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Featured Mark Webber: 'F1 driver pool has never been weaker'

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Jack Hunsley, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. Jack Hunsley

    Jack Hunsley
    Staff Premium

    Former F1 driver Mark Webber has hit out at present day F1 after claiming that the current driver pool has 'never been weaker', whilst also proclaiming that the current cars are too easy to drive and that closed cockpits are an inevitability.

    Webber, who retired from F1 2013 after a career spanning 11 years, told BBC reporters that despite the "phenomenal level' that the top drivers in the sport are currently competing on, that 'we need more depth and the cars to be faster." He went onto say that "F1 should be the pinnacle (but) it's a bit like an F-18 fighter pilot flying for British Airways. They're within their comfort zone, pacing races. It's frustrating."

    Webber competed in Formula One throughout two of the fastest eras in it's history driving both the V10 monsters in the early 2000s, as well as the downforce laden V8s seen between 2006 and 2013 so his opinion can come as little surprise, especially as all of his nine Grand Prix wins came at the wheel of Adrian Newey designed Red Bulls.

    Meanwhile, in the wake of Jules Bianchi's and Justin Wilson's deaths, Webber has also joined the ever growing crowd in support of closed cockpits in F1. On the subject Webber said "I am a purist but I'd like to see them closed. They're delaying the inevitable now... In 10 years it probably will be there so let's just bring it forward and find a way that is elegant and safe for extraction."
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  2. I disagree that the driver pool is weak, other than Marcus & Pastor,
    Grosjean puts in some fantastic performances, Hulkenberg do I need to say anything, Button & Alonso again do I need to say anything, Max and Sainz have proven themselves as great talents for the future, Massa has shown that he still has it, Bottas has put in some great performances as well, Vettel, Hamilton & Ricciardo have proven to be the top drivers of this generation, Kvyat is not too far from Ricciardo and Rosberg is a nice number two to Lewis and Webbo knows a thing or two about being number two doesn't he the talent pool is NOT weak, the points about the cars I accept but the drivers are not weak Webber
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  3. Bram

    Ezekiel 25:17 Staff Premium

    Imo Maldonado, Grosjean, Ericsson, Kvyat, Mehri and Stevens aren't F1 material. That's 6 out of 20 drivers that occupy racing seats that should have gone to really (raw) talents that are currently sidelined because of a lack of funds.

    I find 30% quite a lot but on the other hand the 2010 season he drove in himself: Chandhok, Fake Senna, Yamamoto, Di Grassi, Petrov and Alguersuari weren't exactly world class either :laugh:
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  4. Benutzername

    The Will to Death is what keeps me alive Premium

    The black/white picture shocked me a bit after the last weeks in motorsport...
    Next time in colour, please ;)
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  5. Andreas Knöpke

    Andreas Knöpke
    Let's drive side by side! Premium

    That's what you get if your series is run by a guy who works for a hedge fund.
    F1 needs to be run by the FIA.

    F1 can never be the pinnacle of motor racing again as long as there is just 1 guy who pays for his drive.
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  6. Not really sure if he's watching the same F1 tbh. Not only are there several elite experienced drivers, there are numerous up and coming drivers as well. Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Perez, Ericsson, Bottas, and of course Verstappen and Sainz. You put these guys all in the same car and you'd have incredible races. It's not the drivers pulling down the current racing, it's the cars.
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  7. Flammenjc

    Nitor Velox Gaming Premium

    Kvyat not F1 material? Guess you didn't see his junior records then, pretty much as good as you can possibly get.
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  8. Robert Wiesenmüller

    Robert Wiesenmüller
    The one and only Premium

    Bullshit statement from Webber. Especially the early years of F1 it was full of complete amateur drivers. And even in the 90s (let's pick 1995 for example) there were ridiculous drivers like Taki Inoue, Giovanni Lavaggi and Jean-Denis Deletraz that are far, far worse than the worst drivers nowadays. And then the regular pay drivers like Schiattarella, Papis, Badoer, Diniz, Bouillon, Suzuki, Katayama, Gachot, Montermini... come on!
    Maybe the depth was a bit higher when there were more manufacturer teams in the 00s but the driver quality is the smallest problem of F1 at the moment. But somehow Webber always comes across a bit offended that he is not in F1 anymore himself :p
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  9. All through the years, the drivers have been a mixed bag. A couple always stood out of course and it would be impossible to field 20 stunning drivers of equal talent at the same time. If they all drove the exact same car, then yeah, the racing would be epic from a spectator point of view.
    The drivers of today are just as good as then, they will drive any and all cars they are allowed to as fast as they can.
    Bernie, FIA, whoever, sort out the cars and rules and we racing!
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  10. Flammenjc

