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The 2000-2002 generation of F1 drivers


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#1 noikeee

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:49

With the retirement of Michael Schumacher (aged 43) and the meltdown of HRT, meaning Pedro de la Rosa (41) and Narain Karthikeyan (35) are now both out of a F1 race drive and unlikely to get another one any time soon, the most experienced and oldest drivers at the moment in F1 are the lot that entered the grid in-between the seasons of 2000 and 2002:

- Jenson Button, 32, class of 2000
- Fernando Alonso, 31, class of 2001
- Kimi Räikkönen, 33, class of 2001
- Felipe Massa, 31, class of 2002
- Mark Webber, 36, class of 2002


Remarkably, all 5 drive for top teams (classing Lotus as top team). From the whole grid they are also the only ones on the wrong side of 30 apart from Heikki Kovalainen, 31, also seemingly about to be out of a job soon, and Timo Glock, 30.

These facts lead to a few obvious questions that are the purpose of this thread:

1) The big one - for how much further long can they remain in F1?

Mark Webber seems in pole position for the retirement race being aged 3 years older at least than the rest of the bunch, but still retains a top seat. Questions also always pop up about Kimi's motivation, who has already been retired for a short while and came back. Massa's performance has been intermitent and we've all questioned if he wasn't about to fall from grace, at least from Ferrari if not from F1. Nevertheless all could still easily remain performing at an acceptable level in F1 for many years.

2) How old can a F1 driver be these days anyway?

Schumacher and de la Rosa performing into their 40's would suggest a driver's career can last longer these days, we hadn't seen 40+ drivers for a very long time. Then again Schumacher is a special case being a 7-times champion, and de la Rosa wasn't properly evaluated being against a paydriver in poor machinery. Another argument for experience is just how limited testing is these days, so drivers who have a decade of F1 will have a huge advantage over the youngsters. These days you really need lots of time to figure out F1, look for example at Hulkenberg - a junior series freak superchampion - who only really came good after 1 year in racing, 1 year in free practices and another half a year in racing.

Then again now Schumacher and de la Rosa are gone, the grid for next year now suddenly looks REALLY young. Webber is the only one older than 33! Surely it's not a coincidence only 1 driver out of 22 is older than 33, it means youth is still at a premium in F1 too. Another striking fact is that the 5 drivers bunch we're looking at here, the oldest and more experienced of the grid, is made of 3 champions and 2 near-champions. That's means only the very best of their generation remain, all others have been ditched!

What's up with all of this then? I'm getting conflicting conclusions here. Youth or experience? Perhaps what F1 teams are after the most is drivers who get experience from a young age - hence the reason we're now regularly getting new kids entering at the ages of 20 and 21...

I also wonder how much a part of the game is the sheer pressure people put in over the oldest guy to retire. First everyone was on the back of Trulli pressuring him to leave. Then we moved on to Barrichello. Now it's Webber's turn, the press constantly questioning him. Should we... refrain from opening threads like this :) and let them enjoy their final years in F1 without this pressure?

3) These are 5 top seats we're looking at here.. so 5 top seats up for grabs once they're gone. Who will replace them then?

This is a tough one to answer since I believe apart from Webber it's unlikely our guys will retire soon. The further in the future these replacements happen, the hardest it is to predict them as they could very well be filled by obscure drivers currently in the junior series or even in karting!

However with Alonso, Massa, Button and Kimi all of very similar ages and experience it's not inconcievable they could all retire or leave open their top seats in a short period of time. That's a quick complete revolution at the top of F1 waiting to happen. Whether this happens in 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 years time it could mean 4 new drivers getting their lucky break at almost the same time, and everyone from the new generations will want to be best placed to do that.

Another related, interesting and perhaps even more pertinent question is who becomes a top driver, potential champion then. Other than our lot only Hamilton and Vettel are established as top drivers who no-one else coming close really, but, well, there's always space for more than 2 stars in F1. Even in the glory duels era of Senna and Prost, there was space for Nigel Mansell.

Frankly from the current grid I'm only seeing Hulkenberg with the potential to step up to that level and even then I'm doubtful. There was also Kubica but sadly don't think he's coming back. Some have also mentioned Pérez and Grosjean - who already are at top seats so won't be occupying the new vacant seats at least -, I am not convinced. My guess is someone new will come in. And whilst talent is talent and that can overcome timing, I think whoever enters F1 in 2 to 4 years time will be best placed to peak at the time our bunch of 5 elders says goodbye. Pay attention to people starting their careers at the moment on levels like FRenault 2.0, F3 and GP3 then...

