Which rookies deserve an ’09 seat? (Poll)

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Sebastien Bourdais scored points on his debut but hasn't done since

As reality TV becomes ever more pervasive perhaps one day motor racing fans will get to vote drivers in and out of different championships? Maybe it’s happening already somewhere?

Votes in this poll won’t decide which of the 2008 rookies get to keep their seats but let’s see who we think has done the best job so far. Do Nelson Piquet Jnr, Timo Glock, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Bourdais deserve to be in F1 in 2009?

Cast your votes below (you can vote for as many drivers as you like):

Here’s a quick comparison of the four drivers so far:

Nelson Piquet JnrTimo GlockKazuki NakajimaSebastien Bourdais
Average starting position13.5511.5515.0916.45
Finishes (out of 11)5897

Which rookie F1 drivers deserve to keep their seat in 2009? (Vote for as many as you like)

  • Sebastien Bourdais (20%)
  • Kazuki Nakajima (20%)
  • Timo Glock (35%)
  • Nelson Piquet Jnr (25%)

Total Voters: 958

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Here’s how I previewed the rookie contenders at the start of the year: 2008 – the rookies

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Which rookies deserve an ’09 seat? (Poll)”

  1. For me, only Sébastien Bourdais has failed to demonstrate that he is F1 material. Nelsinho Piquet had a dire start to the season but has really upped his game in the past four or five races. Similarly, Timo Glock was pretty anonymous to begin with but his performance in Hungary alone merits a contract for another year. Kazuki Nakajima has proved a good match for Nico Rosberg.

  2. I’d like to see all of them again next season, apart from bourdais. they are the new breed, and i’m sure they’ll improve.

    nakajima has almost matched rosburg, nelsinho seems to have the pace and aggression (although he’s made too many mistakes by far) and glock seems to be improving (although it will be interesting to see if his recent good form continue).

    with coulthard and maybe barrichello the only drivers retiring at the end of the season, new race seats will be limited and i’m hoping bourdais will be dropped so we can get more “new blood” next year.

  3. Pedro Andrade
    6th August 2008, 15:59

    I couldn’t help but vote for them all. Bourdais is the one I’m still not sure about, but I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. I think only when the driver doesn’t prove anything at all (which was common when pay drivers were abundant) are teams really justified in dropping them after a very short time.

  4. SeaBass needs another season before he’s written off.

  5. I agree completely doctorvee.

    Bourdais is the only one I wouldn’t mind seeing leave F1, the other 3 all show promise.

  6. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    6th August 2008, 16:25

    i think they all deserve a chance except maybe bourdais who relative to his teammate has been quite poor but vettl looks like a star of the future. the same could be said of piquet, but i think the last few races hes been strong and if he continues like that till the end of the season i dont see any reason to drop him. nakajima has impressed me i thought hed be fast but wild and hes put in some very mature finishes to score points, his only downfall seems to be qualifying where he cant seem to beat rosberg but i think its fair to say he is out-racing him which is a very good achievemnt considering last year rosberg was being hotly tipped for the 2nd mclaren seat.

    glock has been consistent, hes always there or there abouts in q2 nearly getting into q3. hes found it hard to match trulli in qualifying (not suprising as everyone knows how good jarno is in qualifying) his performance last weekend was brilliant he was quick all weekend, and i think everyone thought he would be the 1st to pit, but he wasnt. he drove a great race and thoroughly deservedhis 2nd place. i think he will get better.

  7. I fear we have in this current year the poorest generation of rookies in the last four or five years…

    Considering that we have this year Kubitza and Lewis fighting for the championship, and looking back what this two guys has done in their first years, this four drivers seems to be very ordinaries…

  8. Pedro Andrade
    6th August 2008, 16:46

    Becken: This year’s rookies are not that shabby, especially if you compare them with the rookies from 2004 and 2005. And if we’d gone further back through the years, I’d bet the average quality would go down even further, with a raise in pay driver numbers.

    2004 rookies: Christian Klien, Zsolt Baumgartner, Gianmaria Bruni and Giorgio Pantano

    2005 rookies: Tiago Monteiro, Narain Karthekeyan, Christijan Albers, Patrick Friesacher, Robert Doornbos and Vitantonio Liuzzi.

    2006 rookies: Robert Kubica, Nico Rosberg, Scott Speed, Sakon Yamamoto, Yuji Ide and Franck Montagny.

    2007 rookies: Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, Sebastien Vettel and Adrian Sutil (I won’t count Winkelhock).

