Red Bull places juniors Lynn, Gasly in DAMS GP2 squad

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Red Bull Junior drivers Alex Lynn (pictured right) and Pierre Gasly have signed with reigning GP2 Series champions DAMS, which is notable for two reasons.

The first is that Red Bull has never, until now, made a point of placing its juniors into GP2, and this must be perceived as an immediate aftereffect of the new FIA Superlicense system that places more points on GP2 than it does the World Series by Renault, which had been the normal landing spot for Red Bull’s next generation of drivers.

The second is that even with two full-season rookies, this team should retain its title contender status after Jolyon Palmer took this year’s crown.

Lynn is the reigning GP3 champion and talented prospect in Gasly made some GP2 starts the second half of last year with Caterham, prior to its evolution as Status GP.

“After the brilliant season we had in 2014 it’ll be difficult to do better!” team owner Jean-Paul Driot said in a release, via the official GP2 website. “Obviously our aim is to keep our titles and I’m delighted to welcome Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn to the team.

“It’s the youngest driver line-up we’ve ever had in GP2, but we’ve got two exceptionally talented guys who have a great future ahead of them. Although the overall level in the championship will again be very high, I’m confident that with these drivers DAMS will prove worthy of its rank.”

Said Lynn,  “Their record in the last few years speaks for itself and there’s nowhere else I wanted to be in GP2 – it’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’d like to thank them for giving me this break. My aim is to fight for the Championship. It’s a long time since anybody won GP2 in their first year, but if we can get off to a solid start there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to fight for wins and podiums straight away.”

Added Gasly, “I’m very happy to be joining DAMS which, for me, is a benchmark. It’s the team I wanted to work with. The first tests we did together in Abu Dhabi really boosted my confidence.”

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen had already wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.