Rookies bring three countries back to F1

2011 F1 season preview

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Three countries which haven’t had F1 drivers for decades are represented once more in 2011.

Belgium has gone 17 years without an F1 driver, Venezuela 27 years and Mexico 30 years.

How will their three drivers plus Britain’s Paul di Resta fare in 2011?

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Valencia, 2011
Notes2010 GP2 champion

The last Venezuelan to race in F1 was Johnny Cecotto, who was Ayrton Senna’s team mate in 1984.

His successor, Pastor Maldonado, is a somewhat controversial replacement for Nico H???lkenberg at Williams.

H???lkenberg had a good first season including a surprise pole position in Brazil, but the team needed a driver who could bring money with them.

On paper, Maldonado fits their requirements of bring a driver who is both quick (he’s the reigning GP2 champion) and well-heeled – note the PDVSA logos which now adorn the FW33.

The Venezuelan driver has a reputation for being fast but wild. He was handed a lengthy ban in 2005 after he failed to slow down sufficiently under yellow flag in Monaco and hit a marshal who suffered a broken back.

He was disqualified at the Hungaroring last year for ignoring the black-and-orange flag on consecutive laps while driving around with a broken front wing.

But he can also turn the speed on when he wants to, particularly at Monaco, where he won in World Series by Renault in 2006, and in GP2 in 2007 and 2009. He won the GP2 category at his fourth attempt last year with an impressive string of feature race victories.

At Williams he can learn from a team with a strong engineering heritage and the most experienced F1 driver of all time alongside him.

The team made a big call by dropping H???lkenberg for him. It’s up to Maldonado to prove it was the right decision.

Paul di Resta

Paul di Resta

Paul di Resta, Force India, Barcelona, 2011
TeamForce India
Notes2010 DTM champion
2006 F3 Euroseries champion

Paul di Resta started out on the classic path to Formula 1 – karting followed by Formula Renault and then Formula Three.

But having clinched the F3 Euroseries title in 2006 – beating Sebastian Vettel, no less – he was unable to find sufficient backing to take the next step to Formula Renault 3.5 or GP2.

He ended up spending four years in the DTM – not single-seaters, but perhaps the next-best thing.

He worked wonders with a two-year-old car in his first season, and clinched the title last year with a storming end to the season, including three wins and three second places in seven races.

Di Resta also had the opportunity to make eight outings in practice for Force India last year. He has been testing with them for two years, and knows the team well.

But it remains to be seen how much of a setback his deviation from the traditional route to F1 has been for his development as a top-line driver.

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Guadalajara, 2011
Notes2010 GP2 runner-up
2006 British F3 (National)

Sergio Perez is the youngest member of the ‘Class of 2011’. He will be the first Mexican driver to start an F1 race since Hector Rebaque in Las Vegas 30 years ago.

That has aroused considerable excitement in his home town of Guadalajara where 150,000 people – 10% of the population – turned out to see him perform a demonstration run last month.

Perez finished runner-up to Maldonado in GP2 last year. He might have run Maldonado closer in the points standings but for a mixture of misfortune and, it must be said, a tendency to get involved in needless accidents.

But while Maldonado now has the ultra-experienced Rubens Barrichello to learn from, Perez’s team mate is Kamui Kobayashi, who has just a single season in F1 to his name.

In the past Sauber has proved an excellent place for young drivers to make their start in F1 – think Kimi R??ikk??nen, Felipe Massa and, of course, Kobayashi.

Given the performance of their cars in testing there’s a good chance Perez, Maldonado and di Resta will find themselves in close company in 2011.

Jerome d’Ambrosio

Jerome d’Ambrosio

Jerome d'Ambrosio, Virgin, 2011
Notes2010 GP2: 12th
2007 Formula Master champion

Belgium is best known in Formula 1 for its magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit. But not since 1994 has the country had an F1 driver.

