Red Bull Junior Team
The Red Bull Junior Team is a driver development program run by the energy drink company Red Bull GmbH in an attempt to identify potential future racing stars in open wheel racing. The similar Red Bull Driver Search, now ended, was an American spinoff of the same idea. Members of the Junior Team are financed and sponsored by Red Bull in lower racing formulae.
The programs have been successful in bringing a selection of drivers into Formula One. Two of them, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, have won a Formula One race. Red Bull owns two teams in Formula One, Infiniti Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso.
The Red Bull Junior Team was formed in 2001 as Red Bull's European driver programme. Red Bull offers funding and support for the promising young drivers that are part of the programme. In 2004, Christian Klien became the first Red Bull Junior to race in Formula One, while in 2008, Sebastian Vettel became the first Red Bull Junior to win a Formula One Grand Prix, the Italian Grand Prix.
(Updated December 18, 2013, with 2014 season information)
|Pierre Gasly||2014||Formula Renault 3.5 Series||Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0|
|Carlos Sainz, Jr.||2010–14||Formula Renault 3.5 Series||Formula Renault 2.0 NEC|
|Alex Lynn||2014||GP3 Series||Formula Renault UK|
Graduated to Formula One
|Christian Klien||2004–06, 2010||Jaguar, Red Bull, HRT|
|Narain Karthikeyan||2005, 2011–12||Jordan, HRT|
|Robert Doornbos||2005–06||Minardi, Red Bull|
|Vitantonio Liuzzi||2005–07, 2009–11||Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Force India, HRT|
|Scott Speed||2006–07||Toro Rosso|
|Sebastian Vettel||2007–14||BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull|
|Sébastien Buemi||2008–11||Toro Rosso|
|Jaime Alguersuari||2009–11||Toro Rosso|
|Karun Chandhok||2010–11||HRT, Lotus|
|Daniel Ricciardo||2011–14||HRT, Toro Rosso, Red Bull|
|Jean-Éric Vergne||2012–14||Toro Rosso|
|Daniil Kvyat||2014||Toro Rosso|
- Bold drivers still race in Formula One
The scheme has been successful, with several of the drivers backed by Red Bull making it into Formula One:
- Enrique Bernoldi — raced for Arrows and was briefly a test driver for British American Racing.
- Karun Chandhok – raced for the HRT F1 Team in 2010 and was a reserve driver for Team Lotus in 2011.
- Robert Doornbos – raced for Minardi and Red Bull Racing.
- Patrick Friesacher — raced for Minardi.
- Narain Karthikeyan — raced for Jordan and was a test driver for Williams between 2006–2008. Currently driver for HRT F1 Team.
- Christian Klien — raced for Jaguar Racing and Red Bull Racing, and is now a test driver for HRT F1 Team.
- Vitantonio Liuzzi — raced for Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Force India, at one stage attracted the attention of Ferrari after dominant performances in Formula 3000, raced for the HRT F1 Team before being replaced ahead of the 2012 season.
- Sebastian Vettel – currently a Red Bull Racing driver, race winner, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Formula One World Drivers' Champion, he replaced David Coulthard at Red Bull for the 2009 season. Previously was a test driver for BMW Sauber, and raced for Carlin Motorsport in the World Series by Renault in 2007.
- Scott Speed – raced for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006 and 2007. Raced the #82 Red Bull Racing Team Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series before being released by Red Bull after the 2010 season. Speed currently races part-time for Leavine Family Racing's #95, also in the Cup Series.
- Daniel Ricciardo – reserve driver for Red Bull Racing and winner of the 2009 British Formula Three season with Carlin Motorsport before being placed at HRT in 2011 and joining Toro Rosso in 2012. Signed up to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull for the 2014 season.
- Jean-Éric Vergne – joined Toro Rosso for the 2012 season after finishing second in the 2011 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season.
As well as these, Red Bull supports many up-and-coming young drivers:
- Jaime Alguersuari – raced for Scuderia Toro Rosso, substituted Sébastien Bourdais for the second half of the 2009 season before being replaced at the end of the 2011 season; he won British F3 in 2008 and raced in the World Series by Renault.
