Monday, February 4, 2013

It's An Unfair Sport

Bertrand Baguette. Tomas Scheckter. Jarno Trulli. Alex Lloyd. Jaime Alguersuari. Trevor Bayne. Jay Howard. Nick Heidfeld. Kamui Kobayashi. Pippa Mann. Robert Doornbos. Timo Glock. Adam Carroll. Conor Daly. Tristian Vautier. Sebastien Buemi. Buddy Rice. Giorgio Pantano. Bruno Junqueira. Heikki Kovalinen. Wade Cunningham.

What do all of these drivers have in common? They aren't on the track or struggling to get on the track full time thanks to lack of funding. The name of the game has changed. Money is as almost as big of a factor for drivers as flat out skill.

And while Indycar has slowly been heading to "ride buying", it isn't nearly as bad as Formula 1. Indycar's field remains stocked full of talent. There are exceptions of course, but Formula 1 is unfortunately heading for gloom.

With no restrictions on the budget for F1 teams to develop the cars, smaller teams are left begging for money. Small teams like Caterham, Maurssia, Williams, Toro Rosso, and Sauber simply don't have the budgets that Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes. As a small team, one of the quickest ways to bring in money is hiring a driver with large financial backgrounds. Some of the drivers with large financial backgrounds in the past couple years and this upcoming years include Pastor Maldonado, Charles Pic, Max Chilton, Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Boltas, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Karun Chandhok, Narain Karthikeyan, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Lucas di Grassi, and many more.

HRT failed to see both cars to the end of the race for the second time in two races. Pedro de la Rosa was able to finish eighteenth, yet team mate Narain Karthikeyan was forced to retire with a undisclosed mechanical problem.
HRT cars in 2012, the last time we'll see them. (Photo: HRT F1 TEAM)

The turnover rate at the new small teams is incredible. At HRT, which has now closed shop, they fielded nine drivers since their inception three years ago. In their three years, Maurssia fielded four drivers, with a different driver in the second each year as Timo Glock has occupied a seat since their beginning, but now that he's gone, there will be a new driver combo. Caterham has fielded four drivers in three years.

It begs the question, what do talented drivers have to do to do to get a ride? Racing has become a cruel, unfair sport for many drivers. Will things change? Or will more racing head down this vulgar warpath?

Let me know what you think?

-Matthew Hickey

2 comments:

  1. They need to take a serious look at budgetary limitations or incentives. It's always been a shame when the back of the field drops back even further because they have to allocate resources to funding next years car instead of continuing to improve their current one. This year it will be even more evident when they have to allocate even more in preparation to accommodate the changes to the 2014 regs.

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  2. Petrov not have large or small financial backgrounds.

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