Race Blog
Abu Dhabi 2012

Good enough isn't good enough

Lewis, Fernando, Sebastian and Kimi. That’s it, your superstar four.

If you’re a Formula 1 team and one of these guys is pedalling your thoroughbred machine then race wins will surely come your way.

If you haven’t, whom do you employ?

In its ultimate position as the pinnacle of all things in the motor racing world Formula 1 should – ideally – be chock-full of driver talent, but that doesn’t seem to be where we’re at right now.

Sure, we’ve got plenty of good enough guys who on their day can mix it at the sharp(ish) end of the grid.

Jenson Button’s super-smooth style is a world beater in a nailed-on car, Mark Webber’s gutsy attack excels on tight and twisty tracks, and even Nico Rosberg proved – in China 2012 – that he can win when dealt a victorious hand.

But these guys – good as they are – represent drivers who perhaps have reached a plateau in their careers; drivers who may only have a few more years in F1 ahead of them, or have achieved – in Jenson’s case certainly – what they set out to do.

So here’s the rub: let’s suppose all drivers – outside the fantastic four and the three named above – are available. You’re an F1 team supremo and you need to fill two seats in your shiny new 2013 race cars. Whom are you going to choose?

Maybe you like – as McLaren clearly did – young Mexican hot shot Sergio Perez. Early season promise and a whole lot of pesos convinced the Woking superteam that ‘Checo’ should be its man to replace the soon-to-depart superstar Lewis Hamilton.

Perhaps down-in-the-mouth Scotsman Paul Di Resta is ‘yer man’. He’s a middle-of-the-pack pedaller with some promise, but don’t expect your sponsors to be overly impressed with his marketing abilities…

Romain Grosjean is a nice enough kid, surprising many with his speed on a few occasions this year, but just make sure your spares department is ready to replace all the smashed carbonfibre.

Toro Rosso’s toothy Australian Daniel Ricciardo would bring a friendly, bouncy, puppy dog-like persona to your team. Mind you, “Get me chicks, get me chicks” repeated ad infinitum may get a little annoying by about race two!

Frenchman Charles Pic is showing promise, is liked by his team and his thoughtful and intelligent mien is compared, by some in the F1 paddock, to a young Alain Prost. He’ll also bring a whole suitcase full of euros… which is nice!

For me I’d have a mix of German and Venezuelan.

Nico Hulkenberg is doing a pretty good job at Force India. He has the speed, temperament and marketability required to do the job. A good fit for any team on the grid. I’d sign him up.

As my hot shot, balls-out quick guy, 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado would be the man. Proper fast, Pastor is a nice guy, affable, polite and unfazed by attention.

Sure he’s had his fair share of shunts and mishaps, but speed is of the essence and boy does he have that. Far, far better to tame a raging bull than to squeeze speed from a slow coach.

See you on the grid, at the sharp end I hope!


Click here for my 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gallery.

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