  9. I think they all probably deserve another season. Piquet took a while to settle but he has already beaten Alonso once in a straight race so definitely worth another year. Glock just put a Toyota on a podium and even if Lewis and Massa had not dropped out he would have had an honest 4th so deserves to stay.

    When Mark Hughes did his team mate comparison in Autosport the driver who came out worst compared to his team mate was Nakajima but he seems to have potential even if the rumour mill says his younger brother is the real talent.

    Bourdais clearly knows how to win championships and you don’t win 4 consecutive championships at anything without having serious ability. He needs to step up next season but STR would be making a mistake to change both drivers. Besides if they are setting out to be a constructor in their own right they need some like Bourdais to develop the car unless they can get Barrichello to do that and babysit Senna.

  10. michael counsell
    6th August 2008, 18:06

    Why are you categorising Glock as a rookie and not Vettel. Neither had previously completed a season and Glock had more experience of the tracks having been a Friday test driver and a former GP2 champion and Champ Car driver.

  11. Michael – Because that’s how I did it in the rookie preview as well.

    Looks like most people aren’t convinced by Bourdais yet. He’s said he hopes he gets to race next year because he thinks he’ll do better on slick tyres

  12. I did not vote for Nelsinho.

    I find him to be a very capable driver, and on occasion he has shown the ability to race (was it Montreal where he sideswiped someone he was passing with a perfect “wheel touch” move?), I find him to be intelligent and thoughtful in interviews,


    I don’t see the fire. I don’t see the competitive burn. I like it when a losing driver is so fired up he sulks, and whines and moans and gets pi$$ed.

    in a far better car than the STR’s he has finished only 5 times out of 11, and most have been his fault, unless I am mistaken.

    “In order to finish first, first you must finish.”

    BTW we should take note that Bourdais has shaken the wrong end of the mechanical reliability stick a few times.

    love Vettel, like Kazu, want to give SeeBass another chance.

  13. I didn’t vote for Nakajima. I wish him all the worst after he took out Kubica under caution. Plus he is compared to a fresh driver as well. Nelson has a double world champion, and Glock has Fisi.

    Bourdais is also in a bad boat because he is loosing to a new driver as well. Vettel is good and all but he is still fresh.

  14. Seems to be the curse of the Indycar Champion, coming into F1 and having a dismal time. It happened to Cristiano da Matta a few years back, and to a lesser extent, Villeneuve, who rarely got so much as a sniff of the podium since he won the title in 1997. I thought that was a real shame, because I really liked Jacques, and thought he deserved a far better F1 career post-1997, and I don’t want to see a similar thing happen to Seb.

    But I’m sure Bourdais can’t be as bad as he’s letting on at the moment, with those four consectutive Stateside titles under his belt. I’d like to see him do better, and he’s certainly more deserving that 80% of those rookies that Pedro mentioned (wern’t 2004 and 2005 awful intake years? 10 rookies, and not a single one still driving in F1 this year).

    As for the other three, they all seem to be having respectable rookie seasons, and it seems they’re only getting better as the races pass. Nakajima has been consistant, if nothing else. Glock is slowly improving, and his Hungary weekend was certainly impressive. I’m still undecided on Piquet though. We all know he lucked-in to his podium, although the final stages at Germany were far from a walk in the park with the red car behind him, but he’s still not been as consistant as either of the other two.

    I voted only for Glock, as i didn’t realise i could choose more than one, so I guess that decided my favourite for me.

  15. michael counsell
    6th August 2008, 20:03

    I would say he’s not a rookie any more as the Hungarian Grand Prix marked the first race he’d driven before. But up until then he was definitely a rookie and “rookie of his year” at least against he best of last year and this year. Just like Glock who’s only driven 3 races less than him but taken part in more Friday test sessions.

    Considering the amount of first lap crashes Vettel’s had and that Glock has only ever had 3DNFs, Glock actually has more F1 race experience. Nakajima (also with Friday test driving experience outside of Europe) probably has more too…

  16. Not so much a vote for Nakajima but the fact that Nico is performing so poorly. Could it be the Williams or Rosberg is not very motivated. Nelson and Glock are the other 2 that deserves another shot.

  17. Keith,

    on an unrelated subject: can you post some data on where from in the globe you get website traffic ? It would be interesting to know where we all come from to exchange feedback on your site. A % breakdown by continet/region would be particularly interesting to see.

    Do you think this is something you can provide/share ?


