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


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#51 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:04

I agree with Webber. The old midfield blokes like Panis, Frentzen, Fisichella, Coulthard, Trulli, Heidfeld and the much-hated Ralf Schumacher were much better than the Maldonado, Vergne, Perez, etc bunch. Perez is considered as one of the better of young drivers, yet can barely get even half of Button's points. All those drivers in their prime would give Button a run for their money in terms of at least getting very close to his point-score.

If you asked who are top six drivers on the grid, you'd mention the WDC's, Rosberg, Webber and maybe-maybe Hulkenberg could be close to them as well, others aren't even in contention. Back then each of those midfield blokes could easily be a top six driver on the grid on a good year.

There is no secret even a 40-year-old Barrichello would have done much better than either Maldonado or Senna last year in the Williams. Tells it all really. Think about, what he and his peers were like in their primes then!

If a Villeneuve, Panis, Irvine, Trulli, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard, Barrichello vol2002 was paired in a team-mate battle with a 2013 version of Ricciardo, Perez, Maldonado, Bottas, etc, I have no doubt the old-era guys would all come out on top. The only newer drivers on the current grid to give some competition would be Hulkenberg and di Resta.

The only thing current grid has is the depth at the top. Four WDC's all performing very well and in title hunt. Granted, this is what we did not have in early 2000's. But the midfield is opposite case. So back then the gap between the skills of top and midfield drivers was small, now it is a lot larger.

Edited by sopa, 05 August 2013 - 18:15.


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#52 BoschKurve

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:18

The midfield of 2002 was far stronger than the midfield of 2013.

But of course, in 2002 you still used to drive on the limit for larger portions of the race than we ever see guys drive over the course of several races now.

#53 johnmhinds

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:39

These revisionist rose tinted glasses sound amazing, can I have a pair?
You're all comparing drivers whole careers to 2-3 years for these new guys in F1, of course the old guys are going to look good in that comparison.

And people are highly rating drivers like Panis and Trulli who won one race each while putting down drivers like Maldanado who has done exactly the same thing? Come on, don't be ridiculous guys....

Edited by johnmhinds, 05 August 2013 - 18:44.


#54 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:42

Trulli, Fisichella, etc were rated higher in 2002 with no wins, than Maldonado is now.

#55 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:47

These revisionist rose tinted glasses sound amazing, can I have a pair?
You're all comparing drivers whole careers to 2-3 years for these new guys in F1, of course the old guys are going to look good in that comparison.

And people are highly rating drivers like Panis and Trulli who won one race each while putting down drivers like Maldanado who has done exactly the same thing? Come on, don't be ridiculous guys....


Because we are rating the way those drivers have been driving, not statistics. Heidfeld didn't win a single race, so he is worse than Maldonado? Then if Heidfeld would be paired with Maldonado in a team-mate battle, Heidfeld (or at least the 2000's version we are talking about) would score so many more points (ofc if it was a good car in which it was possible to score not this year's Williams) that it wouldn't be even comparable. Because he is much more consistent.

Edited by sopa, 05 August 2013 - 18:48.


#56 Andrew Hope

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:48

Everything was better when we were younger.

#57 johnmhinds

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 18:59

Because we are rating the way those drivers have been driving, not statistics. Heidfeld didn't win a single race, so he is worse than Maldonado? Then if Heidfeld would be paired with Maldonado in a team-mate battle, Heidfeld (or at least the 2000's version we are talking about) would score so many more points (ofc if it was a good car in which it was possible to score not this year's Williams) that it wouldn't be even comparable. Because he is much more consistent.


Wait, you say we can't use statistics to judge these kinds of things and then go on to use the statistics of Heidfeld being "consistent" (whatever that means) to come to a conclusion? Can you make your mind up, can we use statistics or not?

And anyway, do you think drivers and teams enter F1 to be consistently mid pack or to win races? :lol:

Edited by johnmhinds, 05 August 2013 - 19:00.


#58 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:03

Wait, you say we can't use statistics to judge these kinds of things and then go on to use the statistics of Heidfeld being "consistent" to come to a conclusion? Can you make your mind up, can we use statistics or not?

And anyway, do you think drivers and teams enter F1 to be consistently mid pack or to win races? :lol:


I mean comparable statistics (like team-mate battle), not absolute statistics, like race wins. Because a backmarker driver with a best finish of P12 can still be better than a top team driver with multiple podiums and an odd win.

Drivers and teams enter to be as competitive as possible over a WHOLE season. You think Williams was happy with Maldonado's season in 2012 with that win? Or they would have liked him to score like 3-4 times more points than he actually did if there was a consistent driver in the seat?

