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Red Bull driver situation ‘healthy’ for the future

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Christian Horner believes that Red Bull is in a “healthy” and “incredible” situation with its driver options in Formula 1 for the future.

Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat both graduated to the energy drink giant’s senior F1 team from Toro Rosso, its sister operation.

Current Toro Rosso drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. have impressed many since debuting at the beginning of 2015, with Verstappen’s performances being particularly noteworthy at just 18 years old.

Despite being just two races into the 2016 season, speculation is already rife about Red Bull’s driver line-up for 2017, with Verstappen being tipped for a swift promotion in the future.

Speaking to the official F1 website, team principal Horner said that having so many young and talented drivers on Red Bull’s books is no bad thing.

“It is a nice situation to have,” Horner said.

“Both Toro Rosso drivers are Red Bull drivers, as were Ricciardo and Kvyat – and [Sebastian] Vettel before – and all started out at Toro Rosso.

“It is an incredible situation to have such a pool of fantastic drivers. We don’t have an issue with [finding] competitive drivers in the next few years.”

Horner also echoed team advisor Helmut Marko’s recent comments, saying that the high competition for seats ensures all of the drivers continue to work hard.

“It is a healthy situation, it’s healthy competition and it keeps all the drivers honest,” he said.

Red Bull’s junior programme continues to aid young drivers ahead of a possible move into F1, with current leading light Pierre Gasly set to challenge for the GP2 championship in 2016 with Prema Powerteam.

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.