Wednesday, October 23, 2019

F1: How Well Do Driver Development Programmes Work?

As do they really Give 'em Wings? And what happens when they Fly to Close to the Sun?

Red Bull Junior Team
Currently eight Formula 1 Drivers have made it all the way thru the Junior Team ranks to Red Bull Racing, which Claudio' denoted many Moons ago as the B-I-G BULLZ', albeit one's since been Demoted this season back to thou 'lil bulls, aka Scuderia Toro Rosso.

With a further six Junior members having driven for thou Toro Rosso Hondre' B-Team, which has now seen its second seat swapping with former Red Bull F1 Drivers returning to its ranks. Not to mention that only Carlos Sainz, Jr. remains in Formula 1 today.

As the Junior Team scheme began in Europe Wayback in Gory 2001! Although I first learned 'bout it when 'Ol Hollywood', aka Danny Sullivan led Red Bull's American Driver Search, with Scotty thee Goose' Speed ultimately landing in f1 in '06.

While it's first Formula 1 graduate was the long forgotten Christian Klien, joining Jaguar in 2004; Y'all remember him?

Other Red Bull graduates were Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniil Kvyat, who's led a most charmed life under Red Bull's employ, now on his third stint.

Whilst the three most successful Junior Team members to Date are 'lil syd Viddle, aka Sebastian Vettel, Danny Ric', nee Daniel Ricciardo and Maximus Hothead', aka Max Verstappen, who've all won F1 races. With Vettel being the only World Champion, which he claimed All Four of his F1 World Championships with.

Meanwhile, current Toro Rosso drivers Pierre Gasley is licking his wounds after being sent back down to thou 'lil bulls alongside Kvyat at Mid Season's Break, in favour of Toro Rosso F1 rookie Alexander Albon being promoted to Red Bull as Verstappen's newest Junior Birdman'; Err team-mate.

Yet how stable will both of the Red Bull Driver line-ups remain in 2020? Since Red Bull Desperately needs to Shore Up its No. 2 seat alongside Verstappen in order to better compete in the coveted Formula 1 Constructors Championship.

which means possibly a non Red Bull Junior Member will partner Verstappen next year?

Hmm, Can Yuhs Say Thee Incredible Hulkster', nee Nico Hulkenberg? which would ARSE-Sumedly see Albon return to Toro Rosso and Monsieur Gasley being thrown out when Der Helmut' (Marco) wants some more Hot water for his Bubble bath; Yo Rubber duckies', better look Out!

Although Der Helmut' has apparently Ruled Out Hulkenberg's services, who now seems that the second Alfa Romeo Racing seat is his only F1 chance to remain on the Grid in 2020. And I'd Hazard guessing that Albon will retain his Red Bull drive alongside Verstappen next year...

Currently, the Highest Profile Junior Team member arguably is IndyCar's Pato O'Ward, who's Disappeared to Japan's Super Formula series, along with ex-DTM Champion Lucas Auer, nephew of some Austrian ex-Formula 1 Driver named Gerhard Berger.

While Japan's Yuki Tsunoda, racing in this year's FIA Formula 3 Championship has just won his first F3 race at Monza in the F3 weekend Sprint Race. and naturally aims to drive for the Honda powered F1 Team one day.

Ferrari Driver Academy
Thou Prancing Horse's Driver Academy reportedly began in '09 and was born out of the Scuderia's previous endeavour with loaning out Felipe Massa to Sauber for three years before calling him up to partner some Chap named Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 2006.

As other Ferrari Academy Drivers include the late Jules Bianchi and Sergio Perez, before the latter joined McLaren in 2013. With the latest member to graduate to Formula 1 being Charles Leclerc, who's now become the first Academy member to Drive for la Scuderia.

As this year's Bumper Crop of Prancing Horse Junior Drivers is Headlined by somebody named Mick Schumacher. Along with the likes of Giuliano Alesi, son of another former Ferrari Pilote' named Jean Alesi.

Renault Sport Academy
Due to its multiple changes of Ownership, this Driver Development Scheme has had a magnitude 'O names, beginning life as the RF1 Driver Programme and then Renault Driver Development. Not to mention it's multiple iterations of various Lotus Renault entities .With a trio of its Debutante 2002 Class becoming Formula 1 Drivers, i.e.; Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica and Tiago Monteiro.

Interestingly, three Alumni have scored one Grands Prix victory apiece, with Kovalainen winning the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix at McLaren. Kubica capturing the '08 Canadian GP for BMW Sauber, and Pastor Maldonado at Team Willy', claiming Williams F1 latest Grands Prix W' at Barcelona six years ago, upon winning the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix from Pole position.

Other past Renault Driver Academy members to reach Thee Big League, aka F1 include Jerome d'Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean.

While a few other members of notoriety include Ben Hanley, now an aspiring IndyCar Driver racing for the fledgling DragonSpeed racing team. Along with former IndyCar racer Ho-Pin Tung.

While sadly, two of its former Alumni have seen tragedy in their respective careers. As FIA Formula 2 Driver Anthoine Hubert was Killed in the Formula 2 Feature race at Spa Francorchamps this year.

And Juan Manuel Correa, appointed as an Alfa Romeo Racing Development Driver this year - who Unintentionally Collided with Hubert, has emerged from being placed in a medically induced Coma to Aid in his recovery from multiple crash injuries suffered in his Head-on Shunt. Was last known to be fighting to keep his right foot from amputation!

Whilst le Reggie' Aims to further inspire Hopeful Junior Drivers by announcing intentions to promote one into F1...

Mercedes Junior Team
Mercedes Benz hasn't had a whopping number of recruits to its Junior Team, with just three names on its books prior to 2019. Beginning with Pascal Wehrlein in 2014. Followed by Esteban Ocon the following year, and then George Russell, who is the programme's latest member to graduate to F1 and is still part of the Mercedes "Family."

As Russell won last year's FIA Formula 2 Championship for ART Grand Prix, ahead of Lando Norris and Alexander Albon - before graduating to Formula 1 in the Woefully Underperforming Williams F1 outfit this season.

With the most recent appointees being a triplet of Unknown Drivers currently toiling in Go Karts and Formula 4. While Esteban Ocon apparently is No longer a Mercedes Junior member upon moving to Renault for 2020, replacing the aforementioned Hulkenberg alongside Danny ric'...

For the Conclusion of this ever Mushrooming No Fenders tome, see; F1: How Well Do Driver Development Programmes Work? Especially for the Midfield Runners?