#59 BoschKurve

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:04

These revisionist rose tinted glasses sound amazing, can I have a pair?
You're all comparing drivers whole careers to 2-3 years for these new guys in F1, of course the old guys are going to look good in that comparison.

And people are highly rating drivers like Panis and Trulli who won one race each while putting down drivers like Maldanado who has done exactly the same thing? Come on, don't be ridiculous guys....


There is no revisionism.

Keep in mind that people had the misfortune of driving in an era where unless you were in the Prancing Horse, your chances of doing anything were slim.

Maldonado is one of the worst GP winners I've ever seen.

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#60 BoschKurve

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:08

Everything was better when we were younger.


Not really. I spend a lot of time rewatching old races, and it's a mixed bag at times with what you see. However, with regards to certain things, things were in fact better. Overall driver quality is one of those things.

Then again F1 felt more like a sport back then, so perhaps that is part of the current problem.

#61 johnmhinds

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:13

I mean comparable statistics (like team-mate battle), not absolute statistics, like race wins. Because a backmarker driver with a best finish of P12 can still be better than a top team driver with multiple podiums and an odd win.

Drivers and teams enter to be as competitive as possible over a WHOLE season. You think Williams was happy with Maldonado's season in 2012 with that win? Or they would have liked him to score like 3-4 times more points than he actually did if there was a consistent driver in the seat?


If you're just going to pick the statistics that suit you then there is no point in debating anything... we can't just ignore race wins for some drivers and then praise the like of Trulli/Panis etc for the single race win they got over more than a decade of racing.

If you think drivers being consistent, (even if they're consistently average and never win a race), is a good thing for the sport then god help us.

It was the half assed "consistency" of that era of drivers that drove the manufacturers like Ford/BMW/Toyota/Honda from the sport.

#62 Knot

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:14

Then again F1 felt more like a sport back then, so perhaps that is part of the current problem.


That's my only problem with F1 right now. It's far more spectacle than sport.

On topic, I don't buy in to his argument that the quality of the grid is dropping, it's just that the newer younger drivers haven't ridden into F1 on a wave of hype as much as the now older drivers have. The last big whiz-kid we got was Vettel, and that was 7 years ago ( :eek: ).

#63 Knot

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:16

It was the half assed "consistency" of that era of drivers that drove the manufacturers like Ford/BMW/Toyota/Honda from the sport.


Giant budgets and lack of results drove all of those teams from the grid, and not the shocking offensiveness of drivers like Salo, Panis, and McNish.

Edited by Knot, 05 August 2013 - 19:17.


#64 BoschKurve

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:19

It was the half assed "consistency" of that era of drivers that drove the manufacturers like Ford/BMW/Toyota/Honda from the sport.


Not even remotely close.

#65 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:19

If you're just going to pick the statistics that suit you then there is no point in debating anything... we can't just ignore race wins for some drivers and then praise the like of Trulli/Panis etc for the single race win they got over more than a decade of racing.

If you think drivers being consistent, (even if they're consistently average and never win a race), is a good thing for the sport then god help us.

It was the half assed "consistency" of that era of drivers that drove the manufacturers like Ford/BMW/Toyota/Honda from the sport.


I see you are arguing about "consistency" vs "winning". Okay, a question to you. Which scenario would you prefer?
Results from four races:
Driver A: 1st, 5th, 10th, crash
Driver B: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th.

Points in current system. Driver A (with a race win) - 36 pts, Driver B - 57 pts.

Let's look at Grosjean. A couple of times per year he actually has race winning race pace, but his consistency is so low that he is far-far behind Raikkonen in points. I think with driving like that he would have not kept a top seat in 2002, even less beyond multiple seasons, while people are considering Grosjean might stay at Lotus in 2014, because Kimi is leaving and there are no better alternatives!

Massa keeps scoring pretty low-number points too, yet keeps his Ferrari seat, because Ferrari doesn't think there are better options! I have mentioned it earlier that the number two drivers back in the day were significantly more competitive than current Massa.

Edited by sopa, 05 August 2013 - 19:24.


#66 johnmhinds

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:29

I see you are arguing about "consistency" vs "winning". Okay, a question to you. Which scenario would you prefer?
Results from four races:
Driver A: 1st, 5th, 10th, crash
Driver B: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th.

Points in current system. Driver A (with a race win) - 36 pts, Driver B - 57 pts.


I'm wasn't arguing between the two, I was saying you shouldn't be ignoring the race winning statistic saying it's irrelevant while picking another that obviously is going to suit a skewed look at drivers whole careers.

