How young is too young?
2nd October 2011, 7:16 at 7:16 am #130170
By this time next week, we’ll be well into the 2011 Bathurst 1000 – the biggest event in Australian motorsport. And in the middle of it all will be a seventeen year old driver.
Under the V8 rules, teams can apply to run a “wildcard” entry – a one-time car at selected events. Most of the time, these entries are used in the endurance races (though I’m expecting more international entries as the sport goes overseas). One of these is being entered by Kelly Racing. It’s little more than a gimmick; the entry will be driven by a part-time driver and the winner of a reality television show. The winner of that show was announced today: seventeen-year-old Cameron Waters.
So, he’s seventeen. He’s barely old enough to legally drive on Australian roads. He’s racing because he won a reality television series (that was little more than a series of ads for sponsors; how does appearing in a sponsor’s ad make him a better driver?). He’s in the fifth car of a team running four, and if stories are to be believed, they’ve only got the resources for three. He’s had just two days’ experience driving a V8 Supercar. And in one week, he’ll be taking part in the single biggest and most-difficult race in Australia. Personally, I think he’s far too young; if the sport’s organisers have any sense, they’ll deny him a racing licence.
This begs the question: how young is too young? I know Formula 1 teams like to catch young talent early, mostly because their reflexes are as sharp as they’ll ever be – Sebastian Vettel is younger than me, and he’s staring down the barrel of his second World Championship. With GP2 becoming a two-year program for young drivers, I think we’ve seen the youngest racers that we’ll see for a while. But all the same, should teams really be running teenagers?2nd October 2011, 7:40 at 7:40 am #179682
It’s probably not age but experience that says that 17 yr old shouldn’t be doing a 1000 km race. Especially one as difficult as Bathurst.
Now if he had a much experience as Nigel Moore, I might say yes, let him have a go.2nd October 2011, 8:19 at 8:19 am #179683
Half your age + seven years. And if there’s any doubts, make sure you ask her for I.D. first. Oh wait, hang on.
I don’t think that in this case it’s as much a question of age as it is a question of experience. Clearly this young lad does not have enough experience driving a V8 to be allowed to enter the marquee V8S event. If (somehow) he’d had a lot more experience testing the car and maybe even have competed in a couple of rounds prior to this or even in the Fujitsu series, there wouldn’t be a problem.
For Formula 1, I think it’s the same. I say that if we want to enforce an age limit, 18 sounds as good as any. But I think that with the minimal testing these days we’ll find that teams are naturally going to gravitate towards choosing drivers that have at least a basic level of experience driving an F1 car.2nd October 2011, 8:49 at 8:49 am #179684
If he’s fast enough and experienced enough in racing, he’s old enough.
Remember when Massa mouthed off about Alguersuari being potentially dangerous? Then he was almost killed by a spring falling off of the car of the most experienced man in F1 (not that it was anyone’s fault or deserved of course, just ironic).
I don’t know how the licensing system works in Australia, but clearly he’s been judged to meet the necessary requirements to race. That should be good enough, otherwise where do you draw the arbitrary line?2nd October 2011, 10:15 at 10:15 am #179685
He’ll just be a mobile chicane2nd October 2011, 10:19 at 10:19 am #179686
I was going to say, Mag, my rather crass housemate has asked the same question himself.
I don’t think age is very important, but I agree that experience is the real issue.2nd October 2011, 11:44 at 11:44 am #179687
I don’t think it should be allowed. I don’t think age has much to do with it, but surely they have to have the required skill to take part. Just like you need a drivers license to drive a car on the roads and you need a FIA Super License to be allowed into F1. Surely it would be fair to require success, experience and skill in lower type racing series before being allowed to race in the V8 supercars, and not just because you won the entry from a TV show.
But surely, this wildcard entry is asking for a driver with little to no experience they race as a publicity stunt, rather then because they want to succeed. Unlike their full time drivers.
I don’t think it is fair for the other drivers to let a guy like that into such a race, I mean, chances are high that he crashes into several other cars somewhere in the first lap and ruins their race, and puts them in serious danger.2nd October 2011, 13:24 at 1:24 pm #179688
Agree with W-K, it’s experience not age that matter.
Take Mitch Evans, in his first year of GP3 he was just 16 when he one his first race but has been single seater racing and winning since 2007.
Someone who wins a seat with no previous experience is going to be in trouble regardless of his age.2nd October 2011, 13:49 at 1:49 pm #179689
Is Mitch Evans’ not Mark Webber’s protege? To be fair I don’t think PM’s point is about competitiveness, rather more “the kid won’t have a childhood” and health and safety2nd October 2011, 14:20 at 2:20 pm #179690
“Remember when Massa mouthed off about Alguersuari being potentially dangerous? “
That was fairly ironic. However, iirc the problem with Jaime wasn’t really his age at the time but the fact he’d been thrown into an F1 race weekend having never turned the wheel of an F1 car before thanks to the testing ban.
I don’t have a problem with age as long as the driver has some experience.2nd October 2011, 14:24 at 2:24 pm #179691
Thanks for spoiling the winner, didn’t watch the episode yet :P
But I think it depends. Most drivers these days begin karting when they’re five, six, seven years old, so a 17-year-old has already done some ten years of racing. Most MotoGP 125cc rookies start at 14 or 15 years. I think it’s mostly about the mental side and experience, not just age.2nd October 2011, 14:28 at 2:28 pm #179692
Wait, we are not talking about girls here…?
Well, I would say if there is no threat to other drivers, it really doesn’t matter. Obviously once a certain level of power is involved, they should have some experience to go with it.2nd October 2011, 19:30 at 7:30 pm #179693
He is, Ray.2nd October 2011, 21:15 at 9:15 pm #179694
Alguersuari had more racing experience than Raikkonen did before his debut though Steph!
This guy sounds like an accident waiting to happen though, it’s just that his age is the least to do with it (apart from less time to have had experience!)3rd October 2011, 2:28 at 2:28 am #179695
Looks like I concur with most, experience and skill is more important than age.
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