Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Where's the Brazilians?

A disturbing trend has continued in Indycar. Other than an increase from 2009 to 2010, Indycar has seen a decline in the number of Brazilian drivers. Should this be a concern to Indycar?

In 2013, we saw a mere three drivers from Brazil race in Indycar, with two of the three racing on a full time basis. Most people know two of them: Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves. The third driver was Ana Beatriz, who raced in seven of the nineteen races. That was down from five Brazilians we saw in 2012, with TK, Helio, and Bia once again racing, as well as Rubens Barrichello and Bruno Junqueira.

Since 2008, Brazilian drivers have amassed 449 starts in Indycar. The drivers that make up this list are Ana Beatriz, Antonio Pizzonia, Bruno Junqueira, Enrqiue Bernoldi, Helio Castroneves, Jaime Camara, Joao Paulo de Oliveira, Mario Moraes, Mario Romancini, Raphael Matos, Roberto Moreno, Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan, and Vitor Meira. TK and Helio make up for 45% of the starts by Brazilians. They are also the only ones to race in every season between 2008-2013.

Vitor Meira - Indianapolis 500 Practice
Vitor Meira leads fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan at Indianapolis
2009 (Photo: Chris Graythen / Getty Images North America)

Here is the number of Brazilian drivers to race by season since 2008:

2008 - 9
2009 - 6
2010 - 8
2011 - 7
2012 - 5
2013 - 3

Here is the complete list of starts per season by driver:

Total 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Tony Kanaan 102 17 17 17 17 15 19
Helio Castroneves 101 17 16 17 17 15 19
Vitor Meira 55 17 4 17 17 0 0
Mario Moraes 49 17 15 17 0 0 0
Raphael Matos 38 0 17 17 4 0 0
Ana Beatriz 29 0 0 7 2 16 4
Bruno Junqueira 18 16 0 1 0 1 0
Enrique Bernoldi 15 15 0 0 0 0 0
Jaime Camara 14 14 0 0 0 0 0
Rubens Barrichello 14 0 0 0 0 14 0
Mario Romancini 11 0 0 11 0 0 0
Antonio Pizzonia 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Joao Paulo de Oliveira 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
Roberto Moreno 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Combined Total 449 115 69 104 58 61 42

Raphael Matos - Firestone 550
Raphael Matos follows fellow countrymen Helio Castroneves at Texas
2010 (Photo: Donald Miralle / Getty Images North America)

To make matters worse, Indycar will not be returning to Brazil in 2014. Brazilian companies looking to sponsor their countrymen in a sport that won't get as much exposure in their home will be more hesitant to pony up large sums of money to support their drivers. 

In Indy Lights, there was only one driver from Brazil to race in the 2013 season. The driver was Victor Carbone, and he only raced in one race. In Pro Mazda, again, only one driver from Brazil raced during the season (Nicolas Costa). In US F2000, Felipe Donato, Danilo Estrela, and Arthur Oliveira represented Brazil. Mazda Road to Indy is not feeding Brazilians into Indycar at the moment.

Unless Ana Beatriz comes out of nowhere with plans to race in Indycar in 2014, we could see a record low number of Brazilians in 2014. Not to mention Helio and TK are almost done with their racing careers. Luiz Razia, former GP2 driver who lost his 2013 F1 ride right before the season started, could be the only Brazilian not named Tony or Helio to race in 2014.

Could we see the fall of Brazilians in Indycar? Is this a bad thing or does it not make a big difference? Let me know what you think.

-Matthew Hickey

No comments:

Post a Comment