Old Blood - New Blood

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
from the Autosport article Di Montemelonhead said "I prefer the champion, even if matured, to the mediocre driver, even if he's young. Our circus needed some great input"
What is wrong with F1 that young drivers just can't get a chance? This has been one of the running sores in the sport for years where the old boys just won't retire (Barichello, Coulthard, Webber, Trulli, Fissichella etc, etc) and the teams take them on as they are seen as a "safe pair of hands". I'd rather see a grid made up of hungry young chargers than a bunch of old chaps driving round for their mega buck salaries with their ambitions safely filed away in the "no longer relevant" draw. Grrr!

Does anyone know who manages whom in F1? I think this may be part of the problem as the drivers agents will get a bigger pay day from placing a Webber or a Fissi than they would from a Grosjean or a Buemi. :givemestrength:
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

I don't think it's as bad as all that FB. Ok so we have Rubens, Fisi and Webber but in recent years we have seen 20 or 30 year old age records smashed by new young drivers. eg:

Jamie Unspellable - Youngest driver to start a race.
Fernando Alonso - Youngest WDC
Seb Vettel - Youngest driver to win a race.

Nelson Jnr, Lewis H, Kazuki N, Nico R and most of the rest of the grid can't exactly be called old now can they.

I think in recent years the number of drivers out lasting there welcome has decreased rather than increased.

The Ferrari situation is different because they aren't looking for a full time driver but someone as cover. I makes far more sense to turn the car over to someone who understands the team and the car and is liable to turn in a result.

** I have just read in todays Times that Fisi has signed a testing contract with Ferrari next season. Perhaps Marc Gene could be in with the chance of a drive at Campos?
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

I suppose the real problem is the lack of "junior" teams for the young drivers to cut their teeth in. In days of yore there were always a few "no hoper" teams running round at the back prepared to take a chance on some youngster from the lower formulas (Coloni, Forti, Osella etc, etc.). Torro Rosso seem prepared to take chance, perhaps because they know there sponsorship is fairly secure, but Force India could do a lot better than Fisi.

Maybe the increase in grid size for next season will help but I find Di Montezemelo's comments very sad. I remember Ferrari taking a chance on a lad called Villeneuve in 1978 although he had only run a few races, he wasn't too bad was he? McLaren are prepared to try young talent if they believe they are good enough. If Ferrari's current management team can't spot an exceptional young driver (the next Schumcher perhaps) then it's time for them to pack it in.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

It's something I've mentioned in the past.
Maybe a subject for a new thread as it's an interesting one.

It would seem Ferrari want MS back really badly with Luca talking about running 3 car teams...
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Following Schumies much vaunted come back and Ferrari's desire to see him back in car somehow (even by running a 3rd car) I would like to pose the question: When is a driver past his sell by date?

Also, what do young drivers need to do to get a drive in an F1 team? Which drivers on the current grid are there on merit, or for historical or commercial reasons? Will the new teams looking to come into F1 bring in some new talent or just recycle some of the old boys who can't bring themselves to retire?

Of the current grid who do you think should still be driving an F1 next year and which young drivers would you like to see given a chance in coming seasons? And what influence do the drivers agents have on who drives where? Are they becoming like football agents, looking for the biggest payday by keeping an old driver going for 1 or 2 more seasons for big bucks rather than playing the long game and taking a risk on a newbie?
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

Totally agree with FB - but hasn't it always been the case that, in the past, smaller teams would scout the talent, and then the bigger teams would poach them with their vast resources, but now even the lowliest teams need experienced drivers (Jaime Unspellable excepted.)

What has happened to Ferrari's young driver development program? The only details I can find is a short article from last year saying they have given test drives to the top 3 finishers in the Italian F3 series?

Mirko Bortollotti - is now sponsored by Red Bull and is racing in Formula 2 - could he still be under option to Ferrari?

Edoardo Piscopo - is also in Formula 2

Salvatore Cicatelli - still in Italian F3
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Without answering your questions directly ;) here's a rundown of the average age of the field over previous seasons of F1.

