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


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#101 Group B

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 20:08

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.

Not just a top seat, but any seat; I can think of 4 or 5 current drivers, either recently or presently touted for top drives, who could easily have no drive at all next season.

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#102 rhukkas

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 08:55

I think Webber's comments are more fueled by the fact that a driver has to find £5,000,000+ from the age of around 13 to 18 if he has a hope of getting an F1 seat. Now, I don't know many people who can earn £5,000,000 in a life time, let alone as a child.

The sport is increasingly for all but the very very wealthy. More so than ever.

#103 bourbon

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 14:57

Great drivers will rise to the top money or no. That is all that matters in the end.



#104 Cult

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 16:15

Great drivers will rise to the top money or no. That is all that matters in the end.


That's not true and it's kind of a circular argument. People who have the potential to be the best drivers go into other sports or quit because they simply can't afford the cost. It's not as simple as saying a really fast driver will instantly stand-out and get filtered to the top of the system. If only that were true.

#105 bourbon

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 17:05

That's not true and it's kind of a circular argument. People who have the potential to be the best drivers go into other sports or quit because they simply can't afford the cost. It's not as simple as saying a really fast driver will instantly stand-out and get filtered to the top of the system. If only that were true.


I didn't say potentially great drivers. I said great drivers.

The sport can only sustain so many 'greats' per era in any case. What are you going to do with 22 true greats, half of whom are stuck in under performing cars?




#106 OS X

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 17:05

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.


:up: :up: :up:

This is the biggest change, in my opinion. Heikki Kovalainen drove over 28000km in one year :eek: as a test driver for Renault (equivalent to 4.5 seasons worth of driving). Lewis Hamilton did over 6000km in the 06-07 off-season for McLaren in the car which was being prepared for the 2007 season. Sebastien Vettel and Nico Rosberg also profited greatly from the old testing regulations.

#107 DILLIGAF

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 19:34

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...


Webber was never a pay driver. :rolleyes:

#108 Eff One 2002

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 01:58

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.


Yup, this is one of the main problems for F1 at the moment. F1 was in a much healthier state back when there were more entrants than there were positions on the grid. There was a full field of 26 cars plus the others that didn't make the cut. The FIA should be working towards making this situation a reality again and drop their snobbish, elitist "only this team and that team are good enough for us. We don't need any more than 10 teams" attitude and mentality.

Edited by Eff One 2002, 11 August 2013 - 01:59.


#109 joshb

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 08:37

:up: :up: :up:

This is the biggest change, in my opinion. Heikki Kovalainen drove over 28000km in one year :eek: as a test driver for Renault (equivalent to 4.5 seasons worth of driving). Lewis Hamilton did over 6000km in the 06-07 off-season for McLaren in the car which was being prepared for the 2007 season. Sebastien Vettel and Nico Rosberg also profited greatly from the old testing regulations.


Since the complete in season testing ban, no-one has really come through. Vettel, Hamilton, Kubica.... they all had a couple of seasons where they could get mileage. Really, only Hulkenberg has caught my attention as someone who could maybe get to the level of a Hamilton/Vettel but that's still a fair way off right now.
With testing so limited and budgets being down, you will get a lot of average creeping through in the next few years and whilst natural talent can get you somewhere, the lack of running will eventually take its toll on driver development

#110 Steve99

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 08:44

Yup, this is one of the main problems for F1 at the moment. F1 was in a much healthier state back when there were more entrants than there were positions on the grid. There was a full field of 26 cars plus the others that didn't make the cut. The FIA should be working towards making this situation a reality again and drop their snobbish, elitist "only this team and that team are good enough for us. We don't need any more than 10 teams" attitude and mentality.


In this day and age who is going to sponsor a car that might not make it into the race? Teams have enough trouble getting backing with a guaranteed place.

#111 dau

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:47

Yup, this is one of the main problems for F1 at the moment. F1 was in a much healthier state back when there were more entrants than there were positions on the grid. There was a full field of 26 cars plus the others that didn't make the cut. The FIA should be working towards making this situation a reality again and drop their snobbish, elitist "only this team and that team are good enough for us. We don't need any more than 10 teams" attitude and mentality.

If you take out 2010-2012, it's been 17 years since we've had more than 11 teams on the grid. And before that, there were teams joining and folding so fast that it makes HRT look like an everlasting story of success.