- Mikhail Aleshin – raced in the World Series by Renault with Carlin Motorsport.
- Michael Ammermüller – raced in the GP2 Series with ART.
- Sébastien Buemi – raced for Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2009 to 2011; he has participated in the GP2 Series Asia and GP2 Series for Trust Team Arden and in A1 Grand Prix with A1 Team Switzerland, as back-up to fellow Red Bull Junior Team driver Jani.
- Colin Fleming – raced in the World Series by Renault with Carlin Motorsport.
- Brendon Hartley – won the 2007 Formula Renault Europe at 17 and in 2008 races British Formula Three with Carlin Motorsport.
- Neel Jani – a test driver for Sauber, Red Bull Racing, and now Toro Rosso, whilst also representing Switzerland in A1 Grand Prix.
- Adrian Zaugg – raced in World Series by Renault for Carlin Motorsport for a part-season and is currently racing in A1 Grand Prix for South Africa.
Red Bull Driver Search
Red Bull Driver Search was an American scheme run from 2002 to 2005 in parallel with the Red Bull Junior Team. Its aim was "Searching for the future American F1 Champion". Another goal was to create "the first ever All-American Formula 1 team."
There has been one clear star of Red Bull Driver Search: Scott Speed. After being one of four winners of the 2002 Red Bull Driver Search, Speed went on to compete in British Formula 3, before winning the German and Eurocup Formula Renault Championships. In 2005, Speed impressed onlookers with his performances in the GP2 Series and, after a short stint in A1 Grand Prix for A1 Team USA, Speed drove for Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula One in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
A victim of its own success?
Many talented drivers have risen through the ranks of Red Bull's driver programmes — so many, in fact, that Red Bull did not have the space to bring all of their best drivers into Formula One. In the 2005 Formula One season the second Red Bull Racing seat was shared between Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi, with the drivers swapping between races. To further complicate matters, Scott Speed was vying for a place in Formula One but had to make do with being a non-racing third driver.
To solve this problem, in late 2005, Red Bull purchased the Minardi team to help promote more of its drivers into Formula One. Red Bull described the new outfit as a "Rookie Team", and renamed it as Scuderia Toro Rosso, Italian simply for "Team Red Bull". Liuzzi and Speed drove the cars for the 2006 and 2007 Formula One seasons. Sebastian Vettel replaced Speed permanently at Toro Rosso 3/4ths of the way through the 2007 season. Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais were the drivers for Toro Rosso in 2008. The team scored its first victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, with Vettel never leaving the first position during the race.
In 2009, Vettel moved from Toro Rosso to Red Bull's main team. He was succeeded at Scuderia Toro Rosso by Swiss driver Sebastian Buemi, also part of the Red Bull Junior Team.
Midway through 2009, the underperforming Bourdais was replaced by Jaime Alguersuari, another product of the Red Bull Junior Team, and his partnership with Buemi remained intact until the end of 2011.
This officiency of drivers and the lack of F1 capacity was again shown during the 2011 season when Red Bull essentially rented a seat at back markers Hispania Racing for their Australian junior and 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 season runner up Daniel Ricciardo for the last 11 races of the season.
Buemi and Alguersuari both were replaced at Toro Rosso for the 2012 Formula One season by Ricciardo and 2011 Formula Renault season runner up Jean-Eric Vergne, the duo have both retained their seat for the 2013 season.
- Clifford, Peter (December 18, 2013). "Three Red Bull Juniors for 2014". Red Bull. Red Bull. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- Allen, Peter (27 March 2013). "Beitske Visser joins Red Bull Junior Team". paddockscout.com (Paddock Scout). Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Red Bull Driver Search (official website), 2002 History. http://www.redbulldriversearch.com/history.php?view=2002
- Red Bull Driver Search
- Red Bull Racing Driver Search, Program Explanation, http://www.redbulldriversearch.com/program.php
- BBC SPORT – Red Bull swoop for Minardi deal
- "U.S. driver Scott Speed dropped by Toro Rosso, replaced by Sebastian Vettel". Associated Press. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- 18 July 2008, Formula1.com (Official Formula One series website), "Exclusive interview – Red Bull-bound Sebastian Vettel" http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2008/7/8102.html