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Can somebody tell me where the French F1 drivers are?


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#1 nomeg1

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:15

As I read today that Mikhail Aleshin (Russian) Renault's 3.5 Formula 2010 winner is discussing with Force India a possible steer for next year (according to the Finnish paper Turun Sanomat) with the help of the State Company "GazProm" and the tyre manufacturer "Cordiant", I cannot help myself asking where are the French pilots ?

We all know the great names as : Prost, Jabouille, Arnoux, Laffite, Pironi, Cevert etc.

The French govenment is also not helping anybody in France, nor are they helping the very nice Track of Magny-Court to set up correct hotels, roads...even Belgium, a much smaller country, is doing better but is not safe. England is fighting and doing a great job in Silverstone (thanks to Damon), at least Italy still has Imola & Monza, with Rome pointing out...maybe ?
Who is going to replace Jenson Button when he retires in probably one year if not sooner ?

Where are the future "genuine" European drivers if it wasn't with the German ones ?

Formula 1 is leaving slowly the old continent to Middle-East, Asia, Russia, USA (with the flops we know), and nobody seems to react, Soon we will have no European drivers, and no European tracks. We'll have to get up in the middle of the night to watch our favorite sport, but with no pilots to cheer for...

Don't get me wrong, I am not against "out-of-Europe" drivers, but here, we are slowly going to hit the bottom if it was not for the German ones ?

Where are we going ? What is happening ? What can we do as fans ?

Take a look : 24 pilots, 7 German, 2 British, 4 Brazilian, 2 Italian, 1 Australian, 1 Swiss, 2 Spanish, 1 Pole, 1 Russian, 1 Finnish, 1 Indian, 1 Japanese, 0 French



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#2 Watkins74

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:20

France.

#3 wj_gibson

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:22

As I read today that Mikhail Aleshin (Russian) Renault's 3.5 Formula 2010 winner is discussing with Force India a possible steer for next year (according to the Finnish paper Turun Sanomat) with the help of the State Company "GazProm" and the tyre manufacturer "Cordiant", I cannot help myself asking where are the French pilots ?

We all know the great names as : Prost, Jabouille, Arnoux, Laffite, Pironi, Cevert etc.

The French govenment is also not helping anybody in France, nor are they helping the very nice Track of Magny-Court to set up correct hotels, roads...even Belgium, a much smaller country, is doing better but is not safe. England is fighting and doing a great job in Silverstone (thanks to Damon), at least Italy still has Imola & Monza, with Rome pointing out...maybe ?
Who is going to replace Jenson Button when he retires in probably one year if not sooner ?

Where are the future "genuine" European drivers if it wasn't with the German ones ?

Formula 1 is leaving slowly the old continent to Middle-East, Asia, Russia, USA (with the flops we know), and nobody seems to react, Soon we will have no European drivers, and no European tracks. We'll have to get up in the middle of the night to watch our favorite sport, but with no pilots to cheer for...

Don't get me wrong, I am not against "out-of-Europe" drivers, but here, we are slowly going to hit the bottom if it was not for the German ones ?

Where are we going ? What is happening ? What can we do as fans ?

Take a look : 24 pilots, 7 German, 2 British, 4 Brazilian, 2 Italian, 1 Australian, 1 Swiss, 2 Spanish, 1 Pole, 1 Russian, 1 Finnish, 1 Indian, 1 Japanese, 0 French


I dunno, if you look at the younger drivers in the junior formulae who have contracts with F1 teams of one sort or another, they're mostly European by origin, no?

Jules Bianchi will be in F1 before too long, for example.


#4 Fastcake

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:25

The french drivers are in the same place the belgium, dutch, american, ones are. None recently have had the chance, or just aren't plain good enough. Grosjean might get another chance, and in a few years who knows maybe more french drivers will be good enough. Theres nothing to really worry about, F1 is not leaving europe.

#5 nomeg1

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:28

I dunno, if you look at the younger drivers in the junior formulae who have contracts with F1 teams of one sort or another, they're mostly European by origin, no?

Jules Bianchi will be in F1 before too long, for example.

Ok, I agree with you, but they have always been, and where are they today, hear of anybody maybe excepr Bianchi as you said really showing face ?
And yet, with the money at stake, it seems to me that only the countries which are not lacking any, due to a crisis that less hit them are pointing out, no ? What about all those new tracks being outside of Europe. I am only fighting for my "boutique", for my privildege of watching a GP at normal time in the day.
Didn't GB almost lots its GP, the temple of F1 ?

