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Cometh the hour, cometh the man...?


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#1 genespleen

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 00:44

Next G Fisichella will assume the mantle of team leader in a very strong team, after the departure of a driver who dominated the team performance tables whilst there. Can anyone recall a similar situation in the past, in which an established veteran driver rose to such an occasion?

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#2 RA Historian

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 01:07

Would it be rash to suggest Mansell at Williams in 1986 after Keke moved on?

#3 cosworth bdg

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 02:27

Originally posted by RA Historian
Would it be rash to suggest Mansell at Williams in 1986 after Keke moved on?

I don't think so, he certainly got the best out of that team...

#4 Ivan

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 03:50

And why is this in the Nostalgia forum exactly?

#5 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 04:07

Because he's asking for historical perspective and example(s).

Personally I think Fisichella (after his second career when Benetton/Renault) will go down in history as an unremarkable driver. Likewise Trulli and most of the rest of the current grid.

Is it just my historical ignorance, or does it seem that drivers are having longer careers now and we've been stuck with the same core guys for a while?

#6 repcobrabham

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:08

i seem to recall the same core group of pilots playing musical chairs from the mid-80s to mid-90s, ditto mid-70s/80s (although i can't actually remember this, just have a hunch from half-remembered historical reading)

however, the question at hand exceeds my knowledge. looking forward to more learned responses :wave:

#7 Rob G

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 05:56

At first I was thinking there must have been dozens of examples, but the more I thought about it, the more wrong I was. Two examples that came to mind happened at Lotus: Graham Hill in 1968 after the death of Jim Clark, and Ronnie Peterson in 1974 after Fittipaldi left for McLaren. The latter example is arguable, though, since Emmo only finished only three points ahead, and most of Peterson's points were racked up in the second half of the season.

Of course, Francois Cevert was slated to become team leader for 1974 for Tyrrell after the retirement of Stewart, but sadly he never got that chance.

#8 Mohican

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:18

Obvious example is surely Patrick Tambay at Ferrari in 1982, after the team lost both drivers they started the year with.

Jo Siffert at BRM in the second half of 1971, although his tenure was tragically brief.
Carlos Reutemann at Ferrari in 1978.

A certain Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 1996...he was already a double world champion by then, which is easy to forget.

#9 MCS

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:47

Graham Hill at Gold Leaf Team Lotus in 1968.

Clark won the opening South African GP before his fatal accident at Hockenheim, Hill won the next race in Spain and became World Champion.

I guess you could also count Emerson Fittipaldi at GLTL, following Rindt's death at Monza...

#10 petefenelon

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:54

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Because he's asking for historical perspective and example(s).

Personally I think Fisichella (after his second career when Benetton/Renault) will go down in history as an unremarkable driver. Likewise Trulli and most of the rest of the current grid.

Is it just my historical ignorance, or does it seem that drivers are having longer careers now and we've been stuck with the same core guys for a while?


I think we are seeing longer careers now due to increased safety (i.e. less drivers 'invalided out') and the 'closed shop' mentality in F1. I doubt future historians will be significantly detained writing of the epic deeds of Fisichella, Trulli, Schumacher ®, Heidfeld, Webber, de la Rosa, Button (although he does seem to have recently discovered how to be a racer, Barrichello... Now there's even GP winners in there but they're so bloody bland that it's hard to give a hoot about them.

Trulli does trouble me though. His fitness regime is absolutely gruelling. His qualifying is astonishing. But come the race he might as well sit at home and read the phone book. I firmly believe that if you could combine Trulli's qualifying skill and Panis' racecraft you'd have a World Champion on your hands; if you combined Panis' qualifying skill and Trulli's racecraft you'd have Chanoch Nissany.;)

#11 ensign14

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 12:56

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Is it just my historical ignorance, or does it seem that drivers are having longer careers now and we've been stuck with the same core guys for a while?

