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Do we really need them? F1’s Veteran Drivers


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#1 etoipi

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 14:19

Original Title:  Should they still be on the grid?

I changed the title after qualifying at Sochi (2021)

 

There are 4 F1 world champions on the grid – Kimi, Fernando, Sebastian and Lewis.  All great drawcards.  I have seen all of their races.  But all of them are facing an opponent that no elite athlete has ever beaten – Time.  If Time was my only criteria, they would all be gone.  However I looked at speed, racecraft, against teammate and mistakes.

 

Kimi – Well he has already made the decision and I do think it was time

Fernando – on those 4 criteria, he is still doing well enough and he has unfinished business in F1

Sebastian – does ok on first 2 criteria but not so on the last 2 criteria

Lewis – he still has it based of the first 3 criteria but I have noticed a few mistakes/unforced errors this year.  Next year against George will be interesting

 

Now to the question in the new title rather than the original title. 

Do we really need them – the 4 champions?  The last few races and the grid for Sochi shows that the new generation of F1 drivers is here and are performing.  So I am saying that we don’t need them.

 

In the short term, they are still here and I do want to see the Max/Lewis battle play out before the new generation of drivers take over.

 



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#2 danmills

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 14:24

I immediately thought of Karl Pilkington and Jellyfish.

#3 Izzyeviel

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 14:24

Lewis and Alonso can still go, Seb and Kimi are just making up the numbers at this point. But as long as they're not embarrassing themselves, its good they're on the grid. Adds to the prestige of the championship and elevates the eventual winner - even more so if its a first time winner.



#4 BRK

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 14:33

They're there because their teams chose them. What 'we' need or don't need is irrelevant.

#5 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 14:36

You could ask this question of half of the grid every single year. There will always be a good handful of drivers that are characters/names of the sport and are probably past it, but stay in due to their reputation.

 

I always like the veteran drivers. The issue is that they seem to be staying in F1 for longer and there are only 20 F1 seats. That is the problem.



#6 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 14:37

The more ex-champions the better as far as I am concerned.

#7 Anderis

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 14:38

I don't need any particular driver to be F1. You could exchange all current 20 drivers for another 20 drivers and I wouldn't enjoy it any less, provided there's not too much skill gap between the best driver and the average driver and between the average driver and the worst driver.



#8 hansmann

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 15:07

I'm trying to figure out how Lewis fits into this random list, and what the purpose of the thread is in general .



#9 pdac

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 15:16

I have proposed in the past the idea of mandating that no driver in F1 can compete in more than 3 consecutive seasons (and that there be at least 2 seasons between their last and any 'comeback'). That might help.



#10 wj_gibson

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 15:27

It’s entirely up to their employers to decide whether they need them.

 

But the OP’s question does point, like many others, to the current era being a changing of the guard in F1. I doubt any of these four will be on the grid in three years’ time.



#11 Calum

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 15:28

F1 doesn’t NEED former champions and F1 doesn’t NEED Ferrari on the grid.

They have great history obviously, but F1 is bigger than them all and others will create new stories over the coming years.

#12 PayasYouRace

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 15:29

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#13 Alfisti

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 15:51

I feel kimi is 2 years too late. Seb is done imho. Alonso and Lewis still seem more than capable.

#14 Atreiu

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:17

Maybe Alpine needed Alonso, but F1 in general... nah.



#15 prty

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:19

Maybe Alpine needed Alonso, but F1 in general... nah.

And not just Alonso, F1 doesn't need any driver, never did.



#16 Frank Tuesday

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:19

I immediately thought of Karl Pilkington and Jellyfish.


Karl is the early 21st century's greatest philosopher.

#17 Risil

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:26

Kimi's time in F1 has come to an end. Alonso and Lewis have another chapter in their career -- they're the two outstanding F1 drivers of the past 20 years and have the skill and intensity to remain at the top at an age when most other drivers have lost interest or been found out as slightly more mediocre than we once thought.

 

Seb is more finely balanced, but if it hadn't been for his disqualification at Hungary which was nothing to do with him and had no impact on his race performance, he'd have more than double his teammate's points total (and is still leading him easily in the championship). There are at least half a dozen quicker drivers out there, but a lot of his value comes from him being a world champion, knowing how to win races and knowing how successful teams get and stay successful. Sort of a post-Williams Nelson Piquet, or a post-Williams Damon Hill. Aston Martin could do with a younger driver with the aggression and energy of a Russell or Norris, but that's really Lawrence Stroll's problem and not Vettel's.



