Rookies of 2013

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    I know there’s already a Silly Season 2013 topic, but I thought I’d make a seperate one about rookies only.

    The obvious one is Valtteri Bottas, who must have a pretty good chance of getting a Williams seat for 2013. Jules Bianchi has been impressive in Formula Renault 3.5 this year, as he finally seems to have added some consistency to his speed. If di Resta or Hulkenberg move on he’d almost certainly get the Force India seat.

    There’s also Ma Qing Hua for obvious reasons, though he has been relatively impressive in his FP1 running, considering he hasn’t raced in any of the feeder series. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he gets a seat at HRT for 2013.

    I don’t think anyone from GP2 will debut in F1 next year – the two championship contenders, Valssechi and Razia, are both very solid drivers, but they just don’t strike as outstanding talents. Calado and Gutierrez, albeit incredibly fast, could use another year in the series.

    From GP3 I very much doubt anyone will race in F1 next year already, but I can see someone of the top runners getting some Friday sessions combined with 3.5. Possibly Force India picking up someone, or even da Costa being the Toro Rosso reserve.

    Robin Frijns has been incredibly impressive in 3.5, but I can’t see him racing in F1 in 2013, as he’s quite inexperienced and hasn’t really got any connections to any F1 teams. Sam Bird does, but it just seems like he’s stuck at the Mercedes role. The 3.5 title could definitely help him with that, mind.

    So, predict/speculate who you think is going to debut in Formula 1 in 2013. I’ll go for Bottas, Bianchi, Ma and Valssechi at Williams, Force India, HRT and Caterham respectively.

    Over to you.



    For what’s most to least likely to happen according to my odds:

    Valtteri Bottas to replace Bruno Senna at Williams.
    Ma Qing Hua replaces Narain Karthikeyan at HRT.
    Jules Bianchi to replace Paul di Resta, who moves to Mclaren at Force India.
    Robin Frijns replaces Nico Hulkenburg, who moves to Ferrari at Force India.
    Robert Wickens replaces Timo Glock at Marussia.



    Oh, and I forgot to add that I can see James Calado and Estaban Gutierrez having a test drive next season, and Luiz Razia will perhaps be driving a Caterham in Petrov’s place.

    The edit page isn’t working for whatever reason.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    Bottas and Ma are the only ones I really see happening. Maybe Rossi, if there is a vacancy at Caterham. But that’s about it.

    Ideally, Frijns and Calado would find seats as well, but given that they’re only in their first season of Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 respectively, I think it would be better for them to take another yaer in development.



    I really wish Wickens got an F1 seat, but I’m afraid I can’t see it happening unless he has a di Resta level of sucess in DTM.

    Caterham does look likely to have a seat available for 2013, perhaps even two. Rossi, Valssechi, perhaps van der Garde will fancy their chances.



    Ideally, Frijns and Calado would find seats as well, but given that they’re only in their first season of Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 respectively, I think it would be better for them to take another yaer in development.

    Why should Frijns need another year in Formula 3.5 when he’s set strong to win the championship this season? There would be no point, and he’s still very young, only 20.

    If Frijns does win the F3.5R championship this year, and he looks the favorite for that, I see no reason to why he shouldn’t be promoted to Formula One right away. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both only needed one season in GP2.



    James Allen thinks that Max Chilton is about to become a race driver for Marussia in 2013:


    Armchair Expert

    He is some 3-4 months too late with this news.

    Chilton is awful. If someone is not interested in junior formulae, then I would desrcibe him as another Karthikeyan in terms of speed. That’s the last thing F1 needs, but hey, let teams spend millions of dollars without any budget cap and very soon we will have more such “talented” drivers on the grid.



    Are you sure? I don’t follow GP2 much but Chilton has won a feature race this year and is currently 5th in the overall standings. GP2 is the strongest F1 feeder series and Chilton is only 21. That doesn’t sound too bad and is clearly more than Karthikeyan has ever reached.


    Armchair Expert

    Yes, I’m sure. 2012 GP2 field is one of the weakest, if not the weakest in series history.

    Although Chilton is much younger than Karhikeyan was, when he was doing his stint in British F3 or World Series by Renault (Nissan at that time), their stats are similar.

    Chilton – British F3 – 18th, 10th, 4th, GP2 – 25th, 20th, 5th
    Karthikeyan – British F3 – 12th, 6th, 4th; WSbN – 9th, 4th, 6th

    Stats can be misleading, but from my impressions, as I’m very interested in junior formulae, there are at least 20 drivers who I’d like to see in F1 basing purely on their skills before even contemplating Chilton.



    Chilton is only 21 though, when Karthikeyan was in his 3rd season of the world series, he was 27. Chilton started British F3 just after he turned 16, he seems to be pretty talented and he’s thrown himself in the deep end a few times in his career. He is not to be compared with Karthikeyan.



    This is actually an interesting discussion. Is Max Chilton good, hopeless or is the jury still out? I think @fixy is one of our best GP2 experts, it would be nice to hear his thoughts. And I’m sure there are other people, who watch every GP2 race and thus can judge Max better than I’m able to. Step forward! :)


    Tom L.

    A year ago I’d have agreed that Chilton was awful. However he’s majorly raised his game this year – definitely a contender for most-improved GP2 driver of the year along with Johnny Cecotto.
    My main criticism of Chilton would be that he seems to lack the cutting edge when going wheel-to-wheel. He often seems to hesitate before attempting an overtake and isn’t always as robust in defence of a position as he could be.
    I don’t think he would shine in F1 but nor would he embarrass himself. He’d probably just be tagging along in the gap between Glock and the HRTs – a perfect Marussia number 2 in the mould of his predecessors basically! But in terms of next year, the only other possible candidate coming up through the Carlin ladder is Rio Haryanto, who could do with another year in GP2 to improve his consistency. Even if I think Haryanto is a better long-term prospect, I believe Chilton would do a better job if put into the seat now.


    Adam Blocker

    Rookies for 2013:
    Jules Bianchi- Will replace one of the force india drivers (due to at least one of them moving up on the grid)
    Ma Qing Hua- Will replace Karthikeyan
    Valterri Bottas- Will replace Bruno Senna
    Luiz Razia- Will replace either Petrov (due to skill) or Kovalainen (due to him switching teams)

    Other possibles:
    James Calado- Replacing Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus, due to Kimi moving back to McLaren/Ferrari
    Esteban Gutierrez- Replacing Sergio Perez at Sauber, due to Chech moving up to McLaren/Ferrari
    Max Chilton/Robert Wickens- Replacing Timo Glock at Marussia
    Alexander Rossi- (Same situation as Razia above)
    Sam Bird- Replacing Michael Schumacher at Mercedes



    Thanks for some good insight, @tom-l.

    As for Ma, there is an interesting article on him and the FIA Super Licences on Autosport Plus. Edd Straw argues that Ma clearly doesn’t meet the requirements to be granted a Super Licence. He should have to ‘have consistently demonstrated outstanding ability in single-seater formula cars’ but he clearly hasn’t done that. Neither does he fulfil any of the other conditions.

    This is why I’m not too sure that Ma will be one of the HRT race drivers next year. It’s not only that he lacks success in lower single-seater series, he lacks the experience, too. Even Yamamoto had a better CV before the start of his F1 career.

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