Simtek, 1994 plus 4 races in 1995. Pacific, 1994-1995, not qualifying in 11 out of 16 races and not finishing in a single one in their first year. Fondmetal (formerly Osella), 1991-1992, managed to finish a total of five races in two years. Andrea Moda (formerly Coloni), 1992, no need to say more about them. Modena, 1991, DNQ/DNPQ in 10 out of 16 races. Life, 1990, DNPQ in every single race. Onyx, 1989 to mid-1990. EuroBrun, 1988-1990, 21 starts from 76 entries, etc. etc. That was also the time we lost some old greats like March and Lotus, so how exactly was F1 in a 'much healthier state' than now?

I'm all for more teams, but not like this.

#112 Kalmake

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 12:15

There is plenty of talent available, but the lack of testing leaves it unpolished. It makes a huge difference.

All the current greats did thousands of testing kilometers in the early stages of their F1 career.

Someone like Grosjean would perform much better if he was given 10000km of winter testing.

Edited by Kalmake, 11 August 2013 - 12:17.


#113 Ragingjamaican

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 12:24

All respectable names in 2002 apart from Yoong.

F1 today has more competition at the front but weak near the second half of the grid, 2002 was consistent all the way until one or two at the end.


#114 Jimmy

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 12:28

I got the feeling there was a lot of dead wood hanging around in 2002. Guys like Irvine, Panis, Frentzen, etc... We'd already seen the best of them. 2003, with Montoya, Raikkonen and Alonso really coming into their own was a breath of fresh air.

#115 Jimisgod

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 12:42

I got the feeling there was a lot of dead wood hanging around in 2002. Guys like Irvine, Panis, Frentzen, etc... We'd already seen the best of them. 2003, with Montoya, Raikkonen and Alonso really coming into their own was a breath of fresh air.


Yes. Most of the 2002 grid screams 'also-ran' to me, many drivers who would never amount to greatness or had passed their time at the top. McNish was an interesting choice, but I don't think he was ever a prospect to be a top driver at his age. In hindsight, Coulthard was on the downward slope by then, and even Ralf, who was winning back then, was swept away by Trulli at Toyota. Irvine and Frentzen were living on borrowed time and occupying seats that young guns may have used better.

#116 DutchQuicksilver

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 13:56

I would say 2006 to 2008 were the best years in recent history. There were all the car manufacturers and hardly any pay drivers who weren't there because of talent. The backmarker teams had guys like Sato, Davidson, Sutil, Albers, Liuzzi and Speed/Vettel. All good solid drivers who had the speed. Just have look at the 2007 grid, no weak driver whatsoever. Teams like McLaren, Renault and BMW Sauber had one experienced driver next to fresh blood of a talented teammate.

#01 Fernando Alonso
#02 Lewis Hamilton
#03 Felipe Massa
#04 Kimi Raikkonen
#05 Giancarlo Fisichella
#06 Heikki Kovalainen
#07 Jenson Button
#08 Rubens Barrichello
#09 Nick Heidfeld
#10 Robert Kubica
#11 Ralf Schumacher
#12 Jarno Trulli
#14 David Coulthard
#15 Mark Webber
#16 Nico Rosberg
#17 Alexander Wurz
#18 Vitantonio Liuzzi
#19 Scott Speed/Sebastian Vettel
#20 Adrian Sutil
#21 Christijan Albers/Sakon Yamamoto
#22 Takuma Sato
#23 Anthony Davidson

I'm sure when the economical crisis is definitely over, the talent will be preferred over money again.

Edited by DutchQuicksilver, 11 August 2013 - 14:00.


#117 Anderis

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 14:23

Just have look at the 2007 grid, no weak driver whatsoever.

I wouldn't rate Yamamoto as a higher tier of drivers than Chilton, who's probably the worst driver right now, so I disagree. Also Albers and Wurz had really poor seasons, would've been easily outperformed by the majority of current grid performing as they were in 2007. Speed or late Ralf Schumacher were not inspiring choices either.

#118 Kyo

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 17:27

2013 grid is way better, not even a contest.

#119 George Costanza

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 04:19

Best grid has to be 1991...



Edited by George Costanza, 12 August 2013 - 04:19.


