Buemi wants Le Mans drive and 2013 F1 comeback

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: Sebastien Buemi hopes to return to F1 in 2013.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Buemi eying 2013 F1 race seat (Hindustan Times)

“Ousted Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi is planning to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans before making a bid for a race seat with Red Bull Racing in 2013 should Mark Webber’s contract is not renewed.”

French Grand Prix close to 2013 return (ESPN)

“‘The case is currently on Fillon’s desk,’ said a report in Le Figaro. ‘He has only to give the green light to sport minister David Douillet and to Nicolas Deschaux, the president of the federation francaise de sport automobile (FFSA). The (first) race would be held on 1 September 2013.'”

All Systems Go! (Force India)

“A largely unheralded change to the rules this year is that teams have to pass all the FIA crash tests before they are allowed to go testing. In order to allow for a safety net, in case there were any issues that needed addressing, Sahara Force India ensured that all the tests were out of the way in December. That meant that items that in the past have been readied only in January had to be built and ready to test on time.”

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Comment of the day

FlyingLobster27 on whether Robert Wickens will make it into F1:

Unfortunately he won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, which seems somewhat cursed. Only one single FR3.5 champion (excluding the previous Nissan championship which was way more successful) has gone to F1, and that was Robert Kubica . The others ?ǣ Mikhail Aleshin, Bertrand Baguette, Giedo van der Garde, Alvaro Parente and Alx Danielsson ?ǣ are nowhere near F1.
FlyingLobster27

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On this day in F1

Kimi Raikkonen had his first test for McLaren ten years ago today at the Circuit de Catalunya. The 22-year-old had previously driven for Sauber in 2001.

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66 comments on Buemi wants Le Mans drive and 2013 F1 comeback

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 0:39

    Is Sebastien Buemi really a viable candidate for Red Bull? If Webber leaves at the end of 2012, he’s going to be competing against people who raced in 2012 for the seat.

    • Harvs (@harvs) said on 8th January 2012, 0:56

      I dont think anyone in the Red Bull development programme at the moment deserves the chance to be battling for the drivers title either…

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th January 2012, 1:12

      He’s not in a strong position NOW, anyway. As @harvs says, all of the RB development programme drivers are quite a long way from being a great option for the second Red Bull.

      If Webber doesn’t continue, I guess di Resta, Hulkenberg and many others would be chasing that seat too… and most would be in a much better position than Buemi IMO!

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 1:33

        I guess I’m just bemused that people seem to think Red Bull is limited to choosing drivers from their own stables. Ricciardo and Vergne are still unproven, but if they disappoint, Red Bull will not take them when Webber leaves. Sure, Helmut Marko might like the idea of Vettel winning everything, and he might lobby for a driver who will not threaten Vettel (although honestly, I don’t think he’ll care too much if someone like Vergne performs well; the reason why Marko doesn’t like Webber is because Webber wasn’t in the Young Driver Program), but Red Bull is a constructor, which means they are fighting for the World Constructors’ Championship. When their main rivals are taking the two best drivers available to them, Red Bull will have to do the same. Sebastian Vettel isn’t so good that he can single-handedly win the World Constructors’ championship. If the team make the mistake of thinking he can, there is a real chance that they will finish behind Mercedes in the constructors’ standings simply because McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes will get results through consistency. Red Bull need a strong second driver, and they wil take the strongest available regardless of what Helmut Marko thinks. He’s only the manager of the Young Driver Program – he doesn’t get to cast the deciding vote in deciding a driver line-up.

        And as I’ve said before, the minute Marko backs a secnod-tier driver and it costs the team will be the minute that Marko and that driver will be lining up at the unemployment office.

        • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th January 2012, 11:52

          Well said, @prisoner-monkeys Clearly Marko has proven HIS worth with Vettel, but could you also not class Buemi and Alguersuari as ‘failures’ for a program he is accountable for? He still has people to answer to and like you, I do not believe he yields as much power as people think.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th January 2012, 12:30

          I agree with most of that as well @Prisoner-Monkeys, Marko might prefer Vettel over Webber and Red Bull training program drivers over the rest. But winning come first, and his loyalty is with the team and its boss.