4) Is the present the worst possible time to be peaking as a driver?

In short, yes. That is my opinion at least. Our 5 guys are either at their peak or not too far past it and will remain there for a while yet - and there's Hamilton and Vettel to fight against too. It's hard to think of many drivers that are getting disadvantaged by this situation but the one that comes to my mind is Nico Rosberg. Born in another slightly earlier era he could've had a career along the lines of a Coulthard or a Barrichello, yet with this level of competition he finds himself stuck as a #2 in a team who is unlikely to make it into the top 3 next year. A guy like Timo Glock certainly could've been in a far more competitive team too!

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#2 SenorSjon

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 13:08

Maybe you should add the post 2008 drivers? Those who started their career in 2009 as a test driver? There is no WDC who hadn't had a test seat. Even Raikonnen did more testing than the rest of current day test drivers combined. None of the up and coming have been close to the WDC.

Alonso started in 2001 > WDC 2005 = 4 years
Kimi started in 2001 > Almost WDC 2003 and 2005 = 2/4 years
Vettel started in 2007 > WDC 2010 = 3 years

The 2009 crop doesn't come close to this.

#3 Risil

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 13:53

It's smart to rank drivers according to when they reached F1, not their absolute age. :up:

Christian Horner recently made some positive comments about Webber's 2012 performance, the two Red Bull drivers being evenly matched before Newey got the car performing similarly to the 2011 strangemobile that only Vettel could extract frightening speed from. Webber may be the oldest driver in the field by some distance, but the way he came back into contention after Vettelgeddon strongly suggests that he's still fighting, still at the top of his game.

I'm a bit worried about what the testing ban is doing to post-2009 young drivers, though. We'll get a chance with Perez to see how well a couple of years driving for one of the little teams prepares you for winning world championships.

Alonso started in 2001 > WDC 2005 = 4 years
Kimi started in 2001 > Almost WDC 2003 and 2005 = 2/4 years
Vettel started in 2007 > WDC 2010 = 3 years


Best to remember that in 2009 Jenson Button exploded the myth that in modern F1 it's the first 2-3 seasons that predict your career.

Edited by Risil, 07 January 2013 - 13:58.


#4 Beamer

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 14:17

The ones that didn't survive from that generation:
Luciano Burti
Gastón Mazzacane
Nick Heidfeld
Tomáš Enge
Enrique Bernoldi
Alex Yoong
Juan Pablo Montoya
Allan McNish
Anthony Davidson
Takuma Sato

So I must conclude that natural selection does work in F1 as well. The ones that survided, really are the best from their generation, with perhaps JPM as the odd one out.

The others that we've lost over the years are (if i'm not mistaken):

Ralph Firman 2003-
Nicolas Kiesa 2003-
Justin Wilson 2003-
Zsolt Baumgartner 2003–2004
Cristiano da Matta 2003–2004
Antônio Pizzonia 2003–2005
Gianmaria Bruni 2004-
Giorgio Pantano 2004-
Christian Klien 2004–2006, 2010
Patrick Friesacher 2005-
Narain Karthikeyan* 2005, 2011-2012
Robert Doornbos 2005–2006
Tiago Monteiro 2005–2006
Christijan Albers 2005–2007
Vitantonio Liuzzi 2005–2007, 2009–2011
Yuji Ide 2006-
Franck Montagny 2006-
Scott Speed 2006–2007
Sakon Yamamoto 2006–2007, 2010
Robert Kubica 2006–2010 (not lost forever I hope!)
Markus Winkelhock 2007-
Kazuki Nakajima 2007–2009
Adrian Sutil 2007–2011
Heikki Kovalainen* 2007–2012
Sébastien Bourdais 2008–2009
Nelson Piquet, Jr. 2008–2009
Jaime Alguersuari 2009–2011
Sébastien Buemi 2009–2011
Kamui Kobayashi* 2009–2012
Lucas di Grassi 2010-
Karun Chandhok 2010-2011




#5 Risil

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 14:21

Whatever happened to old Rob Doorknobs?

#6 Beamer

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 14:29

Whatever happened to old Rob Doorknobs?


He kind a lost it somehow.... Went to the US, had a good run in CampCar's, changed his name into 'Bobby D' :confused: lost all sponsoring and raceseats and ended up with a lawsuit from his sponsor for embezzlement of money....