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#120 V3TT3L

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:45

http://en.espnf1.com...ory/119541.html

Webber is just being collorful... as always.

But way a minute... drivers pay to race go karts, F-Fords, F3, GP2... but when it comes to F1 it is a sin :eek:

Edited by V3TT3L, 12 August 2013 - 05:52.


#121 V3TT3L

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:48

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.

On comparing himself with 2009 world champion Jenson Button...
"Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I had Sebastian as a teammate. Jenson didn't have that at Brawn; he had Rubens"

:rolleyes: I wonder if Webber has the balls to say:
Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I had Sebastian as a teammate. Rubens didn't have that at Ferrari; he had Schumacher"


#122 Zippel

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:53

All respectable names in 2002 apart from Yoong.

F1 today has more competition at the front but weak near the second half of the grid, 2002 was consistent all the way until one or two at the end.


I agree. If I were running a mid-grid team there are more names to pick from in 2002 (from a 2002 perspective) than in 2013. Out of the 2002 grid I think there were only 3 pay drivers: Bernoldi, Webber and Yoong. Jordan hired Sato to please Honda but don't think they paid for him, and its not like he didn't have the cred to back it up in the junior leagues.

#123 andrewr

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 06:34

I agree. If I were running a mid-grid team there are more names to pick from in 2002 (from a 2002 perspective) than in 2013. Out of the 2002 grid I think there were only 3 pay drivers: Bernoldi, Webber and Yoong. Jordan hired Sato to please Honda but don't think they paid for him, and its not like he didn't have the cred to back it up in the junior leagues.

No, I don't think so.

#124 lbennie

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 06:37

On comparing himself with 2009 world champion Jenson Button...
"Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I had Sebastian as a teammate. Jenson didn't have that at Brawn; he had Rubens"


I doubt he actually said that, source?




#125 apoka

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 06:57

I doubt he actually said that, source?

He actually said that in 2011 AFAIK.


#126 Zippel

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 07:03

No, I don't think so.


I'm pretty such Webber contributed some cash, not much but some. Justin Wilson, his F3000 rival, definitely had to pay for his drive in 2003.

Edited by Zippel, 12 August 2013 - 07:03.


#127 IlMuro

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 08:09

Top drivers are better now You have Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton and Vettel all evenly matched. In 2002 it was Schumacher....GAP....then the like of Montoya and Coulthard.

#128 DutchQuicksilver

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:12

I'm pretty such Webber contributed some cash, not much but some. Justin Wilson, his F3000 rival, definitely had to pay for his drive in 2003.

I'm pretty sure he didn't. I believe him being Australian and Stoddart as well helped a lot. Perhaps Renault contributed a bit, like they did with Alonso a year before? But there's no proof of that really.

#129 dau

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 12:53

I'm pretty sure he didn't. I believe him being Australian and Stoddart as well helped a lot. Perhaps Renault contributed a bit, like they did with Alonso a year before? But there's no proof of that really.

He had Foster's and Telstra as personal sponsors, but that's surely not enough to label him a paydriver.

#130 Brother Fox

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:26

Even then, I thought it was only the Yellow Pages arm of Telstra, no Australian company wanted anything to do with him

Plus nothing he brought was plastered all over the car so that looks more like personal sponsorship - whereas Yoongs Malaysian backing was out for everyone to see


#131 Zippel

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 13:42

Even then, I thought it was only the Yellow Pages arm of Telstra, no Australian company wanted anything to do with him

Plus nothing he brought was plastered all over the car so that looks more like personal sponsorship - whereas Yoongs Malaysian backing was out for everyone to see


Webber did have yellow pages on his helmet during his earlier years but had Telstra during his year at Minardi. But yeah Telstra and Fosters was who I was referring to. If that's not a pay driver then okay. He certainly wasn't getting paid by Minardi to drive.

#132 George Costanza

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:09

Top drivers are better now You have Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton and Vettel all evenly matched. In 2002 it was Schumacher....GAP....then the like of Montoya and Coulthard.



It was and is because Michael Schumacher was that much better than anyone else. Except for Ayrton in his early seasons.

Edited by George Costanza, 13 August 2013 - 02:10.