          Neither Buemi nor Alguersuari performed impressively enough to convince Red Bull to put their big money behind them for another year. Buemi is kept on to have a reliable backup for emergencies and Vergne and Ricciardo will get a season or maybe 1,5-2 to show they can be exceptional.
          I am sure there will be new, fresh drivers snapping at their heels if they don’t, as well as Red Bull looking at other potential top drivers when they need to replace Webber.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 21:55

            I think people are far too harsh on Marko. Yes, some of his statements and decisions have been questionable, and the man clearly has no tact, but when did practicing diplomacy with a sledgehammer become a crime?

            Helmut Marko has come out and said that neither Alguersuari nor Buemi have the x-factor, proving that he, at least, has what Red Bull and Toro Rosso need: a certain degree of ruthlessness. Look at Toro Rosso’s driver line-up for the past three years. Buemi and Alguersuari might be popular drivers, but they haven’t exactly performed. Neither driver has ever finished higher than seventh. Compare that to Sebastian Vettel, who in eighteen months with Toro Rosso, had two fourth-place finishes, three fifths and two sixths. He scored more points for Toro Rosso in one year than Sebastien Buemi has in the past three, even when Buemi had the advantage of two years with more points on offer. By rights, he probably should have been dropped at the end of 2010, if not sooner.

            If you were in Marko’s shoes, what would you have done – keep the underperforming Buemi in the hopes that he might finally show something after three years, or drop him and take a chance on a highly-rated young driver like Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne? Maybe you could be more diplomatic about it, but this is not a difficult decision. I’ve said before that older drivers like Jarno Trulli and Ribens Barrichello are wasting seats and depriving young talent a chance at Formula 1. Well, in the same way, Buemi and Alguersuari were kind of taking seats and not really doing anything with them.

            In the end, people criticise Marko for dropping the likes of Buemi and Alguersuari because they are not performing on the same level as Sebastian Vettel. But isn’t that the entire point of the Red Bull Young Driver Program? Wasn’t it created to find drivers who are good enough to win World Championships, rather than simply being good enough for Formula 1?

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th January 2012, 18:54

      Well this says a lot.

      Red Bull’s Helmut Marko says ousted Toro Rosso duo Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari had enough chances to prove their worth in Formula 1

      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96917

      So that’s done for them within Red Bull, from Marko’s point of view…

  2. Anti-RBR (@matt2208) said on 8th January 2012, 1:05

    Why The Paul Ricard circuit? There is so much run off there. The Track was good 15years ago. then they wanna change it around with Spa year after year. they have to start taking the arab tracks out.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 1:20

      @matt2208

      Why The Paul Ricard circuit?

      Because France only has two Grade-1 circutis: Paul Ricard and Magny-Cours. The Circuit Paul Armangac at Nogaro has a Grade-1T licence (allowing for testing), but it’s shorter than Monaco and it’s a horrible little circuit.

      then they wanna change it around with Spa year after year

      There are three circuits with contracts that expire after the 2012 race: Spa, Suzuka and Singapore. It’s fairly obvious that Spa is (perhaps the only one) willing to alternate with Paul Ricard.

      That said, organisers in Valencia are writing to Bernie about re-negotiating their contract because they can’t afford it at its present rate. Bernie will likely tell them that they will either see their current contract out, or remove them from the calendar (which is pretty much what he told Korea when they asked about a re-negotiation). However, if Valencia is dropped, it doesn’t automatically mean that Spa will stay on the calendar on a yearly basis. They’re willing to alternate with France because they feel it is a much more economically-viable solution. Especially since the European economy is teetering on a knife’s edge right now. Even if the immedaite danger has passed, one false step by any of the PIIGS could bring the rest of the continent crashing down with them (except for most of Eastern Europe; they don’t use the Euro).

      they have to start taking the arab tracks out.