#7 Risil

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 14:33

He kind a lost it somehow.... Went to the US, had a good run in CampCar's, changed his name into 'Bobby D' :confused: lost all sponsoring and raceseats and ended up with a lawsuit from his sponsor for embezzlement of money....


After his promising year in Champ Car's reset season in 2007, it's hard to tell what happened. There's a good F1 Rejects article to be written about him, I reckon.

Actually, didn't he do some Superleague Formula (what the hell was the point of Superleague Formula) before that closed down? Guess you could call Bobby D "Mr DP01".

Edited by Risil, 07 January 2013 - 14:36.


#8 Skinnyguy

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:38

changed his name into 'Bobby D' and lost all sponsoring


That was a predictable outcome :lol:

#9 Jimisgod

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:58

The ones that didn't survive from that generation:
Luciano Burti
Gastón Mazzacane
Nick Heidfeld
Tomáš Enge
Enrique Bernoldi
Alex Yoong
Juan Pablo Montoya
Allan McNish
Anthony Davidson
Takuma Sato

So I must conclude that natural selection does work in F1 as well. The ones that survided, really are the best from their generation, with perhaps JPM as the odd one out.

The others that we've lost over the years are (if i'm not mistaken):

Ralph Firman 2003-
Nicolas Kiesa 2003-
Justin Wilson 2003-
Zsolt Baumgartner 2003–2004
Cristiano da Matta 2003–2004
Antônio Pizzonia 2003–2005
Gianmaria Bruni 2004-
Giorgio Pantano 2004-
Christian Klien 2004–2006, 2010
Patrick Friesacher 2005-
Narain Karthikeyan* 2005, 2011-2012
Robert Doornbos 2005–2006
Tiago Monteiro 2005–2006
Christijan Albers 2005–2007
Vitantonio Liuzzi 2005–2007, 2009–2011
Yuji Ide 2006-
Franck Montagny 2006-
Scott Speed 2006–2007
Sakon Yamamoto 2006–2007, 2010
Robert Kubica 2006–2010 (not lost forever I hope!)
Markus Winkelhock 2007-
Kazuki Nakajima 2007–2009
Adrian Sutil 2007–2011
Heikki Kovalainen* 2007–2012
Sébastien Bourdais 2008–2009
Nelson Piquet, Jr. 2008–2009
Jaime Alguersuari 2009–2011
Sébastien Buemi 2009–2011
Kamui Kobayashi* 2009–2012
Lucas di Grassi 2010-
Karun Chandhok 2010-2011


Nick Heidfeld
Takuma Sato
Juan Pablo Montoya
Robert Kubica
Heikki Kovalainen

Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Kamui Kobayashi
Giorgio Pantano

They are the only ones to score a podium out of that group. 3 are winners and two others are handy steerers. JPM would likely still be there had he not lost his mind at McLaren, and Kubica hurt himself at a time when there was little doubt he was a potential WDC.

Piquet Jnr. is an anomaly because of the terrible SC rules that they had in 2008. Sato had a very capable car in 2004, also.

And Pantano :lol:

Edited by Jimisgod, 07 January 2013 - 16:01.


#10 Risil

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 16:02

You forgot Tiago Monteiro. ;)

#11 Ragingjamaican

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 16:38

Nick Heidfeld
Takuma Sato
Juan Pablo Montoya
Robert Kubica
Heikki Kovalainen

Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Kamui Kobayashi
Giorgio Pantano

They are the only ones to score a podium out of that group. 3 are winners and two others are handy steerers. JPM would likely still be there had he not lost his mind at McLaren, and Kubica hurt himself at a time when there was little doubt he was a potential WDC.

Piquet Jnr. is an anomaly because of the terrible SC rules that they had in 2008. Sato had a very capable car in 2004, also.

And Pantano :lol:


Actually everyone of them apart from Pantano scored a podium.


#12 sopa

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 17:50

Interesting to note that all five "oldies" are in top teams. Reminds me that the 2007 five "oldies" of Trulli, Ralf S., Coulthard, Barrichello, Fisichella were all already stuck in midfield teams with careers going downward spiral.