  18. Alianora La Canta
    6th August 2008, 21:43

    The only I’m sure deserves a 2009 seat is Nakajima, but I think the other three might be good enough as well. The trouble is that Glock and Piquet Jr are inconsistent and Bourdais hasn’t been the same since Toro Rosso took delivery of their new car.

  19. I’m chiming in for Bourdais- he is performing to the ability of his car. When I think one of the new drivers ought to leave, I usually see something within a week or so that makes me think that I am wrong to believe it, so for me, all the rookies stay. The only vacancy next year will be Coulthard’s.

  20. F1fan – I did do here: Which F1 teams do you like?

  21. Keith,

    excellent breakdown, thank you.

  22. They should all keep their seats. Piquet has really come alive the last four races, with 3 points finishes, a 2nd place finish while outrunning a superior car, and actually outscoring his twice-world champion teammate 13-9 over this span. He’ll certainly be in the Renault next year if he keeps this up.

    Nakajima has been very good, as well. He’s equaling Rosberg in points and doing a very good job in the car with little mistakes. I think there are better young drivers out there, particularly outside of F1 race drives, but his performance justifies another year.

    Glock has had very good pace in the Toyota, and his performance has improved greatly over the year. I personally believe he is the most talented of the rookie class, and his performance in Hungary was downright impressive. I’m expecting much more from him throughout the rest of the year, as Toyota appears to be improving at a rapid rate.

    Bourdais has had it rough, but he is a very talented driver who should have another year. You don’t win four Champ Car titles in a row in absolutely dominant fashion without having a lot of talent. He’s struggling with a car that isn’t that great to start with and isn’t well suited for his driving style. With another year to adjust to changes, he’ll show his worth.

  23. I voted for all of them. Piquet only just snuck in.

    I also think there will be more vacancies anyway by 2009. Fisichella isn’t performing THAT well mid-season and Barrichello will almost certainly be put out to pasture (not that he deserves to be). There’s the speculation about Kimi and Heidfeld too. So, if we say that two of this year’s rookies get the proverbial (most likely Piquet and Bourdais), there could potentially be 7 vacant seats! That’s a stretch, But my point really is that there will plenty of seats available for new rookies, certainly the same amount as in previous years.

  24. I remain unconvinced about Le Seb. Didn’t think much of him in Champ car and apart from Melbourne, he hasn’t done much to change that opinion of him.

    I think the jury is still out on Nelsinho a little too, surely two swallows does not a summer make, or however that saying goes. Ask me again about Nelsinho at the end of the year.

    Glock & Nakajima I think are pretty safe for 2009.

  25. I think they all deserve a seat for 2009 at the very least.

    I am disappointed too by Bourdais, however given his credentials I would like to think he’s taking more time to adapt to the sport and techicalities. He’s not exactly prime age for entering F1, old(er) dog might not be learning as quick, but given his determination to enter the sport and finally doing it now I think he deserves a second season.

    Although Keith pointed out Bourdais has said he might do better on slick tyres, he also said pre-season that the ban on traction control should play into his hands. A lot of racers, especially the recent GP2 graduates, will have had slick experience…I think enough for it to be a moot point.

    Out of the rookies, I’d say Piquet is still most disappointing, despite his recent results. He just needs to build on it…he still has the chance to do a Kovalainen.

    On another note, I’m thinking how bad would it be for people being able to vote off drivers in a reality motorsport show…Lewis may have a hard time keeping his seat, as maybe would have Michael Schumacher! Maybe if you get on the podium you get immunity until the next race? :)

  26. Bourdais has been disappointing, but so have his team in general. They really havn’t impressed me that much since dropping Speed and Luizzi, although Vettel is obviously a future megastar in waiting.
    I really want Piquet Jnr to succeed, despite my venom for his father, as he has had a real baptism of fire this year. His driving though recently has really stepped up a couple of notched, and I am certain he can improve with the right people around him.
    Timo Glock is a character, and a man who really seems to try his best. It is not often that a driver gets a second chance in Formula One, and Glock has been given one. I am really looking forward to seeing him at Spa and Monza during qualifying, and how he compares against Jarno on the real fast circuits.
    Nakajima is in the same boat as Bourdais as concerns the standard of his machinery. I am very disappointed at the way Williams have seemed to have returned to their 2006 level of performance. I know that Nico Rosberg has been heavily criticised for his lack lustre performances, but Williams are just no where at the moment.
    Nakajima should just continue doing what he is doing by matching Rosberg as much as possible, and then he can move on.

