Archive | February, 2013

The one who slipped through the net: Davide Valsecchi

28 Feb

Davide who?

Valsecchi is the current GP2 champion and should feel very unlucky since he is the only the second driver to have won the GP2 and not go into Formula 1 the next year.

Ooh harsh, why’s that?

With the need for sponsorship becoming even bigger in Formula 1 becoming even bigger that may have gone against him, also this was his 5th season in GP2 and there may have been concerns over wether he could adapt quickly enough.

So how successful has his career been so far?

Although he’s only 26 Davide has been racing for a long time starting out in single seaters in 2003, and although he hasn’t been successful at every category he’s raced in he has won the GP2 (2012) and the GP2 Air Asia (09/10), but although he hasn’t won many series his time has in GP2 has been very successful last season marked his third year in a row where he’s finished in the top 10.

3 times in a row, now that is impressive. What’s he going to do next season?

I imagine all of Davide’s eggs were in him racing in F1 next season, he now has two options, A) stay in GP2 and hope 2014 will be his F1 year or B) give in on F1 and enter either the WEC (world endurance championship) or something like NASCAR or Indy.

Has he had much F1 experience?

Valsecchi was Team Lotus (now Caterham)’s test driver in 2011 where he drove in one friday session and was Lotus F1’s test driver last season. As well as this he drove in the 2010 young driver’s test.

How do you rate his chances of making F1?

6/10 he may have missed his best chance this year but I wouldn’t rule him out for a mid season replacement or if he has a strong 2013 he could be in F1 in 2014.

New kid on the block: Adrian Sutil

28 Feb

I’m sure that name rings a bell, are you sure he’s new?

You’re right, Sutil was a Formula 1 driver back in 2011 with Force India but was dropped back in 2011 but he’s now back with Force India for the 2013 season and at just 30 years old he could be back for a while.

What was his previous F1 career like?

Sutil started out in F1 with Spyker, first as a reserve in 2006 and then  in the race team for 2007, although his rookie season was spectacular it was solid even picking up points in Japan. In 2008 Spyker were bought out and renamed Force India, the new team kept Sutil for the 2008 season but reliability problems ruined the season. In 2009 Sutil stayed with Force India and in a much more reliable car finished 4th in the Italian GP. Sutil remained at Force India for both the 2010 and 2011 season regularly picking up, and although not phenomenally quick he definitely was consistent.

So why was he dropped?

Well as I just mentioned he wasn’t the fastest driver out there and although he did score points the majority were for finishing between 8 and 10 so it’s likely Force India wanted to see if they could find someone who would challenge for more points, but it didn’t help that he was involved in a court case were he was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and given a 18 month suspended sentence and a €200,000 fine.

That’s not good, so what did he spend last season doing?

Not much really, he didn’t compete in any racing series.

What was his racing career like before he joined the F1 scene?

Impressive, he’d won the Swiss Formula Ford 1800 and the All-Japan Formula 3 finished second in the Formula 3 Euro Series and the Masters of Formula 3 and had finished 3rd in the Macau Grand Prix.

How do you think he’ll do this season?

Sutil will be expecting to put in a strong season but I wouldn’t be surprised if he quickly found himself losing out to Di Resta, having said this if the car’s good I expect Sutil to score regularly near the end of the season.

How do you rate his chances?

7/10 There are definitely worse people Force India could have chosen and he’s already popular with the team, he just needs to prove he can return to his old form quickly.

What happened to those who left: 2011

7 Feb

With the 2013 F1 season soon to start lets look at what happened to the drivers who left F1 at the end of the 2011 season:

  • Adrian Sutil (90 F1 races / 95 F1 points) – last season Adrian did not compete in any major racing category.
  • Nick Heidfeld (185 races / 259 points / 13 F1 podiums) – over the 2012 season Heidfeld competed in the World Endurance Championship (3 WEC races / 42.5 WEC points / 1 WEC podium).
  • Jaime Alguersuari (46 races / 31 points) – Jaime spent last season commentating for BBC radio 5 on the Formula 1 season.
  • Sebastian Buemi (55 races / 29 points) – Spent last season as Red Bull’s test drive and also competed in the Le Mans 24 hours (the car didn’t make it to the end of the race).
  • Rubens Barrichello (326 races / 658 points / 68 podiums / 11 F1 wins) – After leaving Formula 1 Barrichello started competing in Indy Car (15 Indy Car races / 289 points) he finished 12th in the championship. Barrichello also raced as a guest in three races of Brazilian Stock Car.
  • Jarno Trulli (256 races / 246.5 points / 11 podiums / 1 win) – Jarno did not compete last season, but did you know that Trulli’s a co-owner of a vineyard.
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (81 races / 26 points) – Liuzzi has been busy competing in the International Superstars Series (16 races / 181 points / 9 podiums / 2 wins) finishing 2nd in the championship, the Campionato Italiano Superstars (10 races / 92 points / 3 podiums / 1 win) finishing 3rd in the championship and he competed in the World Endurance Championship (3 races / 4 points).
  • Jerome D’Ambrosio (20 races / 0 points) – Jerome was Lotus’ test driver over last season and competed in the Italian GP after Grosjean was banned.
  • Karun Chandhok (11 races / 0 points) – Karun spent 2012 driving in the World Endurance Championship (8 races / 50.5 points)

New Kid on the Block: Luiz Razia

6 Feb

So give us the basics.

Luis Razia is a 23 year old Brazilian driver who’s just signed for Marussia Formula 1 team, he’s just moved out of GP2 where he spent 4 years.

So how did he start?

Razia’s first single seater category was the 2005 South American Formula 3, and in 2006 at his second attempt he won it after winning 7 of the 16 races. In 2007 Luiz moved to the European scene and he was third in the Euroseries 3000 despite not winning one of the 16 years, he also competed in the Italian Formula 3000 where he finished 4th. 2008 saw Razia return to both the Euroseries 3000 and the Italian Formula 3000 in both of them he finished 4th. 2009 saw Razia get his first attempt at GP2 and he claimed a victory in his rookie season in the sprint race in Italy, Razia stayed in GP2 in 2010 but despite finishing 11th overall he couldn’t win a race. 2011 was third time lucky for Razia in the GP2 but it was a season very similar to that of the year before, and Luiz Razia had to wait another year before his big break. In 2012 Razia drove fantastically to finish 2nd in the GP2 winning 4 races.

Has he had much F1 experience?

He drove for Marussia in the 2010 young driver’s test, and in 2011 he competed for Lotus (now Caterham) in two friday sessions and also the young drivers test. In 2012 Luiz competed for Toro Rosso at the young driver’s test.

3 teams, wow Marussia must be expecting a lot, how do you expect him to do?

He’s a driver who if given the chance will take it, but may not always work hard enough to create those chances. I expect Luiz to put in a good performance for Marussia and challenge if not beat teammate Max Chilton who he beat in GP2 last season. Razia is not expected to get any points next season (unless there’s a race where the attrition rate is very high) such is the nature of the Marussia, but if he can impress he could find himself moving up the food chain for 2014.

What’s his rating?

7/10 if he puts in a performance like last year we could expect some good Caterham-Marussia rivalry.

Time to say Goodbye: Bruno Senna

5 Feb

So how was his F1 career?

Bruno started out in Formula 1 in 2010 with HRT, but it wasn’t a the type of debut season a driver dreams of, HRT’s car was a cut below the rest and the car could be relied upon to prop up the grid. Sadly at the end of the season it looked like Senna’s F1 career was over before it had even began he wasn’t offered another drive and HRT had a complete rehaul of it’s drivers. But as luck would have it he was asked to replace Nick Heidfeld at Lotus for the second half of the 2011 season, but despite a promising debut at Spa (where he qualified 7th) fans were rarely treated to that level of driving his only points coming in Italy where he finished 9th. Despite the performances over the previous two years Bruno found himself at Williams for the 2012 season and it was 2012 where he really started, over last season he was regularly in the points and scored much more consistently than Pastor Maldonado, despite this Williams decided to keep Pastor Maldonado for this season and as a result Senna has left F1.

Is Bruno Senna in some way related to the great Ayrton Senna, and if so was it a help or a hinderance?

Yes he is, Bruno is Ayrton’s nephew, and despite what you’d think it was definitely a hinderance with Bruno not being allowed to race cars until the age of 21 (this is very late for an F1 driver).

Would it be fair to say he’s only where he is because of his uncle?

No although his famous uncle has definitely increased the financial backing behind Bruno he definitely has a lot of talent finishing 2nd in the 2008 GP2 (a race formula renowned as being F1’s recruiting yard).

What is Bruno going into now?