      Why? They’re not in breach of their contracts, and those contracts are still good for a few more years. Say what you want about Bernie Ecclestone, but give him credit where credit is due: he has never dropped a race mid-contract simply because he got a better offer from someone else.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th January 2012, 11:56

        @prisoner-monkeys I think you must have that last paragraph saved on your clipboard, ready to paste at a moments notice! As always though, a valid point that more should be aware of.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 12:10

          @andrewtanner – One of my (admittedly many) pet peeves is the way people seem to think that Spa can automatically stay on the calendar year in and year out simply because it’s Spa. The fact that they’ve had to resort to alternating with Paul Ricard shows how dire the situation really is. But for some reason, people seem to think that the calendar is dictated by a circuit’s heritage and its popularity among fans. They’re oblivious to the fact that at the end of the day, economics trumps all. Anyone who has paid attention to the calendar in recent years should be aware of this. Spa even has a documented history of financial troubles, considering that it was absent in 2003 and 2006.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 8th January 2012, 13:28

            They’re oblivious to the fact that at the end of the day, economics trumps all

            I think most fans understand this, people are not as stupid as you might think, but it doesn’t mean we like it. That’s why there are strong opinions when it comes to dropping tracks that provide great racing for ones that can pay Bernie more fees.

            And sometimes what makes economic sense to Bernie, may not make sense long-term for the economic stability of F1, a sport involving tens of thousands of stakeholders (not including fans of course).

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 21:27

            I think most fans understand this, people are not as stupid as you might think, but it doesn’t mean we like it.

            I don’t think they’re stupid, but if they understand the situation as you suggest they do, why do they make statements that suggest they don’t?

          • Mike (@mike) said on 9th January 2012, 4:18

            @Prisoner Monkeys… is it really that hard to read it as he probably meant it?

            Here, follow after me.

            they have to start taking the arab tracks out.

            I do not like the new tracks, some of which have been build in and around the middle east. I don’t think they are of a standard the improves the quality of the racing, nor the enjoyment of the spectators (Inc. TV viewers.).
            I think that the people responsible for choosing which tracks are on the calendar should be more concerned with the quality of the track rather than how much they will pay.

            @Anti-RBR that’s pretty much what you meant yeah?

            :D

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 8th January 2012, 1:58

      i agree there is a silly amount of run-off at raul ricard (because it’s main use is as a test track…) but i believe the coloured stripey run off areas are made up of a quite rough, tyre degrading surface. i think. so going off the track is bad for the tyres.

      the layout is supreme though! i love it.

    • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 8th January 2012, 10:36

      @Anti-RBR I agree with your sentiments:
      Why oh why is the most beautiful track in F1 going to be alternated with another in the first place!??

      And IF there needs to be an alternation to accomodate the French, most F1F’s would want Valencia or Bahrain to be the alternating track, not Spa.

      Now, I know about money, contracts etc etc
      But I think F1 (Bernie) should be very careful to keep the heart in F1: Monza, Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Sao Paulo, Suzuka and Spa. And maybe even Melbourne could be added to the list.

      As far as I’m concerned he can alternate the whole other 12 races, but those should be permanent on the calender. Even if that means the Russians, Arabs, Indians and whoever pay more.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 11:18

        @verstappen

        Why oh why is the most beautiful track in F1 going to be alternated with another in the first place!??

        Because Spa obviously feel that they can’t afford the race on a yearly basis. Before you go blaming Bernie for extortionate circuit fees, consider this: economically, Europe is on a knife-edge. The worst of the danger has passed, but do not mistake that for meaning that there is no danger at all. Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain are all in variously-precarious positions right now, and a mis-step by any of them could have serious consequences for the entire continent. Belgium uses the Euro, which means that if one of the PIIGS goes, Belgium could be dragged screaming with them. There’s a reason why it’s called the ‘European debt crisis’. It’s because it’s a crisis, and there is no easy way out. The organisers at Spa no doubt feel that alternating with Paul Ricard is a more practical solution, a more fiscally-responsible solution, and a way of maintaining a presence on the Formula 1 calendar until such time as the economic storm has played out. It may not be the ideal solution, but it is the best one.