Jerome d’Ambrosio will change that this year. But his opportunities to do more with his F1 debut other than bring the streak to an end will be constrained by the performance of his Virgin MVR-02.

The team look set to spend another year towards the back of the grid. In Timo Glock, D’Ambrosio has a tough team mate to be compared against, as Lucas di Grassi found out last year.

But the team were impressed with his technical feedback when he first drove for them last year. And he’s had an extended opportunity to familiarise himself with the car thanks to Glock’s misfortune.

Although D’Ambrosio’s GP2 results from last year don’t look great on paper, they mask a year often frustrated by technical problems.

That may stand him in good stead for a year with the outfit that had F1’s least reliable car last year.

Who will be the top-performing rookie in 2011?

  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (1%)
  • Sergio Perez (30%)
  • Paul di Resta (48%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (21%)

Total Voters: 145

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Images ?? ?? Julien Leroy/, Force India F1 Team, Sauber F1 Team, Virgin Racing

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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130 comments on “Rookies bring three countries back to F1”

  1. Keith, how about a poll in this post to find out who we think will be rookie of the year?

    Anyway, I would vote Perez. I think that Di Resta will take a while to adapt, Maldonado will make Petrov look consistent and like Di Grassi, it will be hard for D’Ambrosio to not be anonymous whilst stuck at the back of the grid.

    1. Good call. Added.

      1. Thanks – I think it is quite even this year for this ‘award’

        1. Di Resta is leading so far, but I assume that Maldonado’s relative experience and apparently fairly quick car will see him score the most points

          1. I voted Maldonado as well. I think his car and his more experienced team-mate will pay dividends for his result, as long as he keeps it together and doesn’t do silly stuff like ignoring flags.

          2. Agreed. The Williams looks pretty handy, and Maldonado should pcik up good points so long as he doesn’t do a Petroov and bin it just when things start looking good for him…

          3. I went with Maldonado, but only because I believe the Williams will be faster than the Force India.

      2. Hmmmm… Maybe the f1fanatic rookie of the year award. A trophy or plaque perhaps presented to the driver that wins.

        Something that takes it beyond the internet and makes it real from an awards perspective.

        Could be great press and a great bread winner as far as publicity and internet traffic go?

      3. Great idea, thanks for adding it Keith.

    2. The poll does sound like a good idea. My vote would goto Di Resta.

  2. Between the drivers and the teams, there are sixteen different nationalities racing. And twenty if you count test drivers. If Robert Kubica were racing, it would be twenty-one:

    1) Austria, 2) England, 3) Italy, 4) Germany, 5) India, 6) Switzerland, 7) Malaysia, 8) Spain, 9) Russia, 10) Australia, 11) Brazil, 12) Venezuela, 13) Japan, 14) Mexico, 15) Finland, 16) Belgium, 17) France, 18) China, 19) Czech Republic, 20) Angola, 21) Poland

    1. Carlos Santos
      16th March 2011, 12:18

      Who’s the Angolan driver?

      Thanks in advance!

      1. Ricardo Teixeira. He’s a test and reserve driver for Tony Fernandes, though he’s probably only going to be doing straight-line aero runs. He’s actually half-Angolan and half-Portuguese and competed in GP2 under a racing licence issued in Portugal. However, he’s got backing from Sonangol, the Angolan national oil producer, and so had a new licence issued by the Angolan racing federation (yes, apparently they have one). I wouldn’t be too surprised if Sonangol become a technical partner of Fernandes’ team in the same way Total/Lotus Renault, Total/Red Bull, Mobil/McLaren, Petronas/Mercedes and Shell/Ferrari are.

        1. If you’re going for English rather than British then you’ve missed out Scottish for Di Resta!

          1. Paul di Resta’s racing licence was issued in the UK, not Scotland. Just as Jenson Button and Leiws Hamilton had theirs issued in the UK and not England.

          2. So, England = UK, covering all three?

          3. Just England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. And possible Wales. I believe Ireland itself is considered independent.