195931.00
196429.43
196929.91
197429.85
197930.00
198429.46
198929.67
199428.68
199928.19
200426.61
200927.15
[td]Season[/td][td]Average age of drivers[/td]
(Drivers' ages calculated on 1 January of each season, to the nearest whole year. Only drivers who took part in 75% of races in a season included)

When is a driver past his sell-by date?
It varies, of course. Age need not be a barrier to competition and success in motorsport, even at a high level. Motivation often wanes as drivers get older though. A couple of drivers spring to mind who went on a season too long - Damon Hill and David Coulthard. Others, though, stopped when they still had a lot to offer - Jody Scheckter certainly, and probably Michael Schumacher too. A few years ago there seemed to be a craze for young drivers, as can be seen in the table for 2004 - Button, Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa all came into the sport at a very young age. They were a particularly good crop and have by and large retained their seats, while later arrivals - Liuzzi, Speed, Monteiro, Albers - have (to some degree) failed to impress greatly and have dropped out again - this may explain why the average age has creeped up a bit in recent years. Of course there are exceptions in both camps.

Of the current grid I don't think there are many who are there for commercial reasons. Alguersuari has apparently brought some sponsorship to Toro Rosso, but his record would probably justify the seat over any of the other young contenders even if that were not the case. Nakajima certainly is driving the Williams in order to pay for the engines, and I would say that he is now the only one who you could say fits that bill (Piquet having departed).

I suspect that new teams will try, wherever possible, to take on one experienced driver (not necessarily an old one) and one young charger. This has traditionally been the way of it, and e.g. Force India are doing much the same already. So drivers like Anthony Davidson, Nick Heidfeld, Pedro de la Rosa and even Jacques Villeneuve may be in the frame for drives alongside recruits from the junior formulae.

Who should still be driving next year? I don't think, honestly, there is much call for a clear-out: firstly because none of the old guard are disgracing themselves (Fisichella, Trulli, Webber are still outpacing their younger team mates on a regular basis); and secondly because there aren't many young drivers who are really grabbing the attention at the moment. Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta I would say are drivers who deserve an F1 chance; Alguersuari and Grosjean have yet to prove themselves.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

Speshal said:
What has happened to Ferrari's young driver development program?
Ferrari have never really had a young driver development programme - partly because they don't really need one (they tend to let other teams suffer the growing pains of running a rookie, then when they show their ability the men from Maranello roll up wielding a big cheque!)

But with the arrival of Lewis Hamilton - and a change in management at the Scuderia - they decided they needed to do something, hence the tests last autumn. I'm not sure that those drivers have any contractual relationship with Ferrari, though. Bortolotti, incidentally, set a lap record at that test, I believe. I wonder if something similar will happen again this year.

The main young driver development is done by Red Bull and, to a lesser extent these days, Renault. Flav certainly fancies himself as a judge of talent and has a reasonably good record at bringing drivers on (although Kubica was originally part of the Renault scheme but was dropped).

Mercedes, Toyota and BMW have all had drivers who they've supported in an ad-hoc way (usually champions of the manufacturer's own junior series) but not as part of a structured programme. Few of them end up in F1 (Lewis Hamilton and Kazuki Nakajima being the only ones I can think of).

With (hopefully) more seats in F1 next year some of the young drivers currently stuck in the system might be placed with other teams - although with Heidfeld and Kubica on the market now there may not be too many opportunities even then.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

I think the whole Young Driver Development idea looks a hell of a lot stronger since McLaren-Mercedes managed to manufacture a World Champion. BMW have also done a good job bringing in Kubica (and Vettel). To an extent, Massa was a bit of a Ferrari Young Driver for a while, but he got in to the team more by luck than judgement*.

GordonMurray said:
Flav certainly fancies himself as a judge of talent and has a reasonably good record at bringing drivers on (although Kubica was originally part of the Renault scheme but was dropped).
Flavio Briatore fancies himself as a lot of things, but he's only really got Alonso of the top drawer to call on, and any idiot could see that he was talented! He has many more failures than successes imho and he essentially throws a rookie into the car then gives them unequal equipment. Its utterly idiotic and I hope Romain Grosjean is not given the half-chance that Piquet was given, albeit Piquet spent too much time on the grass!

*However, it is true that he's done an outstanding job since he actually got in
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

Speshal said

but now even the lowliest teams need experienced drivers
Not that I just want to pick on one bit of your repsonse Spesh but more to ask a question. Do you think the teams need experienced drivers for driving reasons or sponsorship reasons? Imagine Force India given the choice of introducing 3 time Grand Prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella to a potential sponsor or "some bloke who won some F3 races and, unless you're a real dyed in the wool motor racing fan, you have probably never have heard of".

