It has been one week since one of the greatest Grands Prix of the last few years. Up there with the likes of Canada 2011 and Monaco 2010, Abu Dhabi was an incredible GP full of the necessary variables: a penalty forcing a double World Champion to the back of the grid, others fighting for their futures and numerous crashes.
Abu Dhabi, prior to this year, was not really seen as the most enjoyable circuit. It seemed to sit somewhere between Valencia (boring!) and India in terms of enjoyment and unpredictability. But maybe that’s just me?!
I have seen many articles detailing Kimi’s great victory and Sebastian’s incredible podium against all the odds. I however am going to assess the importance of this ‘edge of your seat’ race on the sport’s immediate future.
It is pretty easy to look at the top few teams, after all they gain the most press coverage and tend to be up on the podium with the champagne spraying. It’s for that reason that driving for a mid-field or newer team is such risky business. Unfortunately, sponsors are not looking at the back only the very front.
For example, how many people have noticed Timo Glock’s stoic 12th place at the eventful Singapore Grand Prix? Whilst not worth any points at all, this position could earn Marussia the heavily contested 10th place in the Constructors Championship. In other words, £10 million! What about Australian Daniel Ricciardo’s good qualifying sessions in an under-performing Toro Rosso?
It these drivers and teams that will hit the headlines as the Championship draws to a close and those without race seats pull every last penny they have into sponsorship and retaining that all important seat. So who looks to be falling?
A decidedly average race from Heikki Kovalainen has done nothing to help suppress rumours that he is to leave Caterham. A surprisingly good qualifying from Marussia’s Charles Pic has done the opposite. Out qualifying his experienced team mate means that a funded Charles Pic could move to Caterham in Heikki’s place. Besides, Heikki has admitted he will not bringing money to the team and losing that £10 million will prove costly.
The future of Kamui Kobayashi is uncertain and the daring Japanese driver fights for sponsorship and a valuable Sauber seat. Nico Hulkenberg is making a move there, not much of a step up mind!
Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber’s third and reserve driver, has been at the forefront of their testing in recent months. Crucially, unlike his Japanese rival, the Mexican has funding from Carlos Slim (the world’s richest man!)
It is too early to tell whether this is fair as the youngster is yet to have a chance. However, having spoken to my fellow fans, a want for maintaining of their investment in Kobayashi seems to be the general consensus.
But what about Force India? Paul Di Resta has managed to fight off tough competition and will start with the Silverstone based team in 2013. All remaining past and present drivers without a confirmed seat have been linked to the team.
Ultimately I can conclude that 24 drivers and 12 teams just isn’t enough to ensure everybody who deserves a seat has one. Perhaps this is something Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone would like to consider?
Unfortunately sporting politics has come into its own this year. I just hope that finance doesn’t over power natural talent.
What do you think? Please feel free to comment below (you do not need a WordPress account to do this).
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