You've no idea if Maldanado/Perez/Grosjean etc are going to spend the rest of their careers being "consistent". You can't make that judgement yet.

I could go back and look at the results of Heidfelds first 5 F1 seasons and say the same thing about him not being consistent then, but you're cherry picking the results of his later seasons and calling him consistent based purely on those.

Edited by johnmhinds, 05 August 2013 - 19:33.


#67 maverick69

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:29

That's my only problem with F1 right now. It's far more spectacle than sport.

On topic, I don't buy in to his argument that the quality of the grid is dropping, it's just that the newer younger drivers haven't ridden into F1 on a wave of hype as much as the now older drivers have. The last big whiz-kid we got was Vettel, and that was 7 years ago ( :eek: ).


Apart from Hamilton 6 years ago......*

*And a big nod to Kubica

Edited by maverick69, 05 August 2013 - 19:29.


#68 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:33

That's my only problem with F1 right now. It's far more spectacle than sport.

On topic, I don't buy in to his argument that the quality of the grid is dropping, it's just that the newer younger drivers haven't ridden into F1 on a wave of hype as much as the now older drivers have. The last big whiz-kid we got was Vettel, and that was 7 years ago ( :eek: ).


Yeah, 2002 is a bad year to compare 2013 to. Because in 2002 the situation was different and due to variety of reasons the quality was higher.

Of course we have a lot of new drivers in F1 at the moment. But in 2000-2002 we had had an influx of a lot of new talent to F1, like Button, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Montoya, Alonso. Throughout history of F1 there have been very few periods when such an impressive bunch of newcomers come in. So the drivers in 2013 may be new, but the new drivers of 2002 were still much better.

Of course some people say that "oh wait give it some years. Maybe after 5 years the current youngsters are also top stars". But I don't see it. With the exception of Hulkenberg nobody is considered as a future champion or frontrunner. Even about di Resta people are doubtful. I remember back in the day even Webber was considered much more a future WDC than di Resta now.

In addition those Trullis, Fisichellas, Coulthards, Barrichellos, etc were pretty much in their prime form of their careers in 2002. If they were on the 2013 grid with their 2002 form, they would be running very close to the top, I think their level back in 2002 was about current Rosberg or Webber level. Also Panis, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Irvine etc weren't ancient and hopelessly past it yet like for example Trulli was in 2011 in the Caterham. Frentzen actually did a great job in the Arrows.

Edited by sopa, 05 August 2013 - 19:35.


#69 Knot

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:34

Apart from Hamilton 6 years ago......*

*And a big nod to Kubica


Oops on my part. I didn't think about it, so I thought Lewis came in before Vettel. Though, didn't Kubica and Vettel land in F1 at the same time?



#70 P123

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:34

He has a point- whilst the sharp end of the grid seems as strong as ever, the midfield then did seem to have a stronger mix of drivers than now; but I'm unsure if that's because back then drivers actually had a chance to build a career in contrast to what we have now which is a lot of inter-changeable GP2 drivers who's survival is generally dependant on what budget they can bring. A few of them have also ousted solid drivers based on their wallets rather than the talent they bring- we've lost Heidfeld, Heikki and Glock to this.

Massa and Grosjean have been able to hold onto their seats for a long time despite underperforming, and the best McLaren could replace Hamilton with was Perez. Is that evidence of a strong grid?

#71 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:39

I'm wasn't arguing between the two, I was saying you shouldn't be ignoring the race winning statistic saying it's irrelevant while picking another that obviously is going to suit a skewed look at drivers whole careers.

You've no idea if Maldanado/Perez/Grosjean etc are going to spend the rest of their careers being "consistent". You can't make that judgement yet.

I could go back and look at the results of Heidfelds first 5 F1 seasons and say the same thing about him not being consistent then, but you're cherry picking the results of his later seasons and calling him consistent based purely on those.


The thing is that we are comparing 2002 grid to 2013 grid. Strictly. If Grosjean is a WDC in 2018, it doesn't change the fact that in 2013 he has been nowhere for most of it. And 2013 is the year we are rating.

Heidfeld I think he was pretty good in his early years too. Outscored Raikkonen, who was immediately courted by top teams. Would Grosjean beat even a rookie Raikkonen? I don't think so though he would probably be closer.

#72 maverick69

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:41

Oops on my part. I didn't think about it, so I thought Lewis came in before Vettel. Though, didn't Kubica and Vettel land in F1 at the same time?


