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Webber: Quality of the Formula 1 grid is dropping [merged topic]


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#1 Gorma

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 12:52

http://www.autosport...t.php/id/109185

I think Webber is full of it. It is quite easy to look back, but it is quite another thing to look in the future and predict how drivers will fare. First of all there has been a generation change in formula 1. Drivers are much younger. When Mark Webber started Häkkinen, Schumacher, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Panis, Irvine, Barrichello and McNish were in their thirties. All were seasoned veterans. He is just forgetting all of these Alex Yoongs, Enrique Bernoldis, Gaston Mazzacanes, Tarso Marques' and Luciano Burtis that we had seen in the previous years.

edit. I made a mess of the title. Could someone correct it?

Edited by SophieB, 05 August 2013 - 13:52.


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#2 JHSingo

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 12:54

So, do you agree with Webber's assessment that the quality of the F1 grid is dropping?

http://www.autosport...t.php/id/109185

I have to say that I'm rather inclined to agree.

The loss of several manufacturers, including BMW, Honda, Toyota and Renault is really to blame in my opinion.



#3 kosmos

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 12:57

He is right in one thing.

"[Now] there are a lot of talented guys out there, but a lot are slipping through the net unfortunately. That's a sad state.



#4 tmzxaar

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:07

Yep very few drivers on the grid who won championships before coming to f1

Edited by tmzxaar, 05 August 2013 - 13:17.


#5 Sakae

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:17

I am failing to see correlation between the option - there are too many pay drivers, and quality of the F1 racing has decreased due to drivers who are participating. Enlighten me, great one, please.

#6 Winter98

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:18

He is right in one thing.


There has always been a very limited number of seats available in F1, so hasn't that always been the case?

#7 JonathanProc

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:21

There has always been a very limited number of seats available in F1, so hasn't that always been the case?


He's referring to the fact that many seats are being taken up by pay drivers now, so a lot more of the talent is being missed.

#8 F1ultimate

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:21

There has always been a very limited number of seats available in F1, so hasn't that always been the case?


It has always been the case but the situation today is even more dire. Success in feeder series no longer guarantees an F1 seat. However lack of sponsorship money can also be blamed. Very few teams have big sponsor names on their cars which forces teams to choose drivers with money or drivers with talent. Only Mclaren, Ferrari and Mercedes have the budgets to take on drivers with little or no finance backing.

#9 Skinnyguy

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:22

I am failing to see correlation between the option - there are too many pay drivers, and quality of the F1 racing has decreased due to drivers who are participating. Enlighten me, great one, please.


Same here. Bianchi might pay and still be talented.

I think the grid is better than let´s say 10 years ago. We have 4 total superstars, a nice group of excellent drivers in their tail like Rosberg, Button and Webber himself. Some other promising drivers like Hulkenberg or Bianchi. It´s good stuff.

#10 undersquare

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:23

I am failing to see correlation between the option - there are too many pay drivers, and quality of the F1 racing has decreased due to drivers who are participating. Enlighten me, great one, please.

The concept is that skill is what we enjoy watching.

#11 Sakae

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:25

Despite my history with the sport, I know very little (on systematic bases) about drivers who are usually below P8, little more about 4 - 8, and very centered on first four. In content, that's information overload. I would not be able to speak about anyone's perceived potential past top contenders; maybe Webber can, despite that I do not know where he finds time for in-depth analyses.

Edited by Sakae, 05 August 2013 - 13:25.


#12 Brandz07

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:26

Yep very few drivers on the grid who won championships before coming to f1


There's only a few who haven't won a championship:

- Webber
- Chilton
- Pic

Edited by Brandz07, 05 August 2013 - 13:27.


#13 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:26

Lot of tobacco and manufacturer money 10 years ago. That paid for people to go racing. *shrug*

#14 Sakae

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:29

The concept is that skill is what we enjoy watching.

Yeah, sometimes I think big show of skills would be to finish the race on the same lap, never mind shining at that feat. Take Caterham boys, and put them into McLaren, and lets see how the compare to current drivers.

#15 BoschKurve

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:32

I don't think Webber is wrong on this.

One of the things that hurts F1 these days are the lack of teams. Where we once had 14-15 teams with the lower ones obviously fighting to get through pre-qualifying, we now have 11, possibly 10 for 2014. Less seats means less chance for drivers to get onto the grid to show off their ability...or lack of it. Even the in-season testing ban does a lot to minimize exposure for drivers. Sure there is the young driver test, but that's nowhere close to the days of unlimited testing. Certainly guys who looked good in testing did not always amount to anything in real races if they received an opportunity, but there are less chances overall due to the environment.

