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Late blooming careers


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#1 Dunc

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 11:14

A decade ago Jenson Button and Mark Webber, two drivers who had both been around for almost a decade in mediocre cars, finally got their hands on the kind of equipment that allowed them to deliver on their potential and challenge for the WDC. In both cases they were closer to the end of their careers than their start.

 

There are quite a few examples from further back in F1 history of this sort of phenomenon - Mika Hakkinen, Mario Andretti and Peter Revson spring to mind.

 

Who do you think could fall into this category now? The obvious candidates would be The Hulk, Perez and KMag but is there anyone else we think could be the next late bloomer?



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#2 PlayboyRacer

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 11:40

Daniel Ricciardo

#3 Jazza

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 12:02

There are quite a few examples from further back in F1 history of this sort of phenomenon - Mika Hakkinen,


I was thinking this the other day...

Melbourne 1998 - Mika’s 97th GP
Hungary 2019 - Max’s 93rd GP

It’s funny how Mika felt like an F1 elder when he started his championship season, yet I still see Max as the new kid on the grid 😂

Even in recent races the talk has been the changing of the guard as Lewis and Max fought for the win. Yet 93 races used to be heading towards the end of a driver’s career, not the start.

#4 FLB

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 12:29

Riccardo Patrese.

 

Went from Bad Boy in 1977/78 to one of the most respected drivers in the paddock when he retired in 1993. Prior to finishing third in the 1989 championship, he'd never finished better than ninth (and that was in 1983, when he was driving a car that won the championship, albeit as no.2 to Nelson Piquet).



#5 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 12:30

I was thinking this the other day...
Melbourne 1998 - Mika’s 97th GP
Hungary 2019 - Max’s 93rd GP
It’s funny how Mika felt like an F1 elder when he started his championship season, yet I still see Max as the new kid on the grid
Even in recent races the talk has been the changing of the guard as Lewis and Max fought for the win. Yet 93 races used to be heading towards the end of a driver’s career, not the start.


It’s amazing what 4 or 5 extra races per year can do.

1998 was Mika’s 8th season in F1, though he only did 3 races in 1993.
This is Max’s 5th.

#6 SpeedRacer`

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 12:39

Barrichello was around for 7 seasons in generally mediocre cars until he got his hands on a Ferrari. Then the late renaissance with Brawn.

 

Rosberg (kind of) as well.

 

Brundle left F1 for a season then came back with Benetton, Ligier and McLaren which were pretty decent drives later on in his career.



#7 NixxxoN

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:06

Of the current grid we could add Carlos Sainz in there, although he is still quite young

#8 absinthedude

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:06

I don't count Mario...He'd won the Indy 500 and a couple of USAC titles before really giving F1 a full time shot in the late 70s. And it's not like he hadn't shone in F1 before he took it on full time.

 

Riccardo Patrese strikes me as the archetype here. Known as the "enfent terribille" or "bad boy" as another poster already mentioned, he even got blamed by some for Ronnie Peterson's death and was shunned for a time. 1979-1988 being rather uninspiring, though did get a couple of wins....before really finding his feet and enjoying a totally different reputation at Williams in 1989-1992 and to some extent Benetton in 1993. He became known as both fast and consistent, and a very respected elder statesman of F1. 



#9 noikeee

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:10

Patrese was pretty good in the fast Brabhams of 82/83. It's just that they were horribly unreliable - in 83 for him only, not Piquet.

But yeah he did have a kind of second coming, with more sustainable results, from 89 onwards. I think his peak was 89-91, in his last two seasons 92 and 93 he had very competitive cars but his performance fell off a cliff, way behind Mansell and Schumacher respectively.

#10 TomNokoe

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:15

Sergio Perez

#11 garoidb

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:16

I'd have Nigel Mansell under this category. He was in F1 for five seasons before he started to look like someone who could win consistently. 



#12 NixxxoN

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:19

If we are talking about late-age F1 careers then we could pick Damon Hill or Pedro de la Rosa

#13 absinthedude

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:28

Patrese was pretty good in the fast Brabhams of 82/83. It's just that they were horribly unreliable - in 83 for him only, not Piquet.

But yeah he did have a kind of second coming, with more sustainable results, from 89 onwards. I think his peak was 89-91, in his last two seasons 92 and 93 he had very competitive cars but his performance fell off a cliff, way behind Mansell and Schumacher respectively.