But the top team stuff reminds me a bit of early 1990's, when also top teams were filled with very experienced drivers, who were closing on retirement. Prost, Mansell and Patrese were all above 35. Berger and Senna above 30 as well. The new generation was yet to arise. The difference with those days is that none of the younger drivers had established themselves in the way Vettel and Hamilton currently have. Closest were perhaps Alesi, who had been hired by a top team Ferrari, and Schumacher, who finished third in 1992. And Hakkinen was kinda current Hulkenberg. Impressive young midfielder.:p

But yeah, it will certainly be interesting to see, how will the competition look like in five years time. From that point of view it looks really-really good for Vettel to carry on at the top, keep the momentum and rack up statistics. Though you never know, he could do what Schumacher did after 1995, change teams, and keep going title-less. Like Schumacher was considered to be in supreme situation in 1995 with all the old guard having disappeared (and Hill getting on a bit as well), but he went to Ferrari and remained title-less for 4 years.

Will see if Hamilton can regain momentum later in his career and become a title contender again. Button and Alonso may still be around, but in 5 years time we really should have a few new top drivers.

#13 garoidb

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 18:14

Good OP. I think there is a genuine possibility of both Massa and Webber vacating top seats at the end of the year (to retire or to go to the midfield). I think Alonso and Button will stay for a while yet (three or four more years), and I have no idea about Kimi. I don't see any of them carrying on to 40 though.

It seems very young for Felipe to retire, but he has had a lot of F1 seasons, and more at Ferrari than anyone but Schumacher. I would certainly call a decade a decent shot at F1.

Another striking thing, to me, about the list is the absence of Juan Pablo Montoya who might once have been expected to be the defining driver of the generation. Now he is a midfielder in NASCAR. Kimi had his two year vacation, and Alonso has also had his wilderness years.

Vettel and Hamilton will provide an overlap with any new generation, so there will be no sudden absence of WDCs a la 1994.



#14 caso

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 19:36

Michael Schumacher proved that a driver in his late thirties can still be competitive. He won his last championship at the age of 35 (almost 36 since he was born in january) and retired two years later as runner-up. During his 'second' career he was convincingly beaten by a teammate most regard as very good but not outstanding. In 2010, the year of his return to F1, Schumacher was 41 years old. The question is Was this decline in performance purely down to age? In my opinion the three years of absence make an evaluation of his whole career very difficult. When someone passes his/her peak I would expect a slow decay in performance, not the collapse we witnessed from 2010 onwards. Don't get me wrong, I like Schumacher and was always of the opinion that he should race as long as he wants to. I am just not convinced that his results between 2010 and 2012 reflect his achievement potential at that age. Did his performance decrease due to age? It seems very likely. Would he have achieved the same results he did after his comeback if he had stayed in formula 1? It is possible but I don't think so. Age is only one factor.


#15 F1Champion

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 19:47

I dunno, I get the feeling that drivers today can easily walk away from F1 because its not the be all and end for them but the big thing is the lack of testing. Drivers just show for races and for simulation work. This has extended the career of drivers. Bring back testing, races and simulation and after a few years a couple more might be happy to leave. Alot of drivers also spend a lot of time in the top seats starting alot younger than others. Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel might decide that the pressure and being in the spot light is leading to burn out.

But who knows?

#16 garoidb

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 19:50

Michael Schumacher proved that a driver in his late thirties can still be competitive. He won his last championship at the age of 35 (almost 36 since he was born in january) and retired two years later as runner-up.


Well, he was 35 throughout the 2004 season, so that is the relevant age. Likewise, he was 37 throughout 2006. Beyond that age, we can't really say how age affected him as there is the three year lay-off and the motorbike accident to consider. It has to be remembered that he was pushed out (of Ferrari), and that is what will happen to some of the current drivers if they try to stay on too long. Not so much a dimunition of skill, but the imperative to grab the next new talent with a whole career in front of him rather than an aging driver with just a few more seasons in him (and who might retire whenever he feels like it). I don't think they will go on much (if any) longer than Schumacher's first career.

#17 SpartanChas

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 19:57

I hope button and alonso stick around for a while yet. Both have shown in the last year that they're as good as ever. Really depends on whether their teams want younger drivers to replace them. Alonso already said he won't drive for anyone but ferrari now so they might not offer him another contract if, say, vettel is available.

#18 LiJu914

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 20:18

During his 'second' career he was convincingly beaten by a teammate most regard as very good but not outstanding. In 2010, the year of his return to F1, Schumacher was 41 years old. The question is Was this decline in performance purely down to age?


