Red Bull pushing FIA to allow Daniel Ticktum to race in 2019
Red Bull is still pushing to get protégé Daniel Ticktum into a Toro Rosso Formula 1 seat for the 2019 season.
Toro Rosso initially expected to retain Pierre Gasly and had touted potential replacements for Brendon Hartley, which it brought in towards the end of 2017.
Toro Rosso made enquiries as to the availability of Lando Norris but that approach was blocked by McLaren, which has since appointed him to a 2019 race seat.
Toro Rosso’s 2019 plans were consequently changed when Gasly was promoted by Red Bull in place of Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo, following his surprise switch.
Ticktum, 19, joined Red Bull’s young driver scheme for 2017 but did not pick up any Super Licence points as a result of finishing seventh in Formula Renault Eurocup 2.0.
Ticktum impressed in a handful of GP3 outings – but classified only 11th due to his bit-part season – and won the Macau Grand Prix, but points are not awarded for that event.
It came off the back of a 2016 campaign in which he only raced sporadically due to serving a two-year ban (one of which was suspended) for overtaking multiple cars to intentionally collide with a rival under the Safety Car in MSA Formula.
Red Bull wanted to run Ticktum during in-season testing in Hungary but that request was denied as he did not have the 14 points required for an International A License.
Ticktum currently holds a three-point lead over Mick Schumacher in this year’s Formula 3 championship, for which the title-winner earns 30 points – 10 shy of the 40 needed for an F1 seat.
No exceptions have been made to the Super Licence rules since they were introduced in the wake of Max Verstappen’s rapid ascent to Formula 1.
Somewhat ironically for Red Bull and Ticktum, the points handed out to the F3 champion were downgraded for 2018 from 40 to 30, ostensibly in a bid to push drivers towards F2.
“Getting things wrong is easy in F1 and Red Bull has shown that with its Young Driver programme,” writes Motorsport Monday’s Group F1 Editor Joe Saward in his post-Singapore notebook.
“Having ditched all the youngsters of this generation, the Austrian drinks company now finds itself scrabbling around for two drivers for 2019.
“The word is that Daniil Kvyat will be given another chance (and when better to announce it than in the run-up to the Russian GP). The second seat has created all manner of wild speculation.
“The current thinking is that Red Bull is trying to convince the FIA to grant a Super Licence for British driver Dan Ticktum.
“He did not get any Super Licence points in 2017 and was banned from racing in 2016 and so his 30 points for winning the European Formula 3 Championship this year (if he does) would not be enough to get him through.
“However, he did win the Macau GP in 2017 and the argument is that this is the FIA Formula 3 World Cup and should have some points attached to it.
“It can only happen if Ticktum wins the title and if the FIA votes through a change at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on October 12.
“It could happen but this weekend is important in that respect as the 19-year-old British driver is under pressure from Mick Schumacher, who has won six of the last 10 races, while Ticktum has won only four times this year.
“At the time of writing the totals are 264-261 with six races to be completed.”
Ticktum will at least have amassed sufficient points to qualify for the International A license, which would give him clearance to participate in the post-Abu Dhabi test.