In some of my previous blog entries, I have assessed the extent to which Motorsport is elitist. The fact is, this fate is somewhat unavoidable when you take into consideration the technological innovation and global nature of the sport. In recent years, Formula 1 has spread further outside Europe to new areas: India and Abu Dhabi to name a few.
Therefore obtaining (and retaining) a seat within this crazy sporting circus can seem like an impossible task as funding and sponsorship are now a requirement for any wannabe racer. It is the fear of fans like me and the racing community that those who really deserve a chance may miss out as the lottery of the sport falls against them.
Last week I spoke to Robin Frijns, one of my ‘ones to watch’ for the future. I asked him if it really is impossible to describe the sensation of driving a Formula 1 car. Following his debut in the Sauber at the Young Drivers Test, he explained to me it is like going from a normal plane to an F16. After that, the Dutchman had no words.
Championship wins: Formula BMW Europe, Eurocup, Formula Renault 3,5
His performance in the car was special, I haven’t seen a young driver make a debut like that in a long while. He is the only driver in the history of Renault 3.5 to win the Championship at their first attempt. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed! ESPN commentator Ben Evans has stated that “anything less than a Formula 1 seat next year would be a travesty”. I would have to agree but as Ben, Robin and many within the world know, without the funding he needs, a full time seat at Sauber is off the cards regardless of his outstanding performances. Even his attachment to World Constructors Champions Red Bull may not be sufficient.
Albert Costa Balboa
Championship wins: Eurocup and Eurocup Megane Trophy
Similarly Albert Costa, one of many up and coming Spanish drivers, may miss out next year unless appropriate funding can be found. This year’s winner of the World Series by Renault has seemingly little chance of a seat anywhere next year despite a truly dominant display – winning the last five races of the Championship emphatically.
I admit that the sport is in danger of welcoming drivers whose talented is not up to par with their peers but have wealthy families or sponsors who have aided them. In an ideal world drivers, like those I’ve listed above, would have the opportunities they deserve. I may not be able to make that possible, but you might?!
I adore the racing circus and often proclaim my undying love for the sport, it is for that reason that I make this plea.
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