#133 Brother Fox

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:19

Webber did have yellow pages on his helmet during his earlier years but had Telstra during his year at Minardi. But yeah Telstra and Fosters was who I was referring to. If that's not a pay driver then okay. He certainly wasn't getting paid by Minardi to drive.

Thing is, what constitutes a paydriver is very debatable. Some people love to call Alonso one becuase he brings a buttload of cash with him.

I guess take away the money they bring, and ask if theyd still be considered for that spot. 2002 Minardi: Webber most likely, Yoong No. Would Ferrari consider Alonso even without money .. I think so. Would Marussia consider Chilton without ... I doubt it.



#134 V3TT3L

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:28

At some point in his career Webber was funded by an Aussie Golf Player.
Then Webber also helped Will Power financially.
Does it make Will Power a bad driver ?

#135 Brother Fox

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 02:37

He was helped by Rugby player David Campese. I think his dad and Campese played rugby briefly together?
So it was more like money to help a friend with his career.

Very different to someone saying put this guy in your team and Go KL/Venezuela/AON on your car and ill give you this bag of cash.


#136 Raelene

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 03:10

At some point in his career Webber was funded by an Aussie Golf Player.
Then Webber also helped Will Power financially.
Does it make Will Power a bad driver ?


rugby player - not golf player. David Campese. He gave him £200,000 to help him get started in the UK He didn't buy him a ride

MW once posted his "plan"" aon how to get to top level racing - really cool - it was his way to get to F1 - and the two different routes he could take.

Edited by Raelene, 13 August 2013 - 03:11.


#137 Neophiliac

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:09

Top drivers are better now You have Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton and Vettel all evenly matched. In 2002 it was Schumacher....GAP....then the like of Montoya and Coulthard.


Back in 2002, many were saying that MS winning is all just car. Same as they do about Vettel now. By results alone, I'd say things are exactly the same now as they were in 2002 Vettel...GAP....then the likes of Fernando, Kimi and Lewis (in no particular order). And if you want to dig beyond the results - well, there are many ways to skin that cat.

#138 Eff One 2002

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 23:44

so how exactly was F1 in a 'much healthier state' than now?

I'm all for more teams, but not like this.


Because in the time period I am specifying (the late 80's/early 90's, up until 1992) there were still FULL GRIDS of 26 cars, even though there were other teams in addition to this that may not have been in the best financial state. You could lose a team here and there and still have a proper, full grid of 26 cars because there were more entrants than there were grid positions available. That's why F1 was in a helathier state back then than it is now. There's teams on the grid with financial difficulties now and if we lose them, there's no other teams to take there place because of F1's snobbish elitism and excessive entrance costs.

#139 ebc

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 00:25

Back in 2002, many were saying that MS winning is all just car. Same as they do about Vettel now. By results alone, I'd say things are exactly the same now as they were in 2002 Vettel...GAP....then the likes of Fernando, Kimi and Lewis (in no particular order). And if you want to dig beyond the results - well, there are many ways to skin that cat.


Only stupid people said that.

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#140 dave34m

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 00:44

On comparing himself with 2009 world champion Jenson Button...
"Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I had Sebastian as a teammate. Jenson didn't have that at Brawn; he had Rubens"

Sadly what he is really saying is " Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I still wasn't good enough"
I like Mark but he isn't WDC material

#141 George Costanza

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 00:47

Only stupid people said that.



That's correct.

#142 George Costanza

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 00:47

Sadly what he is really saying is " Unfortunately, when I got myself in a good car, I still wasn't good enough"
I like Mark but he isn't WDC material



Really? had he bit a more lucky in 2010, you would say he is not WDC worthy?

#143 George Costanza

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 00:48

Back in 2002, many were saying that MS winning is all just car. Same as they do about Vettel now. By results alone, I'd say things are exactly the same now as they were in 2002 Vettel...GAP....then the likes of Fernando, Kimi and Lewis (in no particular order). And if you want to dig beyond the results - well, there are many ways to skin that cat.




Apparently you never saw 1998 season where Michael was in the title fight vs very fast Mac, or even in 2000, where McLarens had the edge in race trim.

#144 clown

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 01:43

I'm pretty sure he didn't. I believe him being Australian and Stoddart as well helped a lot. Perhaps Renault contributed a bit, like they did with Alonso a year before? But there's no proof of that really.