  27. Pink: I can understand your hesitancy about him in F1, but how can you “not think much of” SeaBass in ChampCar when he won the championship four, repeat, four times?

  28. Voted for all of them. And Bourdais has won 4 championships which is more than any other rookie, so he knows how to win.

  29. Donwatters, I always thought Le Seb won in Champ car because he was at the best team, not because he was the best driver. A sort of a Villeneuve-esque performance, if you will (and if we are allowed to use the suffix -esque with a surname other than Senna, and in regard to drivers other than Hamilton;) )

  30. Pink: You’re absolutely right. Newman-Haas was/is a great team. But using that as a rationale for tagging SeaBass as only successful because of the team…then you could say that Michael was only successful because he drove for Ferrari…or Lewis because he drives for McLaren…or Jimmy Clark because he drove for Lotus. Perhaps Bourdais won’t cut it in F1, but to say he won the ChampCar championship four times only because he drove for the best team is, I think, is not giving credit where it’s due.

  31. I would say all 4.

    Nakajima is doing OK, although the same can’t be said about his team

    Piquet seems to be turning his season around, if he shows some consistency in the rest of the races, he should be safe. But one can never tell with Flavio …

    Glock took his time but he is now showing what he can do.

    Bourdais – The guy is obviously struggling with the car, he admits it himself. I however think that he should get a chance with the 2009 car. Even more experienced drivers that him struggled with cars before – Barrichello after coming to Honda, Kubica after switch to Bridgestones, Heidfeld this year, even Kimi to certain extent …

  32. I voted for all of them.

    Piquet and Glock both had difficult season starts but seem to have overcome their difficulties. Nakajima doesn’t do bad at all against an experienced and talented teammate, with a non-Japanese tendency to bring back the car home and in the points quite often.
    It seems a lot of people are quite disappointed by Bourdais, but I still think he deserves a second chance.
    The new car doesn’t seem to suit him and he is still something like 2 or 3 tenths behind his teammate, who is supposed to be the next big thing in F1. Anyway, Toro Rosso can’t put 2 rookies in their car next year, and Klien and Liuzzi won’t drive a Red Bull car any time soon. It doesn’t give that many options to Berger.

  33. I think it is more useful to compare the rookies against their teammates, who have the same equipment.

    Fernando Alonso – 18 points
    Nelson Piquet Jr. – 13 (72% of Alonso’s points)

    Jarno Trulli – 22
    Timo Glock – 13 (59%)

    Nico Rosberg – 8
    Kazuki Nakajima – 8 (100%)

    Sebastian Vettel – 6
    Sebastien Bourdais – 2 (33%)

    By these measures, Nakajima is doing the best and Bourdais is doing the worst.

  34. F1Fan: You should add a humble 0.0001% Argentinian traffic to the breakdown Keith did. I’m a fan from the Fittipaldi/Lauda/Reutemann days, and find the information here much more balanced, fair and “objective” (if such thing exists) than that of the Spanish worshippers of the Asturian god. I think our country has been fairly well represented by Fangio and Reutemann in the F1 world, although we have had our fair share of lesser successful drivers (Froilán González, Marimón, Zunino, Guerra, Tuero and Mazzacane, I hope I’m not forgetting anyone).

  35. Oh my! I did a Wikipedia search and found 25 Argie drivers, 19 more than those on my previous listing…

  36. To rate each driver properly, people should take in consideration the whole environment including the team, the car, the experience in the series, the teammate, etc.

    I really beleive Bourdais deserve another season. First of all he an Piquet are the only real rookies. Second he is in the worst team of all the drvers mentioned, and the new car has only two races well developed. I am sure that in the rest of the season he will be improving.

    Although he has made it public many times he does not feal good with the car his pace is improoving (Last Jerez test) and in the last two races his qualy places has been not far from Vettel.

    Piquet is the lucky one, although his debut was a disaster he has improved in the last two races including his last result.

    Glock is ok, he is in a much better team as of this year but his team mate has outclassed him, and he is not a rookie.

    Nakajima really deserves it, he is not a rookie by a race of last year, but has demonstrated to be head to head with Rosberg

  37. All of them. Though I’d prefer to see Bourdais in a team other than Toro Rosso, which seems a pretty unpleasant place to be.






  39. Well they all deserve to keep their seats some more than others. But i think vettel is a star of the future.
    And i think if he was in the Ferrari he would be a good challenger for Hamilton.

  40. Glock or Nakajima were not rookies. Glock drove in 2004 and Nakajima drove in 2007 (Brazil)

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