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Reserve drivers


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#1 george1981

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 10:05

I appreciate this might not be everyone's highest concern but I've been thinking the FIA should change the rules for reserve drivers.

 

We've often seen a driver not be able to compete and there be a big question mark about who will replace him even though the team has a nominated reserve driver. This isn't a new thing since covid, even when Massa had his bad accident in 2009 his replacement wasn't certain. So what I would like is there be a nominated reserve driver for each team who will replace the main drivers if needed, no questions asked. 

 

Some of the reserve drivers have been great such as Hulkenberg or the absolutely stunning debut of Nyck de Vries, but others haven't been. Both Luca Badoer and Giancarlo Fisichella struggled when they replaced Massa, in a large part due to unfamiliarity with a very complicated car. 

 

What I would like to see is the FIA mandate that the teams nominate a reserve driver for that season, at least one per team, but the driver(s) can only be one team's reserve driver. So one reserve driver can't cover for several teams in case there is a calamity that means more than 1 team needs a driver. That driver would travel with the team to all races and would be at the track when needed. 

 

To ensure that the reserve driver can actually drive the car and know how all the systems work, they would need to have at least 1/2 a day in the car during the preseason tests, and several free practice sessions throughout the season. This free practice session could be fixed by the FIA so that all teams were equally disadvantaged. 

 

If a team decided they wanted two reserves they each would have to have the preseason time and free practice sessions. If for whatever reason the reserve was replaced the new reserve would have to have a free practice session at the next race to ensure they were familiar with the car. 

 

The overall goal would be to minimise disruptions to race weekends when a driver can't race, and to give reserve drivers some certainty of their role and some car time so they're not thrown in the deep end if they're called up. 



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#2 BRG

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 11:01

I would agree with this.  Situations were the reserve driver is overlooked in favour of someone different look silly.



#3 absinthedude

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 11:11

A top team will choose the best driver available. And that might look different depending on if the spot to be filled is for one race, or a good chunk of the season. 

 

A smaller team might use it as an opportunity to boost funds by taking on a pay driver for one or two races. 

 

Any team might choose to evaluate future talent.

 

Honestly I'd leave it up to the teams. 



#4 Fastcake

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 11:34

I don’t see a need for any rules about who a team should use as a reserve driver.

The reserve driver role as it is is largely understood to be an emergency stand in if someone is taken ill or something at the race weekend, to ensure that there is always someone there to drive the car. Anything with more notice and the teams have the freedom to find whoever may be the most competitive.

The nominated reserve drivers are usually also a dedicated sim driver for the team anyway. They’re familiar enough with how to drive the car, the team, and have usually driven F1 cars before.

#5 PlatenGlass

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 11:43

It just seems a semantic thing. A team will have a reserve driver and then people complain when they use someone else as they've violated the English language because reserve doesn't mean reserve for that team. But other than that, why does it matter who they use?



#6 Spillage

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 12:37

Isn't Jack Aitken the Williams reserve? How come he didn't drive at Monza? I do think that the your nomoinated reserve driver should be the guy who drives, but I guess they sometimes have other commitmentsd and aren't necessarily always available.



#7 BRG

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 12:39

In cricket, there is a 12th Man on hand in case of one of the team being incapacitated.  They don't ignore him and pick someone out of the crowd.

 

Better to drop the whole idea of reserves if it means so little.



#8 absinthedude

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 12:51

There isn't anything in the job description of "F1 reserve driver" which guarantees first dibs on a race drive should a regular driver be unable to drive. 



#9 NewMrMe

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 13:14

I think Jack Aitkin was racing elsewhere last weekend.

 

That would be one of the problems with compulsory reserve drivers. A driver would face a dilemma as to whether to race in something else or always be on call for the slim chance they may get an off race in F1.

 

Also, as Absinthedude points out, your criteria for choosing a replacement driver would likely be very different it is just for one race of if you are looking at a longer term replacement.



#10 fed up

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 13:47

I think reserve the driver role is very confusing and ought not to be. My understanding is that a team has to lodge their reserve driver info with the FIA at the beginning of the season and are able to share said driver with other teams. 
 

I think the OP would be good for the sport and young talent coming through. I’d also add the suggestion made by Wurz, that all contracts including reserve drive pr and academy contracts are lodged with the FIA.

 

Ultimately this will set up the youth for the step up to F1 and it’ll stop teams canvassing for whoever they want in their car when an opportunity arises. I’d vote for it.



#11 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 13:55

We should have a reserve driver free practice session every couple of races, a little bit like they used to do.

 

Keep it to one car per team if they wanted to ensure safety. All teams must run a reserve. It would be an opportunity for teams to get set-up info while developing a driver’s feedback skills.


Edited by IrvTheSwerve, 16 September 2022 - 13:55.


#12 RedRabbit

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 14:36

We should have a reserve driver free practice session every couple of races, a little bit like they used to do.