          4. UK = England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland
            Great Britain = England, Scotland & Wales

          5. That was a problem for Eddie Irvine as he had an Irish racing licence, but is from the North. On his first podium appearance they had an Irish tricolour instead of a Union Flag and his family were sent death threats.

        2. Carlos Santos
          16th March 2011, 12:43

          I’m Portuguese and I was unaware of his third-third driver status at Fernandes’s Lotus! Shame on me!
          And you’re right, he’s been labeled as Angolan now (for the reasons you pointed).

        3. I meant all three drivers.

          1. Yes, it covers all three.

    2. I love how number 8 turned to a smiley! An Angolan driver seems so so strange on that list. I wonder when we might expect the first Angolan GP?

      1. I wonder when we might expect the first Angolan GP?

        Probably not for a very long time. Despite the burgeoning oil production and Sonangol’s investment in motorsports (title sponsor of Superleague Formula, primary sponsor on Teixeira’s Formula 2 car last year, etc.), Angola spent nearly thirty years – from 1975 to 2002 – in civil war, and it is constantly being drawn into problems with its neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has some of the worst infant mortality rates (150 for every 1000 live births) and lowest life expectancies (38.2 years, ahead of only Swaziland) in the world and is rated 146th (of 169) on the Human Development Index. These aren’t exactly factors that will disqualify Angola from a Grand Prix, China has the lowest ranking on the Human Development Index at 89th place.

        In short, there is no way Angola could reasonably host a Grand Prix in its current state.

        1. Rodrigo Salazar
          16th March 2011, 13:59

          You never know! Baharein is cancelled and many other arab countries are now in a “boiling society”. There are less than 300 miles of distance between 4 of the arabs GP races for this year (well, 3 after Baharein is cancelled), and Mr. Ecclestone surely will replace ANY of the missed.

          1. With a race in a country that has no infrastructure to support a Grand Prix, no money to pay for it, and no time to organise it all in time for a race at the end of the year?

            I know it’s a popular idea that Bernie is senile, but this is ridiculous. If Bahrain were to be replaced by another Grand Prix, it will be at a circuit somewhere like Portimao or Imola or Aragon.

        2. I know, I was just kidding. I mean, they hosted the African Cup of Nations football last year and one of the team buses got ambushed by gunmen, it’d make Sao Paulo look safe

          1. That was because the country chose to host some of the games in the disputed Cabinda province, which is cut off from the rest of Angola by the DRC (not the safest country in the world) and the Togolese bus was attacked by rebels who want independence from the rest of Angola.

            It would have been the equivalent of hosting a GP on the streets of Derry at the height of the Troubles.

            I don’t believe there were any extraordinary security issues in the rest of Angola during the tournament.

        3. Way to throw those statistics out there bud…

      2. Carlos Santos
        16th March 2011, 13:54

        I think it’s a bit unlikely at the moment! Angola government would ask Bernie money to allow the race and not the order way.
        In Angola there’s only one way to make businesses, the corruptive way, and their economy is not as pungent as once it promised to be.
        Still, a race in Africa would be awesome!

    3. You’ve covered Lewis & Jenson with England, but not Paul Di Resta who is Scottish.

      So that makes 22

      1. Paul di Resta is not considered Scottish because he competes under a racing licence issued in the UK rather than Scotland.

        1. Scotland is part of the UK!

          1. Yes, I know. That’s the point I’m trying to make: since Scotland is a part of the UK, di Resta is eleigible for a racing licence issued by the UK racing federation as well as one issued by the Scottish racing federation.

          2. Paul di Resta’s racing licence was issued in the UK, not Scotland. Just as Jenson Button and Leiws Hamilton had theirs issued in the UK and not England.

            But in the list you wrote England. If Button and Hamilton had their licences issued by the English motorsport governing body (if there is one), then fine, you can have England in the list, but you’d also have to include the British motorsport governing body to cover di Resta’s licence.

