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have ruthless Red Bull done #F1 a favour?

You have to admire the ruthlessness at Red Bull and it’s satellite team of Torro Rosso. Over the years they have been savage in axing drivers that under perform or don’t reach their potential and promoting those that do when the chance arises.

It brought them four world titles in a row, but when that individual’s domination ended and he was being bested by the latest new recruit what do they do when he says that he wants to go; they say goodbye and bring through the latest flyer from the junior team.

They know that this works and they see the big picture. Kvyat is quick and he is young enough to appeal to their target markets. He is also Russian and that helps a specific marketing issue for their brand, but he is also much less expensive to employ than the guy he is replacing so there is a double benefit; more coming in and less going out.

This has a big impact on the driver market during this prolonged silly season for all of a sudden the best driver out there, Alonso, is out of a car and possibly unable to command anything like what he might have been worth the day before Kvyat was confirmed at Red Bull.

The domino effect from here is not entirely clear, but if Fernando tries to hold out for big money he is not likely to get it. He may be, just about, the best, but he is coming towards his last three or four seasons as is Jenson Button. JB may be content to stay at McLaren for less dosh and he is certainly quick enough to be worth hanging on to and Kevin is no slouch there either so McLaren don’t need Fernando badly enough to start adding noughts to their cheque book. Especially so if Fernando is also looking for a performance related get put clause.

It does raise the question of driver values for the next few seasons though, and Nico may find himself having been very fortunate to get the deal that he did. How will Lewis get on then this time next year? He is likely to be carrying number one on his car in 2015 so that should be worth something, but will Fernando be available then too? If he is then it impacts on what Lewis might be able to command if Mercedes have a choice.

Red Bull’s ruthless approach to its driver academy had given us the dual benefit of Vettel and Ricciardo so far, and with Kvyat coming through, Verne having shown a lot of promise albeit that they may drop even him and with Verstappen about to arrive. Stacks of talent there, but maybe the biggest benefit will be the way in which they have reduced the cost of top talent. Time will tell.


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