Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2014

Verstappen’s leap up to F1 “isn’t right”

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Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Suzuka, 2014In the round-up: GP3 championship runner-up Dean Stoneman welcomes the new superlicence points system as it will stop drivers bypassing championships like GP2 on their way to F1, as Max Verstappen has done.


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Stoneman supportive of F1 Super Licence move (Crash)

"It's not unfair because he is obviously good, but jumping so many levels in one go isn't right. He should be given an F1 contract but told to do a couple of years in GP3 or GP2 before graduating to build your way up."

David Coulthard: Formula 1 superlicence system needs flexibility (Autosport)

"Having been to a few of the undercard race series, I am not sure the actual points are how I would lay them out. Some of those championships deserve more than they have been given."

Williams turnaround an inspiration for Lotus (Adam Cooper's F1 Blog)

"I think after a year of experience we know what you need from these power units and how to operate them. Of course it will be subtly different with the Mercedes, but we’ll be in a better position than we were a year ago."


Comment of the day

@Bpacman is the winner of Saturday’s Caption Competition:

Luca di Montezemolo, 2012

Despite the lack of engine noise, the predictable racing and complex electronics, the guarantee of a Ferrari victory meant that di Montezemolo was happy to endorse the new series.

Thanks to everyone who contributed captions, especially Alex Brown, Sam, Tom L and Craig-o who supplied some of the best.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Abdurahman and Brian Frank!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Emerson Fittipaldi won the first race of 1975 on this day 40 years ago at Buenos Aires in Argentina. James Hunt finished second for Hesketh after spinning out of the lead.

Pole sitter Jean-Pierre Jarier failed to take the start after suffering a failure on the formation lap:

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Keith Collantine
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  • 59 comments on “Verstappen’s leap up to F1 “isn’t right””

    1. Stingy quote. I was hoping for a funnier one, but well Luca did say that, that said Luca is a gentleman, I truly believe that Luca has a personality, he’s no puppet he truly enjoys F1.

      1. Yeah when I think of him I always think of Lauda’s time at Ferrari for some reason. The emotional scenes of Lauda’s first win in Spain in 1974 really prove that he loves F1. His exit from Ferrari was a bit unfair I think but they need a revolution to be competitive any time soon. Besides, Luca has lived everybody’s wildest dreams and will be remembered as a true legend of the sport.

      2. Where’s the ‘quote’ from Luca? Are you referring to @Bpacmans caption?

      3. Keith picking that quote as the caption competition winner does nothing but reveal his notorious and extreme anti-Ferrari bias, as well as his mostly unfounded paranoia regarding Ferrari’s political influence over F1 and the FIA.

        1. One thousand thumbs up! But no surprise, this is a 100% british page, isn’t it!?

          1. You can’t mean that. Sarcasm, perhaps?

        2. The acronym CFFBPOTW (Compulsory Ferrari and/or Fernando Bashing Post Of The Week) does exist for something

          1. I’m assuming the above is all sarcasm. Do let me know if I’m mistaken.

            1. Whatever makes you happy

            2. More fool me for giving people the benefit of the doubt I guess.

              I mean really though, it’s a little bit of fun, and taking it as seriously as you’re doing is just tedious. It’s not as if the Caption Competition never features teams other than Ferrari is it?

        3. You are talking like it isn’t true. Face it Ferrari do not want to race fairly. They want to win by keeping the others down

    2. I wonder, if Verstappen goes on to be one of the all-time greats at the end of his career (a big if, sure, but not out of the question) won’t we be happier we got to see him in F1 1-2 years earlier?

      1. @gicu only if those who beat him in the lower cartigories like Orcon also get a fair chance in Formula 1. I’m hoping that’s what the system was primarily designed for. So that sponsorship from big companies like Red Bull isn’t the deciding factor. If you don’t have the points it won’t matter who your sugar daddy is, which is a good thing. The cream always rises to the top regardless.

        1. After having a thought about it, I think the contrary is true. With the overpriced GP2 and GP3 championships currently being the shortest route to F1, its likely many talents without backing will fail to get even close to F1 @blackmamba, @gicu.