        And IF there needs to be an alternation to accomodate the French, most F1F’s would want Valencia or Bahrain to be the alternating track, not Spa.

        It doesn’t matter what the fans want. It’s a matter of contracts. There are only three races that are up for renewal at the end of 2012: Spa, Suzuka and Singapore. The French want to get onto the calendar as soon as possible – they don’t want to wait for 2016, when Valencia and Bahrain will be up for renewal. They want to get onto the calendar at the earliest possible opportunity. Of the three circuits who need to renew their contracts, Spa is evidently the only one willing to alternate.

        • John H (@john-h) said on 8th January 2012, 14:29

          It doesn’t matter what the fans want

          For long-term financial stability, yes actually it does matter.

        • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 8th January 2012, 15:01

          Of course I understand all that @Prisoner-monkeys – I Live in Europe.

          My comment was about sentiment and about tha question if there should’nt be protection for more races then Monaco.

          Really, I know about money, having to pay all those loans etc etc

          But that’s not gonna stop us racefans from wishing it was different!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 21:14

            My comment was about sentiment and about tha question if there should’nt be protection for more races then Monaco.

            Because when you start protecting races, other races are going to want the same treatment because the governments that support them will want to cut costs. If they don’t get protection, the governments might decide Formula 1 is no longer worth their while, and pull funding.

      • This is Bernie we’re talking about… the one that said there’ll only be about five European races in the future.

        Europe is where most of F1’s heart belongs. (The other pieces being Brazil, Canada, Japan and possibly Melbourne) Now I don’t mind bringing F1 to all the other parts of the world but it’s gone too far now and Europe’s finest races are slowly being cast out by, lets be honest, a total mess.

        Korea and Turkey barely brought in an audience, Abu Dhabi is just plain AWFUL, Bahrain is apparently still in crisis despite the FIA’s oblivious attitude towards it. Even so, that’s not my main reason why a race shouldn’t be held at that circuit, (The races are often rubbish). Valencia just plain SUCKS! India’s first race wasn’t brilliant and United States haven’t even had a race and they’re already in major issues.

        On the plus side, Malaysia and China are not doing too bad and Singapore is alright despite it’s night race novelty value.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 11:42

          @brickles

          Bahrain is apparently still in crisis despite the FIA’s oblivious attitude towards it.

          You think the FIA can just make a decision on the spot and be done with it? Bahrain is a complex issue. Sure, on the one hand, you’ve got the government oppressing the people, but it’s deeper than that. The government is mostly Shi’ite, while the population is Sunni. Over in Syria, where the situation is arguably worse than in Bahrain, the government is Sunni, and the people are Shi’ite. If Formula 1 were to boycott Bahrain on moral or ethical grounds, it would be endorsing the oppressed masses in Bahrain. But the sport would also be endorsing the Shi’ites as a whole, which may be interpreted as an endorsement of Bashar al-Assad and the Syrians. Not by you or me, but it’s not our interpretation that counts.

          • Well it’s still not rosy over there. It’d be too dangerous to race among huge tension in the country.

          • Correction: It’s the other way around in Bahrain, the royal family and government are largely Sunni and the population is majority Shi’ite.

            In any case, your argument is quite a stretch!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 21:16

            Correction: It’s the other way around in Bahrain, the royal family and government are largely Sunni and the population is majority Shi’ite.

            My logic still applies – if you back the protestors, you back one denomination of Islam, and that denomination can use Formula 1’s support as propaganda.

            In any case, your argument is quite a stretch!

            Why, because there is some reason to it? Because the situation isn’t as clear-cut as people think it is?

