How did Red-Bull know Verstappen would be so good after just 1 junior season?

downforce

Race Winner
During which he did not win the title?

And more to the point, how is he so good after only 1 year in junior racing?
From looking at his history, it looks like (apart from the odd test day in a F.Renault car) he went straight from karting to racing in F3 and florida winter series with a couple of P1 sessions and then straight in to F1. And he finished 3rd in F3.

If F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport then how can only 1 season in the junior series make you good enough and experienced enough to graduate straight into it? especially in the no testing era?? and yet he was good enough, at that rate it seems like you could go from karting to F1?!?

So yes 2 questions
1) how can a mere 1 year of junior racing make you good enough for F1 in a no testing era? (makes F1 appear to not be as difficult as its made out to be)
2) How did Red-Bull know he was good enough to put in a Torro-Rosso after 1 year in which he did not win any titles?

BTW: I do know that he is a fantastic racing driver and Im becoming a bit of a fan.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
A very difficult question to answer. By all accounts the simulators they use in F1 these days do come close to the real thing so I suppose Red Bull let him loose in theirs and could make a judgement from that. Kimi Raikkonen is probably the closest to Max in terms of non-experience prior to getting in to an F1 car as he did some time in Formula Ford and Formula Renault 2000 in 1999 and 2000 and then went straight in to the Sauber team. He did, though, win the Formula Renault 2000 UK championship in 2000.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
The answer is they didn't. They knew he had a good karting record and his dad had whipped the media into a frenzy about him and got two F1 teams playing off against each other to sign him. Red Bull shoving him in a Torro Rosso had no consequences to them(Torro Rosso are always going to be midfield) but it stopped Merc getting him. If he'd been shit they would have dropped him and put their next junior in.

They took a gamble to avoid other teams getting something that might turn out to be good and it paid off.
 
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Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I can't help with no.1, but can maybe throw a little light on no.2.

Fortunately, European Formula 3 is still an engineering formula, so although the cars are notionally equal, the teams certainly aren't. Prema Powerteam are even more dominant at that level than Mercedes in F1, having won all the drivers' and teams' championships since 2011. Consequently Prema attract the best driving talent - quite frankly they have their pick of the junior series - and so it's a virtuous circle for them. Breaking that sort of domination is very difficult.

Conversely Van Amersfoort Racing (VAR), who Verstappen drove for in 2014, were in only their second year of European F3, and had a best finish of one third place to that point. Although they had a track record of success in German F3, that series used older generation chassis and was a significant step lower in competitiveness.

So for a rookie driver, competing with a virtual rookie team, to battle for the championship with a team as good as Prema, and against a driver as good as we now know (with the benefit of hindsight) Esteban Ocon to be, was extraordinary. Despite the rookie having an understandably tricky start to the season with some retirements, from round 5 onwards he was in a class of his own, winning 9 races to Ocon's 4. Indeed if the championship had started from that fifth round at Spa, the standings would have been:

Verstappen 341
Ocon 246

This is a level of performance that would have been special for any non-Prema driver to achieve. The fact that Max had no prior F3 experience moves it into the level of outstanding. No other driver has been able to do this in this period.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
So Esteban Ocon beat Red Bull's most talented young driver in Formula Three, then signed for Force India in Formula One.

There's a dangerous precedent... :thinking:
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Comparing Ocon to Di Resta!??!?!?

I think we need to settle this as men sir *slaps in face with glove*

Pistols at dawn. Chose your second.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Back to serious stuff.

Red Bull do have a serious advantage in finding the 'next talent' by basically having 4 cars. It means they can try drivers out with little consequences. Look how many they've gone through who haven't succeeded?

The other teams can pay for their young drivers to go to lower teams but space is few and far between and deals have to be hashed out.

I'm pretty sure if Ferrari had an Alfa Romeo junior team then we'd have seen LeClerc in F1 by now. If Merc had Auto Union then the likes of Wherlein would have been in earlier - same with Vandorne and Mclaren.

It also gives the Red Bull team great pull in that they can offer a potential talent F1 straight away.
 

Dartman

Podium Finisher
Merc and Auto Union are different companies, Auto Union are VW Group , though Maybach would suit, Alfa is part of the Fiat group so would suit Ferrari as would Maserati. Ferrari was born out of Alfa.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Does this mean that the McLaren Alfa Romeo for next season will be the Ferrari junior team?
 

Rutherford

Podium Finisher
It's a lottery, as to which driver is capable of managing the step up to F1, not just the aspect of driving, but also the media, sponsor events and a certain change in life-style due to increasing popularity.
Plenty of drivers have not coped with some of these aspects, e.g. the jungle boy was hailed to be Brazil's greatest talent since Senna, but he never made it. Other examples include HHF, R. Schumacher, J. Villeneuve (I know he won a WDC, but he could have been much better in F1, possibly even as good as he is in mouthing off other drivers), Bourdais etc..
I'd say a more recent example is Kvyat, whilst he showed his talent 2014 and 2015, the pressure was on him due to the rise of 'the Verstappen' and he crumbled a bit and admittedly, he then got crushed by the doctor.
 
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