Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Junior motorsport costs have “gone wild in the last years” – Vettel

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel says change is needed to address the rising cost of competing in junior categories.

In brief

Junior series “way too expensive” – Vettel

Sebastian Vettel says the costs faced by young drivers trying to reach Formula 1 have risen steeply in recent years. However the four-times world champion, who made his F1 debut in 2007, pointed out it has always been an expensive sport to get into.

“Ultimately, the costs are too high,” said Vettel. “In all honesty, though, if I look back to when I started, costs were lower, but there were still high.

“I was very fortunate, I had Mr Gerhard Noack looking after me who was the same man who looked after Michael [Schumacher] when he started, probably 20 years before me, as a young child. It was already very, very expensive back then.

“I think Michael was in need of help and people like him and I was in need because I couldn’t afford it. I think the first season in very, very junior go-karts, we managed sort of half on our own and then we started to be very lucky to find people that supported and helped us.”

Vettel believes the sport has become considerably more expensive to get into since then. “The world has changed,” he said. “Sponsoring has changed and probably the readiness to invest money in young kids and motor sport has changed as well.

“So in short, it has always been tricky. I don’t think there will be a quick fix, but there are certain things that could be addressed to try and make the sport more accessible for all types of backgrounds and all children.

“It is an expensive hobby no matter which way you look at it. But certainly it’s gone wild in the last years and got way too expensive.”

Palou astonished by rough Detroit track

Alex Palou, Ganassi, IndyCar, Detroit, 2021
“I was like ‘oh my god I cannot race IndyCars here'” – Palou
After finishing third in yesterday’s IndyCar race at Detroit, Alex Palou admitted the notoriously rough Belle Isle circuit was even bumpier than he expected.

“It’s really bumpy,” said the Ganassi driver. “Like, if you can imagine a really bumpy place, you’re not even close to that. It’s super bumpy.

“I tried to imagine that, I tried to say, okay, Alex, it’s going to be really bumpy, get ready for it. I was mentally ready. One lap, and I was like ‘oh my god I cannot race IndyCars here’.”

Despite falling to second in the championship standings, Palou was relieved to conclude his first event at the track with a strong result.

“The first free practice I did, I was like ‘oh my god, that’s going to be tough’,” he said. “But we made it to the podium. I’m really happy with the work we did, and yeah, cannot wait to come back next year and try and win this race.”

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Comment of the day

IndyCar’s race control decisions prompted some criticism after Saturday’s race:

Not a fan of Power, but I felt bad for him. The red also felt unnecessary to me because I felt Grosjean’s car could be cleared quickly, the car didn’t look too badly wrecked (although they didn’t show the recovery).

He crashed with about five and a half laps left, and if it was cleared in three or four laps, they could have had a race for a lap or two without stopping the others. And if they can’t clear the track in time, tough luck, it’s an anticlimactic finish.

I hope this “throwing in a late red flag for the show” is not a trend that continues, after Baku and Detroit I’m not a fan. It’s also weird they can’t do servicing on the car in IndyCar during a red flag.

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On this day in F1

  • 35 years ago today Nigel Mansell beat Ayrton Senna to pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve by seven hundredths of a second

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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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22 comments on “Junior motorsport costs have “gone wild in the last years” – Vettel”

  1. So put your vast amounts of money to work instead of just babbling on and on about it.

    1. And connections.

    2. To whom is that comment addressed? There are multiple people in this round-up who discuss costs as part of the linked articles.

  2. Years ago the FIA was talking about cheap electric kart formula and the potential of an olympic event. I wonder whatever happened to that.

    I still think the future of motorsport needs to tackled at the education level. Driving is a not only a great sport, but also an important skill. There’s so much to be learnt at a young age and if they are serious about inclusion of all genders and backgrounds, then that is the sphere in which to tackle it.

    Bet it would drop the road death toll while they’re at it.

    1. I have an opinion
      14th June 2021, 1:36

      Learning to drive will soon become akin to learning to ride a horse.

      1. At least 20 years… For sure everything changes eventually, but there’s a whole lot of now before then.

      2. Thought provoking idea. F1 in the future could ‘Be like riding a horse’ due to the masses in self driving cars. With AI drivers all the f1 safety can be stripped back and the tracks and car speeds can be faster.

    2. I still think the future of motorsport needs to tackled at the education level. Driving is a not only a great sport, but also an important skill. There’s so much to be learnt at a young age and if they are serious about inclusion of all genders and backgrounds, then that is the sphere in which to tackle it.

      This reads to me that you want to include parallel parking, three point turn, and an emergency stop as part of the race.

      1. jff, F1 already does have those skills (grids/pit stops, getting out of escape roads, stopping after trying to minimise time loss under yellow flags…)

      2. I have an opinion
        14th June 2021, 22:22

        Ah, a fan not familiar with Lord Mahaveer’s exploits.

