Statistics are key in any sport. One of the favourite past-times of the armchair pundit is to dissect all the key facts and figures and whenever a record is broken, it is quite the occasion. As such, Max Verstappen’s shock win at Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix took on greater significance than the typical first time win. The 18 year old obliterated the previous record for youngest winner, in turn toppling top spot for the youngest driver to both stand on the podium and lead a lap, all in his first weekend at a new team.
The Dutchman is quite the record breaker, but follows in the footsteps of numerous other emerging talents who re-wrote the record books over the years.
Being a part of the Red Bull driver programme is seen by many as the holy grail for young single-seater stars of the future. While the guidance of Dr Helmut Marko has proved crucial to both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, Marko’s School of Hard Knocks has ended many F1 careers prematurely. Daniil Kvyat’s recent demotion from Red Bull to Toro Rosso could eventually see the Russian added to the list of drivers axed from the programme at the final hurdle.
One element of the Verstappen and Kvyat seat switch which has been missed by many is the indirect effect it could have on Carlos Sainz Jr’s career. The Spaniard has been overlooked by the senior team on this occasion and as Jean Eric Vergne will testify, that doesn’t bode well.
Red Bull Racing know how to drop a bombshell. News that Sebastian Vettel was set to leave the team at the end of 2014 and be replaced by youngster Daniil Kvyat, certainly came as a surprise. The announcement that 18 year-old wonder-kid Max Verstappen is to replace Kvyat in the Red Bull senior outfit with immediate effect broke on Thursday morning, delivering an even greater level of surprise.
With Kvyat moving back to Toro Rosso – the junior squad in the unique Red Bull structure – some have deemed this as a demotion for the Russian. However, the story is as much about the excellence and market value of Red Bull’s teenage superstar.
Rosberg capitalises on Ferrari’s strategic mistake
The 2016 F1 season is underway and some things never change. Mercedes achieved their second consecutive Australian Grand Prix one-two finish, while Sebastian Vettel occupied the final step of the podium for Ferrari. However, read only the final result at your peril, as this year’s season opener was a thriller. With Ferrari matching their pre-season performance and challenging Mercedes down to the wire, it is game on in 2016.
Williams have stuck to form throughout testing so far, adopting a low profile and completing a programme free of headline making glory runs. However, Valtteri Bottas topped today’s timesheet as the team recorded qualifying simulation runs, on what was the Finn’s final day in the car before the season-opener in Melbourne.
Here are five things we learnt on day two of the second test.
Central to Toro Rosso’s very existence in the sport is its influence on bright young talent. Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat all excelled in the Toro Rosso proving ground and based on the evidence of the first ten races of 2015, the team’s current duo have all the hallmarks of recreating the success of the aforementioned trio. While Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr have been sensational this season, credit should also be given to Toro Rosso’s technical team, who have delivered one of Faenza’s greatest ever products for their young star’s to play with.
Lead time on engine development is always longer than chassis improvement but Red Bull’s 2015 campaign is somewhat dependent on a power-pack boost. Some promising dyno testing at Renault’s Viry-Chatillon headquarters has suggested that relief for the two Red Bull teams is incoming, but as Christian Horner has expressed, the team needed the upgrade “yesterday”. Will pressure from the partners see the supplier press fast-forward on the updates.