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Driver standards in support series


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#1 ali.unal

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:25

I have been watching GP2 and GP3 races lately and I am amazed how drivers make contacts very easily endangering their fellow drivers, especially in Monaco. I don't know whether it has always been the case, but most of these drivers seemed not to know where to yield or where to attack. They are very young, yes, but Hamilton, Rosberg and Kovalainen were also young and I don't remember they were being that reckless. Maldonado is an example of them. He is fast, but he is more prone to accident than any other GP2 graduate. Is it a coincidence or are driver standards going backwards in support series?

Is there a driver out there who is worthy of an F1 seat? I don't follow other support series, therefore I would be very glad if you name one or two (both driver and series) so that I follow them. Who will be "the next big thing" in your opinion?

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#2 HaydenFan

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 22:53

I have been watching GP2 and GP3 races lately and I am amazed how drivers make contacts very easily endangering their fellow drivers, especially in Monaco. I don't know whether it has always been the case, but most of these drivers seemed not to know where to yield or where to attack. They are very young, yes, but Hamilton, Rosberg and Kovalainen were also young and I don't remember they were being that reckless. Maldonado is an example of them. He is fast, but he is more prone to accident than any other GP2 graduate. Is it a coincidence or are driver standards going backwards in support series?

Is there a driver out there who is worthy of an F1 seat? I don't follow other support series, therefore I would be very glad if you name one or two (both driver and series) so that I follow them. Who will be "the next big thing" in your opinion?


I think, so it's just my opinion, but the fight for money is so strong, as well as F1's seemingly drive away from driver development, that the only way to get to F1 is through wins and championships. You end up with over aggressive drivers, who are not condemned, but almost encouraged by their promotions.

Also, with the young drivers seeing some of the idols in F1 making boneheaded moves and not being condemned and punished, can you blame them?

There are plenty of drivers I could recommend. Uh, first is 16 years old Russian, Sergey Sirotkin. While not running away with the championship in what is a lackluster grid, he is only 16, and in his second full season of motor racing.

Any driver driving for Lotus in GP2 and GP3. Daniel Abt, James Calado, Esteban Gutierrez, Conor Daly, and Aaron Vainio cover much of Europe and America in terms of talent, and are getting results. Mark Webbers project, Mitch Evans is getting the job done in GP3. I think even the more experienced drivers are interesting. Stefano Coletti is good. Put him in a top GP2 seat, and he'd more than take wins and challenge for the title. Tom Dillmann was let go be Red Bull going on 4 years now, but still getting results in less than great equipment. Luis Razia has been all over the F1 map in the last few years. Rumored with Caterham, working with Red Bull in the simulator.

http://en.wikipedia....5_Series_season

Take anyone from the top 15 there minus a driver or two and you have guys who could easily make it to F1.

Heck, I think even Josef Newgarden still has a shot. Only 21, can drive those lumps of Dallara around U.S. tracks. Hasn't posted the results, but seeing how the current trend of pushing away from the really young F1 rookies, I think in 2, 3, even 4 years down the road, if he can take 10 wins, a title or two, he could see himself getting a look by F1.

#3 Disgrace

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 23:07

I am struggling to watch GP2 this year, in all honesty. The depth and quality of the field is just abysmal. I personally do not rate either of the championship protagonists. Razia and Valsecchi have already done seven GP2 championships between them, with no notable results against superior fields. Then there is van der Garde and Chilton, who have also done another five between them.

The only driver in that field who excites me is James Calado. Nasr did, but so far isn't delivering. Gutiérrez likewise only gets the best out of himself on occasion.

The importance of budget clearly has something to do with lower standards. GP2 seems to be filled with drivers with more money than sense. Talents like Wickens end up in DTM, opting for the driver program route, and others like Bird and Bianchi have gone to F3.5.

Furthermore, I'd say driving standards are lower in F1 these days too as a result of contemporary circuits and their endless runoff areas. The quality of the field is doubtless better than the early 90s for example, but driving and in particular racing standards are lower. Drivers tend to shove other drivers off the road simply because they can. Moves that otherwise were never on are not given up as quickly, resulting in incidents like the one between Pastor and Lewis in Valencia. Mix that with drivers of lower quality/higher impetuousness and you have fireworks.

Edited by Disgrace, 28 June 2012 - 23:14.