Both 6 coming on 7 years. Although Hamilton raced a full season, whilst Vettel Friday tested a full season plus a race at Indy in 07 - plus Friday testing in 2006.

Bob debuted the year before late on at Monza.

#73 johnmhinds

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:45

Yeah, 2002 is a bad year to compare 2013 to. Because in 2002 the situation was different and due to variety of reasons the quality was higher.

Of course we have a lot of new drivers in F1 at the moment. But in 2000-2002 we had had an influx of a lot of new talent to F1, like Button, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Montoya, Alonso. Throughout history of F1 there have been very few periods when such an impressive bunch of newcomers come in. So the drivers in 2013 may be new, but the new drivers of 2002 were still much better.

Of course some people say that "oh wait give it some years. Maybe after 5 years the current youngsters are also top stars". But I don't see it. With the exception of Hulkenberg nobody is considered as a future champion or frontrunner. Even about di Resta people are doubtful. I remember back in the day even Webber was considered much more a future WDC than di Resta now.

In addition those Trullis, Fisichellas, Coulthards, Barrichellos, etc were pretty much in their prime form of their careers in 2002. If they were on the 2013 grid with their 2002 form, they would be running very close to the top, I think their level back in 2002 was about current Rosberg or Webber level. Also Panis, Villeneuve, Frentzen, Irvine etc weren't ancient and hopelessly past it yet like for example Trulli was in 2011 in the Caterham. Frentzen actually did a great job in the Arrows.


Yet again you're just cherry picking the few good drivers based on their results half a decade later, not based what they were doing in their first seasons in F1. What about all the dozen other drivers that entered the sport at that time that never came to anything?

If the newer drivers in F1 go on to win championships you'll be just as revisionist and start cherry picking about them.

Edited by johnmhinds, 05 August 2013 - 19:59.


#74 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 19:49

He has a point- whilst the sharp end of the grid seems as strong as ever, the midfield then did seem to have a stronger mix of drivers than now; but I'm unsure if that's because back then drivers actually had a chance to build a career in contrast to what we have now which is a lot of inter-changeable GP2 drivers who's survival is generally dependant on what budget they can bring. A few of them have also ousted solid drivers based on their wallets rather than the talent they bring- we've lost Heidfeld, Heikki and Glock to this.


You have a point about career-building. Back then midfield drivers had a career too. Nowadays only top team drivers have a career and the rest are changed like socks. But this contributes to the quality or lack of it.

#75 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 20:11

Yet again you're just cherry picking the good drivers based on their results half a decade later, not based what they were doing in their first seasons in F1. What about all the dozen other drivers that entered the sport at that time that never came to anything?

If the newer drivers in F1 go on to win championships you'll be just as revisionist and start cherry picking about them.


But even based on early seasons those drivers back then looked good. When Montoya, Raikkonen, etc came to F1, they were rated as top drivers (or very close to it) already very quickly, certainly in 2002. So I am not talking about their later career achievements. Raikkonen, Montoya, Heidfeld, Alonso and the likes were impressive already back then.

Newer drivers go on to win championship? Okay, let's see, although some of their development has been slower than the development of the guys back in the day. Here we could blame lack of testing, which is why drivers develop slower.

Just as an example, people may say let's wait on Bottas and Bianchi (two debutants). But just as an example I don't get the impression Bottas is as good as his countryman Raikkonen. Why? Because nobody is courting him. Back then in 2001 top teams wanted to snap up Raikkonen already in his debut season. But nobody is showing even a remote interest in Bottas although we have a silly season in full swing.

#76 anbeck

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 20:14

If a Villeneuve, Panis, Irvine, Trulli, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard, Barrichello vol2002 was paired in a team-mate battle with a 2013 version of Ricciardo, Perez, Maldonado, Bottas, etc, I have no doubt the old-era guys would all come out on top.


That's an interesting way to see it, and I have to agree with the conclusions you draw from that intellectual game.

Such a shame that most of the 1990s we usually had one or two teams at the front. The seasons where we had more than 2 teams that could consistently challenge for wins were rather limited (such as 1990 or 1999). It would be interesting to see the people you list in cars that were closer together, such as it has been the case over the past few years.

#77 JHSingo

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 20:43

It was the half assed "consistency" of that era of drivers that drove the manufacturers like Ford/BMW/Toyota/Honda from the sport.


:confused: I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case. As already stated, the ludicrous budgets needed to compete was the reason that lot disappeared.

#78 Clatter

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 20:46

I get the impression from that article that his real compliant is no one is willing to pay for his protege to drive.