            I’m assuming that all three British drivers, regardless of home nation, are registered under the MSA (Britigh governing body) and so the England’ in your list should say ‘UK’.

            You can’t call a Scot ‘English’, because he’ll headbutt you. You can call him British, however. In the same way that you can’t call a Kiwi an Aussie.

          3. For many Scots, including myself, “British” is a pejorative term, and not a true nationality. I would suggest either calling Di Resta, Scottish, or a “UK citizen”.

          4. Well I can tell you right now it’s not going to happen. Scotland is part of Britain, I’m going to continue to refer to him as ‘British’.

      2. PM, they are talking about that list you made way up there ^^^^

        1) Austria, 2) England, 3) Italy, 4) Germany, 5) India, 6) Switzerland, 7) Malaysia, Spain, 9) Russia,

        where is that edit button eh? haha :P

  3. Doesnt D’Ambrosio look like Cevert or is it just me.

    I think they are 4 genuinely talented guys coming in. whether they bring finance or not they deserve a chance.

    If I was betting on Rookie of the year I’d go Maldonado with Di Resta second (purely on the more single seater racing experience lately for Pastor). I have a sneaky feeling that Williams is very very good (here is hoping)

    As Timo Glock is rated quite highly, it will provide Jerome with a yardstick to measure himself against, as that Virgin wont be getting podiums any time soon.

    1. Looks slightly like Cevert but not as good looking…

      I wonder if Jackie has noticed a similarity?

      1. Neither one is my type lol :-)

  4. Ouch! I would have sworn the last Mexican driver was Rodriguez! The rest I hadn’t a clue… even Google let me down on the other two. Still no American driver. They just never seem to thrive in F1. I dunno what the problem is there.

    1. they live in their own motorsport bubble, detached from the rest of the world (not just in motorpsort come to think of it) Plus american drivers have little incentive to go to f1 or other europen single seaters having been braught up in US motorsport. the competition in europe is much more fierce and the money is worse. nowadays you have to pay your way into F1. plus the fanbase for F1 in the US is not as big as for NASCAR or Indycar. its baffeling but its true. as a side note there is another popular sport in the US. its some form of rugby with 40 pounds of padding and protective gear where you can pass forwards. its odd

      1. If you’re trying to be funny or clever you’ve failed. If you’re trying to be sarcastic you’re no good at it. In either case, it’s clear you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about.

        1. I think it was a fair comment, and highlights a key problem for the F1 circus’ future. In that the value for money that NASCAR has is just not there.

          1. That is a fair comment. Nothing “baffeling” about it.

    2. Schell, Gregory, Gurney, Hill, Ginther, Andretti, and Revson did alright.

      1. Agreed, but the last big name American driver was Michael Andretti partnered with Senna @ McLaren… that was a long time ago.

        1. Yes, it has been quite awhile.

        2. What about Scott Speed? He wasn’t a big-name driver, and IIRC he did a lot of his junior formula racing in Europe.

          Come to think of it, that makes more European than American, doesn’t it?

          1. Harry Schell and Eddie Cheever also did their junior racing in Europe…both grew up there (France and Italy) and Schell never left. His US racing was pretty much limited to the US grand prix.

  5. I think Pastor will do the best but because I think Williams may have a better car. As for the rookie that will show the msot promise, then I’m actually not too sure.

    If the Virgin hasn’t improved much on pace then I think Jerome will have a hard timke because rookies in the new teams don’t seem to last long. I hope that Virgin give him time though because I think he could be decent.

    I’m not won over by Pastor by any means and it’s not because that he replaced Hulk who I regard as a very great talent. Williams had to make that choice in the end and they were right. It’s that although he won the GP2 title in a great fashion it took him 4 years to do so in a field that wasn’t as strong as past years.

    I like Perez and he seems quick (even if he wa slight fuelling it nailing a lap to get the quickest time in testing is still good for a new driver) but with Kamui I wonder how many races Sauber will finish :P Just kidding of course because Kobayashi was actually very good at finishing races when the car gave him a chance last year.

