‘Ridiculous money’: Red Bull admit George Russell got away

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has discussed the challenges and missed opportunities at the team.

Red Bull’s junior team, known for its successful track record of nurturing talents for Formula 1, is encountering increasing competition as more teams establish their own academies and programmes. 

Helmut Marko, a key figure in Red Bull’s motorsport division, expressed his concerns about the growing market for young drivers and the challenges of finding the best teams for Red Bull’s talented prospects.

In an interview with GPBlog, Marko provided insights into the Red Bull Junior Team’s objectives, scouting criteria, and coaching methods. 

Guillaume Rocquelin, the Head of Driver Academy, plays a significant role in shaping the young drivers’ development.

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Red Bull pioneered the concept of a driver development programme in the early 2000s, but now nearly every Formula 1 team has established a similar initiative. 

Mercedes, Ferrari, Alpine, Sauber, Williams, and most recently McLaren, all boast their own training programmes for nurturing young talents. 

The competition to secure the next Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, or Max Verstappen at an early stage has made the talent search more challenging for Red Bull.

“In the beginning, it was easy because we had been the only ones,” Marko said. 

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“Now nearly everybody has a junior or academy or whatever it is called. 

“And like they are pulling away our employees from F1 with ridiculous money. 

“It’s bad for the talent. So it’s more difficult, but we have a reputation. 

“We brought many drivers to Formula 1,” he added.

Over the years, Red Bull has successfully propelled numerous talents into Formula 1, including Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly, and Yuki Tsunoda. 

However, increased competition has also resulted in missed opportunities for Red Bull. 

Marko pointed out two noteworthy names when asked about the notable juniors who slipped through their grasp and joined other teams.

“Russell is an example,” Marko said. 

“He’s in Mercedes. He found a good one. Piastri. 

“We can’t take everyone. That’s also not our aim. You have to fit in terms of personality and character as well,” Marko added.

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Marko further explained that the young talents groomed by Red Bull are not expected to conform to a polished media image. 

The team appreciates their rawness and authenticity. 

“They have to have their own language. And as I say, as long as they can use a fork and knife in a proper way, it’s fine.”