Red Bull has been paralyzed since the day Ricciardo left to join Renault. The team was highly competitive til 2018 when Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo drove for them. Since Daniel’s departure, The Austrian team have had a tough time finding a suitable replacement for Ricciardo.
Red Bull promoted Pierre Gasly to replace the Australian for the 2019 season. However, the French driver failed to live up to the expectations. In an unfortunate move, Gasly was demoted back to Alpha Tauri with nine races left in the season.
Alexander Albon was called in to replace Pierre Gasly mid-season. The young Thai driver had nine races to prove himself, and he did. Therefore, Red Bull signed Alex Albon for the next season. However, even Albon could not keep up to Max Verstappen in 2020.
As a result, Red Bull had to look outside their young driver program to replace Albon. After Sergio Perez’s replacement, Helmut Marko admitted that the continued betting on Red Bull academy drivers has been a mistake.
He said, “It was a relatively short contract negotiation, it’s a one-year deal. We can step in if he gets other offers. The background is: since Max is with us, except for Ricciardo, the second car is always behind. against our philosophy. Until now, we have almost always had pilots from our program.”
Red Bull hopes Sergio Perez will make them stronger
Red Bull has always relied on their young drivers’ program to build championship-winning drivers. Verstappen, Ricciardo, Gasly and Albon are all a result of that program. However, After Daniel, the last two Red Bull academy drivers have not lived up to their expectation.
Towards the end of 2020, it seemed like Perez might lose out on the 2021 season. However, he conjured up some fantastic races towards the end of the season. It was enough to impress Helmut Marko to go out of their way and sign someone foreign to their junior academy.
Both Perez and Verstappen hope to push each other next season. Hopefully, with Perez and Max’s 2020 momentum, Red Bull will see both their drivers fight for the podium. Hopefully, the battle next year with Mercedes will be much closer.