    Paul has shown great talent but his time in DTM could have done more harm than good. I don’t think we’ve seen anyone since Albers go to DTM then F1 rather than taking the usual opposite route. I’m really interested to see how he does but his practice sessions last year -as short as they were- might have done the world of good. It’ll be a big shame for the sport if he doesn’t live up to the hype because he could be great.

    I actually think all the rookies have shown good potential in the past but could easily end up becoming quick but erratic. I don’t think any seem like particularly ‘solid’ drivers. They could all very very quick or in the barrier.

    1. Williams had to make that choice in the end and they were right

      Were they? I think only time will tell on that one…

      1. Securing the money for the team was more important even if Pastor turns out to be rubbish.

        1. Not if their points total is worse than last year!

          1. It depends how much the presence of Pastor brings to the team compared to how much they’d win due to WCC ranking I guess.

    2. I pretty much agree with you there Steph.

      Actually I think Maldonado taking 4 years to get to the top in GP2 might mean he has learnt to be a bit more patient at times and less reckless. And Williams I think should be in a better position than those other teams. With Rubens for great setup it might prove very good for Pastor

      While Di Resta might be great (hard to tell, we’ll see) the FI is rather back of the (middle) pack material right now.

      I feel quite exited about Perez, but expect the ususual rookie mistakes of him.
      And Ambrosio, he will have all against him, hardly going to regularly beat Glock, so at least stay in front of the HRT cars.

  6. Is Maldonado the first driver to race in F1 with braces? Not a crucial point in the grand scheme of things I know, but I am curious!

    1. There has to be some jokes in there some where… I just can’t think at the moment. Anyone else want to give it a try?

    2. I think he could be the 1st driver with braces.. thats a record set by Maldonado even before his first race :)

        1. That picture made my day! Nerds all over the world rejoice!

        2. Damn! I’m sure Sebastian has more luck with the ladies now

          1. They keep mistaking him for Justin Bieber.

    3. How much do they weigh I wonder :-)

      And are they made of an illegal composite.

    4. I’m surprised they let him race with braces on. It’s a bit of a risk if he gets into an accident and the metal breaks off or if he needs resuscitation.

  7. Hi Keith,

    I think the last belgian driver in F1 was Philippe Adams for Lotus in Belgium ’94. Also, Bertrand Gachot was considered part belgian part luxemburg I seem to remember. Just to point out. Great site, check it every day!

    1. Gachot raced under a Belgian licence for the first part of his career, then a French one from 1994 onwards. You’re right about Adams.

    2. I forgot about Adams – not Lotus’s finest hour, that! Have revised the text, thanks.

      1. That makes strike 3 for me…

      2. Jean-Denis Deletraz? European GP 1995?

        1. Whoops, he’s swiss, don’t know what I was smoking there!

  8. Dear Bernie,

    The current nations are strongly under-represented no the Formula 1 grid. They are obscure enough that they would be able to host a race in the place of a European event, but would not be able to afford the sanctioning fees. Please find drivers from each of these countries so that they may have the representation they deserve:

    – Azerbaijan
    – Bhutan
    – Cameroon
    – French Guiana
    – Greenland
    – Honduras
    – Oman
    – Malta
    – South Sudan
    – Mongolia
    – Turkmenistan

    I have decided that their participation in Formula 1 is vital to the championship. Jessop jessop jessop jessop jessop.


    Max Mosley

    1. Brilliant!

    2. Add Maldives to that list too XD

    3. I heard South Sudan was going to get a race in 2011 but they just didn’t secure their independence in time. Expect to see them on the calendar in 2012

      1. And the proposed Tuvalu Grand Prix has been put on indefinite hold after the land earmarked for track development sank…

      2. Too damned hot in South Sudan. I would add Eritrea to the list. At 7,000+ft in Asmara it would be interesting. And Asmara has excellent Italian connections and art deco buildings.

