GP2 to F1

Jos the Boss

Isn't this his 4th season in GP2? Most of the drivers who progress into F1 don't spend long in GP2, the longest is Maldonado with 4 seasons. If he doesn't make it in 2013 then the numbers say that he never will. It's usually an indication that the drivers who progress through GP2 in a short amount of time (Rosberg, Hamilton and Hulkenberg) will be better in F1.

Although there can be anomalies, for example Kobayashi was never particularly successful in GP2. Yet when presented with his opportunity he took it excellently and since is considered to be in the 'good' category (IMO) of F1 drivers.
no-FIAt-please - Kobi's record in GP2 wasn't too bad. He won the GP2 Asia series in 2009 (over 12 races) and actually won his second ever GP2 race in Spain in 2008 although he was beat by his DAMS team-mate Jerome D'ambrosio in both his season in GP2. i agree he didn't show any signs of the driver he would be in F1 though.

Sebastian Buemi is another one who perfomed at the top level better than he did at the lower.
Finally got around to readjusting all the figures for the debut season to the current points scoring system and table sits like this.

1st - Lewis Hamilton - 265pts
2nd - Heiki Kovalainen - 87pts
3rd - Timo Glock - 66pts
4th - Nelson Piquet Jr - 49pts
5th - Kamui Kobayashi - 32pts
6th - Vitaly Petrov - 27pts
7th - Romain Grosjean - 23pts
8th - Nico Hulkenberg - 22pts
9th - Sebastiam Buemi - 20pts
10th Nico Rosberg - 17pts
11th Sergio Perez - 14pts
12th Pastor Maldonado - 1pts

The new table really does make it clear that Heiki's debut season was pretty top notch and that Mclaren picking him up wasn't just about the Alonso swap that he truely did show potential. Timo Glock also had a good debut season too as that 66 points would have been good enough for 9th place in last years championship. Not bad in the hit and miss Toyota. Who'd have guessed that a few years afterwards the two of them would have been battling it out for 18th spot at best?

Also interesting to note is Piquet Jr - even if you take away his lucky second place in Germany he would have still ranked 5th in this table on 31 points. In front of Petrov too. I'm sure it can be argued that the Renault of 2008 was better than the Renault of 2010 but its still interesting to note.

Having readjusted the table an intersting pattern seems to have emerged - with the exception of Nico Rosberg's 2006 effort - as the season have gone by the less impact the GP2 graduates appear to have made. Lewis and Kovi are at the top with debut years in 2007. Timo and Piquet are next up having come in for 2008. Buemi lets the side down for 2009 by being 9th but Kobi and the Hulk are next in line for 2010 then we have Perez and Maldonado for 2011. Does this mean the quality for GP2 has been getting less every year? Or does it mean the room to make an impact is just getting less and less.

It could be argued that with Schumacher and Montoya leaving F1 in 2006 it created a power vacum that Lewis and co jumped into and that ever since then its hard to find yourself a space in the sport. Having said that it would be hard to argue that Rosberg(2005) Hamilton(2006) and Glock(2007) weren't the superior drivers to Panteno(2008), Hulkenberg(2009) and Maldonado(2010).

So is the quality of the GP2 field dipping?
Excellent post.

However I think the jury is still out on Hulkenberg. He has showed real class in lower formulas (I acknowledge this doesn't necessarily mean he will be a success in F1) and has showed signs of real talent. However the way di Resta is mopping the floor with him this season is really hurting his credibility.
Good post Rasberrylives.

It's worth pointing out that, since 2010 there have been more consistent teams at the top so points are harder to come by, along with two world champions returning.

So that of course would help Hulkenberg, Maldonado's and Perez's cause, although Raikkonnen wasn't back in 2011.

2009, I think it's fair to say that Buemi had the worst car on the grid In the second half I the season, and second worst in the first half.

Going on Nico Rosberg's Williams was as unreliable as Jos the Boss's weather predictions last year.