          Just look at Verstappen – yes, he got boosted into F1 in one go. But until then he had had only his dad as support and relatively minor sponsors. On his own its VERY unlikely he could have managed to find the money to do GP3 and GP2. Actually Ocon has far MORE money/support than Verstappen did right until the moment he got Mercedes and Red Bull both “bidding” for him to sign up with them.
          Sure, in his case its likely either Mercedes or Red Bull would have grabbed him and supported him for a year in one of those championships instead, but that would not have happened for every talented kid out there.

        2. And why does red Bull ,Mclarren & Ferrari sponsor those drivers, Because they think those driver got tallent, if they fail they drop them, and you can add all the requirement you like but the teams need paydrivers because no sane sponsor would pay the amount of monney it takes to keep the teams alive, team at the back on the grid get no airtime on tv.

          1. True, but not all big talents are in a talent program. Or it would mean that you should get in a talent program as fast as possible.
            It means that is even more difficult for talented, unbacked drivers to gain the amount of points needed for a Superlicence. To gain the points for a Superlicence, you must be in the position to gain them. And talent is one factor, money is another one. And I believe @bascb means that the second factor might even get bigger.

            1. you can add all the conditions you like the teams at the back need money, and they will go with the paydriver who has enough points. By the way most GP2 need money too and now that GP2 is the best way to get into f1 ,they will ask more money and those talents that are not in a talent program wil lose their Gp2 drive.

        3. Ocon never beats him in one to one battles, he beats him in the championship, that’s a hole difference. That Ocon became champion has more to do with technical failure of the car from Max than with the skill’s of Ocon. I don’t want to say that Ocon is a bad driver and not deserves more, but more as an fact.

    3. Why is there so much furore about the points for a superlicense? We should be able to trust that if you are good enough you will come through. I’m sure the likes of Senna would have adjusted their preparation inorder to meet any required criteria. At least this way the sport will eliminate any undeserving pay drivers and stop the hypothetical situation of 15 yr olds coming into Formula 1.

      1. The problem isn’t so much about the points as the way the points are distributed amongst series. FR3.5 for example is at least on par with GP2 in terms of driver level and cars and yet it’s worth much less points. That’s not to mention top series full of professional drivers like Indycar and WEC being worth the same as F3…

        1. @george Agreed. A more sensible order is easy to put together, for example:

          GP2/FR3.5: 60, 54, 48, 42, 36, 30, 24, 18, 12, 6
          WEC/Indy: 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5
          GP3/F3/SF: 40, 36, 32, 28, 24, 20, 16, 12, 8, 4
          DTM/F.E.: 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 (+ national F3000, e.g. Auto GP)
          F3s/FR2.0: 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2
          F4s/FR1.6: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (+ entry levels, e.g. Toyota Racing Series)

          Immediately eligible for F1: Jolyon Palmer, Stoffel Vandoorne, Felipe Nasr, Mitch Evans; Carlos Sainz Jr, Pierre Gasly, Roberto Merhi, Oliver Rowland; Alex Lynn; Esteban Ocon.

          From WEC/Indycar/SF: Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler, Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani; Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon; Kazuki Nakajima. Notably, 4 are ex-F1, while Jani was a Red Bull Friday practice driver.

          This should mean that the ‘top 10’ junior ladder drivers are always eligible, along with the ‘top 10 from other top series’. Two of the junior list have now moved up to F1, but it could have been more, had money not messed up most of the grid this year.

          1. No Felix da Costa here? He’s a test driver for RBR, driving DTM and Formula E this season, one of the most exciting drivers on WSR 3.5 in the last few years. Shouldn’t he be in front of Carlos Sainz/ Alex Lynn?

      2. “At least this way the sport will eliminate any undeserving pay drivers and stop the hypothetical situation of 15 yr olds coming into Formula 1.”

        hahaha…you know what, if the new superlicense rule didnt come into play, I wonder if Marussia or Caterham would have taken on some rich 15 year old if his papa agreed to bank roll the whole team…I mean whats a couple 100 million if you’ve got Billions in the bank eh?

        If the FIA want to impose this licensing system, then they must stick by it. I know they have been calls to make it more flexible, but I disagree. If this the system hereon, then it must be followed. The FIA should have done this years ago, before a plethora of junior formulae mushroomed below F1. In football, you cant get to the Premier League or Champions League direct from say, League 2. You have to up through the levels…why should F1 be any different? I know it isnt an apple to apple comparison, but people should get to F1 on merit.