#18 Kao18

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:29

Yes we need them, especially Hamilton and Alonso, but even Vettel, to many youngsters just devalues the championship as far as I am concerned.  We dont want the whole F2 grid in F1.


Edited by Kao18, 25 September 2021 - 16:30.


#19 DeKnyff

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:35

F1 need the best drivers. If you find 

 

Maybe Alpine needed Alonso, but F1 in general... nah.

 

That's a very weird statement, since Alpine is one of the ten current F1 teams.



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#20 Claudius

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:36

Of course we need them (except for Kimi but he's leaving anyway).

And the young guns need to test themselves against the champions. 



#21 DeKnyff

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:40

F1 needs the best available drivers. If there are available drivers who are better than Hamilton, Alonso, Kimi or Vettel, they will be welcome to the sport. If not, veteran drivers are still needed. Simple Darwinism.



#22 PlatenGlass

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:40

Hamilton - He's still seen as a benchmark. And with Verstappen now with a car able to challenge him, this is prime stuff. Not the time to go.

 

Alonso - As has been said, he has unfinished business and if he can carry on performing, it's very good to see him on the grid. We just need him in a race-winning car!

 

Vettel - He's not really that old, and I think in a car that suits him, he can still do very good things. He doesn't need to go now. It's good to have another champion on the grid as well.

 

Raikkonen - Well, his peak years ended in around 2006/7, but even after his career break he was still a perfectly respectable driver at Lotus. I feel he has been on borrowed time since he joined Alonso at Ferrari in 2014, and was only ever used for strategy purposes as Vettel's team-mate. So that will be 8 full seasons of borrowed time by the end of this year. But since joining Alfa Romeo, he's been just another driver on the grid making up the numbers, and in a way it's sad to see. But in another way it's good to still have drivers from 20 years ago - and Raikonen born in the 70s as well - still going. Still I think it was always likely that this would be his last year, and I don't think many people will be saying it's premature.



#23 ARTGP

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:42

And not just Alonso, F1 doesn't need any driver, never did.

 

Roborace really took off /s



#24 Leibowitz

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:50

Despite his mistakes, Lewis still had a number of impressive races/qualifying this year so it’s a bit silly to suggest that he is ready for retirement.

Alonso could still mount a title challenge with a proper car, and even Vettel is driving okay these days- a noticeable drop of form compared to earlier years but still much better than that horror of 2020. With a bit of more luck in qualifying and races like Hungary, he would have had a hefty advantage over his teammate.

The only one who “fits the criteria” is Kimi and he announced that he is retiring so nothing much to discuss there.

And not the mention the fact that seeing ALO, HAM, VET and RAI torpedoes me back in late 00s and early 10s. A bit of nostalgia on my side.

Edited by Leibowitz, 25 September 2021 - 16:54.


#25 DeKnyff

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:51

Three out of the four veteran drivers have outqualified today their younger teammates in very tricky conditions. Just saying.



#26 MasterOfCoin

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 16:57

He should see the typical Indycar drivers lineup it's a who's who of current and former champions.......


Edited by MasterOfCoin, 25 September 2021 - 17:01.


#27 CHIUNDA

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 17:07

Lewis should definitely have retired last year after the 7th

#28 Joseki

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 17:08

Alonso and Hamilton are still better than 15 drivers on the grid at least, insane reactionary thread this one.



#29 Rodaknee

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 17:23

I have proposed in the past the idea of mandating that no driver in F1 can compete in more than 3 consecutive seasons (and that there be at least 2 seasons between their last and any 'comeback'). That might help.

April the 1st was it?



#30 pdac

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 17:52

April the 1st was it?

 

It would work, though.



#31 hansmann

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 19:11

It would work, though.

 

On April 1st, it would .



#32 hansmann

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 19:23

I don't need any particular driver to be F1. You could exchange all current 20 drivers for another 20 drivers and I wouldn't enjoy it any less, provided there's not too much skill gap between the best driver and the average driver and between the average driver and the worst driver.

 

You could visit your local cart track at the weekend , watch Formula E or something, that seems to be the degree of involvement fitting your needs .

Just as with the teams, or the sport in general, there's a development , a process drivers are going through, one which takes years to get them to a certain place .

 

F1 is not a Twitch stream .



#33 William Hunt

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 19:53

I thought you were talking about grid girls, aka pit cats, when I saw the title. And yes they can come back from me. 