Also, pay drivers have always been on the grid. People need to stop acting like the pay driver is somehow a new occurrence that was never seen in F1 prior to the past few seasons. They've always been there if anyone cared to look hard enough.

#16 Neophiliac

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:41

I don't think Webber is wrong on this.

One of the things that hurts F1 these days are the lack of teams. Where we once had 14-15 teams with the lower ones obviously fighting to get through pre-qualifying, we now have 11, possibly 10 for 2014. Less seats means less chance for drivers to get onto the grid to show off their ability...or lack of it. Even the in-season testing ban does a lot to minimize exposure for drivers. Sure there is the young driver test, but that's nowhere close to the days of unlimited testing. Certainly guys who looked good in testing did not always amount to anything in real races if they received an opportunity, but there are less chances overall due to the environment.

Also, pay drivers have always been on the grid. People need to stop acting like the pay driver is somehow a new occurrence that was never seen in F1 prior to the past few seasons. They've always been there if anyone cared to look hard enough.


Sponsorship money doesn't just go to anyone who applies - there is obviously a competition there as well, one that is at least partially dictated by talent. Alonso brings Santander with him, but no one considers this a mark against him. And even Alonso aside, it's very difficult to draw sharp lines between someone who would have been in F1 with or without sponsor money and those who are there only because there is a thick wallet behind them. Mark is talking out of his arse on this one.

#17 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:41

I am failing to see correlation between the option - there are too many pay drivers, and quality of the F1 racing has decreased due to drivers who are participating. Enlighten me, great one, please.

In the "ideal" F1 you have $150m+/season works team all the way down to P20. Unfortunately for Bernie the likes of BMW, Honda, Toyota, Jaguar etc get annoyed when they finish races in 16th place and then they go away...

+ve The racing was closer, in some ways,
-ve Big dollars works team COULD NOT attract tier one drivers. Not good for a Toyota or BMW if they cannot get a Raikkonen or Alonso to put pen to paper, and must persist with arguably "lesser" drivers such as Heidfeld or Trulli in at least one of their seats.

#18 HaydenFan

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:44

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Haven't we discussed this 99 times already? Do we need to discuss this for a hundredth time?

Mark just wants to remain relevant. I like the guy, but just shut up. Don't go out like this. "The talent was better when I first came in than when I left," So that leads people to believe that you where only good when the driving pool in F1 tanked. Is that a legacy you want to leave Mark Webber?

F1 had it's peaks though. Tobacco money ran the 70's-early 2000's of really all motorsport. Marlboro practically printing money for the motorsport industry. And after that the automakers ran the economy until it tanked and they needed to focus their money away from 100+ million dollar advertising budgets in F1. And now we are complaining about people not getting a chance, and those with connections (i.e. money) getting a chance, about teams folding, teams opening, and not realizing after so many different threads that it's just a natural part of the sport.

#19 tmzxaar

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 13:44

There's only a few who haven't won a championship:

- Webber
- Chilton
- Pic


:up: I was wrong, thanks for the info!

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#20 SophieB

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 14:00

Apologies - in my merging of the two threads, I managed to lose the poll that was in the second thread opened on this topic.

JHSingo, if you want, let me know what the poll question was and I'll add it to the opening post, but I can't restore the answers. I think the question was something like 'Do you agree with Mark Webber that the quality of the F1 grid is dropping?'


#21 SealTheDiffuser

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 14:58

haha, 99% of the grid today is faster than Coulthard ever was.

Edited by SealTheDiffuser, 05 August 2013 - 14:58.


#22 midgrid

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:03

I disagree with Webber's assertion that the overall quality of the field is worse now than in 2002.

However, he is right about the sport becoming increasingly dominated by pay drivers. The difference is that ten years ago, only the slowest drivers in the backmarker private teams paid for their seats, whereas now even talented drivers such as Pérez, Maldonado and Grosjean are bringing sponsorship backing, due to the decline in salaried manufacturer seats and the usually healthy sponsorship portfolios possessed by the midfield teams.

#23 midgrid

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:09

Another important point to make is that in 2002, Raikkonen and Button were yet to win championships, and these two and Trulli, Fisichella, Massa and Webber were yet to win races, making the field appear stronger in retrospect. If, say, Ricciardo becomes a future champion with Red Bull and Bianchi with Ferrari, and Grosjean, Pérez and Hulkenberg all win races in the next few seasons, then this year's line-up will also look significantly stronger when Di Resta or whoever makes a similar complaint in ten years' time. :p

#24 Taxi

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:10

When did Webber started? 2002? So you had Schumacher and a very young inexperienced Kimi. Basicaly. All the others were good but not quite there. Now you have 4 superdrivers. And 3 or 4 excelent ones [Button, Webber, Hulk, Rosberg, Mass and Gros on their day,]. I say field is better now.

