Some pay drivers “not good enough for F1″

F1 Fanatic round-up

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, Silverstone, 2011In the round-up: Martin Whitmarsh says some of the drivers paying their way into F1 don’t deserve a place on merit.

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Whitmarsh concerned by pay drivers (ESPN)

“It’s sad to say, but the reason that some of those guys are pay drivers, not all of them, but the reason that some are pay drivers is because they are actually and fundamentally not good enough to be in Formula One.”

Tough times ahead for some F1 teams (Reuters)

Marussia team principal John Booth: “It (the sport) had to come to its senses a little bit. Maybe we are going through that period again. I don’t think it’s a crisis, (but) maybe re-alignment is required.”

Trulli happy away from F1 (Crash)

“Me driving [at Caterham in 2012] would not have changed much [within the team], or my life, or my career. What people didn’t realise is that I chose not to drive, even though I had a contract in place. I gave the team a change to survive by getting in a pay-driver.”

David Coulthard’s sister Lynsay Jackson found dead at her home (BBC)

“The sister of former Formula One driver David Coulthard has been found dead at her home in the south of Scotland.”

Lewis Hamilton right to criticise Mercedes car, says Ross Brawn (The Guardian)

“He is interested in everything about the car. He is interested in the fact the stickers might not be put properly on the bodywork. He has got a very good eye for detail. I think he is going to be a very involved member of the team, which is what we wanted.”

Q&A with Mercedes? Lewis Hamilton (F1)

“When I am at the factory I speak to all three of them [Ross Brawn, Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda] – or particularly to Ross and Toto because they have all the connections to all the engineers and mechanics. I mention something to Toto and I reiterate it to Ross – I push from both sides.”

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Comment of the day

Are Williams already on the back foot?

In my opinion, Williams not having their 2013 challenger ready for the first test is going to be quite detrimental to the start of their season. I know that they tested certain 2013 components on their 2012 cars during this test, but the 2013 is a different car. Modern F1 cars are very integrated, and the efficiency of a certain part is dependent on the characteristic of other parts on the F1 car. Just because a 2013 component will work on their 2012 car does not mean that it will work as well on their 2013 car ?ǣ and vice versa.

All of the other teams already have have 4 days of testing on their cars, they made big strides towards reliability and establishing some sort of base for their cars. Williams must really make the best of the two remaining tests. If they encounter reliability problems during the first few days of the next test which limit their running then they?ll be even further behind.

I just find it a bit odd that the two back marker teams can have their 2013 cars ready for the first test but Williams cannot.
@Suave

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On this day in F1

One year ago today the first test at Jerez concluded and Lotus were the quickest of the teams who had brought 2012-spec cars. But the fact that Fernando Alonso was second in the Ferrari F2012 – which later proved way off the pace – shows how unrepresentative testing times can be at this stage:

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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143 comments on Some pay drivers “not good enough for F1″

  1. skipgamer (@skipgamer) said on 10th February 2013, 7:48

    I don’t understand Whitmash’s argument. I just don’t see how having rookies in top teams in feeder formula’s would get them in to f1 any quicker when the spots in F1 are being filled by pay drivers anyway.

    Forcing every F1 team to have a rookie however… Now that would 100% without a doubt definitely work, funny how he doesn’t suggest it for the formula he’s competing in. :P

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th February 2013, 8:35

      @skipgamer

      I just don’t see how having rookies in top teams in feeder formula’s would get them in to f1 any quicker when the spots in F1 are being filled by pay drivers anyway.

      Because the feeder series are gettign clogged up with drivers who aren’t going to advance any further than GP2 (it’s not so bad in Formula Renault 3.5). And just look at some of the drivers who were racing in last year’s championship: Davide Valsecchi (five years in GP2), Luiz Razia (four years), Giedo van der Garde (four years), Rodolfo Gonzalez (four years), Dani Clos (four years), Luca Filippi (seven years, though his 2012 campaign was limited to four races). Likewise, there are a handful of drivers going into their fourth season this year: Marcus Ericsson, Fabio Leimer and Johnny Cecotto. And they’ve all taken seats at front-running teams. Ericsson is with DAMS, Leimer with Racing Engineering, and Cecotto with Arden.

      Compare that to some of the drivers who have graduated from GP2 to Formula 1: Nico Rosberg (one year), Lewis Hamilton (one year), Nico Hulkenberg (one year), Kamui Kobayashi (two years), Timo Glock (two years) and Sergio Perez (two years). There’s a trend here – the best drivers are the ones who are spending the least amount of time in GP2. Admittedly, a driver really needs two seasons in GP2 to get the most out of it these days, but when you’ve got drivers like van der Garde and Razia who are taking four years just to get to Formula 1, there’s a serious problem.

