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Unhappy transition


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#1 bill moffat

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 20:39

Throughout motor sport history there are many fine examples of how top-line drivers have side-stepped to another category of motor sport with seamless ease and equal success. F1 drivers often adapt well to sportscars, Johnny Herbert being the latest. Jimmy Clark's exploits in the RAC rally have passed into motor sport folklore. Mansell's F1/Indy car transition was typically spectacular.

The usual explanation is that a top notch racing driver will excel behind the wheel of just about anything. However this theory does not always apply. So how about examples of when it all goes wrong, when a driver makes the jump and falls flat on his face. Hero to zero. Bruised egos. I have a few examples but I'll let you make a start....

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#2 Geoff E

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 20:59

Mansell's IndyCar/F1 transition?

#3 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 21:16

Originally posted by bill moffat
Throughout motor sport history there are many fine examples of how top-line drivers have side-stepped to another category of motor sport with seamless ease and equal success. F1 drivers often adapt well to sportscars, Johnny Herbert being the latest. Jimmy Clark's exploits in the RAC rally have passed into motor sport folklore. Mansell's F1/Indy car transition was typically spectacular.

The usual explanation is that a top notch racing driver will excel behind the wheel of just about anything. However this theory does not always apply. So how about examples of when it all goes wrong, when a driver makes the jump and falls flat on his face. Hero to zero. Bruised egos. I have a few examples but I'll let you make a start....



I disagree. Michele Alboreto once described an R8 as an "f1 car with bodywork" and an Indycar, especially inthe early 90s, was a pretty fast machine. I dont think there's very much difference between CART, F1, and Endurance prototype racing anymore. Its all sprint racing and they are all lightweight high power stiffly sprung rolling wings.

Now going back and forth between CART/F1 and say NASCAR, that'd be something

#4 ensign14

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 22:15

Piquet to Champcar was a disaster and almost fatal. Obviously Michael Andretti in reverse (and Bobby Unser never 'worked').

Bill Holland from Champcar to NASCAR was not as successful for Holland as it proved to be for NASCAR.

#5 Simpson RX1

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 23:24

As pointed out in another thread, Derek Warwick didn't exactly shine in the BTCC, which is odd when you consider he was good at every other discipline, from Stock Cars (World Champion), through the formulas and even rallying.

Also Jonathan Palmer struggled with tin tops, as did Mansell (apart from one memorable race where he came through the field and nealy won).

Maybe it's how you feel with the cars; in contrast to the above, I've turned laps in saloons/sports cars as diverse as 2CV's, TVR Tuscans and Ferraris, and always felt comfortable and quick. Latterly, I've been pretty good in Karts, and I've held my own in a couple of club rallys - put me in a single seater and it's a different story. I've always felt happier in saloons, always confident enough to push to the limit immediately (despite a couple of hefty shunts), but single seaters do nothing for me at all, and never have - nice to watch, but not to drive; maybe it worked in reverse for the afor mentioned (still surprised about Del Boy though).

Oh, nearly forgot - Derek Bell in F1.

#6 Pikachu Racing

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 06:21

Scott Pruett from CART to NASCAR. That was pretty much a disaster. Robby Gordon from CART to NASCAR back to CART/IRL to NASCAR limbo. At least he's driving one of top NASCAR teams.

#7 theunions

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 08:25

Danny Sullivan's generally horrid attempts at Winston Cup in 1994, during his one year hiatus from CART - DNQ'ed at a bunch of early season events, disappeared for a while, then finally made his one series appearance at the inaugural Brickyard 400.

#8 ian senior

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 09:54

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
[

Oh, nearly forgot - Derek Bell in F1. [/B]



Sorry, but cannot subscribe to the Derek Bell argument. The cars he drove in F1 were not the best. Given something half decent, I reckon he would have given a good account of himself.

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 10:53

Indeed, he had a half decent Tasman car and did very well...

Even against the Lotus 49s.

#10 BRG

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 11:01

Alesi in the DTM?

#11 dmj

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 11:49

Alessandro Zanardi is an obvious choice... :cry:

#12 David M. Kane

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 13:17

Does Emmo from McLaren to his brother's Brazilian F1 project count? That didn't do too well. Later Emmo raised himself from the ashes to totally
shine again in CART.

#13 Frank de Jong

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 15:26

Emerson Fittipaldi was absolutely terrified by the 1973 works Capri at the Nürburgring. Jean Alesi however didn't do a bad job in the DTM.

#14 bill moffat

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 09:41

...so perhaps we are looking at 3 different scenarios that will make your transition an unhappy one:


Wrong car.

Emerson Fittipaldi to Copersucar and Jacques Villeneuve to BAR. Despite the hyperbole both cars were dogs and even WDC's could not prevail. Put Schumi in a Minardi and I suppose he might move a couple of slots up the grid ( under last year's rules!), but that's about it.

Wrong environment

Michael Andretti's trans Atlantic dashes to drive an F1 McLaren were never going to work. Limited testing and no chance to gel with the team. Schumi and Senna have showed that you build the team around you in a selfish fashion, yout team mate picks up the scraps. Senna was happy with Dumfries as a team mate, Schumacher equally happy with Irvine. Maintain the status quo to your advantage.

The unknown

Thes are the ones that prompted the thread. Warwick and Palmer were capable in F1 and mighty in Gp C Jaguars and Porsches respectively but mediocre in BTCC cars. Zanardi's season at Williams F1 was similarly undistinguished. So why did these transitions fail ??

#15 BRG

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 12:41

Originally posted by bill moffat
Warwick and Palmer were capable in F1 and mighty in Gp C Jaguars and Porsches respectively but mediocre in BTCC cars.

In the case of Warwick at least, it may be about FWD versus RWD. Not every driver feels at home with the particular demands of a FWD car. In the case of Palmer, IIRC he dabbled with BMWs, so the FWD argument doesn't work!

#16 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 22:47

Scott Pruett and Robby Gordon was mentioned for their lack of competitiviness in NASCAR, but does NASCAR really have much to do with driver skill? If you are having a bad day, you are two tenths off the pole, and that suggests - at least to me - that a driver can not do much with such cars. Sure, he can sit there and push the pedal to the metal, but the rest is up to the car.

Of course the racing itself, means you have to adapt to this slipstreaming and the close racing that comes with it, and if the tech crew has go everything right you might still be in the hunt for top positions for the last 10 lap dash to the finish...

See the info below from http://www.woodbroth...ews2.cfm?ID=481

North Carolina Speedway (Rockingham) 1.017-mile
Ricky Rudd’s lap time of 23.959 seconds (152.811 mph) places him 28th on the starting grid for Sunday’s Subway 400. (With a lap of 23.759 seconds he would have started the race 10th.) The top 36 qualifiers were within .33 seconds of one-another, and the entire field, including provisionals, were less than 7/10ths of a second apart.

Friday’s top-ten qualifiers were (all within a tenth of a second):

1. Dave Blaney – 23.669 sec. (his first Winston Cup pole) 2. Johnny Benson – 23.689 sec. 3. Mark Martin – 23.708 sec. 4. Sterling Marlin – 23.709 sec. 5. Bill Elliott – 23.710 sec. 6. Ricky Craven – 23.716 sec. 7. Jamnie McMurray – 23.731 sec. 8. Rusty Wallace – 23.743 sec. 9. Dale Jarrett – 23.746 sec. 10. Bobby Labonte - 23.767 sec.