#25 fisssssi

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:22

haha, 99% of the grid today is faster than Coulthard ever was.

What two number did you divide to end up with 99%?

#26 PorcupineTroy

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:25

I would say that the 2013 grid is weaker than what we've had for the last few years, but compared to 2002? Mark, have you forgotten that Malaysian fellow you used to partner at Minardi?

#27 TheManAlive

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:26

9 race winners currently running vs 13 in 2002. The point that some of them will go on to win races is valid though.

In terms of drivers that probably shouldn't be on the gird, 2002 had IMHO 2 (Bernoldi and Yoong). Todays grid has 3 (Chilton, Gutierrez and Van de Garde).

But the quality at the top is much better now - Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Kimi and Button are all top level drivers still driving very well. In 2002 there was Schumacher, Kimi and Montoya.



But to be honest, its all relative and very hard to judge. From my perspective the biggest issue making life hard for newcomers isn't pay drivers, rather its the length of the careers the top level drivers are now enjoying, making it hard for midfielders to move up to a big team and for newcomers to move to the midfield. The only new drivers to break into the top teams in the last 5 years (if memory serves me correctly) are Grosjean, Kovalinen and Perez.

#28 Nemo1965

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:27


The field now is better than 12 years ago (and you wouldn't believe how much better than 20 years ago).

In 2002, during Webbers debut these were the drivers:

Montoya, Raikkonen, Irvine, Webber, Salo, Yoong, De la Rosa, Coulthard, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Bernoldi, Sato, Trulli, Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher, Michael Schumacher, Fisichella, Massa, Heidfeld, Button, Panis, McNish

McNish, Bernoldi, Yoong: they were not better than Guido van der Garde, now together with Max Chilton considered the weakest driver of the field (and probably one of the pay-drivers Webber was targeting with his remarks). At least Guido won a major feeder on his way to F1 (Renault 3.5 and he won a couple of GP2 races).

Ralf Schumacher, De le Rosa, Irvine, Fisichella? Button, Rosberg, Sutil, are much better drivers, and just as good as Montoya (probably better).

Michael Schumacher? Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel are just as good.

My view: the field is much stronger today.




#29 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:32

Sutil is better than Montoya and Ralf Schumacher? What the ****?

#30 TT6

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:33

Somekind of a dejavu here. Whenever an old fart leaves F1 there's a tendency to belittle the youngsters. Some old farts never seem to stop this, for example certain Villeneuve still seems to consider Räikkönen as non deserving youngster.

#31 rhukkas

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:40

Webber works with a feew young drivers so he is fully aware of the financial difficulties facing the sport.

Go and get a quote for a season of KF3 racing in Europe for a 13 year old... might open your eyes a bit to how silly this 'sport' has become.

#32 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:42

2002								 2013
 1. Rubens Barrichello				1. Sebastian Vettel
 2. Michael Schumacher				2. Mark Webber
 3. Ralf Schumacher				   3. Lewis Hamilton
 4. David Coulthard				   4. Felipe Massa
 5. Kimi Raikkonen					5. Fernando Alonso
 6. Juan Pablo Montoya				6. Nico Rosberg
 7. Jarno Trulli					  7. Kimi Raikkonen
 8. Giancarlo Fisichella			  8. Romain Grosjean
 9. Felipe Massa					  9. Paul di Resta
10. Nick Heidfeld					10. Jenson Button
11. Jenson Button					11. Nico Hulkenberg
12. Olivier Panis					12. Adrian Sutil
13. Jacques Villeneuve			   13. Jean-Eric Vergne
14. Mika Salo						14. Daniel Ricciardo
15. Heinz-Harald Frentzen			15. Sergio Perez
16. Allan McNish					 16. Valtteri Bottas
17. Enrique Bernoldi				 17. Pastor Maldonado
18. Mark Webber					  18. Esteban Gutierrez
19. Eddie Irvine					 19. Jules Bianchi
20. Pedro de la Rosa				 20. Max Chilton
21. Alex Yoong					   21. Giedo van der Garde
22. Takuma Sato					  22. Charles Pic

I don't think there's a massive difference. 2 or 3 drivers that shouldn't be there in both line ups. Alex Yoong was one of the worst F1 drivers of all time.

#33 undersquare

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:44

Yeah, sometimes I think big show of skills would be to finish the race on the same lap, never mind shining at that feat. Take Caterham boys, and put them into McLaren, and lets see how the compare to current drivers.

