F1 News, Views and Reviews

Young Guns Threaten Old Guard

Interesting title isn’t it.  The prospect of those names that have been in F1 since i was younger, names like Ralf Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella and David Coulthard, possibly not driving within the very near future, and some turbocharged teenagers from various countries of the world taking their place as F1 regenerates itself once again.  These members of the old-guard, by that i mean those racing for quite some-time, are in our minds as those pieces of furniture that never get moved, the ones that will get a race seat purely based on the fact they have been around for years.

However it would seem that times are changing, these ornaments are being replaced with slick, modern pieces of design, straight out of the racing academy and loaded with power and performance.  The young-guns that ram each other off the road in lower formulae, the type that you feel are yet to even pick up a shaver, but can wrang an RA107 round Catalunya faster than well experienced members of the same team.

Luca Filippi, Honda RA107 Testcar, Jerez Testing December 07

In the most recent of tests, in Barcelona and Jerez, many teams such as Williams, BMW Sauber and Red Bull have given inexperienced youth a quick run out, none more so than Honda who have tested a lot of new drivers, 2 admittedly have had a go before though.  Mike Conway, James Rossiter, Luca Filipi and Andreas Zuber are all part of a youth programme, and Honda decided to let them loose in their 2007 car and see what they could do.  The results were suprising, and could throw up many future racers.  BMW Sauber put Marko Asmer and Javier Villa into their cars at this official event, and also put others in the car at their World Series Finals events to see what potential they could have for testing.  These youth programmes that many have now seem to know no bounds, wit huge racing bills being paid for and only the best given, it seems that drivers, very much like football teams are trying to grow their youth from a very young age to get them into prime position for when they are ready for the race seat.  Lewis Hamilton is a prime example of this. 
Javier Villa, BMW Sauber F1.07 Hybrid Tester, Jerez Testing December 07

Hamilton’s story takes an interesting turn, you see, rather than McLaren making him take the conventional route of testing for a few years to build up experience then race, he went straight into racing, having Alonso as his team mate meant that the car would be well developed and he would have nothing to worry about.  As a driver, i believe this will have made him better, stronger and given him as much, or more experience, than if he had spent 3 years testing.  David Coulthard also seems to think so, and critiscises the teams youth programmes.

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Now i bet your wondering what the point of this article is, and as i sit here writing it i being to ponder that throught myself.  Well, the point is, that as much as we love the old drivers, as much character and experience they can offer, sometimes it is best to let the youngsters in and take over.  Michael Schumacher leaving, in my honest opinion has just opened the floodgates.  Alexander Wurz gave up too right before the last race, he said that he was scared of something happening to him.  To an extent he gives a rightful point, as drivers get older, they have families and people who rely on them, so going out in a car at 200mph which could potnetially kill them is not seen at times as brilliant.  The kids, like Nico Hulkenberg and Sebastian Vettel don’t have these things to worry about.

The old boys must retire if they want to keep their dignity in-tact, rather than go chasing after endless drives at back of the grid teams.
Ralf Schumacher, Force India

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