The Final Four


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Eyes down ladies and gentlemen we have four seats (we think) left untaken for 2013 and we’re getting close to the finish line. Some horses have already fallen (alas poor Timo), some have pulled out of the race altogether (The Moose is safe in his Red Bull stable) but the final riders are heading for a photo finish. Lets take a look down the running order:

Front Runners:

Paul Di Resta:
Mr Di Resta was so far in front in this race that he hadn’t even realised he was in it until the last week or so. He has a contract and his feet in under that Force India table and was even talking about getting picked up by a ‘bigger’ team for 2014. But that confirmation of his drive he was expecting to be celebrating whilst photocopying his backside in the offices of Force India during their xmas party never came and for all the talk of money invested in the team the rumours of the tax man knocking at the door keep persisting and with the fall of Timo Glock to the economy Paul must be taking a long hard look at the situation he’s in 12 months after being voted rookie of the year. His big named no nonsense manager is gone, the big hype machine behind him seems to have gone silent with no more talk of ‘beating Vettel’ as Di Resta hasn’t even beat a team-mate yet. Has he done enough? Will the funds be an issue. I think he should make it over the finish line but I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t.

Talent: above average
Funds: Below average
Would most like to be compared with: David Coulthard
Most likely to be compared with: Johnny Herbert
Deserves to be on the grid: For one more year at least

Vitaly Petrov:
So we all thought the red Russian was down and out but he’s come back swinging with a dam fine performance in the last race of the season which saved the staff at Caterham collective ass and he also seems to have magically had his bank account refilled by some new sponsors and now he has two teams eying him up. The Caterham deal seemed all but done, apparently they were waiting for the cheque to clear, but all of a sudden Timo Glock is out on his ear and F1’s Russian team owned by a Russian car manufacturer seems like the perfect home for a Russian driver with some Russian bank funds ahead of next years Russian GP.

Talent: Top end of average
Funds: Top end of average
Would most like to be compared with: Fernando Alonso
Most likely to be compared with: Vladimir Putin
Deserves to be on the Grid: Just.

The Pack:

Jules Bianchi:
Bianchi at one time was seen as the next big thing but a dodgy 2011 season in GP2 kind of silenced all that talk. His season in the 3.5 world series has restored some of that and there is no doubt that through Ferrari testing and being Force India test driver this year gives him good background for coming into F1. He also has some hefty personal sponsors who paid into the Force India pot last summer and probably expect the flesh they paid for.

Talent: Has potential
Funds: Above average
Would most like to be compared to: Jean Alesi
Most likely to be compared to: Eric Bernard
Deserves to be on the grid: 8 out of 10 cats say yes

Bruno Senna:
“we’re not sure you’re good enough” says the world of F1. “Kerching Kerching Kerching” says Bruno. Already looking for his 4th team things have not gone the way Bruno Senna planned. Ayrton said he was even quicker than him. He was wrong. Bruno has shown flashes of potential but just has never followed through and his excuses of gaining experience are running thin as he clocks up around 40 GPs. What Bruno does have though is some sponsors with massive wallets. He isn’t completely talentless but would he even being considered if the money wasn’t there.

Talent: Below average
Funds: Mahoosive
Would most like to be compared to: Ayrton Senna
Most likely to be compared to: Lucas Di Grassi
Deserves to be on the grid: Sorry, had his chance and didn’t take it

Luca Razia:
The other Brazilian with a bit of funding who hasn’t shown he isn’t good enough yet. Razia didn’t win GP2 in a year when the field wasn’t exactly brilliant which isn’t a credit too him but he has shown flashes of talent which show potential. Has some F1 experience with Caterham and is certainly looking to get some more with the same outfit. Would rather see someone invest in this Brazilian.

Talent: Possible
Funds: Unclear
Would most like to be compared to: Emerson Fittapaldi
Most likely to be compare to: Christian Fittipaldi
Deserves to be on the grid: Maybe but not above some others

The Outsiders:

Jamie Alguersauri:
The man who would be god was kicked out of Toro Rosso last year and has spent the last 12 months doing commentary where he always reminds us he should be on the grid and posting twitter comments suggesting he’s signed a contract which just raises his media profile.

Talent: Average
Funds: Some
Would like to be compared to: God
Most likely to be compared to: Herad
Deserves to be on the grid: I’m gonna plump no.