#79 Anderis

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 20:54

I'm not as sure as some people that the quality of 2002 grid was that much higher than it is now. The grid was nowhere near as tight as it is now- which made it much easier for many drivers to look reasonably well. With bigger gaps between teams and more DNFs generally it was much easier to hide any kind of inconsistency.

I can honestly say my money would be on 2013 drivers to beat 2002 drivers head-to-head. I believe sporting level increases with time as a natural process and some exceptions of it were present in any F1 era. If someone like Gutierrez is being considered as one of the two or three worst drivers among the current grid it tells me that it couldn't be that bad.

I know those kind of comparisions don't make much sense, but there are some examples of that previous generation of drivers was not that much above of the current generation:
- Fisichella in second half of 2007 was soundly beaten by rookie Kovalainen, who, 5 years later, was matched by less experienced Petrov, who isn't rather considered as one of the best of current generation drivers.
- Maldonado despite very little experience with F1 car (much less than any of 2002 era rookies) almost immediately was able to match Barrichello's efforts in 2011.
Then you can argue if being in their mid or late thirties was bigger disadvantage than being a rookie. I'm not sure. I just think it isn't as obvious as some people like to think. :confused:

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#80 KateLM

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 21:09

Isn't everyone trying to do an exact head-to-head between 2002 and 2013 kind of missing the point of what he was actually saying? Which, from how I read it, is that F1 is weaker now than it was then because guys like Frijns can't get in without sponsorship. Back in 2002 there were pay drivers yes, but the most promising were not having to pay to get in - can anyone see another Kimi situation happening now? I think that was his main criticism rather than the exact grid qualities (which is impossible to accurately compare anyway)

#81 sopa

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 21:17

I'm not as sure as some people that the quality of 2002 grid was that much higher than it is now. The grid was nowhere near as tight as it is now- which made it much easier for many drivers to look reasonably well. With bigger gaps between teams and more DNFs generally it was much easier to hide any kind of inconsistency.

I can honestly say my money would be on 2013 drivers to beat 2002 drivers head-to-head. I believe sporting level increases with time as a natural process and some exceptions of it were present in any F1 era. If someone like Gutierrez is being considered as one of the two or three worst drivers among the current grid it tells me that it couldn't be that bad.

I know those kind of comparisions don't make much sense, but there are some examples of that previous generation of drivers was not that much above of the current generation:
- Fisichella in second half of 2007 was soundly beaten by rookie Kovalainen, who, 5 years later, was matched by less experienced Petrov, who isn't rather considered as one of the best of current generation drivers.
- Maldonado despite very little experience with F1 car (much less than any of 2002 era rookies) almost immediately was able to match Barrichello's efforts in 2011.
Then you can argue if being in their mid or late thirties was bigger disadvantage than being a rookie. I'm not sure. I just think it isn't as obvious as some people like to think. :confused:


I think I was already arguing that 2002 was the year, when Fisichella and Barrichello were in their prime form. 2002 was one of their very best seasons in F1, if not the best. So we can take this into context as we are currently rating 2002/2013 in isolation, not that how good Barrichello was overall on his career or how good is Ricciardo going to be in 2018.

Petrov matched Heidfeld too in 2011. But Heidfeld certainly wasn't on top of his game that year neither was Barrichello. Maldonado in 2011 looked better than Hulkenberg in 2010. But who at the moment would say Maldonado is a better driver than Hulkenberg? I think the difference can be attributed to Barrichello losing performance.

Kovalainen? If I remember correctly, he outqualified Petrov. But races weren't that strong. But Kovalainen was massively struggling with race pace against Hamilton too. Fisichella had a bad patch of form in 2007. I'd take prime-form Fisichella (97-02) above Kovalainen. Of course what is Kovalainen's prime? Hard to say, he may have been stuck in Lotus/Caterham for his best years.

Interesting that you mention that grid "not looking tight" enables drivers to look good, which conversely also means that many drivers didn't have a chance of actually getting top results, because their cars were lightyears behind top teams. Outside Ferrari, Williams and McLaren nobody could threaten podium except Renault in Malaysia unless there was attrition, which happened in Italy. And in midfield the field has always been very tight, even in 2002. So I'd say throughout F1's history you can't take it easy in midfield, it is always a close fight there.

You ask how good is Gutierrez? He reminds a bit of Burti or Bernoldi. I think about bottom 3-4 drivers there is not much difference in many eras. But above that the differences come in.

#82 Watkins74

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 21:34

In my opinion the biggest change is that the new guys haven't spent hours behind the wheel pounding out testing laps. The testing bans have really put the new guys at a disadvantage.