Pay drivers have always been a mystery to me. Teams have to be paid to put them in the car, because they're not very good...who does that help?? Maldonado crashing a lot and being tonked (in due course) by a Finn, what does that achieve for Venezuela? :confused:

Dad paying for Chilton I can sort of understand, as a family thing.

#34 Gorma

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:47

F1 was built around pay drivers. That is nothing new.

When it comes to quality... I think we now have six WDCs and nine GP winners on the grid of which 8 have multiple wins. In 2002 we had two champions and seven GP winners of which five had multiple wins.

#35 tmzxaar

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:48

Sutil is better than Montoya and Ralf Schumacher? What the ****?

Was thinking exactly the same...

#36 race addicted

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:48

haha, 99% of the grid today is faster than Coulthard ever was.


Smart comment. Comment more.

#37 Lennat

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:50

Let's see...

In 2002 we had only Schumi and Villeneuve who were proven champions. Than we had many solid and/or promising drivers such as Ralf, Montoya, Fisi, Irvine, Panis, Trulli, Alonso, Button and so on. As far as I can tell only Bernoldi and Young were obviously undeserving of their seats.

In 2013 we have three super drivers in Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton, many very good ones (who would be WDC contenders in the right car with a mediocre team mate) such as Rosberg, Webber, Button, Kimi (in MY opinion, feel free to disagree :)), and some descent but not proven to be potential WDC contenders such as Sutil, The Hulk, Ricciardo, Vergne, Perez, Maldonado, Bottas, Bianchi and so on. The ones who arguably do not deserve a place in F1 on merit is (IN MY VIEW) are Chilton and van der Garde.

Sure, some descent drivers are left without a seat due to lacking funds, but have we really lost out on much my not having Trulli, Heidfeld and Kova in F1? I'd rather see promising young drivers get a chance, and even someone like Gutiérrez who without doubt is a pay driver still won the GP3 championship and finished third in GP2 last year. And guys like Maldonado and Grosjean have plenty of talent even if they of course ain't as good as Vettel. There are A LOT of drivers around, and some are going to lose out no matter what.

#38 Gorma

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:50

Pay drivers have always been a mystery to me. Teams have to be paid to put them in the car, because they're not very good...who does that help?? Maldonado crashing a lot and being tonked (in due course) by a Finn, what does that achieve for Venezuela? :confused:

Dad paying for Chilton I can sort of understand, as a family thing.

Maldonado is a GP winner. That is not an easy feat for anyone. Williams was no means fastest car by far. Pastor kept off Fernando and Kimi.

#39 Lennat

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:51

2002								 2013
 1. Rubens Barrichello				1. Sebastian Vettel
 2. Michael Schumacher				2. Mark Webber
 3. Ralf Schumacher				   3. Lewis Hamilton
 4. David Coulthard				   4. Felipe Massa
 5. Kimi Raikkonen					5. Fernando Alonso
 6. Juan Pablo Montoya				6. Nico Rosberg
 7. Jarno Trulli					  7. Kimi Raikkonen
 8. Giancarlo Fisichella			  8. Romain Grosjean
 9. Felipe Massa					  9. Paul di Resta
10. Nick Heidfeld					10. Jenson Button
11. Jenson Button					11. Nico Hulkenberg
12. Olivier Panis					12. Adrian Sutil
13. Jacques Villeneuve			   13. Jean-Eric Vergne
14. Mika Salo						14. Daniel Ricciardo
15. Heinz-Harald Frentzen			15. Sergio Perez
16. Allan McNish					 16. Valtteri Bottas
17. Enrique Bernoldi				 17. Pastor Maldonado
18. Mark Webber					  18. Esteban Gutierrez
19. Eddie Irvine					 19. Jules Bianchi
20. Pedro de la Rosa				 20. Max Chilton
21. Alex Yoong					   21. Giedo van der Garde
22. Takuma Sato					  22. Charles Pic

I don't think there's a massive difference. 2 or 3 drivers that shouldn't be there in both line ups. Alex Yoong was one of the worst F1 drivers of all time.


Exactly.

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#40 seltaeb

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:51

I would agree with Mark, overall. However, I think part of it is that when he entered F1, the other drivers were more experienced and well-known than he was. At this point in his career, he is one of the more well known drivers, while young ones have come and gone in recent years. Perhaps, more than anything, his perspective has changed.

He is right on point about the challenge of a skilled young driver making it into F1 though.

