After Nyck de Vries was shown the door, Red Bull principal Christian Horner suggested that the current Formula 2 crop in their Junior Team are now also staring at the exit.
The Red Bull Junior Team has held a strong influence in the F2 grid over recent seasons, with the 2023 campaign seeing Dennis Hauger, Ayumu Iwasa, Jak Crawford, Isack Hadjar, Enzo Fittipaldi and Zane Maloney all competing in the series with Red Bull backing.
But, with Iwasa the only remaining realistic title contender out of that group, Horner has suggested that a “thinning out” of the programme is coming with less of a focus on F2.
Christian Horner suggests Red Bull Junior Team philosophy change
Appearing on the ESPN podcast, Horner was asked to give a status update on where Red Bull’s junior programme goes from here, pointed out to him that veterans Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo have been drafted in at Red Bull and AlphaTauri respectively in recent times, rather than that system of promotions from within which the Red Bull teams formerly adopted.
Ricciardo’s AlphaTauri team-mate for the remainder of F1 2023, Yuki Tsunoda, meanwhile is backed by Red Bull’s power unit partner Honda.
Horner then, who listed the numerous current F1 drivers who came through the Red Bull ranks, suggested the Austrian outfit may look to get their Junior Team back on track by streamlining their ranks in the hunt for a potential next Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel in the making.
“I think that look, I mean, things go in waves, it produced Sebastian Vettel, it’s produced Max Verstappen,” said Horner of the Red Bull Junior Team.
“Daniel is a graduate of it. Carlos Sainz is a graduate of it. Pierre Gasly is a graduate of it. There’s so many drivers it’s given opportunity to and got to Formula 1. Alex Albon being another.
“And yeah, it’s focusing a bit more on youth I think going forward as well. We have a lot of drivers in Formula 2 this year, I think that will be thinned out moving forward and perhaps a refocus on perhaps some of the lower formulas as well.
“But you know, a Max Verstappen or a Sebastian Vettel, they don’t come along every season. So, it’s just making sure that you identify that talent when it does come along.”
Verstappen is currently schooling his Formula 1 rivals in F1 2023 on the way to his third World Championship in a row, having won 10 of the opening 12 grands prix, currently on a streak of eight successive victories.