#4 TFLB

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 23:17

There is occasionally some clumsy driving in support series but it's nothing different to what you can see in F1 with Kobayashi, Massa, Hamilton, Maldonado, Vergne and co. Most of the GP2 drivers could do a decent job in F1 I think, as could most FR3.5 drivers. It's unfortunate I think that so many good drivers have had their single seater careers stalled because of lack of funds or lack of openings; Vietoris and Wickens are two that spring to mind.

#5 Cool Beans

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 02:39

I think it might have to do with humility too. Or the lack of it. These days the people with best connections / sponsors get the seats. It might be easy to think you are the centre of the universe when you have a bunch of people, managers etc. around telling you how great you are. So naturally you are entitled to every centimeter of the track. And that F1 seat your family buys you in a few years. That's just how entitled people usually are. :well:

The real question is when will the mid field F1 teams find their balls and stop selling seats to these bozos. Do your damn job and get the sponsors yourselves, lazy bastards.


Edited by beancounter, 29 June 2012 - 02:41.


#6 HaydenFan

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:01

The real question is when will the mid field F1 teams find their balls and stop selling seats to these bozos. Do your damn job and get the sponsors yourselves, lazy bastards.


But that goes back to how'd they make money then? The people in F1, or any major motorsport is in it for the money. And the pay drivers pay for these owners life of luxury, and I doubt Peter Sauber, Frank Williams, Tony Fernandez, or anyone running non-top 6-8 F1 programs will give it up there luxuries and funding their cars out of their pocket.

Edited by HaydenFan, 29 June 2012 - 03:05.


#7 Cool Beans

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:23

But that goes back to how'd they make money then? The people in F1, or any major motorsport is in it for the money. And the pay drivers pay for these owners life of luxury, and I doubt Peter Sauber, Frank Williams, Tony Fernandez, or anyone running non-top 6-8 F1 programs will give it up there luxuries and funding their cars out of their pocket.

Read the sentence right after the bit you bolded. One can dream :yawnface:

#8 Prost1997T

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 21:02

Yeah, the GP2 field is mostly rich kids that have bought rides in motorsport long enough to be half-decent but not really F1 or top-flight standard. FR3.5 and some national F3 series are better as far as driver quality goes. Even then money can rule over talent.

#9 LittleChris

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 22:57

Driving standards have been going downhill since the mid 80's. Martin Brundle, for one, was pretty fortunate to come out of F3 unscathed in 1983 after someone repeatedly tried to run him off the road. That person then continued the same tactics in F1 and set a trend that has continued to this day being amplified by the person who took over his mantle as " the best of all time ". They set the trend and others followed,

Edited by LittleChris, 29 June 2012 - 22:58.


#10 discover23

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 00:33

Kobayashi is the proof that you dont necessarily need to be a top GP2/F3.5 driver to survive in formula 1 . With very little experience and almost 0 testing he jumped in an F1 car and immediately matched Trulli in Toyota. It all depends on the driver and how good he is with adjusting quickly to other cars.

Edited by discover23, 30 June 2012 - 00:33.


#11 Les

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 00:42

It was interesting watching some of the stuff on Sky tonight (they showed some highlights of Brands 64 and Silverstone 50 before I went out for a beer). But anyway no-one in any of those races (apart from Farina apparently) would have tried any of the Hamilton-Maldonado shit as they would have hit a tree or something else nasty. Regarding the standards in GP2 and GP3, shocking! I hope the FIA can find a way to stamp it out as some of the driving has been terrible.

#12 HaydenFan

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 00:46

Kobayashi is the proof that you dont necessarily need to be a top GP2/F3.5 driver to survive in formula 1 . With very little experience and almost 0 testing he jumped in an F1 car and immediately matched Trulli in Toyota. It all depends on the driver and how good he is with adjusting quickly to other cars.


But driver ability aside, Kobayashi also proves the bad side of junior formulas. He didn't post great results in the lower levels of single seater racing, but he took full advantage of his Toyota contract.

I think a better name to describe your opinion is Perez. His 2010 GP2 season was good, but Maldonado beat him pretty handily. And before that 2010 season, he only took 1 championship in Europe (a Brit F3 National Class title), and zero wins in Brit F3 (International Class) and his rookie season of GP2 in his 2 season's afterward. Even before then, he didn't amount much on the results side. And now he seems to be the lead rumor guy to take Massa's seat next year.

#13 aray

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 05:05

junior formulas are fine...F1 is in one of it's most competitive era...plenty of good talents are at the wings waiting for chances....maldo took 5 years to win gp2 title...he may be crash prone,but he is fast...he can correct himself..