    Nitor Velox Gaming Premium

    I don't think that's what he was getting at, I think it's actually a mis-quote and that he was just elaborating on, that whoever is currently in F1 they aren't tested enough like they were in yesteryear.
  11. Well it got stronger when you left, sour Aussie muppet. :roflmao:
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  12. I kind of agree with him here. Sure you had some amateur drivers back in the day but some of them never qualified for a race and those who did were in backmarker teams. There was a lot of talented drivers and if you were good enough, you could have made it

    Nowadays, we have fantastic talents that aren't getting in due to pay drivers. Stoffel Vandoorne probably won't race next year despite leading the GP2 championship by over 100 points. The guy is a huge talent and the best he could do is probably Manor with Button possibly staying with McLaren. We have Palmer who's only a third driver and I don't think will get a drive unless the Renault takeover happens. There's Valsecchi who's career has been killed. There's Rosenqvist and Giovinazzi who are amazing talents stuck in F3. What about Tio Ellinas and Dean Stoneman who won't ever get to F1 due to money. Felix Da Costa who's career has been killed by Red Bull. So many talented drivers that won't or will struggle for a drive in the future or in Vandoornes, case next season. All these drivers would be a great fit in F1. Much better than Ericsson, Maldonado, Perez (though he does and can show a lot of potential which he doesn't utilise all of the time. Even Merhi and Stevens don't quite have the talent of those young drivers.

    There's also issues with the Junior programmes and the talent they bring in. For example, Illot is a waste of time at Red Bull, Stroll and Marciello aren't anything special. Daruvala for Force India has done well but he's not quite as talented as Felix Da Costa or Rosenqvist. Mercedes and Wehrlein is also a waste of space. Wehrlein is very talented but I don't see him getting into F1 anytime soon
  13. Very Poorly worded question.
    I think the lowest driver pool would have been when F1 first started because new sports always take a while to gain credit.

    In the last decade I think the driver pool is true that it is the lowest because you have pay drivers which lower the "talent pool" going into F1. Because of pay drivers I think it lowers the pool of drivers on the whole because those drivers then go to another series that will take them on once they realise the dream of F1 is not possible with the current state of F1.
    Quite frankly these things happen now and then. You can't always expect there to be good drivers to get into formula one every year otherwise people like button would not be in the sport anymore. The current season has seen 3 very good drivers enter; Sainz in my opinion being the best out of the rookies.Then Verstappen, then Nasr.
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  14. fortyfivekev


    He's right about the cars but I think a bit hard on the drivers. If they opened up the fuel flow these engines could produce plenty of power and getting tyres that will take some punishment would be a massive step forward. If the cars were harder to drive then the teams would naturally leave the kids to mature a bit and take on more experienced drivers. Also, if the teams got a fair share of the cash they would take the talented guys and Pastor and co. would be out of a job.
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  15. Queequeg


    Going by that logic, it never has been the pinnacle of motor racing in the first place. That whole pinnacle thing is just marketing speak imo anyway. GP racing has always been about popularity for me. It's the series with the biggest audience, most money, top drivers (at least the top third has always been creme de la creme) and really fast cars. I don't think purity of the sport has ever been a top priority in F1, and frankly, shouldn't be. That doesn't mean I want random points multipliers or Mario Kart bananas, but I do think DRS works well for the racing in the series, cars that don't all have equal performance are OK (as long as it's not excessive) and backmarkers being there are part of the fun.
    Really the main thing I am concerned about for F1 is the influx of races on the calendar that makes each individual GP less of an event and the financial concers for smaller teams as well as the Mafiosi tactics employed to squeeze money out of each venue. Threatening to cancel the only GP that has been on each and every calendar in F1 is not cool.
    Also the cars could do with more fuel to make them faster and more on edge and less about managing fuel.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
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  16. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff

    I'm going to go a bit with Bram's, but I'm taking out Kvyat out of the F1 material equation. I believe the kid is hella skilled, but the car is a bit of the problem, if you compare both him and Riccardo have been equal in terms of results and I think the kid is doing good being his first season on a top tier team. He can improve massively.