#83 JSDSKI

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 22:45

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.

I keep forgetting how many times Brooks and Moss won a F1 World Championship and LeMans in the same year like P. Hill did. Maybe you can remind us.

#84 johnmhinds

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 22:54

But even based on early seasons those drivers back then looked good. When Montoya, Raikkonen, etc came to F1, they were rated as top drivers (or very close to it) already very quickly, certainly in 2002. So I am not talking about their later career achievements. Raikkonen, Montoya, Heidfeld, Alonso and the likes were impressive already back then.

Newer drivers go on to win championship? Okay, let's see, although some of their development has been slower than the development of the guys back in the day. Here we could blame lack of testing, which is why drivers develop slower.

Just as an example, people may say let's wait on Bottas and Bianchi (two debutants). But just as an example I don't get the impression Bottas is as good as his countryman Raikkonen. Why? Because nobody is courting him. Back then in 2001 top teams wanted to snap up Raikkonen already in his debut season. But nobody is showing even a remote interest in Bottas although we have a silly season in full swing.


You're still picking the top guys from that era for your comparison to say everyone new was great while ignoring everyone else that joined that didn't amount to anything.

Sure you can say that about the top handful of drivers like Raikkonen, Montoya, Heidfeld, Alonso etc but what about the rest of the grid of no hopers like Sato, Burti, Bernoldi, da Matta, Salo, Enge, Mazzacane, Firman, Pizzonia, etc.. why are you ignoring them when we're talking about the quality of the whole grid for the drivers in the early 2000s and not just a handful of guys who turned out to be good and won stuff 5 years later?

To compare a random new guy like Bottas in his first season to Raikkonen using hindsight is dumb.

If you instead compare the 2013 new guys to early 2000s new guys that went nowhere then they are already leagues ahead of them.

Edited by johnmhinds, 05 August 2013 - 22:57.


#85 andrewr

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 23:06

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.

I keep forgetting how many times Brooks and Moss won a F1 World Championship and LeMans in the same year like P. Hill did. Maybe you can remind us.

Too right. Phil Hill doesn't belong in that list. Neither does Von Trips. He was leading the WC when he died, so he was no tail ender.

#86 zippythecat

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 23:08

I wonder if Webber's making a back-handed argument here to help Ricciardo. This would be a rare case where he and Marko have the same agenda, i.e. to support promotion out of RBR's driver-development program.

Re Frijins, given that he's fast and victorious, why has he been unable to obtain sponsorship? Is his agent not doing his job? Is Frijins particularly colorless or non-cooperative with corporate types?

#87 MMandi

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 23:16

In my opinion the biggest change is that the new guys haven't spent hours behind the wheel pounding out testing laps. The testing bans have really put the new guys at a disadvantage.


I think you've hit the nail on the head to be honest, added to how harsh the conditions are sometimes for example with Sauber's GutiƩrrez in trying to get the mileage, beat your team mate and get the car as high as possible in a team that seemed to be living close to the line of existence.

#88 noikeee

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 23:38

I really don't think the 2002 grid was that great. I see a hell of a lot of journeyman in there and too few who could bother Schumacher in the slightest at the front. It did also have rubbish paydrivers if not that many: Bernoldi and Yoong. And Yoong is as bad or worse than Chilton.

But I think the grid hit a peak around 2007-2009 with little or no paydrivers then, and loads of manufacturers bankrolling the best possible talent, rather than sponsors supporting good drivers throughout most teams as we have now. It's gone slightly downhill since then, so I do still see Webber's point, just don't agree with the point of reference as to when things were supposedly better.

#89 George Costanza

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 23:46

Mark is right. He is spot on. It might be that we had top 4 drivers pretty close in 2013, but 2002 top drivers were quite far behind Michael Schumacher. Or could it be, that Schumacher made everyone look "average" in 2002, given the F2002? I mean, if Jacques was on the grid in a midfield BAR, would you take him over say, Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes? I believe the midfield of 2002 was far better than today, but the top 4 are quite close to say, Kimi, Montoya, and Ralf Schumacher.

Could it be that Seb and Fernando are better than anyone else by a clear margin? I would say so. But here's an interesting thing, Schumacher vs Alonso in 2006, Schumacher could have won the championship vs a vintage Alonso, I guess that tells me that Michael Schumacher was truly head and shoulders over anyone else in 1995-2002. Except for one full season, 1998 vs Mika Hakkinen. But credit to Mika, he was extremely fast and was the only one to defeat Michael in a fight, and even 2000 was an all time classic.