#6 nomeg1

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:30

The french drivers are in the same place the belgium, dutch, american, ones are. None recently have had the chance, or just aren't plain good enough. Grosjean might get another chance, and in a few years who knows maybe more french drivers will be good enough. Theres nothing to really worry about, F1 is not leaving europe.

I hope it's not a "whisfull thinking" Fast !

#7 noikeee

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:30

Basically there's no french feeder series anymore, and Elf doesn't sponsor a shitload of drivers anymore. That's why they're not climbing the ranks. Even then, somehow the current generation is fairly promising and I'm sure that between Grosjean, Bianchi, Vergne, Vernay, Pic, etc, someone will make it to F1 (or in Grosjean's case, back to F1).

#8 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:31

Instead of looking at who is in F1 this year, when most of them have been in F1 for many many years; you should look into all the rookies from 2000 to 2010 and rank them by each country. There haven't been that many new drivers France or Germany, Italy, England, Spain, etc.

#9 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:32

Basically there's no french feeder series anymore, and Elf doesn't sponsor a shitload of drivers anymore. That's why they're not climbing the ranks. Even then, somehow the current generation is fairly promising and I'm sure that between Grosjean, Bianchi, Vergne, Vernay, Pic, etc, someone will make it to F1 (or in Grosjean's case, back to F1).


In a way you could make the argument things like the ELF program made the French talent pool look bigger/better than it was. For a while Red Bull mainly sponsored German/Austrian drivers, then they got clever and bought who was good.

#10 noikeee

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:35

In a way you could make the argument things like the ELF program made the French talent pool look bigger/better than it was. For a while Red Bull mainly sponsored German/Austrian drivers, then they got clever and bought who was good.


Maybe they should've stuck with the German/Austrians, since the only one so far that really came good was german. :p But yeah that's a good observation.

#11 wj_gibson

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:36

In a way you could make the argument things like the ELF program made the French talent pool look bigger/better than it was. For a while Red Bull mainly sponsored German/Austrian drivers, then they got clever and bought who was good.


That said, in a wider sense I think nomeg1 might be hinting (inadvertently) at the apparent decline in quality of the talent pool in the junior formulae over the past year or two. This year's GP2 series was very thin on the ground in terms of drivers who look like potential F1 race winners, for example, and I can't decide whether Vergne dominated British F3 because he's brilliant or because everyone else was sh1te.

Perhaps his is a sign of the complete absence of sponsorship opportunities during the depths of the financial crisis feeding through into a dearth of participants in F3 and below by 2010?

Edited by wj_gibson, 02 November 2010 - 12:37.


#12 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:41

There was never any genuine sponsorship in sub-F1 categories anyways, so it's somewhat recession proof. Though less money overall means there's less rich parents.

Going back to my 2000-2010 study, I would actually say now to expand it to drivers who completed a full second season. Because we have lots of single season wonders.

#13 RF1 fan

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:48

I think the situation will be better when Loeb will retire because Total will be able to put more money on the table for drivers like Charles Pic who can be Lotus reserve driver.

There will be more money for total next year because they won't sponsor Randy De Puniet as he quitts LCR and Honda.

Charles Pic is under contract with Flavio Briatore.

#14 FlatOverCrest

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:50

They are eating cheese.....drinking wine..... and watching 'zee prity girlz' walk by at the Cote!

#15 Captain Tightpants

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 12:52

Don't get me wrong, I am not against "out-of-Europe" drivers, but here, we are slowly going to hit the bottom if it was not for the German ones ?

Where are we going ? What is happening ? What can we do as fans ?

Where is it written that Formula 1 must be exclusively European?

The most talented drivers will get the seats. Even the pay-drivers; they have to have a certain level of talent before they will be considered by teams because they need a superlicence. There are no French drivers in Formula 1 because there no French drivers who are in a position to be in Formula 1. Romain Grosjean, Jules Bianchi and Jean-Eric Vergne are probably France's three best hopes at a seat, but only one of them qualifies for a superlicence right now.

#16 Lifew12

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 13:09

Soon we will have no European drivers, and no European tracks.


Don't be silly.


#17 Crafty

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 13:41

The French govenment is also not helping anybody in France, nor are they helping the very nice Track of Magny-Court to set up correct hotels, roads...even Belgium, a much smaller country, is doing better but is not safe. England is fighting and doing a great job in Silverstone (thanks to Damon), at least Italy still has Imola & Monza, with Rome pointing out...maybe ?


