For Helmut Marko, Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa are ready for Formula 1, whilst Nyck De Vries remains an uncertainty in keeping his seat at the Red Bull junior team, AlphaTauri.
Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport advisor and talent scout, has identified Liam Lawson and Ayumu Iwasa as two drivers who are ready for Formula 1, potentially filling a vacant seat at the AlphaTauri team. Marko made the announcement during the “Sport und Talk” program on ServusTV, stating that both drivers possess the necessary skills and readiness for the pinnacle of motorsport.
Meanwhile, Nyck de Vries, who struggled in the recent Austrian Grand Prix, is viewed as a less secure candidate for the position.
Ricciardo unlikely to join AlphaTauri
Both Lawson and Iwasa are part of Red Bull’s sponsorship program, and there have been recent speculations about a potential switch of Red Bull’s reserve driver, Daniel Ricciardo, to AlphaTauri.
Daniel Ricciardo is highly unlikely to join the AlphaTauri team in the near future. While speculations and driver movements are common in the sport, several factors make it improbable for Ricciardo to make a switch to the sister team of Red Bull Racing, in spite of Daniel becoming the reserve driver for Red Bull.
First and foremost, Ricciardo’s current situation and the reason he rejoined Red Bull Racing as third driver suggests that he is aiming to secure a seat with a top-tier team capable of contending for race wins and even championships. He himself admitted as much when he first announced his new team following the agreed departure from McLaren.
While AlphaTauri has proven to be a solid midfield team, they primarily serve as a talent development program for Red Bull Racing. Their primary objective is to groom and promote young drivers from their driver academy. Considering Ricciardo’s age and experience, it is unlikely that he would be the primary target for AlphaTauri’s driver lineup either.
Marko: “We are closely monitoring their progress,”
Dutch driver De Vries has yet to make a significant impact in Formula 1, failing to secure a top-ten finish. In contrast, 21-year-old New Zealander Lawson currently competes successfully in the Japanese Super Formula Championship, while 21-year-old Japanese driver Iwasa holds third place in the Formula 2 championship.
However, Marko emphasised that AlphaTauri has always been intended as a “junior team” according to the late Red Bull founder, Dietrich Mateschitz.
Red Bull junior team origins
Since its inception in 2006 as Scuderia Toro Rosso, the team has provided a platform for young and talented drivers to showcase their skills and gain experience before potentially moving up to the senior Red Bull Racing team.
The team’s origins can be traced back to the purchase of the Minardi team by Red Bull in 2005. Red Bull aimed to create a junior team that would serve as a talent pool for their main outfit, Red Bull Racing. Thus, Scuderia Toro Rosso, later rebranded as Scuderia AlphaTauri, was born. The team’s name change in 2020 to AlphaTauri reflects the increased integration with Red Bull’s fashion brand of the same name.
Big changes coming for Red Bull junior team
The Italian-based team is set for significant changes in the upcoming season, including a new name and leadership. CEO Peter Bayer and sporting director Laurent Mekies will spearhead the transformation, aiming to strengthen synergies with Red Bull.
“We want to emulate our big brother. Laurent takes care of the technical side, and I handle the business side. There is complete trust and understanding,” Bayer emphasized.
“The objective is to bring the teams closer together and leverage technical synergies.”
The future for the junior team
With an eye on the future, Bayer expressed excitement about the upcoming changes, acknowledging the challenges and expectations ahead. Currently, AlphaTauri sits at the bottom of the constructors’ standings with only two points.
Red Bull is also focusing on the development of a new Red Bull power unit with Ford for the 2026 season. Marko revealed that they are on schedule, expecting the first engine to be operational by the end of the year.
While Audi has joined the competition, Marko believes they are lagging behind. He expressed confidence in Red Bull’s horsepower development, claiming they are currently in second place and eagerly anticipating further progress.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 1, 2023