      Part of the issue is the way GP2 expanded out to include four flyaway rounds last year, after merging with GP2 Asia. This drove costs up a lot, so only the most-monied drivers can afford to drive. Also affecting things is the way GP2 drivers cannot race if they take part in a Grand Prix session – even if they’re doing what Esteban Gutierrez did in India last year, and filling in for a sick driver (Perez) in the first practice session.

      Whitmarsh’s comments make sense, because it would get rid of drivers who have no business being in GP2 – much less Formula 1 – and so are wasting seats. Ricardo Teixeria is the main offender here, but the likes of Gonzalez and Rosenzweig are just as bad at it.

      • Actually, no. The data you list is not relevant to the question. Hami, Koba, Hulk etc were not good besause they spent little time in feeder series, it was the other way around. They spend little time because they were good _and_ because there was room for them in F1. So in fact their case is an argument against effectiveness of Whitmarch’s idea. It would increase the driver turnover in feeder series, essentially forcing both good and bad drivers out after a few years, without making any steps towards making room for them in F1.

        The bottom line is simple: If F1 teams wanted to pick someone really good from feeder series after the driver was two years there, they were always perfectly free to do so. But they rarely did in the last few years. Good teams are conservative and do not pick from feeder series, small teams look for money and talent is just secondary. No mixing up of feeder series would change this attitude in F1. The longevity of drivers you complain about is the consqeuence of this attitude in F1, not the cause of it.

        If a sieve is blocked, it does not matter how hard you stir the liquid. You have to unclog the sieve.

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 10th February 2013, 15:40

      Forcing every F1 team to have a rookie however… Now that would 100% without a doubt definitely work, funny how he doesn’t suggest it for the formula he’s competing in. :P

      I don’t think that’s the solution. Some top drivers need more than 1 year to shine in F1 so replacing them every year would only allow the early bloomers to remain in F1.

      I think a better solution would be for teams to be limited to 1 pay driver. The second driver has to be a “talent” driver. That would open 5-6 extra spots for the top drivers to enter the sport and slowly rise through the ranks until they turn into a future Alonso or a future Senna.

      Now who would decide that a driver is really a talent driver? I guess a committee would have to do that.

  2. Is Fernando Alonso a pay driver from Santander?

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 10th February 2013, 10:07

      Yes.
      Vettel was also a pay driver from Red Bull and Hamilton had his seats paid for by McLaren.
      People shouldn’t bash drivers before their F1 rookie season; they should reserve their judgements for afterwards.
      For example, James Hunt wasn’t exactly outstanding in the junior series, but in a Formula 1 car he was stellar.
      Sometimes, drivers styles suit F1 better than the junior formulae, as was the case with James Hunt.

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 10th February 2013, 10:59

      No, pay drivers pay the team to race for them. Alonso is paid big time by Ferrari to race for them.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 10th February 2013, 11:05

        indeed, there’s a big difference between ‘pay drivers’, drivers whose sponsor pay the team to let him drive, and ‘drivers with sponsors’. Santander doesn’t pay Ferrari, they pay Alonso because he is a very valuable marketing tool for them.

      • When a sponsor obligates the team to hire certain driver that would make him pay driver.

        • Klaas de Vries said on 10th February 2013, 15:00

          If you’re referring to Santander ‘forcing’ Ferrari to hire Alonso then you’d better bring some evidence to back your claim.

          • Exactly. From now on, every time someone says something totally stupid or retarded like that and fails to back it up w/ a link to a primary source that we can review to make our own determination, we should call them on it. The journalist Glenn Greenwald, a former lawyer, is the master of this. Rest assured that pretty much anything he alleges is backed-up w/ fact that we the readers can review. And those who disagree with him are doing so for ideology, not out of logic (b/c he would smash them w/ his faultless logic). So why not apply same standards to F1 reporting and commentary?!

          • Denis 68 said on 11th February 2013, 10:04

            Santander paid off Raikonnen in order to get Alonso in the Ferrari a year ahead of schedule. Remember Kimi still has a year of his contract to run.

            Anybody remotely involved in Formula One knows that.

          • It is your own view revealing who they are..

          • Klaas de Vries said on 11th February 2013, 14:18

            Anybody remotely involved in Formula One knows that.

            And since you fail to bring some proof to what ‘anybody knows’ , your argument is remotely valid.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th February 2013, 21:46

      No.

  3. Aqeel said on 10th February 2013, 8:15

    Thanks for wishing me on my Birthday

  4. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 10th February 2013, 8:34

    Terrible news about Coulthard. My thoughts are with him.

