The Younger Guns

With the Hungary F1 test completed, we’re winding down the F1 operation for a couple of weeks as the summer shutdown takes hold – but the world of Red Bull motorsports never stops, and our Junior Team members will keep putting in the laps throughout the summer.

The Junior Team has produced a string of World Champions and race winners, and today its graduates are front-runners in virtually every professional racing series anywhere in the world. The focus, of course, tends to be on Formula One, where six of the 20 drivers are alumni of the Junior Team but in everything from WEC and Formula E to Super GT and Porsche Supercup, former Red Bull Junior Team members are picking up the silverware. The current crop will hope to emulate them in the years to come.  

At the top of the current Junior Team pyramid, Dan Ticktum is pulling up trees in the European F3 series. Last year’s Macau Grand Prix winner, and recipient of the 2017 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award lies second in the table, one point off the lead at the halfway stage. In a fiercely competitive championship, Dan has taken victories at the Hungaroring, and, last week, a mightily impressive drive from P10 to victory at Spa. He also showed exceptional character to take victory in the third Norisring race after a huge start line accident in race two.

Hailing from Mount Kisco, New York, but living in Holland, Neil Verhagen is increasing his experience of open-wheel racing this year with a season contesting the Formula Renault Eurocup. It has been a tough first half of the season for Neil, and he lies 12th in the standings, but a recent spirited run to fourth at the Red Bull Ring hints at better things to come in the second half of the season.

British junior formulae have historically been the training ground of choice for future F1 champions – by no means all of them British. This year Jack Doohan follows a long line of Australians (including two of our own) to travel halfway around the world to experience open-wheel racing in the British F4 Championship. Dennis Hauger, Jack’s team-mate in the TRS Arden Junior Racing Team, hasn’t come quite so far – but the Norwegian is just as hungry.

18 races down with 12 to go, they’re lying third and fourth in the championship, with Hauger edging the intra-team battle. They’re both in good form, with Dennis winning three of the last six races. Last time out at Snetterton, both drivers took a share of the spoils with Dennis winning race one and Jack race three.

At the junior end of the Junior Team, Jonny Edgar and Harry Thompson are spearheading Red Bull’s return to karting. If 14 year-old Edgar didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all, and so far has failed to score in the CIK OK European Championship, despite a string of smouldering lap times. Fellow Junior Team member Thompson (14 this week) has had a little more success and lies 7th in the championship with 35 points. The final round of the Championship is in France this week – on Harry’s birthday.