Well, i think we would have to estimate first to which extent his performances declined. It´s difficult to say as it´s still unclear how good Rosberg exactly is - which is surely an important question for that matter. Maybe the next year will help in that regard, when Hamilton joins him (even though it´s always tricky to compare different seasons as cars&tyres will change again, which can often have an either positive or negative impact on the drivers´ performances) . Furthermore i might add, that your portrayal of 2010-2012 isn´t really accurate. Rosberg beat MSC convincingly in 2010. In 2011 Rosberg only upheld a significant qualifying advantage, but wasn´t better in the races - and in 2012 even that advantage in qualifying was gone.

But in general i think, each driver has his own "date of expiry". E.g. Jarno Trulli, who gave ALO a good run for his money (still the only driver to outscore him in a season) earlier, had problems to keep up with Kovalainen already in his mid/late 30s (even though it doesn´t mean, that this was completely due to his age), while other looked still well in shape at that age.

Edited by LiJu914, 07 January 2013 - 20:27.


#19 scheivlak

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 22:23

The others that we've lost over the years are (if i'm not mistaken):

Ralph Firman 2003-
Nicolas Kiesa 2003-
Justin Wilson 2003-
Zsolt Baumgartner 2003–2004
Cristiano da Matta 2003–2004
Antônio Pizzonia 2003–2005
Gianmaria Bruni 2004-
Giorgio Pantano 2004-
Christian Klien 2004–2006, 2010
Patrick Friesacher 2005-
Narain Karthikeyan* 2005, 2011-2012
Robert Doornbos 2005–2006
Tiago Monteiro 2005–2006
Christijan Albers 2005–2007
Vitantonio Liuzzi 2005–2007, 2009–2011
Yuji Ide 2006-
Franck Montagny 2006-
Scott Speed 2006–2007
Sakon Yamamoto 2006–2007, 2010
Robert Kubica 2006–2010 (not lost forever I hope!)
Markus Winkelhock 2007-
Kazuki Nakajima 2007–2009
Adrian Sutil 2007–2011
Heikki Kovalainen* 2007–2012
Sébastien Bourdais 2008–2009
Nelson Piquet, Jr. 2008–2009
Jaime Alguersuari 2009–2011
Sébastien Buemi 2009–2011
Kamui Kobayashi* 2009–2012
Lucas di Grassi 2010-
Karun Chandhok 2010-2011

Interesting list - from 2002 onwards we had to wait until Robert emerged somewhere deep in the 2006 season to see another winner or even a podium finisher.

One funny thing about that I remember all too well is how the Jacques Villeneuve fanclub tried to question his ability back then in 2006 - even suggesting that BMW chose him just to sell more cars in Poland or because as a Pole he was some kind of crypto German anyway :D

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#20 Kyo

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 22:25

I believe most drivers have their peaks in the yearly 30s and then, after the mid 30s they start to loose performance. But obviously, this varies from driver to driver.

#21 Kingshark

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 22:29

Nick Heidfeld
Takuma Sato
Juan Pablo Montoya
Robert Kubica
Heikki Kovalainen

Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Kamui Kobayashi
Giorgio Pantano Tiago Monteiro

They are the only ones to score a podium out of that group. 3 are winners and two others are handy steerers. JPM would likely still be there had he not lost his mind at McLaren, and Kubica hurt himself at a time when there was little doubt he was a potential WDC.

Piquet Jnr. is an anomaly because of the terrible SC rules that they had in 2008. Sato had a very capable car in 2004, also.

And Pantano Monteiro. :lol:

Fixed. ;)

#22 Jimisgod

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 23:24

You forgot Tiago Monteiro.;)


Oops, I mean't Montiero. Pantano, Monteiro, same thing.

Actually everyone of them apart from Pantano scored a podium.


The ones in bold won races.

Edited by Jimisgod, 07 January 2013 - 23:25.


#23 Ragingjamaican

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 23:31

Putting Pantano confused me :drunk:

#24 Wingcommander

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:48

Great OP :up: Enjoyed reading it even if i have really nothing to say about the topic.

#25 aditya-now

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:29

Then again now Schumacher and de la Rosa are gone, the grid for next year now suddenly looks REALLY young. Webber is the only one older than 33! Surely it's not a coincidence only 1 driver out of 22 is older than 33, it means youth is still at a premium in F1 too. Another striking fact is that the 5 drivers bunch we're looking at here, the oldest and more experienced of the grid, is made of 3 champions and 2 near-champions. That's means only the very best of their generation remain, all others have been ditched!