#34 romaincrouton

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 20:22

After today's qualifying, Norris, Sainz, Russell you could be forgiven in thinking that the new generation have arrived, but at the same time I think it's a privilege to watch this changing of the guard.

Alonso is an excellent example of racecraft and speed. He's given us plenty of both this year (and even with a 2 year gap)

I think it's great we get to see the future greats and the older greats on track fighting with each other... Orrrrrr we could have a cull and be watching Mazepin and Ticktum punt each other off..

#35 romaincrouton

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 20:30

How do Giovinazzi, Stroll, Mazepin, Bottas, Perez and Latifi measure up to your 4 criteria. At least Vettel, Kimi and Alonso were electric at points in their career

#36 prty

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 20:46

Roborace really took off /s

:lol: what I meant was rather, Senna died, Schumacher retired, many other champions retired, and it's still going on.
All it needs is some basic consistency to give people time to know the drivers. From there on, you can't measure in absolute terms how good a grid is, but rather in relative comparisons between drivers. So the public won't perceive it. Therefore, F1 doesn't need any specific driver.

Edited by prty, 25 September 2021 - 20:47.


#37 Anderis

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 21:00

You could visit your local cart track at the weekend , watch Formula E or something, that seems to be the degree of involvement fitting your needs .

Just as with the teams, or the sport in general, there's a development , a process drivers are going through, one which takes years to get them to a certain place .

The first part is complete bollocks. Allow me to choose myself what fits my needs.

 

The second part is true to an extent but I don't propose to throw all of the drivers out at once and just throw some random dudes in as a desirable solution to anything. It's just that whoever happens to get to F1 organically, I'm OK with and I don't care that much if it's one particual person or another. My first favouirte F1 driver retired half a year after I had started watching the sport regularly, it's taught me not to get too attached.  



#38 PayasYouRace

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Posted 25 September 2021 - 23:05

I've followed F1 long enough to see many star drivers leave, or at least take a sabbatical.

 

F1 needs its stars, but it also has an incredible ability to make new stars as quickly as the old ones fade. It helps to have former champions on the grid. They provide a certain yardstick and an air of legitimacy to what's going on. We saw it when Alonso became champion and Schumacher was still there to be beaten. Yet on the flip-side, did anyone really miss Michael in 2007?

 

F1 is bigger than any one driver. But it's not bigger than all its drivers, if that makes sense. Take away one or two great champions and we'll get over it quickly. Start fresh every year, and the magic is gone.



#39 F1matt

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 09:44

While I agree with the above post that the sport is bigger than the drivers, I think this is a sign of where F1 is right now. In the past drivers used to be finished because the demands of the sport were too high for them, or they were burnt out; either through demands on the bodies from injuries and the physical demands of the car which are no longer there or the constant testing which no longer exists. The danger is no longer there as a sport is F1 any more dangerous than football or Rugby now? The latter sports have seen some high-profile incidents of stars collapsing on the pitch or receiving life changing injuries. The safety of the sport has to be applauded both with the cars and the tracks and the governing bodies take this very seriously while other sports governing bodies don’t have the same approach.



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#40 Ali623

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 09:50

Well currently all 4 of the above mentioned names are beating their younger teammates so...



#41 keeppari

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 10:08

No, F1 will just move on once they are all retired. New stars will emerge with their fanbase and the current records will be surpassed.

#42 absinthedude

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:26

 

 

F1 is bigger than any one driver. But it's not bigger than all its drivers, if that makes sense. Take away one or two great champions and we'll get over it quickly. Start fresh every year, and the magic is gone.

 

This is how I feel. I've been watching so long that it is nearly 20 years since the retirement of the last driver to compete in the first races I watched. I've seen them come and go....and F1 is bigger than any one driver, but it part of the allure is the sense of occasion and history. Having acknowledged great drivers who are still capable of delivering on the grid is important. Yes, there comes a time when everyone should look at retirement. But having Mario Andretti, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi in the field that first year I watched was a part of the magic. If the field were all up and comers....it might as well be F3. Great racing sometimes for sure, but doesn't have the weight behind it. 

 

Touring cars are similar, having some tin top legends in a series helps give it weight.

 

Kimi....is just enjoying racing and being Kimi. He did pretty well yesterday too. But I will agree that he's well past his prime and while he could have continued into 2022 it's a good time to go. On his terms.