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 1:11

    I just heard the most bizarre rumour: HRT are talking Argentine touring car driver José María López. You may remember him as the obscure Renault test driver that Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor ear-marked for USF1 before it was put out of its misery. I can only imagine that the Argentine government has agreed to bankroll him – again – in the hopes of getting an Argentine driver back into the sport to bring Formula 1 back into the public consciousness before making a bid for a revival of the Argentine Grand Prix at the Velociudad Zárate.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th January 2012, 1:17

      @prisioner-monkeys No, it’s not true. Even Lopez himself laughed at it via Twitter.

      It was just an spanish website naming him, and a whole story build up after that. But it’s really not true.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th January 2012, 1:21

      @prisoner-monkeys Oh, and by the way, that Velociudad thing is getting more ridiculous everyday…

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 1:34

        @fer-no65 – Really? How so?

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 8th January 2012, 1:51

          As I said somewhere else in this site (not sure if it was the forum or some post), only the international press are talking about it, and every well-known journalist here (including Fernando Tornello, a guy who’s been commenting F1 since the day of Reutemann) are keeping it quiet saying they will only get excited about it once they see real progress. But as for now, it all seems stupid to everyone.

          The Velociudad project has an official twitter and facebook account. They talk about the construction progress and all, but once you click the links it’s just a ridiculous report about all the circuits wants to be… and there’s some pics, like 2 bussinessman holding shovels… doing nothing, or a couple of Mercedes (owned by those 2 guys, I suppose) going round a dirty road.

          They just post motoring news, like the ongoing Dakar Rally.

          I’m surprised they managed to sell such an enormous story to the international press with NOTHING to back it up.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 7:51

            like 2 bussinessman holding shovels… doing nothing

            That’s probably meant to be a ceremonial breaking-of-the-ground thing – as the owners of the circuit, they are the first ones to move earth. They don’t actually achieve anything, as it’s ceremonial. It’s a way of marking the start of construction.

  4. Chops (@chops) said on 8th January 2012, 1:41

    Why on earth would they drop Buemi from team number 2, let him not race for a year, and then promote him to team number 1? If Webber does retire in 2013, I presume either Riccardo or Vergne will replace him, as at least one of them, if not both, will have done a good enough job this year to earn a promotion. Vettel only had one year at STR, and while i’m not necessarily saying that either of them are as good as Vettel, it shows that you should only need one year at STR to prove your worth. The point is, there are so many drivers out there that have potential to be great, including two in Red Bull’s own development program, that I see no point for Red Bull to promote him to the top team in the world, when he just got dumped from a mid-order team.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 1:45

      at least one of them, if not both, will have done a good enough job this year to earn a promotion

      You sound awfully sure of that. We’ve seen plenty of occasions in the past where promising drivers have been let down by external factors. Romain Grosjean is the obvious example of this – the Renault R29 was an horrendous car. If Webber decides to leave Red Bull/Formula 1 at the end of 2012, and the Powers That Be feel that neither Ricciardo nor Vernge can be assessed properly because the STR7 is a bad car, then Red Bull will be left in the lurch – if you assume that they will only take someone from the young driver programme. Which they will not. They’re obligated to take the two best drivers available to them, regardless of where those drivers come from.

      • Chops (@chops) said on 8th January 2012, 12:10

        You make a good point, and I agree, one of them might not get the spot. But like I said at the end, my major argument was that I don’t see how Red Bull would drop someone from their second team and then give them a drive in the top team, when there is so much other talent, like you say.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th January 2012, 12:39

          @chops, I was thinking about commenting like PM did just now, but then I read your comment to the end and I agree with what you write.

          Red Bull is not likely to have Buemi go from racing at STR to backup plan if they were seriously considering him for a RBR drive in 2013. Its more likely that either of te STR drivers or another more deserving driver will be taken on for that job.

