Red Bull snap up ‘the next Sebastian Vettel’ after Marko axed four drivers

Helmut Marko has confirmed that Oliver Goethe will join the Red Bull junior team for the 2024 season with the 19-year-old seen as Germany’s biggest talent in the feeder series ranks. The reigning world champions will hope that he can one day emulate the success produced by former academy product Sebastian Vettel.

Goethe made a positive impression during his first full-time season as a Formula 3 driver with Trident this year, grabbing a podium finish in the first round in Bahrain before taking his first-ever F3 win in the feature race at Silverstone. These results put the teenager 8th in the standings ahead of his sophomore year in 2024.

This marks the second German signing in quick succession for the Red Bull junior team. Marko only recently added 18-year-old Tim Tramnitz to his line-up for 2024 after he finished third in the FRECA standings behind generational talent Kimi Antonelli and Norway’s Martinius Stenshorne.  

Speaking to F1 Insider about the signings, Marko explained: “We included both because they have shown a lot of potential in their respective junior classes and we believe that they will have the ability to gain a foothold in Formula 1. 

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“That is the criterion why we include young drivers in the squad. Their development will now show how good they are and whether they can one day become champions.”

These changes fall into line with the comments of team principal Christian Horner, who suggested earlier this year that Red Bull would be pivoting their junior team focus to the F3 ranks and below after a disappointing campaign for their six drivers in Formula 2.

Discussing the short-term future of the Red Bull junior programme, he told ESPN: “We are going to focus more on youth from now on I think. We have a lot of drivers in F2 this year. I think we are going to thin that out. 

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“In the future, we might focus more on the lower formula classes. A Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel don’t just come along every season. It is important to identify the talent the moment it does come by.”

Horner has delivered on his promise to thin out the junior programme’s presence on the F2 grid with Viaplay Sport confirming earlier this month that only Isack Hadjar – who completed FP1 for AlphaTauri in Mexico – and new signing Pepe Marti will drive in the series with a Red Bull livery next season.

This means that Zane Maloney, Dennis Hauger and Jak Crawford will all be without Red Bull support next season. Enzo Fittipaldi is also leaving the setup as he targets a career in IndyCar. Ayumu Iwasa will remain with the team but is set to pivot to the Super Formula series in Japan.

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