Kamui Kobayashi:
How a driver who pretty much matched a team-mate who got a big move to Mclaren can find himself without a drive is pretty dam silly if you as me but that is the situation Kamui-san find himself in. Very smartly Kamui decided to try and use fan power to get him back to F1. His Kamui in Need campaign really banked him some cash and has made him an option to consider add to the fact a team would get a driver who has shown he can get results and he’s certainly a good bet

Talent: Above Avergae
Funds: People Power!
Would like to be compared with: Nakajima-san
Most likely to be compared with: Aguri Suzuki
Deserves to be on the grid: Hell yeah!

Heiki Kovalinen:
Heiki started high and fell low and has found himself out on his ear. After a poor start with Renault he shot to podium heights during the season run in and landed a Mclaren drive. Would probably have done a better job at Mclaren if he’d not been up against Lewis Hamilton and after 2 years joined Caterham in a ‘rebuild my career’ move. Caterham have stalled and stalled and stalled but to be fair Heiki has done exactly what they brought him in to do and is drive the car to the limit of its potential, its just a shame for him the potential wasn’t very high. Wants a 4 million pound salary for his services – we all have out dreams.

Talent: Above Average
Funds: Refuses to get any
Would like to be compared with: Keke Rosberg
Most likely to be compared to: Gerhard Berger
Deserves to be on the grid: with knobs on.

So they are your runners and riders boys and girls. Place your bets time is running out. For the record I’m taking a punt on Senna and Bianchi at Force India, Razia at Caterham and Petrov at Marussia.
I don't believe that Kovalinen does deserve a drive he's been around for a while and has never shone through he was no match for Lewis and has fallen down the grid like a lead balloon and he definitely isn't worth his salary he maybe okay if he had some financial backing but he hasn't got the talent to demand a wage, well maybe £4.50 an hour but only for the time he is sat in the car...
I agree with Mephistopheles.

A driver can only be compared to his team mate(s) and Kovalainen came up short against Hamilton.
Since then he has done little to demonstrate that he's not much more than a rear gunner to the top drivers.
I know but saying he hasn't got the talent to demand a wage is nonsense. He's better than the average pay driver (and probably better than the next driver for Caterham as well)
There are better pay drivers out there Pastor for one even if he has been a bit reckless at times but at least he is giving his all...

A drivers career should go from the bottom to the top not from the top to the bottom as Kovalinens has done...
Was it not Petrov that secured the teams 10th position? Other than that, he outperformed Trulli, who was a salaried driver, but although I would say he is better than Petrov, he certainly did not blow him away.

I would say he was better than Bruno Senna, however.
In my book* Kovalinen beat both Trulli and Petrov. Whether he deserves a drive after refusing the "play the game" by raising funds is another matter. You have to do what you have to do in life and it strikes me that his heart is not in F1 any more.

I would hope Kobi ends up alongside di Resta. For the other drives, I think it's fair enough that they take the driver offering the most wonga. They have to survive to thrive. Whether that is right or not is another matter but with Marussia not getting any FOM travel money, taking Bruno or Petrov has to be their best ploy.

As for Caterham, I guess Fernandez has had to put so much money into QPR that there might be a lot less subsidy coming their way from the owner so is a strong argument to say that the other one should go there. I don't see any of the rookies having proved themselves in the lower leagues.

I would have had Heikki, Buemi and Jaime above both these last two on talent, but (Bruno + 10m + Caterham) > (Heikki + Caterham).

10m might be worth a fair bit of laptime at that end of the grid.

* available in all good stores for £29.99
As for Caterham, I guess Fernandez has had to put so much money into QPR[...]

He hasn't had to, but you have to hope Air Asia is going well when you consider the positions of QPR and Caterham, and the huge amounts of money peed up the wall in both instances.
I think should the worse happen - I couldn't think of a better guy to become a Test Driver at Mercedes. Put Paul in Nico's Car on a Friday and hopefully he'll be back for 2014 :).

Yeah heard a lot about FI's financial troubles. Thinking we'll see another Toyota like situation there. Might be wrong like. However, does seem odd that an established team like FI haven't announced they driver line-up.
Bianchi is driving the Force India on Friday during the first pre-season test.

One would suspect he is being evaluated for the second seat.
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