Red Bull’s exciting British racer fast-tracked after impressing Helmut Marko

Thomas Maher
Arvid Lindblad, Prema, 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Arvid Lindblad is a rising star in Red Bull's talent programme, now racing in F3.

Red Bull junior driver Arvid Lindblad is proving strong in his first year in F3, having impressed Helmut Marko during last season’s efforts in Italian F4.

The British racer has been fast-tracked into Formula 3 this season, with the Austrian decision-maker making the call on Lindblad’s behalf as his talents are tested to see whether he can be the next Max Verstappen.

Arvid Lindblad: Helmut Marko wanted me to go to F3!

Signed by Red Bull as a junior driver three years ago, the now-17-year-old stepped up into single-seater racing from karting in 2022 as he joined Van Amersfoort in Italian F4 for some late-season racing.

A nondescript year was followed by an uptick in performance in the F4 UAE championship as he moved to Hitech, but his main focus last year was on the Italian F4 series with Prema.

Lindblad enjoyed a blistering start to the year, winning six of the first 12 races to enjoy a huge championship lead, only for his results to take a nosedive in the second half of the season as he went from regular wins to not even scoring a podium in the last three rounds.

Finishing third in the championship, Lindblad headed to Macau with Prema and dominated proceedings in the F4 category as he won both races.

Having shown such potential, the question of what to do next was made very rapidly by Marko, who is backing the British driver to have a strong season in F3.

“In the middle of the year there was discussion between going to FRECA or F3, and Helmut said he wanted me to go to F3 with Prema,” Lindblad told Autosport’s Marcus Simmons.

“There wasn’t room for discussion on that when he’d made his mind up!”

Enjoying the pre-season tests with the Prema F3 car, Lindblad won first time out as he claimed the Bahrain sprint race, and also fared well in the sprint in Melbourne as he took second place.

With 23 points on the board, he currently occupies fifth place in the standings.

“It’s my favourite car I’ve driven so far,” Lindblad said of the Dallara.

“The feeling of the downforce and the power, everything – it’s a real pleasure to drive. The testing went quite well, there was a real positive trajectory.

“Jerez was a little bit weak, I struggled a bit, but I made a good step forward at Barcelona, in the top 10 always. And then Imola, I was at the bottom end of the top five or six, so that was positive – constant improvement.”

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How Arvid Lindblad was signed by Helmut Marko and Red Bull

As a rising star on the Red Bull programme, the British racer revealed how the approach from Red Bull was made initially, while he was still in karting.

“I remember me and my dad were at breakfast at a hotel near Portimao,” Lindblad said.

“I was doing some testing there before the world champs. My dad’s phone was on the table and it rang, and it said ‘Graz, Austria’ on the screen.”

With Lindblad’s father taking the call on the 15-year-old’s behalf, he came back with good news for his son.

“He told me that Helmut wanted us to meet him and have a sitdown about joining the Red Bull programme.

“F1 that year was racing in Portimao, and because we had the world champs there it worked quite well, so we actually met him on the Sunday morning in the hotel that Red Bull were staying in at the Portuguese Grand Prix. That was where we agreed that I was going to join.”

Having won multiple karting races and titles prior to his single-seater foray, Lindblad said he still hasn’t quite got to the bottom of why Marko gave him a chance on the Red Bull programme.

“Even now I still don’t know 100 percent the ins and outs of it. Helmut is in charge of the cars side and he’s very close with Jos Verstappen, who looks more at the karting.

“There were quite a few people in the paddock who Jos would talk to, asking, ‘Is there anyone good coming through?’

“My engine builder at the time I had a really good relationship with, and he also had a good relationship with Jos, because he did Max’s engines in karting. Jos asked around the paddock and I guess my name was mentioned a few times, and he passed it on to Helmut and it went like that.”

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