 

1991 was probably his finest year, out-doing Mansell in the early races. For 1992 he simply didn't suit the active suspension as well as Mansell....the latter felt total confidence in the system and would chuck the car into corners in the full belief that the suspension would allow him to do what was previously impossible....Patrese just had that little doubt in it. By '93 he was also probably beyond his peak...and...well...Schumacher...



#14 johnwilliamdavies

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 13:43

If we are talking about late-age F1 careers then we could pick Damon Hill or Pedro de la Rosa

 

I must have been asleep when Pedro de la Rosa's F1 career bloomed. 



#15 PlatenGlass

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 14:11

Daniel Ricciardo

Not really. He got into F1 part way through 2011 and was beating Vettel in the Red Bull in 2014, winning his first race that year at the age of 24.

#16 PlayboyRacer

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 14:13

Isn't this thread about drivers finally getting their hands on World Championship challenging equipment late in their career?

When has Daniel Ricciardo had that previously?

#17 Spillage

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 14:13

Mansell and Button are probably the classic examples. Both took years to win their first race and then went on to win the world championship.

 

Maybe Jean-Pierre Jabouille also belongs in this category? He looked very good for Renault and was seriously unlucky not to win more than two Grands Prix, but he was already in his late thirties when he drove for Renault. Maybe one of the history buffs on here can educate me - why was a driver good enough to be a multiple GP winner still in F2 at the age of 33?



#18 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 14:29

Barrichello was around for 7 seasons in generally mediocre cars until he got his hands on a Ferrari. Then the late renaissance with Brawn.
 
Rosberg (kind of) as well.
 
Brundle left F1 for a season then came back with Benetton, Ligier and McLaren which were pretty decent drives later on in his career.


Brundle actually took two seasons out. 1988 and 1990, though he did sub for Mansell in Belgium 88.

#19 NixxxoN

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 14:29

I must have been asleep when Pedro de la Rosa's F1 career bloomed.

lol
Well, its a very small bloom but he got a brilliant 2nd place in Hungary 2006 with McLaren when he was 35 y/o, he was a bit faster than his team mate Kimi. The car also wasn't a top one or winning one.

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#20 PlatenGlass

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 14:35

Isn't this thread about drivers finally getting their hands on World Championship challenging equipment late in their career?

When has Daniel Ricciardo had that previously?

Well I suppose, but if he does get his hands on a potential championship winner in the future, I wouldn't call it a classic late-blooming career because of the early success, even if he never threatened the WDC.

#21 johnwilliamdavies

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 14:47

I can recall Ricciardo taking part in a pre-season or in-season test, and doing rather well, and everyone on here demanding that he gets a seat right away. So, if anything, his career has been downhill since it started. Though he's still got time to contend for a WDC. 



#22 sopa

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:13

Looks like Max Verstappen is a late bloomer. Looks like it takes a lot of years before he finally gets his hands on championship winning cars!



#23 Tsarwash

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:21

Nico Rosberg ?  :p



#24 FunBobby

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:30

lol
Well, its a very small bloom but he got a brilliant 2nd place in Hungary 2006 with McLaren when he was 35 y/o, he was a bit faster than his team mate Kimi. The car also wasn't a top one or winning one.

 

IIRC Kimi crashed out from leading place. So how was Pedro faster?



#25 Dunc

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:41

It's good seeing all these examples from the past but is there anyone on the current grid you think might be a late bloomer, career wise?

 

Button, Webber and Rosberg all fell into that category in the last 10 years, who might it happen to in the next 10?



#26 NixxxoN

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:44

IIRC Kimi crashed out from leading place. So how was Pedro faster?

Pedro caught Kimi after being like 10 seconds behind (stuch behind Barrichello) and he was right behind when he crashed

Edited by NixxxoN, 07 August 2019 - 15:45.


#27 Izzyeviel

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:46

I must have been asleep when Pedro de la Rosa's F1 career bloomed. 

I too missed the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.



#28 garoidb

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:50

IIRC Kimi crashed out from leading place. So how was Pedro faster?

 

Kimi was stopped.



#29 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:56

I’d put de la Rosa in the Super-Sub category along with guys like Roberto Moreno. One good race in 2006 hardly qualifies as being a late bloomer.