        Perhaps there should be two routes to F1? One via the FIA sactioned open wheel catergories (i.e. national and regional F2, F3, GP2 etc) and another via other top level series (LMP1, Indy, DTM, Super Formula). To top this, just to make it more interesting, only the top 3 of any series can be conisdered for a drive in F1?….could it work?

      3. @blackmamba It gives otherwise undeserved monopoly to FIA’s own series’ (look at the scores for WSR, or the lack thereof for DTM)

      4. Why do the FIA make the F1 licence role so complicated? Just say that a rookie need to be at lease 18 years of age with a minimum of 2 years experience in any category of single seat championship. Than let the teams decide if a driver has talent ore not. This all sound so ridicules.

    4. It’s unfair but also fair. I’d be more annoyed with drivers doing 4 seasons in GP2 with moderate sucess and getting F1 rides because of money (Ericsson, Chilton, etc) than a hugely talented kid that decides the best way for his career to take shape is going directly to F1.

      He could be the first one regretting it. Or he could be on it from the start.

      After all, at this stage, for Max is a much bigger risk.

      PD: Argentina in the summer of 1975… that surely wasn’t a cool place to be !

    5. In an above comment, a user says, “the cream always rises to the top” and I, obviously, agree with him. But it got me thinking: how many great, sport changing talents are there that only just missed the cut for F1. Not necessarily guys who were brilliant in karting but ran out of money, more racing drivers that had distinguished careers for years in other categories with great success. I can’t think of too many tbh.

      In the early days, there wasn’t too much scope on the junior classes. Probably because there weren’t any. But, recently we have seen the likes of Da Costa and Frijns miss out with very good Cvs. Will the go on to great things and come back? Or will they be champions in other series? Its too early to say but most drivers that missed out on F1 before them don’t look too good in other championships from what I remember. Drivers like Bourdais who had an amazing career in Champ car came over and looked very ordinary. Senna always said his best rival was Terry Fullerton but he would only be a kart specialist so perhaps there are only a handful of drivers in history have the talent to truly master an F1 car. I guess a handful of maybes come in the era where F1 was so dangerous they were killed before getting a true shot at it.

      1. @rbalonso Franchitti springs to mind. Wheldon too. F1 is a world on its own anyway, and nothing grants you a superstar status.

        But I’m sure there’s plenty of people that missed giving it a shot, and plenty of others that were talented enough but many things happened in the middle to just don’t make it. Heck, if Seb was to be rated for his season last year, we’d not be thinking about a 4 times WDC… it depends on so many things, and not just in F1.

        1. Franchitti tested for Jaguar. They were interested in him and gave him a chance.

          He was not good enough and neither spoke of it again.

          1. @dimsim he did have a nick disc repture from a crash prior to that test that gave him significant issues from what I recall. Also…2000 Jaguar was as problematic as a 2011 HRT so…

            It’s fine if you want to skew the reality, but we can both agree that these issues did shut the door on an F1 drive. To say he wasn’t good enough gives too much credit to the drivers of that time that did make it that never should have (ironically one would later be a HRT driver hailing from India).

          2. The test Jaguar gave Dario was a bit of a joke.

            Not only was Dario injured at the time as a result of a big accident in testing on the Homestead oval which also affected his CART season but the car he was given to test didn’t even work right & the team didn’t give him any support, In part because the people within the team who were most interested in Dario had either left or were no longer in a position to make any decisions.

            The whole test & the way it was handled by the team was just as big a farce as the way the team was been run at the time.

      2. @rbalonso While it is true that not too many people within Europe can say they were close to F1 but didn’t quite get the opportunity, I can with great assurity say that F1 has been a step too far for great aussie drivers, Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife. These guys are household names in V8 Supercars in Australia and just couldn’t get a foothold in europe. Mark Skaife made it to Formula 3000, but quikly ran out of time and luck before getting anywhere and only competed in 2 races. Craig Lowndes also made it to F3000, but along side Juan Pablo-Montoya. Before everyone starts to say that Lowndes was comprehensively beaten by JPM, and they’d be correct, its worth noting that JPM was in europe for 3 years already before Craig, for the first time was living out of home, outside his country, outside of his family/friends network and everyone was surprised when they saw him fail. Many within Australia consider Lowndes was a better talent than Webber was, its just that Webber was more determined to make F1 and found alternative avenues and didn’t take no for an answer. While I don’t like Skaife, he has made his mark in V8 supercars, and was very competitive, however, it is Lowndes that was Australia’s biggest name to not make it to F1…