The whole Silverstone survival is down to the BDRC, nothing to do with the UK government - in fact they've done nothing to help at all (some would say the exact opposite). So France isn't alone on that score :)

#18 rolf123

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 14:31

It's probably an economic thing more than anything else.

The sponsorship money is coming from developing countries, not Europe.

#19 Gilles12

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 14:34

Maybe they're on strike, burning sheep in the streets along with the rest of the country?

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#20 Gareth

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 14:38

NASCAR?

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#21 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 14:43

True story: When they were filming his scenes at Taladega the real crowd actually booed.

#22 Rob G

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 17:43

Anyone who is lamenting the perceived lack of drivers from continental Europe should take a look at some of the starting grids from the second half of the 1960s.

#23 Villes Gilleneuve

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 17:43

In a way you could make the argument things like the ELF program made the French talent pool look bigger/better than it was.


In the 80s, the French government invested in training programs from karting to Formula Renault that produced a lot of good F1 drivers like Jabouille, Pironi and Arnoux.
The guy pushing this was Guy Ligier, with connections to the French socialist party.

These guys were not from wealthy families, and they progressed on talent.

The program was terminated because of anger from the government that subsidized the career development of drivers, only to have them bugger off to Monaco to avoid paying taxes.

They were taking French taxpayer money through Ligier or Renault, then refusing to pay income taxes.

The money is now going to engineering apprenticeships at Renault engine manufacture.

Hence, future french F1 drivers are either going to be 'juniors' or kids of rich parents.

#24 olliek88

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 17:47

NASCAR?

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:rotfl: :rotfl:

My name is jean gerard.....................and i am from forumla uuuhhhhh.



#25 Shadow Mike

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 17:49

On a strike?

#26 Mary Popsins

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 17:50

*edit* off topic: I posted a video in French.

Edited by Mary Popsins, 04 November 2010 - 17:41.


#27 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 17:55

In the 80s, the French government invested in training programs from karting to Formula Renault that produced a lot of good F1 drivers like Jabouille, Pironi and Arnoux.
The guy pushing this was Guy Ligier, with connections to the French socialist party.

These guys were not from wealthy families, and they progressed on talent.

The program was terminated because of anger from the government that subsidized the career development of drivers, only to have them bugger off to Monaco to avoid paying taxes.

They were taking French taxpayer money through Ligier or Renault, then refusing to pay income taxes.

The money is now going to engineering apprenticeships at Renault engine manufacture.

Hence, future french F1 drivers are either going to be 'juniors' or kids of rich parents.


So in line with the other countries :lol:

To expand upon my point, say in any given year you had 10 good French drivers, 10 Germans, Japanese, American, etc. But ELF would sponsor 5 guys a year, it was more likely a French driver would progress up the ladder since they came with money as well as talent.

#28 KateLM

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 18:01

These waves of drivers do sometimes just ebb and flow, though with France the sponsorship situation isn't helping. Its not just the recession (though that hardly helps), interest in F1 in France just isn't what it was 5 or so years ago. No decent drivers, Renault aren't the force that they were in 05/06 and the GP is gone.

Still, there are some reasonably promising French drivers in the junior series at the moment, there is a decent chance that one of them may get a shot. And although an argument could be made for Grosjean, it isn't like there are many French drivers out there who should be in F1 but can't get in. Bourdais got his chance and disappointed. The current generation is doing OK, though the situation for up and coming young drivers isn't great.

Its worth remembering though, while there may not be any French drivers in f1 at the moment, they are the dominant force in WRC at the moment.

Edited by KateLM, 02 November 2010 - 18:02.


#29 jjcale

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 18:10

Who is going to replace Jenson Button when he retires in probably one year if not sooner ?

Where are the future "genuine" European drivers if it wasn't with the German ones ?


We hope and expect that Paul di Resta will get a drive next year ... just in case the other British driver is not enough of a "genuine" European driver for you :well:

BTW ... you do realise that only 6 of the 24 current drivers do not hold the passport of a European country - 7 if you dont count Russians as Europeans... I struggle with the "genuine European" concept... Anyway, I think the need is for more non-european drivers rather than the other way round.

As for French drivers, dunno...I cant even think of a decent prospect unless you want to count Grosjean as French, and I suspect you wont.

