Friday, July 24, 2009

Why USF1 Should Not Hire An American Driver

Sebastien Bourdais has been the weakest of the three Sebastiens who have raced for the Toro Rosso team in the last two seasons.

However, between 2004 and 2007 Sebastien Bourdais constantly won the Champ Car World Series, a four year exaltation. He made the switch to Formula 1 in 2008 and in twenty seven races he earned a mere six points. He was overshadowed in each of his two years by his team mates, Sebastien Vettel who earned thirty five points against Bourdais’ four last year and even Sebastien Buemi was ahead by a point in his debut season this year. Hardly the respect for a multiple Champ Car champion.

Toro Rosso had Scott Speed under its wings for two seasons, in 2006 and 2007. Twenty eight races and no points. The team meanwhile had collected nine points in those two years. Juan Pablo Montoya who left mid-season in 2006, perhaps disgruntled without any hopes of winning a championship in the Schumacher era, met with moderate amounts of success. He had seven victories in ninety five races. He can now be found circling in NASCAR.

1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve collected only fifty five points in the 116 races after he left Williams after the 1998 season. 2002 Champ Car champion Cristiano da Matta earned thirteen points in twenty eight races with Toyota in two seasons. The Flying Giraffe, Justin Wilson, former Minardi and Jaguar driver, is better known in Champ Car. Alessandro Zanardi, twice Champ Car champion, earned a solitary point in forty four Formula 1 entries.

The list of drivers from the American motorsports fraternity and their poor performances in Formula 1 can go on.

The numbers for drivers of American nationality in the last three decades are not encouraging either. Villenuve and Montoya have a combined eighteen race victories, but they are Canadian and Colombian respectively. The last two drivers of American nationality were Scott Speed and Michael Andretti with a combined seven points in forty one races. Eddie Cheever was the last American driver whose career spanned more than a year. He raced in 1978 and 1980 through 1989. 143 races without a single race victory.

Cheever was preceded by Mario Andretti who is one of the few American drivers of note. 1978 world champion and a legend to be precise. Before him Peter Revson, Dan Gurney, Richie Ginther, 1961 champion Phil Hill, and nine other Americans took part in the championship with an odd podium here and an odd victory there.

All in all, sixteen Americans in fifty nine years of Formula 1. There has never been much interest across the Atlantic in what happens in the twisty bends of European circuits. So if a four time Champ Car champion is dropped, it is not really a wake up call.

With five time World Rally Champion S├ębastien Loeb and six time Moto GP Champion Valentino Rossi claiming that they would want to take the drivers seat in a Formula 1 car, they should consider reminiscing to Bourdais’ nostalgic moments in the Champ Car series before they take the next step.

USF1 have already selected their drivers but are yet to be announced. The drivers are said to be from the United States of Oval Circuits.

Goodbye points!

Sebastien Bourdais

1 comment:

  1. You forgot one american driver, who is a professional test driver that has many unoffical track records.It has been rumored that Tao Mora could land the race seat if he can lock a superlic in formula 1, or be the 3 driver as a test driver.With USF1 unclear on the 2010 season it will be up to the FIA.


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