People in Formula 1 have been asking for some time now who runs the Red Bull Racing team. Is it team principal Christian Horner? Or is it Red Bull’s “motorsport consultant” Dr Helmut Marko, on behalf of Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz?
In recent weeks it has seemed that Marko was the man calling the shots. Horner said that the decision to give Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber’s front wing at the British Grand Prix was his decision, but other sources suggest that the order came from the Austrians. This would not be a surprise. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
We now hear that further decisions have also been made in Austria that may not have gone down well in the Milton Keynes area. At the moment the team’s test drivers are Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo and New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley. The two were supposed to alternate the reserve driver duties on a race by race basis, while also competing in the Renault World Series. Part of the work was in the team’s simulator where Hartley is highly-rated by those who work with him. He has been doing most of the work on development of the RB7 for next season. On the race tracks he has been having a pretty poor year. Ricciardo is currently second in the Renault World Series, with two wins in 12 races, while Hartley (below) is sixth, having failed to win a race.
We hear that Hartley has now been axed from the Red Bull Junior Team and that this was done without any consultation with the F1 team, which was happy with the work that he has been doing. The word is that Hartley’s place in the World Series will be taken by France’s Jean Eric Vergne, who is currently dominating the British Formula 3 Championship with Carlin Motorsport. The calendar is such that Vergne can do both championships without any real overlap. Ricciardo will become the sole Red Bull Racing reserve driver, but the one question that has not been addressed is who will be doing the simulator work on the new car now that the driver with the experience has been booted out.
The Red Bull Junior Team has been going since 2001 when there were seven drivers included. This increased to 20 in 2004 but has been reducing in number ever since. The first junior to make it to F1 was Christian Klien in 2004, although he was later dumped. Others who got to F1 with Red Bull backing were Tonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed, Sebastian Vettel, Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari and Karun Chandhok. Thus far Vettel is the only Red Bull Junior Team member to have won F1 races. The surviving members of the Red Bull Junior Team this year are Ricciardo, Vergne, Carlos Sainz Jr and Danii Kvyat.