No. That's the problem with increased life expectancy and the increasingly rarefied nature of the modern radio controlled F1 car. Hence Graham Hill having 15 years of pointscoring was unprecedented - but recently we've had Patrese, Mansell, Schumacher get there or thereabouts and Coulthard is close. Scheckter was more or less finished after 7 years - who's been in for that time on next year's grid? Trulli, Ralfie, Fisi, DC, Pedro maybe, Wurz, Rubens, Button, Heidfeld...nearly half. Of which maybe 2 have realistic shots at winning.

[edit] Dammit, Pete, get outta my head. [/edit]

#12 ian senior

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 13:30

The safety, reliabilty and political issues certainly have some bearing on the fact that we see some very long F1 careers these days, as do the fact that there are fewer teams, fewer cars and therefore fewer opportunities. Whatever the reason, it's all pretty stultifying.

As we now have a sport in which daft regulations prevail, I don't see any reason why there can't be a rule saying that a driver should take a 2-year sabbatical from F1 at the end of the season in which he has made his 120th start. That should get some new drivers on the scene, and if they make a good fist of it and establish themsleves, some of the more average drivers who have been resting would have trouble forcing their way back in.

#13 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 13:41

Its an odd paradox that in the era where the cars are perhaps the easiest to get up to speed in, F1 is the most closed off its ever been.

#14 ensign14

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 13:51

Originally posted by ian senior
As we now have a sport in which daft regulations prevail, I don't see any reason why there can't be a rule saying that a driver should take a 2-year sabbatical from F1 at the end of the season in which he has made his 120th start.

Or virtual injuries to simulate conditions in the past.

If you hit a barrier, 1 race rest.

Hit it so hard you lose a wheel, 2 races out.

Overtake team-mate under a red flag and career into Silverstone barrier, forced retirement. :D

#15 caneparo

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 15:14

Gilles Villeneuve became no1 driver of Ferrari after Scheckter's retirement. Or at least until that famous GP

#16 D-Type

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 16:30

How about
Phil Hill at Ferrari in 1960 after Tony Brooks moved on?
Bruce McLaren at Cooper in 1962(?) when Brabham left?

#17 Ivan

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 16:34

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Its an odd paradox that in the era where the cars are perhaps the easiest to get up to speed in, F1 is the most closed off its ever been.

That is a great point, and it's been bothering me for a few years. And as it becomes more safe, the Phony Tough will strive.

#18 petefenelon

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 16:53

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Its an odd paradox that in the era where the cars are perhaps the easiest to get up to speed in, F1 is the most closed off its ever been.


True; there is now almost an inverse correlation between performance in other formulae and performance in F1 - if the drivers even bother to have much of a career before F1.

Pizzonia, for example, was quite the best I've seen in the junior formulae for years - gorgeous car control, used every millietre of the track but not one more, really danced the car around in FRenaults and F3.... gets to the top level and he's nothing.

Montoya - a tiger in the car in F3000 and Champcar, but really he never delivered on his promise in F1.

(And then there was poor old Zanardi...)

Although their pre-F1 careers were short and meteoric, Alonso and Massa never looked like they were going to take the world by storm, at least to me; and yet they were in F1 and "on it" very quickly.

And Ralf Schumacher has never looked like a particularly special racing driver in his life, and pretty much admits he got into F1 on the back of his brother's name - yet there he is with 162 starts and 6 wins.

(Mind you, Toyota do make me think of the old football chant... "Sh*t team no fans, sh*t team no fans!")

#19 Ivan

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 17:10

Pete,
I have never warmed to Massa. I still don't think much of him. Because I believe this is now a case of the CAR making the driver look good. If he was so great way did he suck at the other teams he was driving for. Fisi is an anomaly. I thought he was canned from Benetton for the wrong reasons and I hoped he would give Alonso a run for his money when he got the car back but he never seemed on the same page. And his car kept breaking!

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#20 ensign14

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 22:18

Originally posted by petefenelon


True; there is now almost an inverse correlation between performance in other formulae and performance in F1 - if the drivers even bother to have much of a career before F1.