#30 Spillage

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 15:59

It's good seeing all these examples from the past but is there anyone on the current grid you think might be a late bloomer, career wise?

 

Button, Webber and Rosberg all fell into that category in the last 10 years, who might it happen to in the next 10?

I could see Perez or Hulkenberg winning races in the right car, but I can't really see either launching a title challenge. Maybe someone like Kvyat or Sainz could be the next guy to do this late in their career.


Edited by Spillage, 07 August 2019 - 15:59.


#31 Nathan

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 16:21

I'm reading the question as who has stepped up in the second half of their careers.

I'm not sure if we have one atm.  Sainz looks to be on that track.  Perhaps Kyvat, but I think we need to see another season or two to anoint his second coming is for good.  

 

Perez and Hulk are now pretty much what they were after their second seasons. Neither have really met their initial guestimations. Ricciardo's first year bested a 4 time champ, and has continued such form.



#32 eibyyz

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 16:43

I don't count Mario...He'd won the Indy 500 and a couple of USAC titles before really giving F1 a full time shot in the late 70s. And it's not like he hadn't shone in F1 before he took it on full time.

 

 

 

Yep, if Mario had stayed with Colin from Watkins Glen 1968 on, we might not be talking about Rindt and Fittipaldi in the same tones we do now.  Downside?  He wouldn't have won the I500 in 69, and he'd have turned his back on the metric ton of big fat dollars he made in USAC and F5000.  Viceroy was the original mega-sponsor, and Mario took a lot of bux off them.


Edited by eibyyz, 07 August 2019 - 17:43.


#33 Dunc

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 17:25

Yep, if Mario had stayed with Colin from Watkins Glen 1968 on, we might not be talking about Rindt and Fittipaldi in the same tones we do now.  Downside?  He wouldn't have won the I500 in 69, and he'd have turned his back on the metric ton of big fat dollars he made in USAC and F5000.  Winston was the original mega-sponsor, and Mario took a lot of bux off them.

 

I was referring to Mario purely in F1 terms - he had been racing in the series a while before he got the kind of car that really allowed him to show the kind of talent he had. I agree, he probably made the right decision to stay in US racing though.



#34 PlatenGlass

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 18:01

I’d put de la Rosa in the Super-Sub category along with guys like Roberto Moreno. One good race in 2006 hardly qualifies as being a late bloomer.

I seem to remember him being fast in Bahrain as well. Is two enough?

#35 PlatenGlass

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 18:03

I'd have Nigel Mansell under this category. He was in F1 for five seasons before he started to look like someone who could win consistently.

I think Mansell is the most obvious example of a late bloomer. Lots of other drivers struggled because they were in slow cars and then finally got a fast car. Mansell definitely improved a lot as a driver, so he personally bloomed rather than just his career.

#36 mgs315

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 18:09

who might it happen to in the next 10?

For the sake of the grid I hope it isn’t Hamilton. If he improves with age we’re all ****ed.

In all seriousness Button got a decent shot after being proven a decent driver after 2009, coinciding with getting a front running car (actually one would argue 2010 as I personally expected Lewis to trounce him). Performances around 2006 aside.

The previous paragraph makes me think Hulk might possibly surprise if Renault come on form come 2021 and he’s still there...though I think Ricciardo will outshine him if he’s also still in that team.

Edited by mgs315, 07 August 2019 - 18:13.


#37 MinardiCrashDummy

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 18:42

It's good seeing all these examples from the past but is there anyone on the current grid you think might be a late bloomer, career wise?

 

Button, Webber and Rosberg all fell into that category in the last 10 years, who might it happen to in the next 10?

 

I think alot will depend in the 2021 regulations.

 

If the FIA actually achieve what they want and bring the grid closer together then it might give the likes of Perez, Hulkenberg, Magnussen etc the opening to maybe compete.

 

I'm not sure any of them have the talent to be consistent enough though.



#38 absinthedude

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 19:32

Late bloomers I take to be drivers like Patrese, Mansell, Button....who didn't look particularly special until quite late in their careers.

 

If we're looking at people who didn't get any opportunity until late on.....Juan Manuel Fangio....38 when he started his first world championship grand prix, took 5 WDC and is widely considered the best driver who ever drove. 