High quality OP - greetings to Madeira!

What strikes me is the relative youth of the 2013 grid - I have not calculated it, but it could be one of the youngest grids in history.

#26 Group B

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 13:00

Most drivers have peaked by 30 -32 and almost all are in decline by 35, so to retain a seat much beyond that age you've either got to be either very good, have lots of cash, or have lots of experience to offer a lower end team. Michael was already a little past his best when he first retired and clearly well past it as a 40yo+ returnee; I certainly can't see many other 40 year olds getting drives any time soon. Webber may hang around for a year or two yet as he's wearing pretty well, but my guess is he'll be gone by 2016, while Button and Kimi may choose to retire gracefully in 3 or 4 years time.

#27 SenorSjon

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 15:18

I guess the lack of progress demotivated Schumacher a bit and he didn't see a future with 2013 as another stop-gap year before major rule changes. I saw a season review last week and at the start he was near the front of the grid, ahead of Rosberg.

But I worry about the post 2008 crop. It has been a long time ago when there were no clear winners among drivers getting into their 4th year. Conservative driver choices by teams plays a part as well. The 'regulars' need every km they can get in the car.

#28 taran

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 15:52

I´d like to add a factor which haven´t been considered yet.

In the past twenty years, testing was a major part of a driver´s job until the in-season test ban. Teams established seperate test teams and spent countless hours pounding around test tracks. Especially the richer top teams employing the stars of the moment. And most of them got burnt out by it. Even Senna complained about it at times.

For a driver, the thrill of a race weekend will likely always provide motivation. But to go testing takes a different mindset which seems to diminish as age takes over....with more testing, I think we´d see more drivers retire sooner...

#29 beqa16v

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 16:39

All five drivers listed by the original poster to me represent the last generation of drivers brought to F1 for pure talent, not money and business interests. Currently we have all pay drivers or ones who were nurtured by their respective teams since childhood. Early 30s is a peak for an F1 driver and the fact that only five best are left from 2000-2002 generation clearly indicates the shift in priorities from talent to money for F1 teams.

#30 Risil

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 17:00

All five drivers listed by the original poster to me represent the last generation of drivers brought to F1 for pure talent, not money and business interests. Currently we have all pay drivers or ones who were nurtured by their respective teams since childhood. Early 30s is a peak for an F1 driver and the fact that only five best are left from 2000-2002 generation clearly indicates the shift in priorities from talent to money for F1 teams.


I respect your articles of faith.

But please answer this backward and faithless sceptic these questions:

Why do you say that a driver "nurtured by their respective tea[m] since childhood" has been brought to F1 on money and business interests?

Who nurtured and brought Sebastian Vettel to F1, Red Bull or BMW?

Which combination of interests explains the successful entrance into F1 of Rosberg, Kubica and Hulkenburg? Or did they get in on ability? (I'll accept that Nico's path was smoothed by his father's knowledge of the racing biz, as a driver and team owner. But you'll surely allow that nepotism's been in motorsport since before 2003.)

Edited by Risil, 08 January 2013 - 17:01.


#31 garoidb

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 17:46

I´d like to add a factor which haven´t been considered yet.

In the past twenty years, testing was a major part of a driver´s job until the in-season test ban. Teams established seperate test teams and spent countless hours pounding around test tracks. Especially the richer top teams employing the stars of the moment. And most of them got burnt out by it. Even Senna complained about it at times.

For a driver, the thrill of a race weekend will likely always provide motivation. But to go testing takes a different mindset which seems to diminish as age takes over....with more testing, I think we´d see more drivers retire sooner...


Related to this, the lack of testing limits the opportunity for new drivers to gain valuable experience and compete more strongly for the available (or not thought to be available) drives. Hence, there is a premium on experience (up to a point).

#32 garoidb

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 18:05

But I worry about the post 2008 crop. It has been a long time ago when there were no clear winners among drivers getting into their 4th year. Conservative driver choices by teams plays a part as well. The 'regulars' need every km they can get in the car.


The most promising of the post 2008 crop are probably Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Perez, perhaps DiResta and Maldonado. Any others I have forgotten? Even though Maldonado has broken his duck, I take the point that none of these have become prolific winners. However, their careers are moving forward and Grosjean and Perez are in top teams for 2013, and hopefully Williams will do well too.