PRE SEASON BUILD UP – DAY 2
2013 may, on the surface, appear to be the year of villains – a year when pay drivers dominate the economic structure of Formula 1. It is no secret that the line up has changed as this year proves to be the sport’s most ruthless – the experienced make way for the increasingly talented youth.
The gird this year is formulated in such a way that I had to talk my brother through half of the grid during pre-season testing. This involved a summary of the respective racing feeder series and a quick brush up on motorsport politics.
The fact is, drivers will always come and go. That’s racing. Some drivers will be missed more than others. If you were to ask Sebastian Vettel, whilst he may not admit it, perhaps the departure of Narain Kartikayen is a positive step for his inner racing anger.
Joking aside, many faces from Formula 1 will be missed.
Kamui Kobayashi’s departure was nothing short of emotional, one of the sport’s genuinely nice guys. His podium at home in Suzuka was ultimately not enough to secure his future. With an emphasis now placed on finding sufficient funding for 2014, the Japanese driver will have to hope that the rookies of today make career costly mistakes.
He wasn’t nicknamed ‘Crazy Kobayashi’ for nothing! His overtaking manoeuvres were exceptional throughout his debut year. Whilst this feat became much harder to sustain, following the introduction of the Pirelli tyres, he captured the hearts of fans the world over.
Another driver arguably forced out of the sport before his time, Bruno Senna. Not even his famous surname and its standing in Motorsport history was enough to save him. There is no denying that his replacement, Valterri Bottas, is a promising young talent, but Bruno Senna’s attitude and ever persistent smile despite an uncertain future was commendable.
Senna’s exit is probably one of the most poignant; it signals that the history of Formula 1 is important, but that ultimately, the teams look to the future – Bottas is their prodigy.
Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen will too be missed. I place them in the same category as they were forced out by those we affectionately term ‘pay drivers’. Their reported £3 million salaries couldn’t be maintained. Both drivers previously dubbed ‘champions in the making’, their exit will be a bitter blow.
Ultimately this title can’t go to any other driver – Michael Schumacher (after all, he holds so many other titles). It seems as if his departure is for good this time and whilst his return was not as successful as we all would have hoped, I for one was pleased to see the German back racing. Some missed that legendary era; at least they got to taste some of it during that time.
This blog post is the second in this year’s pre season build up. For the next twelve days, ‘stoodonthepodium’ will be bringing you exclusive interviews, stories, analysis and more from the world of Motorsport.
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