 

Not really a late bloom but I have always admired Emerson Fittipaldi...took two WDC early in his career then went into a slump of considerably more than a decade....but eventually going on to win the Indy 500 twice and the 1989 CART title. I remember him winning a CART race in 1992 and being in tears in the post race interview....it was exactly 20 years since his first WDC win and it all meant so much to him...the wilderness years, the vindication late in his career.



#39 milestone 11

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 19:42

Jochen Rindt. Was it Jenks that said that he, (Rindt) "Would never win a GP as long as he had a hole in his arse".

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#40 NewMrMe

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 19:51

One interesting point I have noticed is that for a lot of late bloomers, they didn't move to a top team. What happened was that their current team made the jump from the midfield to the front of the grid, certainly true for Button, Webber and Rosberg. This means a lot of it is being in the right place at the right time and suggests that there have been other drivers who could have done so but didn't get the opportunity.

 

Another one I could nominate is Alan Jones. In some ways the early part of his career is similar to that of Nico Hulkenberg. Both spent the first few seasons of their career bouncing around a number of midfield teams, not staying in one place for more than a season and despite consistently outperforming their teammates not getting the call from one of the big teams. The midfield team that Jones joined though for 1978 happened to be Williams. In 1979 he stayed with the same team for the first time in his career and that happened to be their breakthrough year.



#41 chrisj

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 19:59

Yep, if Mario had stayed with Colin from Watkins Glen 1968 on, we might not be talking about Rindt and Fittipaldi in the same tones we do now.  Downside?  He wouldn't have won the I500 in 69, and he'd have turned his back on the metric ton of big fat dollars he made in USAC and F5000.  Viceroy was the original mega-sponsor, and Mario took a lot of bux off them.

You think Andretti would have beaten Rindt and Fittipaldi?



#42 eibyyz

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:16

You think Andretti would have beaten Rindt and Fittipaldi?

 

I know, there's no repercussions after 50 years and no way to prove this--but if Mario wanted fulltime F1 and remained healthy, the odds are that one or both of them wouldn't have made it to F1, or at least not w/ Lotus.  



#43 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:17

Jochen Rindt. Was it Jenks that said that he, (Rindt) "Would never win a GP as long as he had a hole in his arse".

 

I thought that was Peter Warr on Nigel Mansell.



#44 eibyyz

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:18

Jochen Rindt. Was it Jenks that said that he, (Rindt) "Would never win a GP as long as he had a hole in his arse".

 

Well, Jackie Stewart rated him and JYS had no dog in that fight.  



#45 milestone 11

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:23

I thought that was Peter Warr on Nigel Mansell.


Yes, Warr said it, but long after Jenks.

#46 milestone 11

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:26

Well, Jackie Stewart rated him and JYS had no dog in that fight.

None more than me, he's one of my heroes. At the mention of GP, Monaco '70 always jumps immediately into my thoughts.

#47 TennisUK

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:26

Riccardo Patrese.

 

Went from Bad Boy in 1977/78 to one of the most respected drivers in the paddock when he retired in 1993. Prior to finishing third in the 1989 championship, he'd never finished better than ninth (and that was in 1983, when he was driving a car that won the championship, albeit as no.2 to Nelson Piquet).

To be fair he only finished 4 races. And two of those finishes were podiums. One of which was a win :)



#48 E.B.

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:27

Yes, Warr said it, but long after Jenks.


Surely the Jenks thing about Rindt concerned shaving his beard off, nothing about posterior orifices.

#49 milestone 11

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:34

Surely the Jenks thing about Rindt concerned shaving his beard off, nothing about posterior orifices.


That too supposedly. He is reputed to have said that he would shave his beard and indeed, it was shaved at some point after The Glen in '69, whether that was coincidence or not, I have no knowledge. I'll see if I can find the quote in the next few days, there's quite a lot of books where it may be though.

Edited by milestone 11, 07 August 2019 - 20:36.


#50 garoidb

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:34

I think Mansell is the most obvious example of a late bloomer. Lots of other drivers struggled because they were in slow cars and then finally got a fast car. Mansell definitely improved a lot as a driver, so he personally bloomed rather than just his career.

 

Yes, I think that is an important distinction. I always wondered whether Colin Chapman could detect what was to come.