Every few years – in the tumult of career trajectories that is Formula 1 – there comes a time for a cull. It’s not personal, it’s just the way it is: the law of the jungle, the natural order.
Come the end of the 2011 season and it’s likely we’ll see just such a cull take place.
In the firing line are a fair few well-known names. Felipe Massa, Nick Heidfeld, Michael Schumacher, Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersuari, Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli will all be aware that time is running out.
When careers end, the upside – for F1 as a whole – is that new talent can either join the field or rise through the ranks.
Right now the man set to do just that is Force India’s Paul di Resta.
F1 people – Bernie Ecclestone, the team bosses, engineers, mechanics, marketing men and the media – all want to fall in love with the future stars of their sport and are constantly on the lookout for drivers that suit.
Paul arrived in F1 this year, pocket bulging with the DTM champion’s trophy, and with a reputation as the man who in Formula 3 took on and beat current F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel. Expectations were high, the pressure was on and Paul has delivered with aplomb.
Faring well against the (once) highly rated (by some) Adrian Sutil, Paul has outqualified his German team mate six to two so far this year. He’s raced well and handled the pressure of the paddock with ease.
Getting noticed is one thing, staying in the spotlight is another - and Di Resta needs to be aware of that.
While they may over-rate their importance, the F1 media mob do have a part to play. All young drivers should be mindful of the press pack’s voracious appetite for stories, motivated by a news agenda that now runs 24/7.
In a year when the racing has been good but one man is running away with the title, the time is ripe for Force India’s young charger to give the journalists just what they need.
Although well trained and polished to a tee, Paul could perhaps try to spice it up a little. Now I’m not suggesting he brings a posse of wannabes and flunkies, strutting their annoying stuff up and down the paddock, but maybe a leftfield opinion or three - or a stunning girlfriend on his arm - may help. Just a thought.
Since all the British journalists spent their Valencia weekend bemoaning the dearth of track-related stories, as well as the knuckle-headed determination of most drivers not to demonstrate an ounce of personality, something noteworthy from F1's new coming man would have been welcomed with a frenzy of relieved keyboard tapping.
After all, they surely can’t write about Lewis every day of the week!