Helmut Marko sets a five-race win target for the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula One team in 2020 while saying that the already ruthless driver academy must become even more so if they are to find the next Max Verstappen.
Jean-Eric Vergne, Antonio Felix da Costa, Sebastian Buemi - these are just three of the five drivers currently racing in ABB Formula E who have previously enjoyed Red Bull backing. Buemi, the season two Formula E champion, and Vergne, the only two-time champion in the championship, were both talked about last year as potential Red Bull drivers when Daniel Ricciardo announced his shock move to Renault.
Marko, the head of the Red Bull driver development program, says that these moves were not even considered.
“Even though a Jean-Eric Vergne wins Formula E again, his driver profile is completely different from what we need in Formula 1," Marko told Motorsport-Total.com. "He would be more or less a complete beginner. You need an entire season to get used to the Pirelli tires."
“We finance these people for one or two full seasons. Without that support, they would not even get this chance. In the beginning, the junior team was only meant to support certain drivers, but now a talent must have the potential to win a Grand Prix. The selection is, therefore, stricter."
Red Bull were a lot closer to the front in 2019 than many predicted after joining with Honda, the Japanese manufacturer having suffered numerous embarrassing retirements since their 2015 return.
Wins in Austria, Germany and Brazil along with numerous other trips to the podium showed that the Red Bull-Honda combination can be a potent one and Marko wants to see more success in 2020 - five wins being the immediate target.
“We want to fight for the World Championship and we know that we have to be competitive with the chassis right from the start," Marko continued.
“Honda has made gains for next year, so after everything that has been achieved so far, we assume that this will happen.
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.