What's the point in learning how to do fast getaways and gear changes and late braking in downforce-limited cars? Those skills are all pretty much useless in F1.

#21 Twin Window

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 23:06

I've changed the name of this thread in the hope it reflects the content more accurately.

:up:

#22 Ivan

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 06:27

Twin,
I thought I was losing it there so a moment.

#23 ensign14

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 18:57

Interesting point that is germane to this subject raised by Scott Speed in this week's Autosport - he says you should go straight into F1 from karts, as it stops you learning bad habits in other formulae...he says an F1 car is closer to a kart than any other form of racing. :

#24 Twin Window

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 19:24

Well, for what it's worth, I've been saying that for years. And it's in no way meant as a compliment to contemporary racing either.

Get a quick kid out of karting, make sure he's good on the PlayStation (so you know he'll be able to navigate an F1 steering wheel), then get him a fat, muscular neck - and you're off.

'Bad habits' no doubt includes heeling-and-toeing. It's truly pathetic.

While I'm in this blood-boiled state, I read in Motor Sport that Johnny Herbert said he'd had to work "five times as hard" to drive a Healey [at the Revival] than compared to any current car, and - IIRC - Rosberg Jr and Christian Klien both spoke in a similar vein. Indeed. That's what real driving is like, as opposed to having all manner of gizmos doing most of the graft for you... :rolleyes:

(I get on very well with Johnny and like him a lot, so please understand that I'm not having a dig at him per se.)

#25 ensign14

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 19:30

And it's one of the reasons why people are getting put off F1. These guys ought to be pretty much gods, doing the sort of thing that no mere mortal can do; when an Israeli businessman in his forties can get within a few seconds of his team-mate, I'm sitting here thinking that I could bloody do that. It's turning into test-pilotry, which is all well and good, except there is pretty much infintely more risk as a test-pilot.

#26 flat-16

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 19:36

For what it's worth, I first encountered the "bad habits in interim formulae" argument 20 years ago when I attended school with a fellow who was a karting champion. He was looking to avoid FF1600 at all costs... He also spoke very highly of Herbert, thought Irvine was a nutter and felt McNish would go places.

Justin

#27 Vicuna

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 21:20

What an excellent thread.

#28 Jerome

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 15:52

Well, Mansell did not become worldchampion that season when Keke left, did he? Much later, other car, other year, other situation. Neither did Gilles become wc when Scheckter left, neither did Scheckter when Stewart had left and Cevert had died, neither did Reuteman when Lauda left.

The only examples I can give are indeed Graham Hill when Clark died, and Piquet when Lauda left Brabham.

So I figure the odds are agaisnt Fisi.

#29 giacomo

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 16:24

Piquet took Brabhams #1 seat after Laudas first retirement.

And of course Schumacher took Piquets #1 Benetton seat after Piquet left F1.

#30 Lotus23

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 16:49

Twinny's "bad habits" post reminded me of the difficulties the U.S. Army encountered in training large numbers of helicopter pilots 40 years ago.

Originally, it was thought that re-training experienced fixed-wing pilots to fly rotary-wing craft would be the most efficient route, but it was soon discovered that it was faster, easier and more cost-effective to take kids who'd never flown anything and train them from scratch as helicopter pilots.

As an occasionally-terrified passenger in his 30s, I got to fly with a number of those teen-aged Huey pilots, many of whom still believed in the invincibility of youth. God bless 'em.

#31 ensign14

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 17:08

Originally posted by Lotus23
Twinny's "bad habits" post reminded me of the difficulties the U.S. Army encountered in training large numbers of helicopter pilots 40 years ago.

Originally, it was thought that re-training experienced fixed-wing pilots to fly rotary-wing craft would be the most efficient route, but it was soon discovered that it was faster, easier and more cost-effective to take kids who'd never flown anything and train them from scratch as helicopter pilots.

Like Auto Union picking drivers for their rear-engined cars?

They were better off generally with those with Grand Prix experience as they managed to kill off some of those without it in testing, but of course there was one glaring exception...