Keep it to one car per team if they wanted to ensure safety. All teams must run a reserve. It would be an opportunity for teams to get set-up info while developing a driver’s feedback skills.


I think that FP1 should be for reserve or test drivers at every race. They can verify base set up and tire deg basics, while driving a current car.

#13 uzsjgb

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 15:05

The overall goal would be to minimise disruptions to race weekends when a driver can't race, and to give reserve drivers some certainty of their role and some car time so they're not thrown in the deep end if they're called up. 

 

Why do you feel that goal is necessary? To me the race weekends where reserve drivers drove did not seem very disrupted.But if the teams feel they were disrupted they are free to keep a reserve driver on hand. I also do not think the reserve drivers had any problems being thrown into the deep end.

 

Having reserve drivers on hand at each race will overall lower the quality of reserve drivers, no team is going to pay a Hülkenberg millions to sit around. But which young driver with a promising career is going to give that up to become a reserve driver? Maybe a F2 champion can sit out a year as a reserve driver, nobody else can. And no F1 team is going to hire a young reserve driver, who hasn't raced in a year or two.



#14 BRG

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 16:00

There isn't anything in the job description of "F1 reserve driver" which guarantees first dibs on a race drive should a regular driver be unable to drive. 

So what IS the job description?   :confused:  



#15 ARTGP

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 17:08

F1 teams have the right to employ whoever they please. Unless that reserve contract legally binds the F1 team to running the contracted reserve driver (it most likely does not) when a regular driver is absent, I don’t see the issue.

Some teams even have multiple contracted reserve drivers. I believe Mclaren had Piastri and Vandoorne.

Edited by ARTGP, 16 September 2022 - 17:09.


#16 Cornholio

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 17:46

F1 teams have the right to employ whoever they please. Unless that reserve contract legally binds the F1 team to running the contracted reserve driver (it most likely does not) when a regular driver is absent, I don’t see the issue.

Some teams even have multiple contracted reserve drivers. I believe Mclaren had Piastri and Vandoorne.

 

I may be wrong but I wonder if part of it is the term "reserve driver" becoming a catch all term for any third or non-racing driver at an F1 team, even if the exact terms of their employment don't have that firmly in place. When I was younger they were usually referred to as "test drivers" - who may or may not have been called on to substitute when needed but their primary role was testing and development. Understandably I suppose since the testing ban, that term has kind of fallen out of use.

 

But yes I agree it's entirely a team's own business who they choose to call upon, so long as the driver is suitably qualified and no contracts are broken.


Edited by Cornholio, 16 September 2022 - 17:46.


#17 pacificquay

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 18:16

If you’re signing on as a reserve driver you should make sure your contract guarantees you a race seat if it becomes available.

 

It is a matter between drivers and teams and certainly not one for the rules or FIA.



#18 pdac

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Posted 16 September 2022 - 22:10

Is the term "reserve driver" defined in the Formula One regulations? I think it's just a name that teams apply to drivers that they pay some money to during the season.



#19 pacificquay

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 06:49

Is the term "reserve driver" defined in the Formula One regulations? I think it's just a name that teams apply to drivers that they pay some money to during the season.

correct



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#20 Lennat

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 07:24

I honestly don't see the point, as there will always be some Mika Salo/Hulk kind of driver around when needed, plus a ton of F2 drivers.

Edited by Lennat, 17 September 2022 - 07:25.


#21 Gareth

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 14:28

So what IS the job description? :confused:

Sim and setup work.

#22 MKSixer

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 15:28

I love the OPs suggestion and I'd like to take it a step further.  The entire foolishness about the Super License points, the strength of various series and the rest of the nonsense is causing a bottleneck at the levels below F1.  There are at least 4 or 5 drivers stuck on the top of the ladder.  Let's be realistic...Latifi doesn't belong in a seat and perhaps 1 or 2 others could make way for new talent.  

 

I think the teams should be required to run a 3rd car during the European swing for a young driver.  Ask the FIA to increase the budget cap accordingly and these drivers run in a non-points role for the championship but have their own intra-Formula One sub-championship for those races.  I don't have the logistics or anything relative to how it would work but it does provide a way to get these drivers into the show.  And maybe it would give the teams pause for thought on who should be in the seat.  Again, the whole Latifi thing is the biggest and worst joke in F1.

 

Flame-suit on.



#23 noikeee

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Posted 17 September 2022 - 18:20

So what IS the job description? :confused:

To pay lots of money to hang out at the factory and in the paddock, sit on the sim occasionally, and get to brag about being an official reserve driver.

It's a bit like paying for VIP paddock passes, nice side income for the teams.

Edited by noikeee, 17 September 2022 - 18:35.


#24 Bleu

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Posted 18 September 2022 - 06:39

There might be even different approaches whether reserve driver is needed in the middle of the weekend or before. Like Sakhir 2020 with Russell. If Hamilton had crashed heavily on Friday and forced out for the rest of the weekend his replacement would have been someone other than Russell (probably Vandoorne).