    The rest is just bad. Money talks. I think Grosjean and Maldonado are the exception here, because of the fact they had top results (MALDONADO WON A RACE WHEN HE WAS RACING FOR WILLIAMS OF ALL TEAMS!) but their skills are simply fit for Formula 1. Their crashes both damage the team rep and structure but their careers more than everything.

    Let's say that Haas F1 is not a complete failure, Manor actually gets a good engine and funding and the drivers are replaced please bring back the following drivers:

    • Kobayashi, easily my second favourite driver (only Kimi topping). This dude is bonkers good, he just never had an opportunity with a competitve car.
    • Di Grassi. One of the best techinical minded racers today. You're not an Audi factory driver because of money. He can be really good with car development and also is a skilled driver of his own (sorry Bram :p)
    • Vandoorne. He is coming. One way or another. Whether he goes to McLaren or a smaller team to get mileage, he must come, he's really good. And I found out that he raced in Formula SimRacing for 2 consecutive seasons, didn't know that ^^.
    • Alexander Rossi. I know he's probably bound to be the next American driver to be in F1 driving for Haas F1 (most likely), after Scott Speed drove for Toro Rosso. He's been ascending through GP2 quite quickly this season only losing to Vandoorne. I think he got the wits and skills in F1.
    • Magnussen. I know it's either Jan or Joylon Palmer, but between the two I rather have Magnussen just beacuse of pure driving skill. Magnussen tops Palmer in driving skill and also he's already been testing the Mclaren F1 car for 2016 (deep beneath they are developing for this car already), so I believe he's due to come. Probably in Button's place (considering that he does not renew with Mclaren and joins TG)
  17. Unsolicited commentary time!

    I want to preface this by saying Mark Webber is one of my all-time favorite drivers.

    I also agree that there are a lot of drivers who are either buried in reserve roles, or trying to get in through GP2/GP3/FR3.5/F3, or competing in Formula E or WEC or DTM who are quite worthy of a place. If all 20 drivers quit today, you could easily fill the gaps with many, many capable drivers under the age of 35.

    I think he's off-base by quite a bit. Compare the accomplishments, pre-F1, of pay drivers today compared to 10, 15, 20 years ago. Marcus Ericsson isn't Ronnie Peterson in his prime, and Will Stevens isn't the new Jim Clark, and the only comparisons to a Senna that former grand prix winner Pastor Maldonado will get is with Bruno, not Ayrton - but they're all former race winners and/or champions in the lower categories. They would look as mighty as Ronnie, Jim, and Ayrton compared to Webber's first F1 teammate Alex Yoong, or Jean-Denis Deletraz, or that guy who drove for Footwork several years back, whoever his name is.

    In addition, if a grid that currently holds 5 former WDCs (HAM/ALO/BUT/VET/RAI), a reigning LM24 winning co-driver (HUL), three multi-time GP winners (RIC/ROS/MAS), and a handful of young drivers who are pounding on the door of victories is considered "weak", I'd love to hear what a strong grid would be.

    Also, bad form from the BBC Sport write-up to name Ericsson and Nasr as drivers being singled out by Webber, when Webber wasn't naming anybody specific in his interview.
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  18. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff

    Also, a side note:

    Whoever that says that Nasr is not F1 material will have to face my finger fury. This kid deserves to be in a bigger team than Sauber (and I think he might be soon, I hope he's only 23) and I'm not using the Brazilian card on him. He's actually really good. I only think that now he's on a unlucky streak because Sauber's car development halted and it damaged their brake performance (the team achilles heel).
  19. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    By mentioning him you made a person happy :D

    You know, he is one of the very few Greek/Cypriot guys to make it on a high level. Therefore, we are quite biased and we don't really know how good he is :p
  20. I've been saying Nasr should have been in F1 last season. I was one of the few people who were willing to stand by him as a better option than either VDG or Sutil when Sauber were embattled in March.
    • Beer Beer x 1