equipment?”

In the main fold, Max Verstappen is expected to wrap up his second title in the next two races in Singapore and Japan.

The Dutchman holds a 116-point lead over Charles Leclerc, and Sergio Perez’s improved performance this year is set to help the Milton Keynes-based side to their fifth constructors’ crown.