The next generation – who are they? And are they up to standard?
5th October 2010, 14:11 at 2:11 pm #128148
So as I’m sitting here at 1am (we’re under Daylight Savings, so my body just assumes it’s still 12am) and as I’m trawling through the forums with nothing better to do, I spot this link, “Van der Garde with two ‘concrete’ F1 offers”: http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/243999/van-der-garde-with-two-concrete-f1-offers/
And he first thing I think of is not “good for him”, but “Van der Who?”, and it got me thinking. We’re getting to a point where there’s a few drivers who will be retiting in the next few years. I don’t expect Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld to be around in a few years, as they obviously can’t drive forever. One they’re gone, it will make Jenson Button, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Vitaly Petrov (oddly enough) among the oldest drivers on the grid. And as I got thinking, I started getting curious (always a bad sign): who will replace them? Where will they come from? Who should we be keeping an eye on in the future?
We’ve already seen and influx of young drivers this season – Kamui Koabayshi, Lucas di Grassi, Nico Hulkenberg – but there are going to be more looking to fill the vacant seats. We’ve already seen Sergio Perez take one. And from the looks of things, Giedo van der Garde is looking to take another. And then there’s Jules Bianchi, who many tip to Go Directly Past GO with Ferrari’s help very soon, and Pastor Malondado as the incumbent GP2 champion and Jerome d’Ambrosio has been linked to the second Virgin seat. But who else is there to fill in the void?
And more importantly, are they cut out for Formula 1? While Perez and Malondado and Bianchi have been going at one another all year, would they normally be able to do so? Consider this: the addition of three new teams to the grid opened up six available spaces. And no less than four GP2 drivers – Hulkenberg, Petrov, di Grassi and Koabayashi joined in the ranks. With Hulkenberg, Petrov and di Grassi finishing first, second and third in the 2009 GP2 Series championship, there was a sudden vaccuum at the top of the GP2 hierachy. Whoever won the 2010 title was always going to be the one to make the most of this situation, but are he and the others neccessarily cut out for Formula 1 simply because they won? After all, the main compeition has gone …5th October 2010, 15:58 at 3:58 pm #146590
Pm you are a God for this thread. Love the idea.
When looking beyond even GP2 it gets very hard to see who can actually rise. Mirko Bortolotti and Ricciardo I think could get to F1 who haven’t hit GP2 yet.
Bianchi I think has the potential as well as Sam Bird. It’ll be easier for Jules with Ferrari’s help and he could easily be plonked in a Sauber or wherever in 2012. Bianchi had one of Vettel’s old engineers in F3 I think and he said he was as good as Seb but a proper racer but maybe lacking a little on the technical side compared to Seb.
Malondado really had to win the title this year in my opinion. It was either that or go nowhere esp as it seems the entire GP2 grid from last year is now in F1 and he was the only really competitive and experienced guy against the newby potential in my mind but I think he won it in great style. However, if he gets in I think he could alright but I’m not convinced of him being a superstar and the same with Jerome although I like him.5th October 2010, 16:11 at 4:11 pm #146591
“I’m not convinced of him being a superstar and the same with Jerome although I like him”
It’s so hard to judge on GP2 form… before they came into F1 I doubt many people considered Chandhok and Kobayashi F1 material, but they’ve earned people’s respect.
Gutierrez could end up in a Sauber in a couple of years. Perez and Kobayashi are both young drivers whose performances there will ultimately make or break their careers, meaning they’ll probably either leave to go to a faster team or be dropped, making a seat available.5th October 2010, 16:23 at 4:23 pm #146592
You make some good points here. I personaly think that there are not enough seats to cater for the talent. Maldonado-despite being torn apaart by Hulkenburg-deserves a drive somehwere, so does Chandhok, Ricciardo, Heidfeld, di grassi and many others.
On the note of van der garde-He says that he aiming for Lotus, Virgin Racing, Williams and Force India. Of these teams, only Lotus and Virgin have not yet completed there lineups. Williams would be stupid to make Rubens retire early, or get rid of the improving Hulkenburg. Force India, it looks like at the moment anyway, that there ideal lineup would be Sutil, di Resta or Liuzzi, di Resta. Lotus seem to be extremely impressed with Heikki, so he wouldnt go unless ofered a Renault drive. Virgin would be stupid to just let Glock go, and if they do they need experience, so Heidfeld would be a good fit. di Grassi is a bit of strange one, he seems good enough, and is a fantastic development driver, but Virgin could easily sacrifice him for a pay driver.5th October 2010, 16:31 at 4:31 pm #146593
PM you were in my mind for the thread! To the topic.
From the current rookie crop, apart from the HRT drivers who have not persuaded me (Chandhok-Senna were on par, but Klien, not a small quantity but nothing special as well gained 1 sec on Senna), I see di Grassi taking a de la Rosa route of good developer and steady as he goes, Petrov as a new Sato, good on his day but inconsistent (apart from the crash thing), Hulkenberg (noted qualifier) becoming a Trulli, and Kobayashi (whom I rate the most) possibly WDC material, if taking the right steps and continues improving. Surely a future winner. Alguersuari can become something of a Heidfeld. Consistent, good, not top notch. We’ll see.