    3. @skipgamer Given the FIA’s last attempt to cut costs in the junior single-seater series ended up making it more expensive to compete there, I think any solution is going to have to have as little involvement from the FIA as legally possible, apart from the FIA awarding Superlicence points at the end of the process.

    4. @skipgamer

      A bunch of sports/skills became much more accessible due to computers/the internet. Poker, flying and car racing are very popular on the computer.

      Perhaps the solution is to identify talent through online competitions and then get those into real karts/cars.

  3. All and any form of motorsport is or can be very expensive. There are some forms that can be undertaken on the cheap, but you need to have some support in terms of equipment or teaming up with other participants. Doing it on your own from scratch is really tough.
    First and foremost, you need to have an opportunity to race without excessive costs. If there are no sportscar, F4 or F3 races anywhere near, then find something else. Same for motorcycles, no races or tracks, then keep looking. Used to be that the cheapest and easiest to get into was Motocross. Ronnie Petersen and Jeff Ward are two that come to mind who made a jump to cars.
    Even karting is difficult. Again, if there is no organization and tracks, then yer outa luck.
    It will always be the cream at the top, but without grass roots competition in some form, there won’t be any meaningful forms of motorsport. That is apart from Sim Racing of course.
    There is always bicycle racing …. you want how much for a bike.???? My car cost less than that.!

    1. @rekibsn Motorsport can be done on the cheap – the UK’s Citroen C1 series in 2019 managed 8 rounds, including an international one at Spa, for £10,000 – including car, equipment, organiser support and on-track running costs. That won’t even net a full season in an English FIA-license-requiring karting series for 10-year-olds these days.

  4. to COTD… yeah, they didn’t show recovery of the RG car. NBC direction is sometimes woeful. Felix crash in all the angles and repeated, recovery in full, but other race deciding stuff is nowhere to be seen. eg… Rinus victory in Indy GP. 20 minutes only leading car on screen and only talking about him, and we only later found out that Romain couldn’t get closer because of the fight with lap down Bourdais.
    But in this situation it was super-tight for cars to go by stricken car and it would put marshals at risk. Front wheel and suspension were crunched up and folded, no way to just jack up the rear and roll it back. (read a comment from a marshal on that track). So I don’t think it was ‘entertainment’ red flag restart. It was… this is a 70 lap race and we can get some racing for the last few laps after the situation is cleared. Will Power could have cruised to P1 if his team didn’t panic about the temps, hurried to the pits, and got played by others milling to get there, knowing they are preventing cooling for the leaders. Those rules could be reconsidered. Power was leading, definitely more in clean air than Marcus, so ECU meltdown is on them.
    I don’t like ‘let’s click laps down behind SC’ mercy rule… this guy in the lead basically got lucky earlier so he ‘deserved’ a win now… let them race if you can facilitate safe conditions :) End of the race 2 was great, that is the luck/R(N)G element in street indy racing.

  5. That’s good news about Rosenqvist, a terrible crash from the onboard. A stuck throttle is probably the worst thing in any sort of driving, he did well to at least hit the tyres at an angle. Another very strong case for the halo, although extraction to the ambulance looked difficult, I wonder if the aeroscreen got in the way a bit there.

  6. Super chuffed for Mangnussen to have won in what is only his 5th start at IMSA.

    As soon as I saw the news, I recollected an older article where Keith mentioned that he was the driver most deserving of making a comeback in F1. (h**ps:// 5 months on, Magnussen is definitely proving Keith right. It wasn’t a popular opinion as most commenters wanted Hulkeberg and Albon back. Both of them yet to do any racing this year though. Will be intriguing to see how Alex does.

  7. Re Vettel: Money matters now, too bad.

  8. The racing ranks doesnt have to me that expensive, its just the way it has been allowed to evolve/spiral (due to some having alot of money to spend). If FIA was serious about getting more people from a wider kind of background in to the sport they need to work all the way from the bottom with cost control, making cheaper simpler cars that cost less to run (they are often one make anyway), limiting tyre usage per season, maybe attending some smaller tracks top keep costs down, etc etc. Of course it will always be alot of money to race, and those with more money will have better chances of winning. But lowering the costs to step in will also make it possible for more drivers that have smaller sponsors to show what they can do.

  9. Is it a COTDB.
    Comment of the day before (before)

    1. COTW – Comment of the Weekend

  10. You won’t get directly to F1 doing this, but there is an entry-level form of motorsport almost anyone can enjoy participation in – SCCA Autocross. You can literally run your daily-driver for a modest entry fee; of course there are some with very professional approaches at the National level. I just spent yesterday with six extremely fun runs. Here is a view:

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