Helmut Marko: Drivers must deliver to stay with Red Bull

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has sent out a warning shot to the Formula 1 drivers on the energy drink giant’s books, saying that they they will be dropped if they do not deliver in 2016.

Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were evenly matched at Red Bull throughout 2015, but both are thought to be under pressure with up-and-coming racers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. both impressing at junior team Toro Rosso.

Verstappen, 18, had a particularly impressive debut season in F1, leading to speculation about a move up the grid to either Red Bull or potentially away from the team’s setup.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Marko said that the members of the junior program had to deliver if they wanted to keep their seats.

“We basically have long-term contracts at the Red Bull junior program and the whole program is based on performance,” Marko said.

“So no shoot-out, but be very clear: the one who is not delivering goes.”

Marko expects Toro Rosso to outperform the senior Red Bull team for the first half of the season by virtue of its 2015-spec Ferrari power unit.

Red Bull will race with a rebranded Renault power unit in 2016, which is still thought to be down on power compared to the old Ferrari engine for the start of the year.

“I could imagine that they will land in front of Red Bull Racing at the start of the season – probably until midseason – because the power difference is still that significant,” Marko said.

“In midseason probably the performance will drop, as you cannot further develop the 2015 engine.”

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.