Of the not-yet-seated-and-yet-hyped, I rate highly, and believe they have a good career, di Resta and Bianchi, and perhaps Ricciardo, due to big team backing. Perez is more than a paydriver, but less than a top driver, d’Ambrosio looks good, but nothing special, van der Garde is worst than most of current grid, Guerrieri and Gutierrez should be interesting to watch, as does Vietoris.
As a distant future bet, here goes Pietro Fantin. He was impressive at Formula Three Sudamericana, and now contests British FR.5th October 2010, 16:37 at 4:37 pm #146594
“It’s so hard to judge on GP2 form… before they came into F1 I doubt many people considered Chandhok and Kobayashi F1 material, but they’ve earned people’s respect”
Agree. It’s usually a good indicator but there are some wild cards. Although I’d argue that Chandhok is good but he isn’t that good. I think Bruno was generally ahead pace wise but Chandhok got more luck with reliability. He’s a lovely guy though.5th October 2010, 16:47 at 4:47 pm #146595
I think the young ones are moving up a bit too quickly and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of too many bums and not enough seats. It’s my pet broken record at the moment but if we had F2 in between GP2 and F1 it could be a natural progression for GP2 performers without having to go into F1, where there’s no space anyway. GP2 has produced a lot of graduates but only three have ever found themselves in a top team as of yet (and Kovalainen was quite lucky, you have to say).
As for the talent itself I don’t really follow the lower formulae much (no sports package and I keep forgetting when things are on anyway, either highlights or jtv streams), but I’m confident genuine talent will make it though, if they can survive their first few years in F1 that is. From what I know Ricciardo and Bianchi are the main ones to watch.5th October 2010, 17:24 at 5:24 pm #146596
I dont think we really need to worry about replacing the old guard, only Webber and Scummy are in top teams anyway. Honestly I would rather see some older drivers (late 20s?) moving over from different disciplines like DTM/LMS/Indy/NASCAR rather than automatically promoting average drivers from GP2, I guess they may be put off by the Bourdais experiment though.
Oh and I dont think Alguersuari is the new Heidfeld, he’s far too aggressive.5th October 2010, 17:39 at 5:39 pm #146597
I think one of the issues is the very high incumbency rate in F1. Nowadays experience is highly valued (thanks in part to the testing ban), to the point where Sauber preferred to hire the slow-but-experienced de la Rosa over any of a crop of potential rookies, many of whom would have been more than a bit faster if less use on the development side of things. And brand new drivers are also seen as a long-term investment, again to an almost ridiculous degree: despite being only 29, Giorgio Pantano was widely seen as being “too old” for F1 after he won the GP2 title in 2008 (although he also had the ill fortune of trying to break into F1 in a year when virtually nobody changed teams).
You can look at the current GP2 field and ask, “Who they?” but there are plenty who have come and gone through GP2 without being given a decent crack of the whip in F1. Romain Grosjean and Alvaro Parente are two who spring immediately to mind. The problem is not so much a lack of talent in GP2 but the fact that it stagnates once it gets there, as there is nowhere higher to go. Petrov was in GP2 for four years before he got to F1 and I think Maldonado has finally won the title on his fifth attempt. For something that’s supposed to be a direct F1 feeder series, that’s ridiculous.5th October 2010, 18:08 at 6:08 pm #146598
PM’s last paragraph made me think.
I’ve never thought about it that way before.
Lets just see how Perez gets on, just hope he’d not another Piquet.5th October 2010, 23:41 at 11:41 pm #146599
For something that’s supposed to be a direct F1 feeder series, that’s ridiculous.
But that’s the problem with the Red Bull Young Driver Programme: too many drivers, and not enough seats. With the inclusion of more feeder series – like Formula 2 and GP3 – there are more young drivers waiting in the wings; it’s getting to the point where you need to race in a feeder series in order to make it into another feeder series. The Formula 1 teams are looking for long-term investments like Jenson Button and Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa, and when they find a driver who fulfils their requirements, they tend to keep them for as long as possible. So that’s why promotions into Formula 1 tend to come in batches rather than a steady flow: because rookies are dropped (I expect at least two of this year’s rookies won’t be racing in 2011) and because older drivers tend to retire around the same point. Formula 1 drivers tend to come in generations, not as a steady flow in through the out door.6th October 2010, 0:25 at 12:25 am #146600
I think nowadays drivers can remain physically competitive well into the 30’s, but of course, they could lose interest in the sport and people could get enough from them (looking at how many seem to wish a full grid change every single season).
Anyways in the mid-term (five years from now or so) the big names surely will be Kubica, Vettel, Rosberg and Hamilton. After that I’m not sure, there could very well be a gap until promising names appear again.6th October 2010, 0:50 at 12:50 am #146601
Well, what I’m really interested in here is whether the incoming talent will fill the void of outgoing talent. Ideally, we would have a grid full of twenty-four drivers with talent comparable to Lewis Hamilton. But what if there is a shortage of talent? It’s unlikely that the talent in Formula 1 is going to be less than the talent in other series, and it’s hard to put a price on the total sum of talent now much less in the future, but it’s still of interest to me as to how the incoming talent over the next few years will shape the sport.6th October 2010, 3:16 at 3:16 am #146602
I have high hopes for Hamilton and Vettel. We will have a big rivalry there in the next few years. Also, I am fond of Koboyashi.6th October 2010, 6:09 at 6:09 am #146603
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