November 12, 2013

Experience, Youth, Size and Money

Patterns developing in driver choices for 2014.

Photo: Lotus F1

Youth vs Experience

Ferrari chose Raikkonen  but Mclaren chose Magnussen over a presumably well funded and still young Checo Perez.    With the coming regulations and the real possibility cars will need to be raced in new ways,  what will count more:  long experience or a clean slate for engineers to create a driver to fit the car?

Think Vettel 2.0,  without taking away anything from Vettel, his talent was developed along with a car designed to his driving style.    In 2014 cars will be completely new, what better way to optimize the package than to insert a driver without pre conceptions and pliable enough to just follow instructions from engineers.  

This may have been part of the reason Perez was dropped.  Mclaren, despite a tough year, is not a team that needs a pay  driver and perhaps Checo was not doing enough listening.

Toro Rosso chose Daniil Kvyat in part for marketing reasons but also because he is a blank slate.

Williams chose Massa, probably because of  Brazilian sponsorship but leo because Massa is very experienced and certainly a good team player.

Ferrari decided to go for experience and one might be tempter to make old men with bad backs jokes given recent events.

Red Bull instead took a page straight out of the old Ferrari playbook, it's Vettel's team and Ricciardo is there to do the boring stuff like come in second and do new part testing.

Size and Money

If Maldonado ends up a Lotus at the expense of Hulkenberg,  that will be the end for that team which has enjoyed fan popularity exclusively because of Kimi.  That they would, perhaps not by choice, pass on one of the best available drivers in favor of one of the best available wallets would put them in a position no cute social media campaign can fix.

Hulkenberg faces an issue he can do nothing about, his size. It's certain the fact Alonso and Raikkonen are essentially identical in size was a factor in Ferrari's decision to pass on the German.   Webber, who's not as tall as Nico, had the same issue, he could never fit in the RB9 quite as comfortably as Vettel.

Hulkenberg has a real chance of having to sit out next season, a crazy situation  F1 absolutely has to address and not by creating a trillion dollar genetic breeding program for future drivers!

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