  5. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 8th January 2012, 2:15

    I’m i the only one that immediately thought – Buemi won’t drive for Red Bull because it would be silly to have Sebastian and also..Sebastien, driving for the same team. “And it’s a win for Seb! Which one Martin!?(brundle) Don’t know david!(croft)But it’s definitely a Seb!” *facepalm*

    I think the name has a tiny percentage to whether you get a seat in f1, maybe 1%..for example – Wickens..hmm doesn’t sound amazing, whereas Jean Eric Vergne…Sounds exotic and quick! thus i would rather have him driving for me..But maybe i’m just talking absolute nonsense, in fact i know i am, but still it’s just what goes through my mind.

    Just thinking..I might not be the greatest person to choose a driver lineup if their names clashing sways the decision haha.

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 8th January 2012, 5:51

      STR have had 2 Seb’s driving for them at the same time twice (in 2008 – Vettel and Bourdais and 2009 – Buemi and Bourdais).

    • katederby (@katederby) said on 8th January 2012, 8:59

      I think the fact JEV is an exciting, fast driver has zero % to do with his name. And I hope he gets to use his nick name as his official abbreviation in races. JEV is just who he is, not VER

      • Enigma (@enigma) said on 8th January 2012, 9:34

        Hear, hear! Not gonna happen though, I’m afraid :/

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 9:40

        “JEV” sounds like a two year old trying to say “Jeff”.

        • Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 8th January 2012, 11:52

          @ GeeMac – I think it’s different if they are going to be fighting for wins though, it’s enough to get casual viewers confused.

          And JEV? ive never heard it abbreviated in that way..won’t it be VER on the tv screens? Calling him JEV is like calling Alonso FAL..it’s just not right.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 12:06

            ive never heard it abbreviated in that way..won’t it be VER on the tv screens?

            It probably will be, but in the event of similar-sounding names, it might be changed. The brothers Schumacher were known as MSC and RSC to distinguish between them, and Michael is still known as MSC even though Ralf has long since left the sport. If we have Vettel, Vergne, Petrov and Perez on the grid this year, then we could well end up with VET, VER, PET and PER on the timing sheets, in which case the FIA could give Vergne the JEV designation to distinguish him from the others. Especially if the Toro Rosso, Sauber and Caterham (as has been rumoured for Petrov) are squabbling in the midfield.

          • katederby (@katederby) said on 8th January 2012, 14:12

            I know it’s most likely not going to happen but Vergne is commonly referred to as Jev.

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 8th January 2012, 3:08

    It will be a sad story to see Spa drop off the calender as no one wants that.Secondly I think it is more to Bernie as Valencia is paying more money to him so they will renew their contract whereas Spa not paying much for that, to me as many Valencia must drop,I agree that it always have a full house but here only 100000 goes to watch the race on track where millions watches it on TV.

  7. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 8th January 2012, 10:19

    The idea of Buemi getting a Red Bull drive fills me with all sorts of mirth.

    Now watch it happen.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 10:50

    This is probably going to be a controversail idea at best, but would it really be such a bad thing if Spa stopped holding an annual race?

    Spa is one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular. But, with such a high turn-over of drivers and the constant changing of the rules, I would argue that it becomes more challenging the less frequently drivers visit it. All of the drivers experience it in the team simulators, though they’re never the same thing. Most of them encounter it in the junior leagues, but if Spa does not feature on a regular basis, I’d say it has the potential to be more challenging.

    So, if Spa gets pushed back to a bi-annual race, then here’s what I propose: firstly, block junior categories from racing on the circuit so that their first experience of it is in Formula 1. Secondly, bring the race forward to be one of the first European races, so that the teams know less about their cars and the new rule changes than they normally would by the time they get to Spa (and we also might get some more-varied weather). And thirdly, maybe try and limit the total number of hours a driver can do on a simulator. Everything that is done to Spa should also be done to Paul Ricard, because very few of the drivers actually have any experience with it.

    Spa is already the most challenging circuit on the calendar. If we’re only going to have a race there half as often as we usually do, then the least we can do is make it twice as challenging as it already is.