        1. Also Marcos Ambrose, he tried to get to F1 in the late 90’s but ran out of funds- like a lot if Aussie drivers.

        2. it is Lowndes that was Australia’s biggest name to not make it to F1

          But isn’t Lowndes mainly a big name BECAUSE he failed to make it? At hindsight V8Supercars is probably the best choice for him. He is such a legend that even I as a Dutchman know him, and he is close to his friends and family. And it must be a lot more fun to be a V8Supercar driver than an F1 driver nowadays.

          Fame and fortune aside, I think that there are many racing series more fun and rewarding than F1.

        3. Evil Homer (@)
          13th January 2015, 13:29

          “Many within Australia consider Lowndes was a better talent than Webber was, its just that Webber was more determined to make F1 and found alternative avenues and didn’t take no for an answer.”

          I have been watching F1 and V8 Supercars since I was a kid and I can honestly say I cant recall Lowndes been compared more favourably to Webber on any occasion based on talent (I may be wrong of course). Craig is awesome, fast, determined and an all round good guy but I think he just maybe wasn’t good enough to make it to the top. Webber has said that’s he has been proud to over achieve his natural talent (and I think that’s fair) but also I think he would not argue that based on just pure talent Daniel does have him covered!

          Excited to see Ambrose return this year, be great to see how quite a few years at a higher level will mean for him!

    6. Great clip, especially Wilson Fittipaldi running away from that burning car like a little girl even pushing the marshall out of his way, Brave!

      1. Easy to say when you’re sitting in the safety of your computer chair. Petrol tanks use to explode in those days… You know what, I’d run too.

    7. I agree that the point system may need tweaking but in general it’s a good idea because it’s not about Max, but future talents that will be burned up too early if the current trend continous.

    8. Thanks for the birthday shout-out Keith.

      1. happy birthday @brainfrank302!

        1. lol, brain – no, I meant happy birthday @brainfrank302

        2. sorry, @brianfrank302 – hm 2 mistakes, was that autocorrect here?

          1. Got it man. Thanks.

            1. ColdFly F1 (@)
              12th January 2015, 12:53

              @brianfrank302, congratulations mate.
              Both for your birthday and the fact that you’ve made it to @bascb‘s autocorrect!

    9. I don’t understand what’s wrong in jumping straight to F1 from a single season of F3 or whatever if the guy is good enough? Kimi came straight from Formula Renault (even lower than F3) and proved he was good enough for F1. So what’s “not right” here? Are drivers like Stoneman (whose talent and sheer determination to come back from a tough cancer and win races I admire and respect) jealous of some drivers’ quick rise to the top?

    10. With GP3 being an inferior field and barely faster car, I don’t see any reason for Verstappen to do a season there after ending as the fastest guy in F3. That said, I can understand the argument for him doing a season of FR3.5 or GP2. But I will bet you any money he has learned more about powerful cars and Pirellis and such in his three practice sessions for TR, in the Abu Dhabi tests, in the simulator and in driving the FR3.5 car frequently in recent months. He may well be 17 but he will not go into this season any less ready or prepared than any recent driver. Add to that an almost unbelievable level of adaptability and maturity and I am almost happy he managed to escape this recent ruling. He’s good enough to be a history maker, and now he is making history. Can’t wait.

    11. How about instead of a point system. They do a promotion system.
      Young drivers should have to complete a rookie series. F3/FR2.0 and will then have to finish in a good enough position in GP3 or FR3.5 and then in GP2 (top 5) to qualify for a superlicense.

    12. ColdFly F1 (@)
      12th January 2015, 9:21

      Why doesn’t the FIA organise its own Young Driver Superlicence Driving Test.

      Buy 3 identical cars from last year (e.g. via Marussia auction) and organise a small race between aspiring drivers promoted by the various teams. e.g. on the Saturday of each GP weekend.
      If you have 12 drivers then run 4 races (and mix/match over the weeks)
      Minimise allowed set-up changes so drivers can share the cars.
      Make it a small championship of 5-6 weekends, so you can run more championships during an F1 season, and test more than 1 aspiring young driver driver per team.