For those who say Seb, Lewis and Fernando are as good as Michael in his absolute prime years, really need to watch the 2000 season again. Only one driver come close, and that is Fernando Alonso. I don't think Seb is there just yet, and by that we have not seen the best of Seb just yet.

Edited by George Costanza, 05 August 2013 - 23:56.


#90 George Costanza

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 23:54

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



That's hilarious, I know.

People forget how fast Ralf was in 2001 and Montoya in 2003.

#91 ElJefe

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 00:13

I wonder if Webber's making a back-handed argument here to help Ricciardo. This would be a rare case where he and Marko have the same agenda, i.e. to support promotion out of RBR's driver-development program.

Re Frijins, given that he's fast and victorious, why has he been unable to obtain sponsorship? Is his agent not doing his job? Is Frijins particularly colorless or non-cooperative with corporate types?


What really hurts Frijns' (potential) sponsorship portfolio is the fact that the Dutch economy is getting worse everyday. We have high unemployment and the situation doesn't seem like improving anytime soon, so the corporate environment is very difficult at the moment. The biggest issue with Frijns however has nothing to do with Frijns or his management imo, but rather with the tv rights situation. You think you have it bad in Britain with the BBC/Sky deal? Think again. From this season onwards Formula 1 in the Netherlands is no longer covered live by FTA channels at all. Everything is behind a paywall on the rather obscure and expensive Sport1 channel, with only 500.000 subscribers (and I'd say that an overwhelming majority subscribes to this channel for football, not F1). Britain has a long-standing motorsport culture and thus many die-hard F1 fans who are willing to pay for Sky. In the Netherlands we do not have a motorsport tradition (look what we did to the original Zandvoort layout for crying out loud) and thus you would be completely bonkers as a corporate manager, especially given the current state of the economy, to invest huge sums of money in a sport which doesn't garner attention at all among the Dutch crowd.

Motorsport has always been expensive and it probably will remain that way in the future, but think of it this way: is there any team principal in the current paddock that would give a 21-year old Finnish nobody with only 23 races in Formula Renault but heaps of talent a shot in his F1 drive? Is there any team principle today that would sign a penniless lightning fast 19-year old Spaniard? Me thinks not. I believe it's a very sad thing when someone who is as talented as Frijns might never even get to F1, given its current state.

#92 Reinmuster

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 00:53

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


I got no problem with that. And I don't have problem with Alex either.

But coming from same country as Alex, and stories how he got those F1 drives I guess I'm not only one in the nation to think of that.




#93 sopa

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:53

You're still picking the top guys from that era for your comparison to say everyone new was great while ignoring everyone else that joined that didn't amount to anything.

Sure you can say that about the top handful of drivers like Raikkonen, Montoya, Heidfeld, Alonso etc but what about the rest of the grid of no hopers like Sato, Burti, Bernoldi, da Matta, Salo, Enge, Mazzacane, Firman, Pizzonia, etc.. why are you ignoring them when we're talking about the quality of the whole grid for the drivers in the early 2000s and not just a handful of guys who turned out to be good and won stuff 5 years later?

To compare a random new guy like Bottas in his first season to Raikkonen using hindsight is dumb.

If you instead compare the 2013 new guys to early 2000s new guys that went nowhere then they are already leagues ahead of them.


I see, where you are coming from. I chose Bottas, because he looks one of the better rookies at the moment.

If I try to find a comparison to Bernoldi, Burti, Mazzacane, Enge, etc I'd look at drivers like van der Garde, Pic, Chilton, Gutierrez and the likes.

#94 SenorSjon

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:11

What really hurts Frijns' (potential) sponsorship portfolio is the fact that the Dutch economy is getting worse everyday. We have high unemployment and the situation doesn't seem like improving anytime soon, so the corporate environment is very difficult at the moment. The biggest issue with Frijns however has nothing to do with Frijns or his management imo, but rather with the tv rights situation. You think you have it bad in Britain with the BBC/Sky deal? Think again. From this season onwards Formula 1 in the Netherlands is no longer covered live by FTA channels at all. Everything is behind a paywall on the rather obscure and expensive Sport1 channel, with only 500.000 subscribers (and I'd say that an overwhelming majority subscribes to this channel for football, not F1). Britain has a long-standing motorsport culture and thus many die-hard F1 fans who are willing to pay for Sky. In the Netherlands we do not have a motorsport tradition (look what we did to the original Zandvoort layout for crying out loud) and thus you would be completely bonkers as a corporate manager, especially given the current state of the economy, to invest huge sums of money in a sport which doesn't garner attention at all among the Dutch crowd.

