Archive | June, 2011

Whatever happened to the drivers who stopped? Class of 2000

12 Jun

Has anyone ever wondered what happened to the drivers once they’ve stopped racing in Formula 1? Well here’s a bit about all the drivers who stopped after the 2000 championship.

Mika Salo: Having finished second in F3 Salo went to Japan for a few years before making his F1 debut in Japan 1994 with Lotus. He drove the last 2 races of the season but the team went bust so Salo had to move to Tyrell where he picked up 5th in a rain shortened Monaco. In 1998 Salo moved to Arrows but despite a good season Salo didn’t get a 1999 drive although he did short term driving for both BAR and Ferrari – who he got both of his 2 podiums with. In 1999 Salo impressed enough to drive for Sauber in 2000 finishing 11th, so in 2000 he announced he’d join the new Toyota team who were starting in 2002, consequently missing 2001. At the end of 2002 Salo left Toyota having picked up 33 points and 2 podiums in his 109 starts. Since 2002 Salo has: finished 3rd in his 2nd start of the PK Racing tour when it came to Miami; In 2006 he won his class in the Le Mans 24 hours race; in 2007 took his class in the Sebring 12 hours; 2008 wasn’t particularly successful  but in 2009 he carried on his success in endurance racing winning all the races he participated in Le Mans 24 hours le Petit Le Mans and the Sebring 12 hours.

In 2009 he left endurance racing to compete in Nascar.

Alexander Wurz: After winning Le Mans in 1996 (setting a record which still stands for youngest winner) Wurz came into F1 with Benetton replacing Gerhard Burger -1997. He picked up a podium position in his 3rd race. Wurz was signed on again for Benetton where he drove for the next three years where he got interest from Ferrari although after a year they’d stopped watching him. In 2000 he retired as a full time driver and went into the role of reserve driver. After 5 years at McLaren starting 1 race where Wurz finished 3rd Wurz became reserve driver at Williams. Where in 2007 he was appointed as a driver for them to replace Mark Webber, in those 16 races he picked up 13 points with a best finish of 3rd. In 2008 Wurz joined Honda as reserve driver and then in 2009 joined Braun as reserved driver and then won Le Mans with Peugeot. In Wurz’s 69 F1 starts he picked up 45 points and 3 podiums.

Johnny Herbert: Having started his F1 career by driving his first race with a broken leg and still picking up points (1989). But after a change of management and failing to qualify in Canada Herbert was dropped. Herbert as then signed by Tyrell later in 1989. In 1990 Herbert joined Lotus where he stayed until mid way in 1994. Midway through 1994 Herbert joined Liger for one race before racing the last two races of the season for Benetton. He was retained by Benetton for 1995 where he picked up 2 wins and 4th in the championship. In 1996 Herbert joined Sauber until 1998 when he moved to Stewart for the 1999 season, With Stewart he picked up his 3rd and final win. Herbert’s final season was with Jaguar. Since F1 Herbert has driven endurance racing again but only got 9th overall. He’s also been part of the F1 teams with Jordan before finally driving a bit of BTCC. After 161 GP starts Herbert picked up 3 wins and 98 points.

Pedro Diniz: With a huge number of retirements Diniz made it to F1 as one of the richest drivers on the grid and is classed by some as a pay driver. After starting with Forti Diniz moved to Ligier where he picked up his first points. In 1997 a move to Arrows was on the cards with whom he scored his best result of 5th and occasionally out-qualified Damon Hill (who was current world champion). In 1999 his reputation increased and he scored a few more points, this time with Sauber, for 2000 Alesi stayed with Sauber but picked up no points and left the sport. So after 98 starts and 10 points Diniz left F1. Since then he operated the Brazilian Formula Renault Championship 2002-06 and now operates several companies.

Marc Gene: In 1999 Gene hit the F1 scene with Minardi where he picked up his and Minardi’s (since 1995) first points. But in 2000 Gene stayed with Minardi but didn’t pick up any points. Because of this Gene could only get a reserve driver role with Williams who he drove for in 3 GPs picking up 4 points. At the end of 2004 Gene was signed by Ferrari as a test driver up until 2010. Since ending his F1 career with 5 points in 36 races Gene has raced at Le Mans 5 times picking up 1st in 2009 when he drove the car across the line. Gene took part in the 2011 race where he got 4th.

A very eventful day.

7 Jun

How’s your day been? Well it can’t be have been any busier than the FIAs who having reinstated the Bahrain Grand Prix already seems to be taking a dramatic U-turn as they are appearing to reverse their decision. The decisions brought a huge amount of bad press here in the UK as newspapers likened it to the FA. But I do think the correct decision would be to not race their. My main reason for this is that sport and politics should not mix so they should avoid it, but also because in all honesty, I don’t like the track, it’s a bit dull. As well as that Australia is a more exciting place to have the start of the season.

In other news Team Lotus fly out to Montreal today (just as soon as they finish playing cricket with a bowling machine http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150284181058465&set=a.376887833464.194899.292309963464&type=1&theater) with Lotus announcing on twitter “Good morning to you all and how are you today? Most of the race team are about to make the trip to Canada …. Bring on Montreal”. Oddly enough they’re going out a day later than Heikki Kovalainen who’s still getting over his jet lag “Woke up a bit early, bit of jet lag I guess.” And stranger still is that Lotus team boss Mike Gascoyne leaves tommorow ” In the factory and leaving for Montreal tomorrow. Most of the team left today. Montreal one of the favourite destinations of the year.” Virgin add to their bad start to the season by booking Timo Glock onto the wrong plane    “Just arrived in Frankfurt weather is not that great.”

In a even bigger twist in the tale that is Formula 1 Jean Todt announces next season will be 20 races long despite them announcing the calendar with 21 races, my bet is on either Bahrain (continued conflict) or Turkey (financial problems) to go from the calendar.

A bit about me now, after finishing my 6th GCSE test of the year (History) I came home and drove two full races at Monza on Wii F1 2009. Both races were full distance and with other drivers on Hard. In the first race I picked up 3 drive thru penalties (2 for cutting corners and 1 for making a mess of an overtake on Button) and pitted twice (once more than the leader) despite this I finished only 31 seconds behind Vettel. In the second race I retired from 4th after 50 laps. I led a dominant race picking up 20 overtakes for position in the early stages, but late on I crashed and lost my front wing, I came out 4th tried to over take Webber -3rd- got taken off the track by Webber and retired.