  5. andae23 (@andae23) said on 10th February 2013, 9:39

    It’s great to hear again from Jarno Trulli: I’ve been a fan of him since I first started watching in 2000. First of all he makes a point that he chose not to drive in 2012, but that he let Petrov drive for the benefit of the team. To be fair, I can say the same of that as James Hunt said about Rene Arnoux during the Monaco GP.

    Trulli then goes on to make some fair points. Pay drivers are indeed not good for Formula 1, this point has been made many times. But then he adds that the lack of manufacturers in F1 is also the culprit: the independent teams have no further interest than F1, so with the global crisis they are struggling financially and are forced to hire paying drivers. I’m not sure if this is really the problem in F1 today: I would say that because the sport has become too big. This puts enormous strain on the teams and of course they are struggling to deliver. That’s why budget caps are necessary for the sport.

    The final point he makes is maybe the most interesting: do we need the smaller teams at the back? Those teams are supposed to be the breeding ground for young talent, but at the moment there are only pay drivers racing at Caterham and Marussia. I would say that the smaller teams at the back are good for the sport, but the state they are in right now is not good. Again I see this as a consequence of the point I made earlier.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th February 2013, 10:40

      First of all he makes a point that he chose not to drive in 2012, but that he let Petrov drive for the benefit of the team.

      What? In the days before he was replaced, Trulli was talking up his chances in the new season. If he was genuinely stepping aside to let Petrov in, why on earth was he acting as if he was going to be racing in 2012? Why was he upset when he got replaced? And why has it taken a year for him to come forward and claim that he was acting in the interests of the team all along?

      • Denis 68 said on 10th February 2013, 21:40

        I suspect that it’s probabaly got something to do with his payout settlement as he did still have a year of his contract to run (e.g. unable to say anything negative about the team in public for 12 months after settlement).

        Notice how he’s come out now to talk about it exactly 12 months after he was replaced by a money bags driver.

  6. Roger Camp (@rogercamp) said on 10th February 2013, 12:20

    Lewis Hamilton right to criticise Mercedes car, says Ross Brawn (The Guardian)

    “He is interested in everything about the car. He is interested in the fact the stickers might not be put properly on the bodywork. He has got a very good eye for detail. I think he is going to be a very involved member of the team, which is what we wanted.”

    Come on! Stickers?! Really?! Maybe I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t even think about it, even if I notice something odd about them. I’d have so much concern about what really matters that it would be stupid to mention it. “Hey boss, look, the car doesn’t feel right, I think those stickers…” sigh

  7. coefficient (@coefficient) said on 10th February 2013, 13:54

    I feel that COTD is a bit alarmist. The first test is about getting the revised internals ratified and reliable. They can do that by bolting it onto last year’s car. Williams have opted for extra development time and would not have done so without good reason or without planning a comprehensive workaround. I’m actually more hopeful that they’ve found this year’s secret weapon and needed the time to get it right. You just never know! Fingers crossed for team Willy and the 35!

  8. Rennan said on 10th February 2013, 19:06

    A Brazilian news outlet is reporting that Rory Byrne is going back to Ferrari.. can anyone confirm this?

  9. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 10th February 2013, 19:59

    I’m thinking Whitmarsh is losing more marbles by the day.

    Is he bashing Perez or what? Because in my eyes he’s one of the drivers not good enough.

  10. BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th February 2013, 10:14

    A bit of a strange one, and with this being reported in German top Tabloid Bild one might doubt it, but it seems Hülkenberg has to cut the soles of his shoes a bit so his toes don’t bump against the top of the chassis.
    Hülkenberg (in German):

    „Meine Zehen stoßen in dem engen Cockpit immer oben an, wenn ich auf die Pedale gehe. Unser Trick ist, dass wir die Gummi-Sohle hinten an den Fersen abschneiden. Damit gewinnen wir ein bisschen Platz!“

  11. The Limit said on 11th February 2013, 20:19

    The same things every year. I agreed with an earlier post, the top teams such as McLaren are to blame for the high costs and always have been. The smaller teams really have no other option than to hire pay drivers, its just in recent years become more acute due to the economy and rising costs. The big car makers such as Honda and Toyota masked this problem until four years ago when they left F1, what we have now are more independants without the billions on tap as the manufacturers did and its starting to show.
    Pay drivers are nothing new. Aryton Senna once bemoaned this issue twenty five years ago and it is and will always be there in F1, especially with the smaller teams. Lest we forget, the millions F1 once made from tabacco advertisement years ago which they lost when it was banned. Alot of the smaller teams’ cars are not exactly awash with companies logos adorning their sides, the money, in the end, has to come from somewhere.

  12. azwris said on 15th February 2013, 17:48

    That’s why you need to bring Rubens back! ;)

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