Bruno has recently signed for Aston Martin’s WEC (world endurance championship) team and will compete in iconic events such as the Le Mans 24 hours and the Sebring 12 hours. This isn’t new ground for Bruno, he competed in the same championship in 2009 with Team Oreca Matmut and was twice on the podium over the 4 events he competed in. With his impressive CV lots will be expected of Senna this season and I hope he doesn’t disappoint.

Out of 10 what would you give Senna’s 2010-2012 F1 career?

7 He definitely had talent but it took a few years to find it.

New kid on the block: Esteban Gutierrez

5 Feb

So give us the basics?

Esteban Gutierrez is a Mexican driver and will racing for Sauber in Formula 1 next season. Esteban is only 21 years old and at the age of 17 became the youngest Mexican driver to win an International competition having won the Formula BMW European Championship.

So how did he start?

Esteban started in karting before progressing to the American Formula BMW championship in 2007 where in his debut season he finished second, setting the foundations for a move to the European version which he won in 2008. Having won the European Formula BMW Esteban progressed to Formula 3, and although he didn’t win a race he did do enough to get a seat in the inaugural GP3 season, during which Gutierrez won 5/16 races to be crowned the champion. He then took the logical step to move into GP2, and surprisingly made the step up quite comfortably winning a race in his rookie season before putting in a fantastic performance the following year to finish 3rd in the championship after 7 podiums.

Has he had much F1 car experience?

Compared to rookies in recent years he’s had loads, his first F1 test was back in 2009 with Sauber (then BMW Sauber) s reward for winning the European Formula BMW, and the following year he took part in young driver’s test at Abu Dhabi also driving for Sauber. Surprisingly Guitierrez almost made his debut in the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix after countryman Sergio Perez was injured at the previous race, but since Esteban was in Mexico at the time De La Rosa was chosen instead. At the end of 2011 Guitierrez was chosen to drive in the Young Driver’s test in Abu Dhabi again, and in 2012 he did the young driver’s test and a friday practice session (Perez was unwell).

So he’s pretty experienced. Is he a pay driver?

There is considerable financial backing behind Gutierrez, since he is part of Escuderia Telmex a scheme set up by Telmex owner and the world’s richest man Carlos Slim, but to say Esteban’s only there because of money isn’t true, he does clearly have talent.

So how do you expect him to do this season.

Very well, he should provide a worthy challenge for Nico Hulkenburg even though I do expect him to lose the inter-team battle at the end of the season. After this season he should have done well enough to merit another season with Sauber and in a couple of years time he could find himself in a similar position to what Sergio Perez is currently in.

What’s his rating?

7.5/10 he has real potential and you never know in a few years time he could be competing for race victories.

New Kid on the Block: Max Chilton

4 Feb

So give us the basics.

Max is a British driver born in Surrey and will be racing for Marussia next season. He’s only 21 but has already spent 3 seasons racing in GP2 and is regarded as a driver with a lot of potential. Max comes from a family with racing heritage, his father is the owner of the Carlin Motorsport team whilst elder brother Tom competes in the World Touring Car Championship.

So how did he start?

Max started out in karting before progressing to British Formula 3 where after 3 years Chilton finished 4th in the championship. After that success Max started in GP2 and was one of the youngest drivers competing, it wasn’t a good debut season, he could only pick up 3 points which put him well down the standings but he did enough to get a seat at his Carlin, his Father’s team in 2011, but it wasn’t a big improvement he upped his points by one, this time finishing on 4 points. But that didn’t put Carlin off, which was lucky because 2012 was the year he came of age, winning two GP2 races and finishing twice more on the podium overall finishing 4th.

Has he had much F1 experience?

He was Marussia’s test driver last season competing in 1 friday practice session and has previously driven a Force India in a straight line test and in the young driver test (both 2011).

Would he be classed as a pay driver?

Seeing as his father’s a multi-millionaire and he has driven for the team he owns for three seasons which will mean he will be labeled a pay driver, but his performances last year suggest he does have potential and should be expected to pick up points is he joined a more competitive team than Marussia, if he impresses enough he could leave the pay drivers club.

So how do you think he’ll do?

I expect his first season to be a struggle but he should beat his team mate (whoever that may be), and if he impresses enough one of the midfield teams may be interested especially with the financial backing he’ll come with, after that who knows how he’ll do.

What’s his rating?

7/10 He’s clearly got talent let’s just hope he uses it to full extent.