Toro Rosso’s exceptional rookie drivers are free to race their counterparts in the senior Red Bull team, according to Helmut Marko who heads up the energy drink company’s F1 driver programme.
The senior team, headed in the cockpit by Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, is in a deep trough in 2015, caused not only by the Renault engine but also the Milton Keynes-designed car.
Also clear is that the James Key-produced Toro Rosso is arguably the best ever produced by the former Minardi team.
“But we also have two exceptional junior drivers,” Marko insisted to Auto Motor und Sport.
Marko’s priority may be to help the senior team out of its rut, but the Austrian is never shy to ramp up the pressure on his Red Bull-stabled drivers.
So he declared there will be no ‘team orders’ requiring juniors Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz to give way in the races to Ricciardo and Kvyat.
“If we were to tell our young drivers to hold back, that would be completely counterproductive,” said Marko. “How would that motivate them?”
Clearly the most pressure is on the shoulders of young Russian Kvyat, who has struggled to shine at Red Bull following his rapid promotion from Toro Rosso this year.
Marko said: “Kvyat lost two seconds each time he was lapping [another car]. And Sainz exploited that.”
Ultimately, the pair collided right at the end of the Spanish grand prix, but were not penalised by the FIA.
But it is believed that, inside the Red Bull ‘energy station’ after the race, it was Kvyat who was squarely blamed.
Indeed, Sainz revealed at a sponsor event in Barcelona on Tuesday: “The stewards were asking all of the questions to him.”
Meanwhile, British newspapers report that local police have finally arrested the thieves who stole 60 trophies from Red Bull’s Milton Keynes factory in January.
“The trophies are slowly being returned”, The Times newspaper revealed.