Red Bull axes junior driver after just four races!

© XPB 

Young Polish driver Kacper Sztuka has learned the hard way that Red Bull’s junior programme is a pressure cooker in which failing to perform can quickly derail a promising career.

Hailed as a rising start after winning the 2023 Italian Formula 4 Championship, who aims to follow in the footsteps of his famous countryman Robert Kubica, Sztuka was promptly enrolled into Red Bull’s driver development programme and assigned a seat at MP Motorsport in the FIA Formula 3 Championship.

However, after just four rounds in the feeder series and a fifth-place finish at Imola as his only points-scoring result, Sztuka’s dream has soured.

Being a young Red Bull driver is a double-edged sword. The financial backing and access to top-notch equipment are undeniable advantages.

However, the spotlight burns fiercely. The pressure to deliver is immense and underperformance is met with swift action, leaving no room for extended development.

“I wanted to share with you information about my development and further performances in Formula 3 this season,” Sztuka told his fans on social media.

“In recent weeks, the contract with Red Bull's junior program was terminated at the initiative of the partner.

“Until the end of the cooperation, my starts, functioning in the team and the progress I made were positively assessed by all people working directly with me.

“Thank you very much to everyone who has been involved in the project that I have been a part of since November 2023.”

Fortunately, all is not lost for the 17-year-old charger who will continue to race in F3 with MP Motorsport.

“The above decision does not affect the assessment of the MP Motorsport team and our starting plans,” he added.

“In the 2024 season, thanks to the support of my sponsors, I intend to compete in all remaining rounds of the FIA Formula 3 Championship and continue to develop as a driver both on and off the track.

“My determination to be the fastest, win and one day race against the best drivers in the world remains unchanged.

“Thank you for all your words of support. We are entering the final stage of preparations for the race in Barcelona. See you on the track!”

Sztuka's case serves as a stark reminder of the ruthless nature of the F1 feeder system. One misstep – on or off the track – can mean the difference between a glittering future and a career cut short before it truly began.

While Kacper can continue racing in F3, the Red Bull dream has vanished, replaced by the harsh reality of needing to prove himself all over again.

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