So these 4 compared to the rest have been fair unlucky in their rookie seasons
I think you are right Sly it does depend on what car you get into. I think Lewis Hamilton was always going to be top of that list but being a Mclaren driver certainly helped - not that I'm doing down his acheievment.

It should be pointed out that Hamilton, Kovi, Kobi and Buemi are the only one's on that list that beat their team-mate in their debut year. Again though it has to be argued that beating Alonso and Fisichella in the case of Lewis and Kovi holds more weight than Pedro De La Rosa and Bourdais/Alguersauri in the case of Kobi and Buemi.

I wondered if the length of time in GP2 has any relation to the impact as was suggested earlier about Valsecchi so did a table for that too:

Lucas Di Grassi 3 and a half seasons
Pastor Maldonado 3 and a half seasons
Vitaly Petrov 3 and a half seasons
Karun Chandhock 3 seasons
Jerome D'ambrosio 3 seasons
Romain Grosjean 3 seasons
Charles Pic 2 seasons
Sergio Perez 2 seasons
Kamui Kobayashi 2 seasons
Nelson Piquet Jr 2 seasons
Bruno Senna 2 seasons
Timo Glock 2 seasons
Sebastian Buemi 1 and a half seasons
Nico Rosberg 1 season
Lewis Hamilton 1 season
Heiki Kovalainen 1 season
Nico Hulkenberg 1 season

It does appear that the drivers with less time in GP2 have made the biggest impact on F1. It should be noted that had Grosjean not taken the Renault drive in 2009 he probably would have been in the top 2 in the 2009 GP2 Season and may very well have landed a driver in F1 in 2010 so his 3 seasons (2 half seasons) was prolonged a little by circumstances. So if Valsecchi did get an F1 drive next year he would be the most expereicne GP2 driver to be promoted ever.

It does seem that the cream rises to the top but maybe the bottle of milk that is GP2 has been gulped at so much there is currently not much cream left.
I days of yore (oh how old am I) the most impressive drivers used to miss out the "2nd" tier altogether. Senna, Prost etc. all graduated to F1 directly from F3. F2 seemed to be for those not good enough to go straight into an F1 car - didn't Kimi come straight from Formula Renault?
didn't Kimi come straight from Formula Renault?

Yes he did I'm sure, and only did a handful of open wheel racing, plus there was dispute over whether he should get a superlicence or not as he was young and very inexperienced.

Went on to score a point in his first race.
Of the current field the following drivers have skipped the 'second tier' altogether

Sebastian Vettel
Jenson Button
Kimi Raikkonen
Michael Schumacher
Daniel Ricciardo
Jean-Eric Vergne
Paul Di Resta
Pedro De La Rosa
Narain Karthikeyan

In the case of the bottom 3 though they did avoid it by going from 3rd tier to other forms of motorsport before hitting F1.

4 of the 6 who were grabbed straight from lower formula are world champions so make of that what you will but before we start bigging up Ricciardo and Vergne lets remeber that Alguersauri came straight in from Renault 3.5 too. This does seem to be where Red Bull are pulling their young drivers from these days.

Another point is that Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi have both stepped down to Renault 3.5 series this year as it gives them more oppotunity to fill the reserve driver and friday practice roles with Merc F1 and Force India F1 respectivly.
de la Rosa was Formula Nippon champion which you can call equivalent of then-effective International F3000. I don't know how the highest open-wheel class of WSbR should be ranked. Anyway, Vettel, Ricciardo and Vergne have experience of that. Wasn't Karthikeyan there too?
Vettel, Riccardo and Vergne have never raced in Formula Nippon or International F3000. If Formula Nippon was the equivalant of F3000 at the time I stand corrected and De La Rosa and Karthikeyan should be removed from the list.

Also I've discovered the Michael Schumacher had one race in Japanese F3000 on July 28th 1991 - just under a month before his F1 debut so unfourtunatly I have to disqualify him from the list also. Leaving only 6 drivers to have no experience of second tier motorsport. 3 of them world champions.
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