Worth noting that Webber's original Minardi deal was only for 3 races. So that can be interpreted as either he could only afford 3 races due to his limited sponsors, or that he was only given a minimal number of free races to fill the seat until Stoddart could find someone with money.

On a related note, I find it quite humorous to hear Webbers complaints/claims that he didn't pay his was into F1 and it was so much harder for him because he was Australian. The facts are, he either paid his way into the Minardi drive, or was given it because of his nationality.

#145 Zippel

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 03:24

On a related note, I find it quite humorous to hear Webbers complaints/claims that he didn't pay his was into F1 and it was so much harder for him because he was Australian. The facts are, he either paid his way into the Minardi drive, or was given it because of his nationality.


Webber was competing for the seat against the likes of Justin Wilson, Christian Albers, etc. Problem with Wilson was he couldn't fit in the car properly and affected his ability to prove himself. Not to mention Webber drove for Stoddart in F3000 when they were Junior Arrows and Stoddart later used his other Junior Arrows driver in 2005. There were more signficiant connections than just nationality. Briatore as Webber's manager being another.

If it was about nationality, Stoddart had his pick in James Courtney, Will Davison, Will Power, and Ryan Briscoe during his Minardi ownership but didn't take advantage.

Edited by Zippel, 14 August 2013 - 03:28.


#146 Neophiliac

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 07:28

Apparently you never saw 1998 season where Michael was in the title fight vs very fast Mac, or even in 2000, where McLarens had the edge in race trim.


I did. Been watching since about 1993. I know it's hard to read from my post but I actually do not share the view that it's all just car. I mean, sure, 2002 and 2004 were walkovers relative to all else, but MS was nothing if not super consistent and super quick race and race out - far more than any other driver on the grid at the time. To put a string of seasons together like that takes something special from both the team and the driver. Which is attested to by the fact that it happens so very rarely.

That said, I think it needs to be acknowledged that precise measurement here is impossible due to lack of available opportunity for a fully controlled study. I think if the drivers were forced to rotate between the teams through the season, we might have had a relatively neutral picture and if someone was able to win 7 titles in those circumstances - that would be truly a miracle and a super human achievement. But as things stand, we are left with a less than perfect set of analytic tools, which leads people to form opinions mostly based on their priors.

I also think that many of those who don't think that MS's accomplishments were all just car, frequently underestimate Vettel. That was the main point of my original post.

#147 Anderis

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 09:52

Really? had he bit a more lucky in 2010, you would say he is not WDC worthy?

He couldn't complain for his luck in 2010. He only stayed in contention for a WDC due to a vastly superior car reliability compared to Vettel. In fact, he was the only one WDC contender who didn't have a single mechanical DNF that year.

I name it: he was good enough for an odd WDC if circumstances really favoured him, but he was not good enough to be a consistent WDC contender.

#148 bonjon1979a

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:14

I agree. Webber's a mid-rate driver at best. The only year he came close to winning was one where he had all the luck in the world in terms of reliability.

Vettel's wiped the floor with Webber in three of the last four seasons. Webber has one of the worst records records v his team mate this year. He's been beaten by driver's in slower cars. The man is more than a little bitter about that. If Mark's so fast you'd expect him to outqualify seb at least once wouldn't you?

Truth is, he's a mid-rank peddler at best and is getting too old to keep even that up. Be interested to see what will happen if someone genuinely quick gets in the same car as vettel.

#149 Gorma

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 10:35

I name it: he was good enough for an odd WDC if circumstances really favoured him, but he was not good enough to be a consistent WDC contender.

Well said. Same goes for driver's like Massa and even some World Champions

#150 Ian G

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 11:20

I agree. Webber's a mid-rate driver at best. The only year he came close to winning was one where he had all the luck in the world in terms of reliability.

Vettel's wiped the floor with Webber in three of the last four seasons. Webber has one of the worst records records v his team mate this year. He's been beaten by driver's in slower cars. The man is more than a little bitter about that. If Mark's so fast you'd expect him to outqualify seb at least once wouldn't you?

Truth is, he's a mid-rank peddler at best and is getting too old to keep even that up. Be interested to see what will happen if someone genuinely quick gets in the same car as vettel.


I don't agree,Pirelli stuffed Mark but kudos to Seb. for adapting better than any driver on the grid.