        1. Speaking of extreme elevations, I would not say no to a Bhutanese Grand Prix. Bhutan is the most mountainous country in the world, so elevations in the circuit would be a given.

    4. This is an actual letter from Max Mosley, though the exact meaning of “Jessop jessop jessop jessop jessop” is unknown.

      True story.

    5. Sound_Of_Madness
      16th March 2011, 15:11

      Forgotten the joint Timor-Leste/Indonesia one. Rio Haryanto has already an 1-race-deal with VR, so we should proceed.

      Long live us,


  9. Shouldn’t di Resta have gotten a mention as continuing the fine tradition of Scottish drivers in F1 as last represented by David Coulthard and before that a guy named Clark and another wee little bloke?

    1. His racing licence was issued in the UK, not Scotland. It may be possible that the racing federations that issue these licences have consolidated into one body and will only issue licences under the flag of the United Kingdom, rather than issuing them in the individual nations.

      I haven’t heard anything about it, though.

      1. So why have you listed England as a nation represented in F1 then, you can’t have it both ways you know?!

        1. Nation should be UK for anybody racing with a UK licence. Anybody from England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland is from the UK and therefore British.

          I think that clears things up!

          1. I’ll have you know I’m Greek ;)

        2. So why have you listed England as a nation represented in F1 then, you can’t have it both ways you know?!

          Because you’re being pedantic.

          1. No, seriously, he’s not. You’re just being ignorant. You cannot label a Scot as English. You either put ‘UK’ on your little list, or you put both ‘England’ and ‘Scotland’. You can’t claim that di Resta is driving under a licence issued from the UK, and then call that ‘English’, that’s not how it works.

  10. Di Resta looks like he should be in a boy band with that picture!

    I can see Sergio Perex and Pastor Maldonado having their occasional flashes of class but over-all I can see Di Resta out-performing them.

  11. The last Venezuelan to race in F1 was Johnny Cecotto

    There’s a Johnny Cecotto in GP2, isn’t there? Is he a second generation driver? I think I’ve just learnt something! :)

    1. Yeah, he’s another son of a racing driver.

  12. Hopefully not too off-topic…


    …Britain’s Paul di Resta…

    I’m not sure about these days … but I remember in the days when Coulthard was racing that some commentators used to switch the way they expressed a driver’s nationality: For Mansell, they said “English” driver but for Coulthard they said “British” driver instead of “Scottish” driver, all in the same sentence sometimes.

    I always thought this was grossly unfair … regardless of what I thought of Coulthard’s driving ;O)

    I don’t live in England – sorry, Britain – anymore and don’t watch F1 with English commentary, so I’m not sure how it is these days. Is it a lot more equal? Are sportsmen and women from Britain referred to more-or-less equally as “British”.

    1. Oh why oh why can’t we edit after we’ve spotted our typos!

    2. I’ve lived on both sides of the border and I go by what it says on my passport, which is ‘British’.

      I’m forever hearing people claim that commentators (not just in F1) choose to say English, Scottish or British for certain reasons (“you only say ‘Scottish’ when he’s losing” etc…) and I’m not convinced by any of them.

      Frankly, I find the whole argument incredibly tedious.

      1. I’ve lived on both sides of the border and I go by what it says on my passport, which is ‘British’

        Having spent 4 years at uni in Scotland I can speak from experience, and fair deal of enjoyment about the banter between the English and the Scots.

        I particularly enjoyed being one of only two englishmen in a bar full of scots when Paul Gasgoigne scored that goal in Euro 1996. :-)

        The whole thing is a bit of a mute point, to be honest. We are all british…. although it does provide an endless supply of banter to me and my scottish mates.

