German F1 drivers – a current success story
30th November 2011, 18:21 at 6:21 pm #130557
michael schumacher started a huge trend in germany, so it seems. but different to boris becker and the tennis boom that came after that, the german f1 drivers have actually had quite some success. one might even say that the six germans who competed in the f1 2011 season can be rated more positively than negatively careerwise and even this season.
the invasion of talented german drivers has been somewhat surprising, making the country the clear number 1 in driving. michael schumacher started the trend of success – the 7 times world champion dominated the sport from 1994 until 2006; only fernando alonso was able to challenge him in the actual driving arena. other rivals like hill, villeneuve and even hakkinen were not at the same level, since they always had better cars.
frentzen wasn’t necessarily a success story at the end, but no one would dispute his above average talent. and ralf schumacher had a few really good seasons and races, showing that it wasn’t just the name that gave him a seat in f1. even nick heidfeld can be generally considered fast a solid, he outdrove his team mates most of the time, even the likes of kubica.
adrian sutil is probably one of the three most talented german drivers of the last years. in a top seat, he would be capeable of great things; i’d even compare him to lewis hamilton, talentwise.
nico rosberg is one of he most consistent drivers out there, and he is always fast. beating schumacher for two years is really a testimony to his talent, at least more than many give him credit. this season we could see that it isn’t necessarily schumacher who is out of form, it is rosberg who is always able to deliver, even in a car desgined for the 7-time champ.
and of course there’s sebastian vettel, who has always shown great talent, since his first friday practice at the age of 17. he’s more mature now and i’m looking forward to an age of duels with lewis hamilton, mostly.
but timo glock is also above average, it is a shame that when he started showing it, his team toyota quit the circus. i do hope to see him back in a more competitive car in the future.
in a sharp difference to the current lack of brazilian driver quality (which used to be consistently high), it is the germans who have been providing the f1 grid with some great quality. in the current f1 2011 rankings by f1 fanatic readers (most of them not known to be german), vettel is the clear number 1, and three others are in the top ten of the season: rosberg (4th), sutil (6th) and schumacher (9th).
what do you think might be the reasons for so much talent from germany?30th November 2011, 19:26 at 7:26 pm #186401
Possibly one of the characteristics of the Nazi Master Race was being a good driver? :P
Don’t read that wrong though, I love Germany.30th November 2011, 19:26 at 7:26 pm #186402
@magon4 isn’t that ignoring the Williams 96-97 era and the Hakkinen years though? 4 years of Newey whitewash mind.
Also we can compare Sutil and Rosberg directly to Hamilton. Both have been his teammates at some point. I think.30th November 2011, 19:36 at 7:36 pm #186403
I agree with those 4 years @raymondu999, but even in those, schumacher was, by far, the best driver, relative to his car. hakkinen had far better material in 98, and would’ve been beaten in 99. and in 96-97 ferrari was still developing, winning 3 races in 96 was almost a miracle, and getting to the last race in 97 on top of the driver’s standings another one.
and yes, hamilton (champion) beat sutil (runner up) in 2005 formula 3, rosberg was the 2005 gp2 champ in the same team (and almost identical numbers) hamilton would be the champ for in 2006.30th November 2011, 19:41 at 7:41 pm #186404
@magon4 IIRC, Rosberg was Hamilton’s teammate in karting… FWIW Sutil was 94 to Hamilton’s 172 in F3 though.
Having said that past formulae doesn’t say much. Frentzen beat the socks off Schumacher in touring cars IIRC; and di Resta beat Vettel in F3; but part of that, if I remember correctly, was because Vettel was simultaneously racing in 3 different series?30th November 2011, 19:49 at 7:49 pm #186405
yep you’re right. i would love to see sutil in a ferrari or mclaren and see if he would do a frentzen. i don’t think so.
but i think hamilton is a tid faster than sutil.30th November 2011, 19:52 at 7:52 pm #186406
I agree to the fact that Formula 1 is in a German era right now. Schumacher’s succes has a role for sure, but I think the most important factor is the German auto industry giants, who supported German drivers through youth programs ( I am thinking of Mercedes, they helped Schumacher, Wendlinger, Frentzen and Heidfeld). One other example would be Formula BMW ( Vettel) . Red Bull are from Austria, and they invested in drivers from the German space( such as Vettel, Klien, Buemi).
And let’s not forget Germany is the most important economy in Europe, that should have played a role for sure !30th November 2011, 19:55 at 7:55 pm #186407
and i forgot hülkenberg, who i believe is also quite a talent.
yes, i agree with @cristian, but it is very peculiar. in such a globalized f1, it is strange to have over 5 drivers coming from one and the same country.30th November 2011, 22:54 at 10:54 pm #186408
Vettel’s success is well-timed. I think Hulkenberg is the last of the Germans coming in under the Schumacher effect. But just as that wears off, the Vettel effect will now start to begin, it seems. They may be well-placed for the best run of success any single country has had in F1 since Britain in the 1960s.1st December 2011, 8:26 at 8:26 am #186409
I love this topic, being german born. However, I think its hard to speculate just how good some of these drivers are, I almost fell into the “fairytale” career of Hulkenberg pre-2010, and in 2010 realised very quickly that F1 is a unique sport, and not matter what happens in other motorsport categories, drivers handle the pressure and spotlight of F1 in different ways…
Frentzen was always considered THE best of the Mercedes Sportscar drivers, out of Schumacher, Frentzen and Karl Wendlinger. With Schumi being the 3rd best, struggling to be on par with the others.
As for the reason for the rise in German talent, I think @cristian has highlighted the significant support the german auto marks play in motorsport. Ultimately though, if you compare the german marks to Ferrari and their history, then maybe you could be forgiven for thinking that Italian drivers should excel, especially considering their domination of the late 90’s, early 2000’s. So I don’t think german automotive support is the sole reason.
Perhaps its all down to the fact that Germany has the best road circuit on the planet in the Nordschleife (Nurburgring). Honing their skills on that bad boy might say something there.
Or maybe its down to the amazing go-kart tracks they have over there, which all shot to the fore when Schumacher shot to fame, bringing into the limelight his fathers go-kart circuit, which use to be humble, but is now a pinnacle of go kart tracks world wide. I know in Australia we have “European Styled Go Kart Tracks”, which is a direct influence of this. So maybe the youth of Germany have better proving grounds in which to hone their craft.
Or finally, maybe its down to the awesome road infrastructure in germany where you can drive on the autobahn’s with no speed limits which require maximum concentration, not only paying attention forward while you speed along in your VW Beetle, only to be caught up by a screaming BMW M3 and having to be alert watching your rear view mirror.
These are just some of the things that I think help all juniors become better drivers… Although I love the Finish license test where you have to do an advanced driving course that teaches you how to slide and control your SAAB in snow ;)
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