F1 Young Driver Programs

Hamberg

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Contributor
Could always do a thread on the YDP's, I'd be quite interested to see how they all work as i'm no expert but have looked at Williams and McLarens

Edit: Merged from another thread (cheers Speshal) Ray raised an interesting question regarding young drivers programmes and in particular how they work, identify and nurture future WDC.

We have two obvious current WDC that have been born and bred from YDP's but it struck me that I don't know much about how they operate across the various teams and therefore would like to understand - so share your wisdom please :)
 

Hamberg

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Well no not a programme in the same way Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull run them but they do have a system to give young drivers opportunities.
 
Edit: Merged from another thread (cheers Speshal) Ray raised an interesting question regarding young drivers programmes and in particular how they work, identify and nurture future WDC.

My thoughts were mainly of RBR's rather brutal way of going about weeding out talent...and a lot of it:

I was thinking about the brutality of the Red Bull Young Driver Academy.

We've had Liuzzi, Klien, Chandook, Friesacher, Doornbros all come and go through their ranks at some level, including F1. We've had Speed (a marketable American) and Bourdais (a marketable multiple Indy Car champion) getting dumped mid season. Alguersauri, too, is on the mid-season chopping block with Ricciardo knocking on the door...and highly touted prospects from every corner of the planet like Ammermuller, Hartley and Zaugg given walking papers.

If you don't perform, you get thrown to the wolves very quickly and there's so many of them.

Vettel came through that programme (obviously) and it got me thinking. Red Bull gave him that seat because he quite obviously earned it. That Toro Rosso in 2008 was the same as the Red Bull in 2008...i.e. it was a mid field car and he took it to victory from the front...Jimmy Clark-style.

Williams is an interesting case. There was a time when they only wanted experience talent. Regazzoni, Jones, Reutemann, Rosberg, Lafitte, Mansell, Piquet, Patrese, Mansell again, Prost, Senna.

Williams actually tested Senna over 10 years earlier after the 1983 British F3 season and of course, Hill was their test driver replacing Mansell...and Coulthard was their test driver replacing Senna.

Then Williams went through their Indy Car Champions period after Mansell went over. Namely, Villeneuve then Zanardi, then Montoya...

...and then they went through that phase where they hired National drivers of their engine suppliers BMW (Ralf, Heidfeld) and, unfortunately, Toyota (Nakajima). :snigger:
 

Hamberg

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Contributor
Rosberg only got a drive for Williams because of BMW? He won the Formula BMW series in 2002, did a successful test drive in 2004 for Williams won the GP2 series (same route as Hulkenberg incidentally) in 2005 and his father is a former WDC for Williams. N. Rosberg also scored the highest recorded score in the engineering aptitude test for Williams. And all of that was just for the engines?

Wow you learn something new every day! And there was me thinking it was a Williams Cosworth in 2006 when Rosberg started driving for them.
 

Hamberg

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Contributor
They also give the F2 winners a test in the season's F1 car - Dean Stoneman (may I wish him a speedy recovery) was the Abu Dhabi winner of that trial in the young drivers test. It's a good way for Williams to gauge up and coming talent. They seem to have an ok relationship with ART in GP2 as well having secured 2 of their last 3 champions.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Williams, like Ferrari, never used to have to bother with young drivers - they could let somebody else take the pain of the crash bills and pick the decent drivers up once they'd got a bit of experience. No more...
 

Fenderman

Rooters Reporter
My bad. Rosberg got his drive on merit. Ralf, Heidfeld and Nakajima got their drives mainly because of the German and Japanese engines.

You said, or at least implied that "Rosberg only got a drive for Williams because of BMW" and Hamberg countered your statement quite effectively if you ask me.
 

Fenderman

Rooters Reporter
Williams, like Ferrari, never used to have to bother with young drivers - they could let somebody else take the pain of the crash bills and pick the decent drivers up once they'd got a bit of experience. No more...

It could be argued that the back-of-the-grid teams in most of the 20th Century were the feeder teams for the new talent.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
It could be argued that the back-of-the-grid teams in most of the 20th Century were the feeder teams for the new talent.

Which, presumably, is why Red Bull have gone one stage further than any of the other F1 teams and set up a feeder team in the main series itself. Presumably this is likely to lead to a long period of domination by Red Bull in F1, which will generate much moaning and gnashing of teeth by posters on F1 forums and a pretty obvious lesson to all the other F1 teams of how things need to be done.

Perhaps McLaren should bite the bullet and buy HRT instead of worming their way into Force India by the back door.

On previous young driver programs - France had a program in the 70's which was sponsored by Elf which gave us Arnoux, Jabouille, Jarier, Prioni and one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time Alain Prost. In the 90's Mercedes had a young driver program which gave us Frentzen, Wendlinger, Lehto (?) and (and I say this advisedly) the greatest F1 driver of all time Michael Schumacher. Wsan't there a British driver talent spotting program sponsored by Shell? I'm sure Jonny Herbert came through this.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Did Seb really come through the Red Bull young driver programme? Wasn't he poached from BMW after he showed his skill there? Does a year and a bit at Torro Rosso ciunt as being discovered by Red Bull?

I don't know a lot about it just pondering.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Did Seb really come through the Red Bull young driver programme? Wasn't he poached from BMW after he showed his skill there? Does a year and a bit at Torro Rosso ciunt as being discovered by Red Bull?

I don't know a lot about it just pondering.

He was sponsored by Red Bull from before he got the BMW gig.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Vaguely on topic the FIA also have a young driver development program called the FIA Institute Academy.

The primary goals of the Academy are:

- to prepare young drivers to compete at the pinnacle of the sport;

- to increase skills in the area of driver and road safety;

- to actively promote the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility both on and off the track.

The Academy programme is fully funded by the FIA Foundation, and managed by the FIA Institute, as part of the Motor Sport Safety Development Fund's Young Driver Safety Programme.

More here and here
 
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