    3. Well both are technically true. We always used to joke in our house that Eddie Irving was British on the podium and Northern Irish when he DNF’d. :P

      But one is just more specific than the other, technically it should be british as that what they use in F1 as the nationality. (Unlike Indy car where the 4 seperate nations are used)

      1. I was once in New Jersey on business and someone asked me whether Scotland was a county in England.

        Of course it is I said ;-)

        1. Haha that’s a (stereo?)typically American thing to say!

    4. Its just like the “Murray-o-meter” in tennis, the closer he gets to winning the moer British he is, when he looses, he’s Scottish.

      I suppose if you are being correct to the realities of life British is the correct term for anyone from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, but each of these “home nations” are allowed to compete in many international sports under their own steam so it does lead to confusion. I personally say Clark, Stewart, Coulthard and Di Resta are Scottish because I am too, but for FIA’s purposes they are all British. It’s just one of those things that will never get cleared up I guess. nad hang on, isn’t Nigel Mansell Manx?

      That said, I haven’t ever heard of “The Flying Britishman.”

      1. Mansell was born in Upton, Worcestershire (not too far from me, but I digress) and moved to the Isle of Man later. So is he English or Manx? Does it matter? Does anybody care?

        They’ve all got British racing licences. I guess whether they consider themselves English, Scottish or whatever is a personal choice.

        Eddie Irvine always considered himself Irish, describing being “British” as “nondescript.” (But that was a whole other level of complicated, due to the historic cross-community tensions in Ireland and reported threats against his family by unionists). And it was pretty obvious, from the colours of his helmet, where David Coulthard most identified with.

        I wonder if our Belgian friends have these discussions over whether Jerome d’Ambrosio is Flemish, Walloon or just Belgian? :P

        1. I suppose the die hards do and if he has some succes they might still try to have a go at claiming him as his own. As he is from the Brussels area, a bit of a mute point.
          But I listened to him appearing on Flemish tv and his dutch was good enough, never heard his french though
          Maybe some Italians could be claiming him as he is from Italian origin as well!

      2. Eh…it’s a tough one. “Britain” is and always has been a political construct. Technically if anyone is “actually” British it’s the Welsh, but they’ve never called themselves that. That said, most were happily British until the rise of Scottish and Welsh nationalism. Nowadays you tend to get more people making a distinction.

        To be honest I think it’s one of those things only we here care about! Abroad I’m forever called “British”.

        1. Almost, Welsh are acutally (historically) the original English folk, but moved out of old English counties (such as Wessex)into What is now Wales, when (i believe) the Saxons came over, and they called them “Welsh” meaning Stranger (Foriegn person)

          1. Well, not the original English folk, as the word comes from the Angles, who came from Germany, but yes, the original inhabitants of the place.

            Cornwall was even known as “West Wales” by the Anglo-Saxons.

      3. GeeMac,

        those of us Englishmen that lived up in scotland for a while realise the amusement value in perpetuating that joke about him being British when he wins, and Scottish if he loses.

        I havent seen newspapers or press sites refer to him differently before and after the event though.

        If I reacted every time in Scotland to some jape about being english I wouldnt have lasted very long.

        For what its worth, there is a lot more anti english feeling (in my opinion) north of the border than there is anti-scot below it. And I say that with most of my very good friends being scottish.

        No offence meant by my comments of course, just observations.

        1. I get round those japes by saying I’m South African…which is a very legitimate claim! ;)

    5. Thanks for all the replies! Much appreciated.

  13. Rodrigo Salazar
    16th March 2011, 13:53

    Hi Fellas:
    Guadalajara Metro area is about 7’000,000 pop, so 150,000 expectators (a great crowd no doubt) is more like 2.14% to watch Sergio Perez running streets with the C29 updated, instead of 10% quoted on your article.
    And Maldonado’s behavior is another key point to watch. He is a dirt driver.

    1. What about Maldonados behaviour are you referring to?

  14. Jerome is bringing the dollar! Virgin even admitted it, all of his GP2 results are kack. He’s the lowest qualified driver since Chandok last year.

