Sirotkin: 2013 was “worst season of my life”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Sergey Sirotkin, ISR, Spa-Francorchamps, Formula Renault, 3.5, 2013In the round-up: Sergey Sirotkin, who is likely to race for Sauber next year, says his recently-completed season in Formula Renault 3.5 was his worst so far.

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Sergey Sirotkin: I don’t feel any pressure (Crash)

“This was the worst season of my life; I was very unlucky. Every time I would say, ‘tomorrow next time’, we always say this but it never comes.”

Anthony Davidson says motor sport is missing ‘fear factor’ over safety (The Guardian)

“We don’t want to see fans get injured or drivers get injured or killed but the drivers should get punished. On some modern circuits its pathetic when you see drivers going off the track and nothing happens.”

RAC launches clash with Formula One partners (The Telegraph)

“Tom Purves, the RAC chairman and former chief executive of Rolls-Royce, wrote to FIA president Jean Todt to demand further details about payments totalling ??14.4m [??12.2m].”

Indian Grand Prix began much before F1 cars landed (Economic Times)

Video of preparations for this weekend’s race.


Maldonado describes recent “rumours” about his relationship with Williams as “completely false”.


Timo Glock, Lewis Hamilton, Hockenheimring, 2013

Former F1 driver Timo Glock catches up with Lewis Hamilton at the DTM season finale at the Hockenheimring yesterday. The rain-hit race saw Glock score his first victory since his final GP2 start at Valencia six years ago.

Comment of the day

Nico Hulkenberg has won two of the last three Driver of the Weekend polls and many of you want to see him in a better car:

Nico Hulkenberg has been a bright spot in this increasingly predictable season of Vettel and Red Bull dominance. Not that this is the fault of Vettel or Red Bull, they are simply doing their job exceedingly well.

To see Hulkenberg racing with three world champions and doing so well is certainly a glimpse of more to come. Best wishes for him and the team that will be wise enough to sign him for 2014.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Imre Pardi!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Two drivers won the world championship on this day in F1 history and both did it by beating Alain Prost.

Niki Lauda beat his McLaren team mate to the title by the tightest-ever margin of half a point at Estoril in Portugal in 1984.

Whereas Ayrton Senna took the title in deeply controversial fashion at Suzuka in 1990, crashing into Prost at the first corner:

Image ?? Renault/DPPI

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77 comments on Sirotkin: 2013 was “worst season of my life”

  1. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 21st October 2013, 9:42

    I’d you think about it, if it goes well for Sirotkin next year and probes to be an impressive talent he would have massive potential to have a great and very lengthy career. By the time he is 21 he would be an experienced driver entering his forth season!

  2. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 21st October 2013, 10:04

    It’s too bad it took people so long to realise that Hulkenberg is a top driver. He could have been winning races (and championships?) if he’d had a proper car by now.

    He stole my racing heart when I saw him race A1GP in Zandvoort. Very impressive win in a difficult race with changing weather.

  3. andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st October 2013, 11:30

    Regarding the Davidson piece in the Telegraph, couldn’t agree more with what he says. I’ve been reading a lot about safety developments in the late 1960s, early 1970s recently and the thing that strikes me is that back in those days, drivers had to go to great lengths (for instance boycotting the Belgian and German GPs in ’69, ’70) to guarantee their safety. The governing body of motor racing didn’t want any of those safety measures: the fans regarded these death-defying warriors as heroes (analogous to former RAF pilots in WW2), so it wouldn’t make sense for the governing body to affect that image.

    Nowadays it’s the exact opposite: the FIA has some pretty stern safety requirements for tracks, cars, clothing and so on. Yet we have seen numerous occasions this year where drivers say it has become too safe, the danger aspect is gone and that makes the sport dull. We don’t worship current F1 drivers any more because we know that the likelihood of one of them dying is negligible. And that’s what’s killing the sport.

    The big problem is that there’s a paradox: as long as fatal incidents occur in F1, people (nowadays) demand more driver safety, but as soon as no one has died in a while, it becomes boring because these men have become professional drivers, not death-defying heroes. So we can never be content with the current state of safety measures.

    So basically there has to be a middle ground: from time to time, someone has to die to keep us interested. But as I write that sentence down, I realize that’s a shocking, horrible thought. I cannot possibly be happy with the safety measures in a sport if that means people die every now and then. But then again, if we make it a little safer, so no fatalities have occurred in decades, it becomes dull. That’s the paradox I was referring to.

    I would love to hear other peoples’ thoughts about this, because I’m not sure what to make of it.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 21st October 2013, 13:52

      @andae23 I had the exact same thought. I think they just want to see people punished for mistakes (perhaps getting stuck in the gravel, or losing an inordinate amount of time at least). The asphalt runoffs don’t allow that.

      The way I see it, I’d rather it be too safe than too dangerous. Other than DRS, I’m pretty happy with the current state of affairs.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st October 2013, 14:59

      the Telegraph

      The Guardian… you know what I meant :P

      • Dwight_js said on 21st October 2013, 19:24

        Well, the author of the article claims that Davidson is referring to racing and not physical injury when he refers to the fear of punishment for an off-track excursion. So I think that your theory about the need for “occasional death” is taking the issue a few large steps further than anyone else has ventured. In fact, I see the argument in the article being “ultra safe tracks result in unsafe driving because drivers don’t have to fear any consequences of going off”.

        I think that a broken car and a ruined race strategy is a reasonable consequence for a major excursion, not serious physical injury. The excitement of motor racing is in the battles for position, not the prospect of blood and gore. I can understand being annoyed at the consequence-free runoff zones, but is anyone really seriously tuning out F1 because nobody dies anymore?

        • andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st October 2013, 22:23

          I was fearing a reaction like this: of course no one wants to see a fatality. The thing is that this season, I’m not excited even slightly. It’s just lap after lap, nothing so far has given me any form of adrenalin. Yes, DRS and the tyres are mostly to blame for this, but in my opinion it’s more than that. F1 doesn’t force you to sit on the edge of your seat anymore. Compare it to an action movie: it’s not really exciting to watch if you have been told exactly how it ends.

          And yes, I’m taking this a step further than the ‘tarmac or gravel’ discussion because I think the problem goes much deeper than that. It’s a mentality, and I find it interesting to discuss if that should change or not.

        • andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st October 2013, 22:26

          is anyone really seriously tuning out F1 because nobody dies anymore?

          If you rephrase question by replacing ‘nobody dies anymore’ by ‘F1 has become safer’, then I would guess so.

          • Dwight_js said on 22nd October 2013, 3:43

            @andae23, I enjoy these discussions too, so I hope I did not come across as reactionary or anything like that. You asked for opinions, so I gave mine. I do have to say that I find your stance on the issue to be a little confusing. Your first post says “We don’t worship current F1 drivers any more because we know that the likelihood of one of them dying is negligible. And that’s what’s killing the sport.” and “…as soon as no one has died in a while, it becomes boring”. But your reply states “of course no one wants to see a fatality.” I personally believe that anyone who wants to see “death-defying” needs to accept that witnessing a death is a real possibility and as such is a part of that type of entertainment. If nobody ever died, it wouldn’t be death-defying then.

            F1 is no longer death defying, and I believe that is an accomplishment that should be applauded. I’m not sure I agree that the general sentiment is that F1 is boring because of decreased danger, and I don’t think that this was the main point of the Guardian article either. I for one would not watch if there were drivers dying on a regular basis, my attraction to the sport hinges on the incredibly fast cars and the on-track battles. It’s true that I don’t worship the drivers, but I wouldn’t worship death-defying dare-devils either. I can appreciate the F1 drivers’ skills and enjoy the show, just like I appreciate the skill of football players and follow them every weekend (and hopefully tuesday-wednesdays as well!).

            I do agree that the huge tarmac runoff zones have resulted in the (unintended?) consequence of allowing drivers to make mistakes without it setting them back in the race. In that sense, the margin for error has grown too much. Imagine if Vettel’s excursion in Montreal had ended with him beached in a gravel trap – his only mistake in the race would have made a big difference in the championship standings. That sort of uncertainty would increase the excitement of the races for me, and I don’t believe that you have to compromise the safety of the drivers to achieve this.

    • phildick (@phildick) said on 22nd October 2013, 11:50

      @andae23 Some really interesting thoughts, but I don’t feel that way. I’ve been following F1 closely only since 2006 so I didn’t have to live through the heartbreaking moments of seeing a driver die during the race of in the aftermath. I really admire the courage of the drivers from the past but I would not have wanted any one of them to die prematurely. I’m still watching F1 with real excitement because what fascinates me most is the ability of the drivers to go so quick and (almost) faultlessly around the circuit for almost two hours.

      But I see other telling signs of this sport’s (and many others) decline. In my opinion those are:

      1. Overcommercialization – it is true for many popular sports and its consequences are responsible for lots of things that make me start losing interest in F1. First, it’s the suboptimal choice of drivers – they don’t need to be the best of the breed, but they must have the right marketing value. Then there’s the PR talk – just count the ratio of ‘Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ phrase in the number of sentences spoken by this team’s members. Dull. Boring. Sometimes lying (‘We let our drivers race’ – (c)2010 by Christian Horner). It also makes hard to become a driver’s follower because they can’t show their true personalities. Finally, the ever-growing calendar of races will surely at some point make me stop watching every race, and then stop watching completely or waiting only for the title deciders.

      2. Stiff technical regulations – they were meant to cut the development costs, but their by-product is throwing ridiculous amounts of money on exotic and rather unnecessary ‘inventions’ like F-ducts, blown diffusers and so on. I’d rather they spent that money on food and education of poor people in the third world.

      3. Some fans’ attitude – there are lots of people, especially on this site, who understand what the sport is about and how much it takes to win a championship, let alone three or four. They understand that mistakes happen, cars fail and the design may be flawed and it can’t be changed overnight. But there’s ever-growing number of 21st century youngsters who think that everything comes easy, everything can be bought and they’re always right. People who don’t want a proper (sometimes boring – and that’s normal) sporting event but a TV show, with fireworks, sprinklers and explosions. I was also really surprised by the fact how many people defended booing Vettel and claimed it’s normal for fans to do so. It’s football hooligans’ attitude. I live nearby a stadium, I’ve seen them, I’ve heard them and I’m not going to join that train.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 22nd October 2013, 17:56

        @phildick I agree, there are many aspects to Formula 1, and the danger is just a small part of it. In your enumeration you point out things I dislike about Formula 1 too, and I think these are a much bigger problem than the one I pointed out.

        If Formula 1 would first try to adress those problems, then we would have an exciting sport that revolves around driving a car as fast as possible – I guess it doesn’t need to be dangerous.

  4. James (@jaymz) said on 21st October 2013, 15:03

    In the comment of the day they guy says 3 world champions. There is 5 world champions in F1 at the moment. Unless comment of the day guy was referring to a particular on track battle with 3 world champions specifically?

  5. AldoG said on 21st October 2013, 18:28

    That picture of Glock and Hamilton brings me unhappy memories of Brazil in 2008……
    Anyway, I am very happy to see Glock racing in a top level category, he seems to be a great guy and is a very good driver, and it makes me feel very sad to see so many talented drivers elsewhere while in F1 we had to suffer with not-so-good drivers having a chance just because they bring the wallet. Go, Timo!

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