McLaren will not eat through juniors like RBR

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren Red Bull

McLaren will not eat through junior drivers like Red Bull have.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the team will take a more measured approach with junior drivers compared to Red Bull’s model.

Over the years Red Bull have guided various young drivers to Formula 1 success through their programme, such as four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

But Red Bull have also developed a reputation for being ruthless with their prospects. The likes of Daniil Kvyat, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari and Brendon Hartley are among the names that Red Bull have brought and later booted out of Formula 1.

McLaren’s approach to junior drivers is different, with Brown saying the team will identify and sign up young talent when there is space for them, with Lando Norris currently benefiting from this having graduated to a McLaren race seat in 2019.

And this is the route they will continue to go down, rather than the Red Bull approach.

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“While it’s great that Red Bull has found Max, they have gone through a lot of talent to get there and a lot of expense,” Brown is quoted by GPFans.

“I think we’re better off being very targeted.

“At this point, we are paying attention to what is happening in the junior formulae. We don’t have anyone really that is on a junior programme at this point because, again, I don’t think we would really have a home for them.

“We have a different philosophy. I think you do run into the problem, that the others have, where they have too many drivers and then they start to try to place them with other teams or they don’t have a seat available when their driver is ready.

“I think McLaren, especially with our recent progress, will always be a team that most drivers have a high desire to drive for, especially as we continue to progress.

“Lando [Norris] is very young, we’re just getting started with Daniel, so to have a driver knocking down our door in a year or two, we’re not going to have room for them.

“So I think we are more strategic, like we were with Lando. We found him early, like we did with Stoffel [Vandoorne]. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. It worked with Lewis [Hamilton].

“We just handpick a few when you kind of see they might mature at a time when you might have a seat available.”

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