“Unfair Treatment or Strategic Move? Red Bull Drops Nyck de Vries for Daniel Ricciardo: A Closer Look at Red Bull’s Approach to Junior Drivers”

Nyck de Vries’ sudden dismissal from AlphaTauri for Daniel Ricciardo was the latest driver change to bring questions about Red Bull’s handling of their drivers.
"Unfair Treatment or Strategic Move? Red Bull Drops Nyck de Vries for Daniel Ricciardo: A Closer Look at Red Bull's Approach to Junior Drivers"

Red Bull’s Driver Shake-Up Sparks Debate on Sky Sports F1 Podcast

In the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari joins host Matt Baker to discuss Red Bull’s recent driver changes. Alguersuari, who drove for Toro Rosso from 2009 to 2011, believes that the Red Bull junior team is no longer successful and that Sergio Perez driving for Red Bull indicates a lack of opportunities for young drivers.

Alguersuari’s comments come after Nyck de Vries was unexpectedly replaced by Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri. De Vries had joined the team earlier this year and showed promise with a ninth-place finish at the 2022 Italian Grand Prix. However, he struggled against teammate Yuki Tsunoda in the opening races of this season, leading to his dismissal.

“The way they [Red Bull] act is sometimes not fair,” Alguersuari explained. “What they did with me and Buemi was not a very generous, sporting manner to get rid of two drivers. It was not decided on results, it was decided on commercial and other interesting things. But that’s the way F1 works and you have to accept it.”

Despite his criticism, Alguersuari also acknowledged that he had a good time with Red Bull and enjoyed every moment. He emphasized the importance of delivering results and handling pressure in Formula 1.

Alguersuari’s comments about Red Bull’s junior team not being successful were further supported by the recent demotions of Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon. Both drivers struggled against Max Verstappen and were moved back to AlphaTauri. Red Bull ultimately recruited Sergio Perez from outside their own stable to be Verstappen’s teammate, which Alguersuari sees as a sign of the team’s current struggle for talent.

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“The fact that Perez is driving for Red Bull shows the Red Bull junior team is not successful,” Alguersuari stated. “You are spending millions for years for many drivers to become champions in junior categories, to then go into F1, give them very little chance and cross your fingers you have a good car – otherwise you do nothing in F1 if you don’t have a good car – you are at the back, then cross your fingers you drive for a winning car, which is Red Bull.”

While Alguersuari acknowledged the talent of Max Verstappen and the difficulty of Perez’s position, he called on the Mexican driver to improve. Perez has struggled recently, missing out on Q3 in the last five events and only achieving one podium finish during that time.

“It’s not acceptable that Perez is always half a second or seven tenths slower,” Alguersuari said. “If your teammate is winning all the races, you have to at least be on the podium, not on your best day being on the podium. You have to be closer otherwise they have the right to replace you. There are many drivers on the grid that could definitely be much closer to Max.”

The debate surrounding Red Bull’s handling of their drivers continues, with fans and experts eagerly awaiting the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend to see how Ricciardo performs in his new role at AlphaTauri.

To hear more from Jaime Alguersuari and Matt Baker, listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast on Spotify, Apple, or Spreaker.