Friday, April 13, 2012

F1: South American squabble?

Prior to the start of this year’s Grand Prix season, I had an entertaining conversation with Indiana Bureau Chief Daniel Banes Cooper who inquired is Bruno Senna simply living off of his Surname? And what are his credentials to merit his inclusion into Formula 1. And thus, it seems somewhat fitting that I’m finally posting the story on Friday the 13th; Hya!

World Champions
Fernando Alonso; Jenson Button; Lewis Hamilton; Kimi Raikkonen; Michael Schumacher; Sebastian Vettel.

Race Winners
Heikki Kovalainen; Felipe Massa; Mark Webber.

And while much fuss has been made over the fact that we’ll have six World Champions on the grid for  the first time in history; one-quarter of the grid, we’ll also have six Paying drivers - which equally represents one-fourth of the competitors...

Pay Drivers
Pastor Maldonado, $29.5m; Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna $12m apiece; Sergio Perez 7.5-10m(?) and Narain Karthikeyan and rookie Charles Pic at $5m apiece. (All figures in British Pounds currency)

Thus my immediate reply was that Bruno has won races in the Ferrari Challenge and GP2 - along with finishing runner-up to 2008 GP2 Champion Giorgio Pantano, who has not been seen since trying to kick start his Open Wheel Racing career in Indy Cars in 2011 with a few paid outings... As Pantano was trying to make the switch a la ‘Rubino this year - so I’m not sure how much of an endorsement that is for Senna?

Yet don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked Bruno since his GP2 days and it’s not like he exactly had decent machinery to contest his rookie campaign in Formula 1 when struggling behind the wheel of the Hispania. Nor was last seasons replacement drive at Lotus-Renault GP spectacular. Yet once again they had the only fire breathin’ front exhaust blown chassis on the grid - which the team has gleefully discarded this year and thus, I’d haveda say the verdict’s still out upon the young Brazilian.

Yet I find it ironic that it was Bruno bumpin ‘N bangin wheels with countryman Felipe Massa in the recalcitrant Ferrari F2012 Down Under in Melbourne, as we all know that Felipe isn’t that bad of a driver to be fumbling ‘round at the tail end of the grid... As I’m sick ‘N tired of hearing all of the scuttlebutt over how Massa’s days at la Scuderia are numbered, potentially seeing Mexico’s Sergio Perez as his replacement. As I winced even harder at the suggestions in an AP story about Perez being compared to El Magnifico, nee Ayrton Senna - which the sophomore Sauber F1 driver wisely played down...

Yet Danny’s question strikes me as funny, since why didn’t he question Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado’s involvement - who’s seat at Team Willy comes courteous of his countries national Oil company PDVSA - who reportedly have written the biggest cheque amongst the known “Paying” drivers - as I’d assume there are others on the grid who’ve needed to bring some sort of personal finances along?

And the even funnier part is that while Maldonado’s credentials are better - being the reigning GP2 Champion, along with potentially outperforming Senna. Nevertheless, its Bruno who’s scored more Grand Prix points for Williams to date capped with his excellent sixth place finish in the wet-dry Sepang affair...

And I’m a huge fan of both Sergio and Felipe, having liked the latter since his Sauber days prior to becoming DER TERMINATOR’s (M. Schumacher) teammate at Ferrari. Yet, does one race simply make a driver? As it’ll be entertaining to see how the young Mexicali does in Shanghai, eh? Albeit Perez seems to be more masterful with conserving his Pirelli rubber then Massa does.

And I know Formula One is a cruel world with NO time for coddling drivers, teams, etc, yet I feel that Scuderia Ferrari is partly to blame for Massa’s demise - having effectively kicked him in the groin at Hockenheim in 2010 by ordering him to PULL OVER for Ferdi-the-Putz; you know that infamous radio call:

“Fernando is FASTER then You; can you please confirm…”

To which I see that “Willie Buxom” (Will Buxton) got into quite a lather over some Bloggerheads chortling on ‘bout the “coded” radio call for Sergio to be careful when running behind eventual Malaysia winner Alonso’s Ferrari... To which I simply ignored, as I took the DELAYED radio call to simply remind him to NOT throw the position away or make any stupid overtaking attempts upon Fernando... Zip, nada, bingo! END of story; as in you can pass him - just simply don’t crash both cars out…

Thus is Bruno worthy of a Grand Prix drive? ABSOLUTELY! As in NO disrespect; BUTT! If the “Speediest Indian” (Karthikeyan) and Monsieur Pic are worthy of rides, then by all means is Bruno, as after all there’s a reason they call it the Pinnacle of Motorsport; not to mention being the aspirations of thousands of drivers over the past six-decades...

And while many have purchased their ways into the sport, I still suggest that even a paying driver needs to have the requisite skills to pilot said Landsharks or they’ll be nothing more then footnotes in Grand Prix history, and can even prove detrimental to their teams long-term viability. As how many F1 Constructors have crashed ‘N burned do to the inability of these paying chauffeurs to score points whilst crashing exorbitant amounts of machinery?

As why does the KV Racing Technology team and its Venezuelan driver EJ “What, Me Worry?” Viso come to mind. You know the IndyCar team that wrecked some 35+ chassis last year...