Given so much of the set up of the car is nothing to do with the driver these days I get the feeling that the commercial imperative overides the racing one in the choice of driver. Most corporate sponsors want to meet a "someone" for their investment in a team, not someone who might be someone; unless they are a very unusual company. It's a shame (?) the tobacco companies have more or less gone as they (in particular Marlboro) used to invest for the long term, sponsor your driver programs etc. I currently reading Tommy Byrne's autobiog (will post a review in scrutineering when finished) and he got a chance to prove himself in a McLaren after winning the F3 championship, as a result of Marlboro money.

This is making me quite depressed, time for some chocolate :D
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
its in the head erally isn't it? once a driver no longer can take the risks or no longer can keep up then its pretty much over. i dont think its an age thing. most elder drivers tend to end up in slower and slower teams and then finally, they go so slow they leave all together :)
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
In F1 I would say age does factor into it more so than other motorsports.

Braking distances in particular are down to 10's of metres these days so the difference between hitting and missing your braking point is measured in 100ths of seconds.

As you get older your reactions naturally slow down so there will come a time when you will start to miss crucial timing points.
Perhaps this is around the age of 40 as that seems to be around the age when most long term drivers start thinking about retirement?

The table GM posted though is very interesting.
It shows that in 50 years the average age of the whole grid has hovered around 30 and only in the last 15 years has it started to drop slightly.

As for new drivers, there is still an element of "pay driver status" in F1 these days.
Kazuki Nakajima is only really at Williams thanks to the Toyota engine deal.
Elsewhere other drivers have managed to secure seats over others thanks to sponsorship deals they bring with them.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

FB said:
Speshal said

but now even the lowliest teams need experienced drivers
Not that I just want to pick on one bit of your repsonse Spesh but more to ask a question. Do you think the teams need experienced drivers for driving reasons or sponsorship reasons?
I tend to agree although I'd say it's a lot from column A and a little from column B - maybe 65% - 35% - If you are Campos or Manor - do you bang 2 rookies in your brand new team and watch them struggle all season long with a string of DNF's or get an older head in and thus ensure a higher number of finishes and help in developing the car throughout the season with in season testing banned?

FB said:
Given so much of the set up of the car is nothing to do with the driver these days I get the feeling that the commercial imperative overides the racing one in the choice of driver. Most corporate sponsors want to meet a "someone" for their investment in a team, not someone who might be someone
I disagree about the setup issue especially with a brand new team, during the vital winter testing schedule you'll need someone on board who knows what an F1 car is meant to feel like. The aero and CFD guys can tell you what it's meant to be doing but someone who has never driven an F1 car in anger isn't going to be on the same level as an experienced hand.

With regard to sponsorship/investment one would assume that any potential sponsor would complete full due diligence and would have a committee of knowledgeable advisers advising them on any potential up and coming stars of the future?

Here - have a dairy milk ;)
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
I split and merged the posts from the "Schuey Pulls Out" thread into this one as the discussion was more relevant to FB's "Old Blood - New Blood" topic.

Not sure if it entirely worked but it sort of makes sense, more so after a few sherbets :D
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Re: Schuey Pulls Out

cider_and_toast said:
Jamie Unspellable - Youngest driver to start a race.
Fernando Alonso - Youngest WDC
Seb Vettel - Youngest driver to win a race.
I do hate to be a pedant, but I believe that Lewis Hamilton is the youngest World Champion.

With sports where there is a reasonable requirement to be physically fit (i.e. excluding darts, snooker and golf) there is a peak age and there is a decline hereafter.

Now Formula One has never been as hard on the quatrogenarians as has such sports as football* or rugby and in the 1950s we saw Fangio winning titles at the age of 46. However, it is clear that recently it has become more often that the younger driver should win the title - Emerson Fittipaldi's youngest driver record has been lowered recently by both Fernando Alonso (x2) and Lewis Hamilton.

OVER 40s WINNING GPs (excluding Indy only drivers)

1 FAGIOLI 53 1951 Fr
2 FARINA 46 1953 De
3 FANGIO 46 1957 De
4 TARUFFI 45 1952 Su
5 BRABHAM 43 1970 SA[color=#FF0000]
6 MANSELL 41 1994 Au[/color]
7 TRINTIGNANT 40 1958 Mo
8 G. HILL 40 1969 Mo

23 OR YOUNGER WINNING GPs (excluding Indy only drivers)

1 VETTEL 21 2008 It
2 ALONSO 22 2003 Hu
[color=#FF0000]3 McLAREN 22 1959 US[/color]
4 HAMILTON 22 2007 Ca
5 RAIKKONEN 23 2003 Mal
6 KUBICA 23 2008 Ca[color=#FF0000]
7 ICKX 23 1968 Fr[/color]
8 M. SCHUMACHER 23 1992 Bel
9 FITTIPALDI 23 1970 US

You can see how there is a change. 5 of the top 9 youngest drivers are still in F1! The oldest driver to win an F1 race this century was Schumacher at 37, 4 years (!) older than the next oldest man. It is becoming more and more a young man's game!