#14 Kingshark

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 01:28

The one thing that bugs me about Junior Formula's is that they are so expensive. A Formula BMW season itself can cost some $300,000. That's ridiculous. In any other sport, there's no such thing as paying to play for a team. No rich kid is going to pay FC Barcelona so he can play for them, it doesn't work that way. In any other sport, you know that the ones on top level are truly the best in the world. However, in open-wheel racing 99.999% of all talent gets stuck in karting because they can't afford going up to the next level. It's a rich man's sport. Who knows, there could be hundreds of drivers more talented than Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso who can't get close to racing because they don't have the money to do so.

Edited by Kingshark, 01 July 2012 - 01:29.


#15 midgrid

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 13:10

I think a better name to describe your opinion is Perez. His 2010 GP2 season was good, but Maldonado beat him pretty handily. And before that 2010 season, he only took 1 championship in Europe (a Brit F3 National Class title), and zero wins in Brit F3 (International Class) and his rookie season of GP2 in his 2 season's afterward. Even before then, he didn't amount much on the results side. And now he seems to be the lead rumor guy to take Massa's seat next year.


Pérez actually won four International-class British F3 races in 2008 and led the championship at one point, despite competing with a different (and unfancied) engine to most of the rest of the field.

#16 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:46

$300,000 for formula bmw does not sound dear. The costs for competitive Formula Ford racing are similar are they not?
It would be a similar cost to a gentleman racer or Newey racing a 911 or Ginetta and to have it prepared by a Pro team. Obviously they won't make F1 by racing Porsches!! (although a touring car career might be possible) I imagine it could be done cheaper by the driver spannering the formula bmw or formula ford themselves, racing an old model car etc. it will more difficult to win like that though I guess.

Most of the GP2 drivers could do a decent job in F1 I think, as could most FR3.5 drivers. It's unfortunate I think that so many good drivers have had their single seater careers stalled because of lack of funds or lack of openings; Vietoris and Wickens are two that spring to mind.

I have heard that there are more mediocre drivers in GP2 than usual due to increased costs forcing out the talents to be replaced by the well funded?

Such a shame if true.


Also they say it takes 3 years to learn the Pirrelli f1 spec tyres. But surely better to learn Pirellis in gp2, than to be mediocre in f1 like the toro rosso drivers from fr3.5!?

Edited by V8 Fireworks, 02 July 2012 - 02:47.


#17 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 05:03

No rich kid is going to pay FC Barcelona so he can play for them, it doesn't work that way. In any other sport, you know that the ones on top level are truly the best in the world.

On the other hand it allows FC Barcelona to sign up many many young teenagers from, all over the world, very cheaply, most of which never have a professional football career in the end.

However, in open-wheel racing 99.999% of all talent gets stuck in karting because they can't afford going up to the next level. It's a rich man's sport. Who knows, there could be hundreds of drivers more talented than Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso who can't get close to racing because they don't have the money to do so.

Yep that's motorsport isn't it. No one says it is a title to find the best driver in the world, unlike athletics.


It's more cricket in that the criteria to make f1 (or a national twenty-twenty or test side) or to get kicked out of f1 or to stay in f1 are often quite arbitrary. Sometimes, 4th place in F3 earns an f1 drive, sometimes a dominant F3000 championship win creates no interest whatsoever. Not to mention Alguersuari, so utterly terrible he just had to be kicked out of an f1 team at the last minute (apparently :rolleyes: ) !

Edited by V8 Fireworks, 02 July 2012 - 05:04.


#18 TFLB

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:54

I have heard that there are more mediocre drivers in GP2 than usual due to increased costs forcing out the talents to be replaced by the well funded?

Such a shame if true.

Well yes, there are some who really shouldn't be there, like Serenelli and Teixeira, but the majority are still good drivers. Also I think GP2 is not as good an indicator of talent as it claims to be, because some teams have an advantage and previously some drivers who've reached F1 have either overperformed (Kobayashi) or underperformed (Hulkenberg) compared to their GP2 form.

#19 Kingshark

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 00:16

On the other hand it allows FC Barcelona to sign up many many young teenagers from, all over the world, very cheaply, most of which never have a professional football career in the end.


You've completely missed the point. When you're watching the FIFA World Cup final, you know that you're watching the 22 best football players in the world; because football is a cheap sport which is affordable by almost anyone.

About those teenagers who don't have a professional football career at the end - I guess they weren't good enough. Harsh but true.

Yep that's motorsport isn't it. No one says it is a title to find the best driver in the world, unlike athletics.