#30 pingu666

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 18:43

what about the french sportscar drivers? pagunauld is pretty badass

#31 santori

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 18:57

A few years ago I'd have wondered the same but there are several very talented French drivers not far from F1. I think I read on Jean-Louis Moncet's site that French motorsport authorities had studied the way that Finland's managed to produce so many good racing drivers recently and that this new group of French drivers is the result of that.

#32 Nathan

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 18:58

I am only fighting for my "boutique", for my privildege of watching a GP at normal time in the day.

And I'm doing the same, so keep those Asian and North/South American races coming!!

Edited by Nathan, 02 November 2010 - 18:58.


#33 Montoya1

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 19:12

What does it matter?

What has nationality got to do with how you follow something you enjoy?

religion and national issue create untold misery the world over, why add more things where one of those becomes relevant?

#34 DarthRonzo

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 19:39

Money is changing hands.
Some third world nations have some money to spare on useless activities like autoracing.
So the French were replaced by guys from Russia and India.



#35 Shevek

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 20:03

Who is going to replace Jenson Button when he retires in probably one year if not sooner ?

Where are the future "genuine" European drivers if it wasn't with the German ones ?


So Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Liuzzi, Buemi, Alguersuari, Kovalainen, or Trulli, are not "genuine" European, whatever that is?


#36 farsailor

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 20:43

Trick question, there are no!

#37 Frans

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 21:48

On the Eifeltower eating a French Cheese?

#38 BullHead

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 22:02

The lack of a French motorsport ladder is indeed a shame, but hey, strong talent can pop over here to the UK if they can get the funds and time, and get their name on the circuits. Vincent Beltoise and Maxime Jousse have done so rather impressively this year with FPA. F1 should and hopefully will return to France sometime, and this will help things hopefully.

It's not like there is no motorsport in France, it's just the ladder and entry level that seems to be unclear, and open wheels seem to have lost prominance....

Edited by BullHead, 02 November 2010 - 22:05.


#39 alfista

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 22:23

That said, in a wider sense I think nomeg1 might be hinting (inadvertently) at the apparent decline in quality of the talent pool in the junior formulae over the past year or two. This year's GP2 series was very thin on the ground in terms of drivers who look like potential F1 race winners, for example, and I can't decide whether Vergne dominated British F3 because he's brilliant or because everyone else was sh1te.

You are right perhaps, except about Vergne. He looked very good also in FR3.5 so he should be brilliant rather than sh**. Then he is under Red Bull banner and if he manages to avoid scrapping with dr Marko he may have bright future.

Edited by alfista, 02 November 2010 - 22:35.


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#40 Nathan

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 22:23

What has nationality got to do with how you follow something you enjoy?

Your obviously not French.

Edited by Nathan, 02 November 2010 - 22:26.


#41 KateLM

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 22:26

We hope and expect that Paul di Resta will get a drive next year ... just in case the other British driver is not enough of a "genuine" European driver for you :well:

BTW ... you do realise that only 6 of the 24 current drivers do not hold the passport of a European country - 7 if you dont count Russians as Europeans... I struggle with the "genuine European" concept... Anyway, I think the need is for more non-european drivers rather than the other way round.

As for French drivers, dunno...I cant even think of a decent prospect unless you want to count Grosjean as French, and I suspect you wont.

There are actually 7 non-European drivers - Massa, Barrichello, di Grassi, Senna, Webber, Kobayashi and Yamamoto. I believe the city Petrov is from is in Europe so technically he is European.
[/pendant mode]

Anyway, thats still less than a 3rd of the current grid. I agree that its silly to bring a European/non-European debate into this, particularly as some could argue that its actually the non-European drivers who are under-represented. Its unlikely we'll have more than 9 non-Europeans next year as well (with Perez and possibly one of two others joining) - possibly less than that as a few of the current ones are looking uncertain. Anyway, its a world championship after all, nothing wrong with the Europeans not being an overwhelming majority. Its a shame about the situation with French drivers, but a lot of other European countries don't currently have an F1 driver for various reasons.

#42 chrisblades85

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 22:35

Pissing about and not being good enough it seems. There is probably only one. He drives a Citroen

#43 Craven Morehead

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 03:42

Where are all the French Grand Prix drivers? Retired, that's where. It's a bumpy road to F1, one could just as easily ask where are all the American F1 drivers? Or Czech, or...

#44 evo

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 05:16

Pissing about and not being good enough it seems. There is probably only one. He drives a Citroen


Correction, 2 - Ogier.