    (Sorry I know people like Chandok, but he never did anything that warrented a F1 drive even in HRT’s GP2 car :P )

    Also Di Resta has the advantage of car development to balance out lack of single seater experience.

  15. Voted Maldonado, the Williams looks the better car of the 3, as far as we can tell. And he’s fast, a bit wild but has a great team around him and one heck of a team mate.

    1. I’m inclined to vote for Pastor too for that reason. Although I hope the Sauber is fast, too! But Maldonado is obviously quick. He did win the GP2 championship, after all! I think his talent has been forgotten in all the stuff about Williams’ financial state.

      1. I think his advantage is having lost the feeling he is very special and has to work for it in those 4 years before he finally clinched the GP2 championship.
        And he has Rubens to help get setup right as well as a very solid looking Williams.

  16. Jerome d’Ambrosio for sure !!!!

  17. Pastor Maldonado will be hard,aggressive.But to me I think Sergio Perez will be the best though tough to judge as they all are driving different machines.Lets see who wins Rookie of the year award.

  18. Regarding nationalities I have sometimes wonder what the grid could look like if A1GP was top of all motorsport. So only one driver allowed from each country. But of course we would lose some drivers, there are many good Germans in the grid and also two British drivers who have won the championship.

    1. Team Italy sadly wouldn’t do too well for itself!

      1. I dunno, if you’re combining the two series then they’d have the ferraris. I’d imagine Trulli could do ok in a decent car ;)

  19. di Resta will take a few races to settle down, but i expect every rookie to take some time, but in the 2nd half i expect di Resta to shine!! but the only thing that is not in his favor is the car, VJM04 looks pretty ordinary…

  20. Perez got my vote, because I think Sauber have a nice little car this year. I think Force India will suffer, which is why I didn’t pick Paul di Resta.

  21. Voted Maldonado… But mainly because in that picture above he looks like he could beat someone up pretty badly.

  22. Perez will surely be the top classified of all rookies, I think the Williams lacks the lovely simplicity of the Sauber, the force India seems to be a bit off the mark and the Virgin is totally lost.
    That… and the fact I’m a bit biased since I’m Mexican, ;)

  23. Based on equipement, it seems Maldonado would be the front rookie followed closely by Di Resta. Based only on driver performances I’ll put my money on Di Resta and Perez

  24. Perez I think will be the best. Many of his accidents last year in GP2 were not his fault, and he was at times by far the quickest driver. If I remember correctly, at the last race in Abu Dhabi he was consistently lapping about one whole second faster than anyone else during the race. Maldonado can be very fast as well, but is more mistake-prone. They should have equally-matched cars to, so hopefully they can have a good battle for rookie of the year.

    I’m not at all convinced by Di Resta. He didn’t look fast in his practice sessions last year and hasn’t looked quick in testing this year. He has also had a number of spins into the gravel. It looks that the Force India is a very poor car this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the year Di Resta’s points tally is still in single figures.

  25. It is a shame that Williams has decided to take on a driver who is financially backed by a Governmental organization that also uses funds to directly support terrorism.
    As a F1 team, Williams is dead to me.

  26. Poor Jerome d’Ambrosio has only 1 vote! :( I wish I’d voted for him now…

  27. Rookies are good for the sport and should be allowed outside testing track time and Friday sessions off course.

    Best rookie is yet to make his debut Daniel Ricciardo the test driver for Red Bull who would should Vettel what Webber could’ve done if he had the same car as Vettel at his age.

    Food for thought:

    Future stars:
    Ricciardo, Maldono & Hulkenberg

    If they were in better cars:
    Kubica, Sutil & Rosberg

    Time to move on and give the younger blokes a go:
    Trulli, Heidfeld & Schumacher

    Vettel, Hamilton & Alonso

    Nice Guys:
    Button, Barrichello & Massa

    Top 5 drivers:
    1. alonso 2. Hamilton 3. Webber 4. Kubica 5. Vettel

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