It's more cricket in that the criteria to make f1 (or a national twenty-twenty or test side) or to get kicked out of f1 or to stay in f1 are often quite arbitrary. Sometimes, 4th place in F3 earns an f1 drive, sometimes a dominant F3000 championship win creates no interest whatsoever. Not to mention Alguersuari, so utterly terrible he just had to be kicked out of an f1 team at the last minute (apparently :rolleyes: )!


Anyone that makes it up to Formula 3000 is either very rich or a part of a junior development program. The tragedy about Motorsport is that 99.999% of all talented drivers get stuck in karting.

Think about it - Baseball, Basketball, Football, Cycling, Tennis - All these sports are all about talent, money plays virtually no part. No rich kid is going to buy him/her self a seat at Wimbledon or the Champions league final. It's all about how good you are. Could you say the same about Auto Racing?

A young driver as talented as Ayrton Senna could be doing a garage sale to try and generate enough money to buy new tyres for his kart. Meanwhile a talentless hack like Karthikeyan has a seat in F1. It's a tragedy. I like F1, but the sport itself is simply corrupt. No other professional sport is anywhere near as reliant on money as open-wheel racing; talent means so little nowadays.

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#20 Myrvold

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 00:46

Cycling - All these sports are all about talent, money plays virtually no part.


Oh, it costs a lot, but equipment and illegal drugs.

#21 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:57

But driver ability aside, Kobayashi also proves the bad side of junior formulas. He didn't post great results in the lower levels of single seater racing, but he took full advantage of his Toyota contract.

That's also not so fair though, he did match Trulli and that was enough to secure the drive with Sauber. He has continued to look competent at driving f1 cars since then too.

Meanwhile, many of the fine folks in the Indycar series were never too memorable in their f3 or fr3.5 efforts... and yet apparently they know how to squeeze the last 3 tenths out of a street circuit time and time again (or maybe every one else is mediocre too, which I guess is also possible!).

#22 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 12:10

Think about it - Baseball, Basketball, Football, Cycling, Tennis - All these sports are all about talent, money plays virtually no part. No rich kid is going to buy him/her self a seat at Wimbledon or the Champions league final. It's all about how good you are. Could you say the same about Auto Racing?

I'm going to have to disagree slightly.

1. Team sports are different IMO. The concept of playing football only works in the context of a team structure. I don't think that means the best 22 players in the world are in the final, certainly they will be amongst the best, but there are many variables and it is a complex sport a bit like f1. ( A dodgy 88th minute penalty won with a first grade acting performance can see the team out of the round of 16 and eventually onto winning the final after all.... If not for the penalty would they have made it, who knows?... Us Aussies have long memories! ;) )

2. Athletics certainly the best is best. Others like swimming etc... well those millions spent on sports scientists, state of the art computer equipment and laboratories with altitude chambers blah blah, and so on aren't for nothing IMO... the do seem to make some difference in making some countries better than others at various sports. In a way a swimmer training at a multi-million facility with these staff and procedures every day, constantly being measured and tested, finding ways where he/she can shave off a few tenths here or improve a few percent on some aspect to ultimately go and get those world records is a bit like the ongoing development in f1 perhaps?

Anyway I think f1 teams just want a driver who can do the job reasonably well (or stop them from going broke) or preferably both. It is a little bit different scenario to say the NFL really isn't it? In that way GP2 is sufficient, even if some of the world's most skilled are actually down at Thruxton with their rx3, and they do end up overpaying other talents compared to their skill (like Eddie Irvine.....).

Edited by V8 Fireworks, 03 July 2012 - 12:15.


#23 Prost1997T

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 16:00

That's also not so fair though, he did match Trulli and that was enough to secure the drive with Sauber. He has continued to look competent at driving f1 cars since then too.

Meanwhile, many of the fine folks in the Indycar series were never too memorable in their f3 or fr3.5 efforts... and yet apparently they know how to squeeze the last 3 tenths out of a street circuit time and time again (or maybe every one else is mediocre too, which I guess is also possible!).


Ryan Briscoe has the best junior record of the Indycar series drivers but he's been terrible on the road courses this year. You're right that the depth of the Indy field is not as good as other series (I think out of the current drivers, only Franchitti, Power, Dixon, Pagenaud, Hinchcliffe and perhaps Justin Wilson are at a genuinely high level). Ryan Hunter-Reay looks to have improved drastically though.

Edited by Prost1997T, 03 July 2012 - 16:01.