Montagny, Bourdais and Sarrazin are all very good at non-F1 professional motorsport.

#45 Lukin83

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 07:30

As for French drivers, dunno...I cant even think of a decent prospect unless you want to count Grosjean as French, and I suspect you wont.


Buemi is Swiss and speaks French too. He could get French license and voila! :)


#46 David1976

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 08:50

Bernie got fed up with their whining... :well:

#47 jjcale

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:38

There are actually 7 non-European drivers - Massa, Barrichello, di Grassi, Senna, Webber, Kobayashi and Yamamoto. I believe the city Petrov is from is in Europe so technically he is European.
[/pendant mode]


Anyway, thats still less than a 3rd of the current grid. I agree that its silly to bring a European/non-European debate into this, particularly as some could argue that its actually the non-European drivers who are under-represented. Its unlikely we'll have more than 9 non-Europeans next year as well (with Perez and possibly one of two others joining) - possibly less than that as a few of the current ones are looking uncertain. Anyway, its a world championship after all, nothing wrong with the Europeans not being an overwhelming majority. Its a shame about the situation with French drivers, but a lot of other European countries don't currently have an F1 driver for various reasons.


Thanks for that... cant add up to save my life.

To make a more nuanced point (and more relevant one IMO) than the slightly objectionable European/non European argument can provide: the "non Europeans" are all from "traditional" F1/motorsport countries (Brazil, Japan and Australia). If we are speaking sensibly, they are "insiders" and not "new comers". The real "new comers" on the grid are VP and RK who are Europeans but who are not from traditonal F1 (or even motorsport) countries....and when we bear in mind that RK grew up in Italy in the years that matter for his development as a racer (and so, whisper it, he really ought to be on an Italian racing licence) .... that's just 1 of 24 who is genuinely from a non-tradition country ... what is all the whinging about??

As for France, these things come in cycles ... there is no structural barrier to a talented Frenchman getting to F1 as there is for say, a Thai or a Cuban or a Russian. Its just a matter of chance that there are no Frenchmen there at the moment.

Edited by jjcale, 03 November 2010 - 11:41.


#48 Peter Perfect

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:47

...

Who is going to replace Jenson Button when he retires in probably one year if not sooner ?

...


Hmmm...why would you say that? Do you think he's old? I've seen him referred to as an old driver before which always left me a bit confused as he's only a year older than Alonso.

The F1 career of your average good driver is probably about 10 years, so the turn-over of established F1 drivers isn't huge. It's the poorer teams that have a higher turn-over and that tends to be linked to how much sponsorship the driver can bring in.

#49 nomeg1

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 10:56

I've read every single posts of this thread, and therefore would like to pint out something.

I am not French. I am French speaking Belgian (who says it's the same, I kill :lol: )
I am not prejudiced at all, it's not part of my vocabulary, my first wife was 1/2 colored, I maried a German, lived in Italy 7 years, in the US also 7 years, and my job is to be diplomatic in all senses, being International Sales Manager.

The purpose of my thread was to say, or ask, why we aren't seeing a sort of linear production of drivers like from France, England, Italy, as it was pretty much the case for years ?

I am also not against other than European pilots to take part to the summum of Auto Sport, I just would like it to be systematically more balanced European >< Non-European. One can beat around the bush saying that this one, or that one is European because he live in Monaco, allow me to laugh.

I am just merely stating that the European governments i.e. the French & the British (as stated someone) don't give a damn about F1, for them it's just a rich sport that can self-sustain, with car making "Vroum" and going around in circle. What they forget here, is that in order to have, and pilots, and tracks, their implemeting this sport as also one that brings money to their country when an event happens (and a lot) is of importance, look at Spa !

I can cheer for a non-European driver as I did for Massa a couple of years ago, and as I do for Webber and Hamilton this year this is not the point.
The point is to know where we are going without "filières" (support) like the ELF, Shell etc. (which is there) knowing that, among others, South-American, Russian are pointing out with support from their government owned petrol, gaz and whatsoever company ? How do the French, the Italian, the British (as eg.) want to be represented, but by one of the most watched sport in the world, througout all continents ?

Somebody made me laugh by saying "More Asian and out of Europe GP, so that I can watch at normal hours" - he had a point there, and my sentence was one of selfishness, I agree. Thanks to put me back into place  ;)

#50 trogggy

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:23

I can cheer for a non-European driver as I did for Massa a couple of years ago, and as I do for Webber and Hamilton this year this is not the point.

Ooops.