      It’s a way to still allow teams to scout/promote the future talent but test them in identical equipment on actual F1 racing tracks in a racing situation.
      It will also be nice for spectators to see a bit more F1-like action on track with future talents.

      1. Even if the FIA would want to, they won’t be able to do that for a whole number of reasons @coldfly:

        1. you need a team or organisation to run those cars – the FIA would have to “tender” an existing squad to do that
        2. Would the FIA buy those “old” Marussias they would also then have to take a contract for engines with Ferrari, because those are not included as Ferrari only leased them to the team. Off course this would also mean favouring Ferrari in numerous ways.
        3. apart from all that, a FIA staged championship like this would be pretty much go direct against their settlement with the EU that made the FIA seperate race series promoting (they sold the rights to F1 to FOM) and regulation (which stayed with the FIA, at least until the strategy group thing gave that away to a group of teams+Bernie for F1 last year)

      2. probably F2 idea, two yr old cars new drivers

    13. Normally a big indication of one’s succes is how fast the driver moves up the ladder. See Frijns or Vandoorne as prime examples. Fast in any car you put them in. Does someone who needs 4 years to become champion (Maldonado, Valsecchi) have more ‘right’ to be promoted to F1 than the runner up with a much steeper learning curve (Vandoorne). Okay, maybe wrong example because they both would have enough points for a licence.

      1. Robin Frijns would not qualify for a super license under this new system as his WSBR championship was in 2012 & he’s not done a full season in anything else since.

    14. Using a points based system to qualify for a super license is ridiculous because you can’t always judge talent & teams do not always look at young drivers based off results.

      Knowing a guy won races & a series championship cement’s opinion but thats not what teams look at, Teams look for speed & consistency as well as the quality & accuracy of technical feedback.

      Kimi Raikkonen wasn’t picked up by Sauber in 2001 just because he’d won the Formula Renault championship, They went with him because it was blatantly obvious that the guy had a ton of talent.
      It’s the same with Max Verstappen, He was signed long before he’d won the F3 title because it was clear to anyone who followed him closely that he was a mega talent.

      What this new system does is make results alone the primary importance & while its fine to say or think that results should be the focus, You can’t always judge a talent based on results because just like in F1 if you don’t get into the right team in a lower category the results can be hard to come by.
      There are plenty of very good drivers in GP2, WSBR etc… who have not & will not have the chance to win races or championships because there not in the best teams, There will be F1 teams interested in these drivers but unless they can get them into a good team to get the results there chances of qualifying for a super license are now reduced.

      The pay drivers that people suddenly seem so outraged with will still be able to get to F1 because they will still be able to better fund the best teams in the lower categories & that will give them a much better chance at getting the results that will qualify them for a super license which will still see F1 teams more willing to sign them & there backing.

      Pastor Malondado is constantly beat up for been a pay driver with many fans believing he has no place in F1 yet he’d have still got to F1 with this new points based system because he won races in the lower categories & did win the GP2 championship in 2010.
      Daniel Ricciardo on the other hand who everyone believes deserve’s to be in F1 & who was massively impressive last season would not quality for a super license so would not be in F1 under the new points system.

      If a driver’s good enough & a team believes he’s good enough to be in F1 & want to sign him then they should be able to do so as & when they wish without artificial nonsense like this ridiculous points based system preventing them from doing so.

    15. I hope we see Dean Stoneman in F1 soon, he looks incredible :)

      Funny how Verstappen already changed F1 without racing in it.

      1. @paeschli I believe Dean Stoneman is looking at Indycar or Indy Lights for this year.

        He was hoping to move to GP2 or WSBR 3.5 but he doesn’t have the funds so he’s looking at opportunities elsewhere.

        Of everyone in the lower categories he’s a guy that deserve’s some sort of opportunity in F1, Especially when you consider everything he’s been through since he won the F2 title a few years ago & how mega quick he’s been since coming back to single seater racing.

    16. Caption contest winner is superb, well done old sport. :)

    17. I think Verstappen deserves a chance,

    18. Good to see Lewis support great causes

    Comments are closed.