 

Fernando....there's life in the old dog yet, and I get the feeling that with a top car he could still spring a surprise. I see him as late career Lauda....not as fast, but bloody wily and still capable of delivering the goods. 

 

Seb...still has his ups and downs but then so does the Aston. I'd rather like to see another season at least before I stick the fork in and say he's done. He's had a few very good races this year and some bad luck not of his making. 

 

Lewis....candidate for GOAT and still delivering week in, week out. 

 

F1 would really miss Lewis and Fernando at present. Seb less so but I feel his final F1 chapter may yet be written. Not another title but more podiums, maybe a win. same for Fernando, and F1 would miss him right now if he left. 



#43 Dratini

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:29

It would work, though.

How? F1 presents itself as the pinnacle of motor racing. The ability to do so would be diminished if you were forcing some of the best drivers in the world out for no reason, after they worked so hard to get in.
 



#44 smitten

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:31

F1 would really miss Lewis and Fernando at present. Seb less so but I feel his final F1 chapter may yet be written. Not another title but more podiums, maybe a win. same for Fernando, and F1 would miss him right now if he left. 

F1 would not miss Alonso or Vettel if they stopped today (but some fans would).  F1 would miss Hamilton right up until the first wheel turned in FP1 of the first race of the year.



#45 ForzaGTR

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:31

Lewis still winning races, why does it matter how old he is? If you've got it, you've got it. 



#46 PayasYouRace

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:36

Was anyone here watching in 1994? It was just before I started watching so I can only look at it in hindsight.

In the space of a few years, Piquet and Prost had retired and Mansell was off doing Indycar. Then Senna was killed. F1 had no champions on the grid. There were a few secondary stars like Alesi and Berger, and new drivers like Hill, Hakkinen and Schumacher. But it would be much like if the drivers named in the OP all left the sport now.

It was apparently a big enough deal for Bernie to get Mansell back in an F1 car. But did that make that much difference for fans at the time?

#47 Alfisti

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:39

Age is no issue for me, its if they are losing it or never reached great heights to begin with . Alonso still looks absolutely on it, especially in races, such an opportunist and seems to so often make the right decision. Seb looks like a spin waiting to happen in comparison.

#48 cpbell

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:40

Despite his mistakes, Lewis still had a number of impressive races/qualifying this year so it’s a bit silly to suggest that he is ready for retirement.

Alonso could still mount a title challenge with a proper car, and even Vettel is driving okay these days- a noticeable drop of form compared to earlier years but still much better than that horror of 2020. With a bit of more luck in qualifying and races like Hungary, he would have had a hefty advantage over his teammate.

The only one who “fits the criteria” is Kimi and he announced that he is retiring so nothing much to discuss there.

And not the mention the fact that seeing ALO, HAM, VET and RAI torpedoes me back in late 00s and early 10s. A bit of nostalgia on my side.

Same here.



#49 pacificquay

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:41

Was anyone here watching in 1994? It was just before I started watching so I can only look at it in hindsight.

In the space of a few years, Piquet and Prost had retired and Mansell was off doing Indycar. Then Senna was killed. F1 had no champions on the grid. There were a few secondary stars like Alesi and Berger, and new drivers like Hill, Hakkinen and Schumacher. But it would be much like if the drivers named in the OP all left the sport now.

It was apparently a big enough deal for Bernie to get Mansell back in an F1 car. But did that make that much difference for fans at the time?

 

The Mansell cameo was unnecessary.

 

The races the rest of the year still had that gut-wrenching tension, where you feel physically sick with nerves ahead of the start, as is the case with every Grand Prix from then till now.



#50 cpbell

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 11:43

Was anyone here watching in 1994? It was just before I started watching so I can only look at it in hindsight.

In the space of a few years, Piquet and Prost had retired and Mansell was off doing Indycar. Then Senna was killed. F1 had no champions on the grid. There were a few secondary stars like Alesi and Berger, and new drivers like Hill, Hakkinen and Schumacher. But it would be much like if the drivers named in the OP all left the sport now.

It was apparently a big enough deal for Bernie to get Mansell back in an F1 car. But did that make that much difference for fans at the time?

Yes, I was.  I don't recall it being a problem beyond the fact that we had lost Senna, the illusion of safety had been destroyed and we were fearful of governments banning F1 in their countries.  Beyond that, I think we were excited to find out whether Schuey was as good as we thought, whether Damon could win a WDC and whether Ferrari could finally give Alesi the car he needed to win the WDC.