  9. necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 8th January 2012, 10:57

    I’m afraid racing at Paul Ricard will be boring, like in Barcelona, because the teams know the track too well.

    I also wonder whether they’ll use the entire length of the straight or the chicanes in the middle. The chicanes would add a standard overtaking spot, probably aided by DRS (if that is still in use by then). Or if they use the entire straight, they would probably soar past each other at 350 kph even before the braking zone.

    Either of those is not worth replacing Spa, not just for me, as a Belgian, but for all F1 fans. Please Bernie, take out Valencia instead.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 11:09

    There have been renewed calls for a boycott of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Although most of the Jasmine Revolution has died down, one year on, Bahrain is still in turmoil.

    My stance on this is the same as it was in January 2011: the only reason why a race should be cancelled is because the country is unsafe for teams, drivers, fans and the media to participate. If the situation in a country is so bad that someone has to call for Formula 1 to stage a moral boycott, then it has clearly passed the point where said country is safe enough for competition.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th January 2012, 12:45

      I think its likely to be just like that

      because the country is unsafe for teams, drivers, fans and the media to participate

      in Bahrain come GP time this year. Not something abour morals or whatever (although being used for politics by the regime should not be something the FIA goes along with)

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 21:20

        (although being used for politics by the regime should not be something the FIA goes along with)

        But being used for political purposes by the protestors is okay? Maybe they’re better-intentioned than the government, but Formula 1 has no place meddling in regional politics. That’s why, should the race be cancelled, it should be cancelled on the grounds of safety rather than ethics. It means the race doesn’t go ahead, it doesn’t get used for a local politial agenda, and it doesn’t force people in the paddock to take a stance they may not necessarily agree with.

        • Alex W said on 9th January 2012, 0:36

          So PM you would have supported the apartheid GP’s??

          Those of us lucky enough to live in relative freedom from tyranny have to have a moral stance in sport and business somewhere, I do agree there is no easy answer.

        • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 9th January 2012, 7:01

          it’s a sticky game delving into the political/social issues of any county. Even we here in Oz aren’t cleanskins. Should we examine race in the UK and Japan, corruption in S Korea, opression in Singapore and Malaysia, imperialism in the US? Where do you draw the line? Just posing the question, far too difficult for a muggins like me to make the call.

          And to the earlier comment about Europe and the financial crisis being largely over – don’t bet on it, there’s worse to come and races will have to follow the money East.

  11. It’s not really an ideal route for Buemi and I doubt RBR will want someone who has been out of racing for a year however, if they have Seb as a star he could be someone consistent to back him up. It’s a long shot but I can’t say I blame Buemi for trying.

    Congrats to FlyingLobster27 for the COTD which is also the best username ever.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th January 2012, 11:51

      The logic behind Buemi’s move to third-driver role is probably that he will be able to work his way into the team, so that if something does come up in 2013, he will be in a position where everyone in the team already knows him and he will be able to hit the ground running – and it’s not without precedent; Ferrari took the scrappy-at-best Felipe Massa on-board as a test driver in 2003 and refined him into a smarter and sharper racing driver. Buemi no doubt hopes he will be able to do something similar at Red Bull (though Massa and Ferrari had the advantage of in-season testing). Compare that to taking someone from another team, where they will have to start working on those relationships while the race – it could be an entire season before they are fully comfortable within the team. It happened to Rubens Barrichello when he joined Williams.

  12. FlyingLobster27 said on 8th January 2012, 12:01

    Wow COTD, I didn’t see that one coming, thanks to the editors!

    On the French GP issue, Le Castellet is probably the best facility, although, having been a test track for some years now, they’ll have to build grandstands…

  13. Nixon (@nixon) said on 8th January 2012, 14:19

    Imagine if RedBull would do a Le mans team… or if Buemi partnered up with Burdais, they would make a good partnerships. Who knows, they might be remembered as Le mans legends rather than ex torro rosso drivers.

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