Now, I can see why you'd have an experienced driver, but I disagree that young guys aren't getting a chance. Piquet had a chance, as did Vettel, as did Hamilton as will Alguersuari! The old guys will clear out. Since the opening race of 2006 these drivers have retired:

Montoya, Schumacher, Schumacher, Coulthard, Klien, Villeneuve, Monteiro, Albers, Liuzzi, Speed, Sato & Ide.

All but the Super Aguri drivers have been replaced by:

Hamilton, Kovalainen, Glock, Buemi, Nakajima, Kubica, Sutil, Piquet/Grosjean, Alguersuari & Vettel.

I think there are chances for the young!

*Sir Stanley Matthews is a bit of a one-off!
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
TBY said:
Since the opening race of 2006 these drivers have retired: Montoya, Schumacher, Schumacher, Coulthard, Klien, Villeneuve, Monteiro, Albers, Liuzzi, Speed, Sato & Ide
But look at how many of those retired because they had got too long in the tooth - Schumie snr (although still very much at the top of his game when he left), Coulthard (who should have packed it in years before), and Villeneuve (although not that old when he retired from F1). The others were obliged to retire because they weren't good enough.

We have lots in F1 now hanging around who are too old and, frankly, not good enough - Trulli, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Barrichello and, if I am being super critical, Webber and Button. The fact that Button and Webber sit 1-2 at the top of the championship is not a testimony to their skill, they have stuck it out driving for progressively worse teams and then lucked into the best cars due to huge rule changes.

and no, I'm not a fan of either Button or Webber in case you were wondering LOL
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
The point isn't why they retired/left, the point is that they did hence freeing up seats! At any rate there is little doubt that Yuji Ide was F1 class... :dunno:

FB said:
We have lots in F1 now hanging around who are too old and, frankly, not good enough - Trulli, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Barrichello and, if I am being super critical, Webber and Button. The fact that Button and Webber sit 1-2 at the top of the championship is not a testimony to their skill, they have stuck it out driving for progressively worse teams and then lucked into the best cars due to huge rule changes.
I'll take these one-by-one:

TRULLI: Still beating Glock
FISI: I'll agree with you on that one
HEIDFELD: Is still likely to pick you up a whole load of points - a great no. 2, 6th in WDC last year, ahead of Kubica this year
BARRICHELLO: Probably gone last winter if Honda remained in F1 - likely out in winter
WEBBER: Beating Sebastian Vettel
BUTTON: Even in a good car it is no chump who wins 6/7 races at any point!

So, out of 20 cars, you have called 6 people too old/not good enough, leaving 14 cars for those that are young enough. I'm sorry but there is new blood coming through, and the fact Ferrari can't see further than the past is more of a testimony to a team who's tactical decisions on (and off) track continue to baffle than on F1 itself.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
actually, may i pose an alternative view?

before, drivers had to be able to set up an car using their own spanners and 2 mechanics and that took a while to learn. so by the time a driver won races, he actually had to have several years of experience to be able to set up the car.

nowadays, cars are set up by computers. so drivers don't need this additional skill to win races. so this means the average age of an F1 driver stays the same but the age at which they start winning races drops, basically nowadays a driver can win a race in his first season. something that used to be almost a miracle. F1 has been going on for, what 40 odd years or even 50? and look at the youngest ever driver winning a race, 5 of them are from the last 6 or 7 years.

and look at the cars they drove:
Vettel - STR
Alonso - Renault
Hamilton - McLaren
Raikkonen - McLaren
Kubica - BMW

so its the car too. it helps to be in a top team, and boy, was what vettel did that day special!
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
I can see both sides to the argument.

However, in F1 from a driver's perspective it's all about beating your team mate and looking at the head to head stat's, some of the old hands are doing better than their younger compatriots.

F1 Head To Head 2009

So taken in that context you could argue they deserve their seat.

However, what's not to say that a younger driver would do even better and therefore pick up more points for the team?
 
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