Once again he was the bitten dog, that poor Alexander Albon. He finished eighth, thanks to the insane final phase, otherwise P10 would have been tight. It is an understatement that Max Verstappen’s teammate has a hard time at Red Bull.
Déjà-vu, anyone? 12 months ago, Pierre Gasly was victimized. Had made too little impression on the Red Bull leadership in twelve Grands Prix and was relegated. Pressure was put on Gasly’s shoulders that the Frenchman was unable to withstand. Red Bull has not learned anything in that respect, Albon is currently under enormous pressure.
Red Bull has been cutting its fingers in this area for years. Every newcomer must be the next superhero. Why the hell? Red Bull has one of the best riders on the field in the team – why is the second rider under high voltage? Give it time, especially if it is still a pants, to build confidence.
Second violin Eddie Irvine
Past example: Eddie Irvine. Drove for Ferrari in the 90s and his assignment was crystal clear: you will drive behind leader Michael Schumacher. If you score points you get a pat on the globe, with a podium spot some extra pocket money. Irvine made his debut two weeks before he was 28you are birthday at Jordan, had ten years of motorsport experience. In the last season before his F1 debut, he lost the Japanese F3000 title to a 47-year-old veteran. Just saying – no racing wonder of the world.
After two years of Jordan, Irvine got a chance at Ferrari. Drawing meekly, Schumacher promised not to get in the way. Precisely because the situation was clear, Irvine paid off. He made jumps: tenth in 1996, seventh in 1997, fourth in 1998. When Schumacher broke his legs in the summer of 1999, Irvine got up and Ferrari won the constructors’ championship that year, mainly thanks to the Northern Irishman. Four Grand Prix victories are behind Irvine’s name.
Lack of realism
Back to the present tense. Red Bull has lost sight of reality after the success stories of Vettel and Verstappen. Not every driver is one 10 out of 10. There are also seventies. Mark Webber, for example. Went quite along at Red Bull, won his races. But under the line he was inferior to teammate Vettel. Four world titles versus zero, 38 victories at 9.
When Webber retired, a Toro Rosso talent flowed through. The choice for Ricciardo was a hit. However, when the Australian leader Vettel drove the snot in front of the eyes, the former world champion did not know how quickly he had to be away. Red Bull panicking. After all, several top talents had been recklessly kicked out – the only one standing by was a 20-year-old Russian boy. Daniil Kvyat, seven at his best, was promoted after 19 Grands Prix.
Subsequently, Red Bull was lucky with Max Verstappen, when he in turn was allowed to replace the logically disappointing Kvyat. The once chockfull junior team was by now a mess, after all those shifts at the top. Pierre Gasly was next in line, but Helmut Marko (already then) expressed his mistrust in the Frenchman. Good for an adolescent’s morale.
Plate for the cup
It is a recurring phenomenon. Every driver who competes in Red Bull colors must enter no time meet the standard. In my opinion, as a management you have a gigantic sign up front. Technically focus the result on Verstappen and do not let the second driver think that he is a threat to the leader. Give it, say, two seasons. Protect him in the media and see if there is breeding ground for contract renewal at the end of those two seasons.
Late teens and young people in their twenties are mentally exhausted at Red Bull – is it seriously believed that this approach makes them stronger? In 2020, psychological counseling is more important than ever in top sport, given the (a) social media that is available as headhunter at all times.
In retrospect, after Ricciardo’s departure, the arrows could have been better aimed at a stable mid-engine like Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez or Kevin Magnussen. Types-Irvine, Webber. Make it clear that he is the second man and who knows, he might win a Grand Prix on his day, something she will never succeed in the current circumstances.
With a stable second F1 man, you can let talent gain experience in junior classes instead of throwing them in front of the lions early. Please put your number one top talent in Formula 2 and don’t dump it in Japan. I know, cost, but then again: one throws hundreds of millions every year, then that one million for an F2 seat peanuts. In addition, you can share the costs with partner Honda if you put a type Tsunoda next to it.
Is it that difficult or do I think too simple?