Motorsport has always been expensive and it probably will remain that way in the future, but think of it this way: is there any team principal in the current paddock that would give a 21-year old Finnish nobody with only 23 races in Formula Renault but heaps of talent a shot in his F1 drive? Is there any team principle today that would sign a penniless lightning fast 19-year old Spaniard? Me thinks not. I believe it's a very sad thing when someone who is as talented as Frijns might never even get to F1, given its current state.


Odd thing is, there are fewer Finns than Dutchies around... (5,3m vs. 16,7m) so the market should not be a problem. There are even high value Dutch sponsors in F1 (Unilever, Shell, Philips, Randstad), but they don't seem to push for a driver like a nation (Venezuela) or very rich men (Slim). Also, while the population is suffering, most companies still write down black numbers. The money is going from the people to the government and the large corporations.

Zandvoort of course is a car-only track, while Assen is for motorbikes. Assen has been shortened as well, to much dismay of the riders and fans alike and has some adaptions to enable cars racing there. With only two real race tracks, there is no real motorsport heritage in the country. We don't have anyone competing on motorbikes anymore and the talents we do have, don't get a chance. It is not odd that the two very talented ones come from Limburg, in close proximity from the Nurburgring and Spa.

In 2002, tobacco sponsoring was still very much alive in all kinds of feeder series and F1. When they were banned, the car makers stepped in. When they left... there is nothing... The ban of testing has delivered only one winner (Maldonado) from the post-testing rules. It only gave two champions (Brawn/Red Bull and Button/Vettel). So what did we gain by banning testing? Money is spend elsewhere and teams cannot judge or groom new drivers. A guy like Bottas should have had a season of car testing, not a few friday sessions. Same goes for Guttierez and now Frijns. A team could decide that a driver is not good enough based on the testing results.


#95 johnmhinds

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 17:15

I see, where you are coming from. I chose Bottas, because he looks one of the better rookies at the moment.

If I try to find a comparison to Bernoldi, Burti, Mazzacane, Enge, etc I'd look at drivers like van der Garde, Pic, Chilton, Gutierrez and the likes.


I still don't think you can make a one of one comparison between Bottas and Raikkonen just because they're both good drivers and Finnish. And Bottas not having tonnes of hype and interest around him doesn't automatically make him a bad driver, it could just mean Kimi had better PR at the time and he lucked his way into a more competitive Sauber in his first season.

Anyway, I still find it laughable that Webber is complaining about lower drivers entering F1 without winning other championships when that is exactly what he did. And he only got his Minardi seat because he was best friends with Paul Stoddart.

#96 Boxerevo

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 17:46

That's my only problem with F1 right now. It's far more spectacle than sport.

On topic, I don't buy in to his argument that the quality of the grid is dropping, it's just that the newer younger drivers haven't ridden into F1 on a wave of hype as much as the now older drivers have. The last big whiz-kid we got was Vettel, and that was 7 years ago ( :eek: ).

Ridiculous how time flies.

#97 Jimisgod

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 00:33

I think it looks worse because has beens like Massa are filling some of the better seats and have done so since 2006! Add that the midfield teams are no longer manufacturer supported so they have less room to accommodate drivers without cash.

TBH Bottas, Maldonado, Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Bianchi, Vergne, Ricciardo are all drivers who are treading water in search of a top seat. They aren't the Barrichellos and Trullis of 2007-09 who were satisfied with the midfield. As they lack wins, they lack much sponsorship and are easily replaced by new young talent or, more often, pay drivers.

#98 Mauseri

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 00:45

Ridiculous how time flies.

After Vettel and Hamilton there hasn't really been coming new promising drivers. And when Kubica went out we lost one. I think we are seeing these current top drivers a few years from now on, and the situation is much better than in the 90s. But Webber is obviously right that the wrong new drivers are getting their chances in F1 because most teams are not able to get sponsors and they need drivers to pay the bills. Even Lotus who are doing were well are struggling to get them. But if they replace Kimi with some pay driver they will lose TV-money.

Edited by Mauseri, 07 August 2013 - 00:46.


#99 Brother Fox

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 03:02

Wait a minute?

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

You can probably level a lot of critisism about Webber and have some basis for your argument, but a pay driver? ..... Ummm, no.


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#100 HammyHamiltonFan

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 02:33

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.


aye, also pretty impressive some of those guys are still in F1 after 11 years, that's an impressive time to be in the sport, Kimi/Jenson/Fellipe/Mark have all had very impressive longevity of their careers.