#41 Collective

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 15:54

Another important point to make is that in 2002, Raikkonen and Button were yet to win championships, and these two and Trulli, Fisichella, Massa and Webber were yet to win races, making the field appear stronger in retrospect. If, say, Ricciardo becomes a future champion with Red Bull and Bianchi with Ferrari, and Grosjean, Pérez and Hulkenberg all win races in the next few seasons, then this year's line-up will also look significantly stronger when Di Resta or whoever makes a similar complaint in ten years' time. :p

That's an excellent point.

#42 undersquare

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 16:01

Maldonado is a GP winner. That is not an easy feat for anyone. Williams was no means fastest car by far. Pastor kept off Fernando and Kimi.

One good day, many bad ones. Who would put him in their car without the funding? And why fund him?

#43 gm914

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 16:34

What two number did you divide to end up with 99%?

I believe Chilton's right foot could be the missing 1% of the equation. :lol:

#44 SealTheDiffuser

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 16:54

Pay drivers have always been a mystery to me. Teams have to be paid to put them in the car, because they're not very good...who does that help?? Maldonado crashing a lot and being tonked (in due course) by a Finn, what does that achieve for Venezuela? :confused:

Dad paying for Chilton I can sort of understand, as a family thing.


MAL being tonked by BOTTAS? lol

Put MAL in the Red Bull of Webber and the establishment woulnd't stop vomiting in 2014.

edit: MAL brings as much talent as money he brings, mucho!

Edited by SealTheDiffuser, 05 August 2013 - 16:56.


#45 Reinmuster

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:11

.. Alex Yoong was one of the worst F1 drivers of all time.


Worst F1 pay driver.. ever.

But to be fair since then he comes good (A1GP, sportscars etc).




#46 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:20

If you think Alex Yoong was the worst F1 driver ever, that only shows how long you've been watching F1.

#47 JRUK

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:24

2002								 2013
 1. Rubens Barrichello				1. Sebastian Vettel
 2. Michael Schumacher				2. Mark Webber
 3. Ralf Schumacher				   3. Lewis Hamilton
 4. David Coulthard				   4. Felipe Massa
 5. Kimi Raikkonen					5. Fernando Alonso
 6. Juan Pablo Montoya				6. Nico Rosberg
 7. Jarno Trulli					  7. Kimi Raikkonen
 8. Giancarlo Fisichella			  8. Romain Grosjean
 9. Felipe Massa					  9. Paul di Resta
10. Nick Heidfeld					10. Jenson Button
11. Jenson Button					11. Nico Hulkenberg
12. Olivier Panis					12. Adrian Sutil
13. Jacques Villeneuve			   13. Jean-Eric Vergne
14. Mika Salo						14. Daniel Ricciardo
15. Heinz-Harald Frentzen			15. Sergio Perez
16. Allan McNish					 16. Valtteri Bottas
17. Enrique Bernoldi				 17. Pastor Maldonado
18. Mark Webber					  18. Esteban Gutierrez
19. Eddie Irvine					 19. Jules Bianchi
20. Pedro de la Rosa				 20. Max Chilton
21. Alex Yoong					   21. Giedo van der Garde
22. Takuma Sato					  22. Charles Pic

I don't think there's a massive difference. 2 or 3 drivers that shouldn't be there in both line ups. Alex Yoong was one of the worst F1 drivers of all time.


Give Gutierrez or Chilton the same team mates as Yoong had (Alonso and Webber) and I am sure they would possibly look even worse than Yoong.

Edited by JRUK, 05 August 2013 - 17:24.


#48 Bloggsworth

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:25

Today's pay drivers are better than yesterday's pay drivers. In the 50s/60s/70s there were some really bad drivers and even the likes of Phil Hill, Taffy von Trips, Jean Behra, Harry Schell, Olivier Gendebien, Willy Maraisse, Paul Frere, Horace Gould, Ian Raby, Carlos Menditeguy et al were pretty average as Grand Prix drivers when compared to Moss, Brookes and Fangio; as were many later drivers like Mike Beuttler and drivers from that era when compared with Stewart, Lauda & Co. The tail enders nowadays are all supremely fit, relatively far fitter and more competetive than the also rans of previous eras.

Edited by Bloggsworth, 05 August 2013 - 17:27.


#49 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:28

Give Gutierrez or Chilton the same team mates as Yoong had (Alonso and Webber) and I am sure they would possibly look even worse than Yoong.


I dunno. Webber didn't beat Yoong by much more than Bianchi is Chilton now. Probably one of the only true barometers.

#50 johnmhinds

johnmhinds
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Posted 05 August 2013 - 17:33

Wait a minute?

Webber is bitching about pay drivers with no championships entering F1 when he was one of them?

Well get out of the sport then old man if you don't like it...