Late blooming careers

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RaulAlonso
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Late blooming careers

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A decade ago Jenson Button and Mark Webber, two drivers who had both been around for almost a decade in mediocre cars, finally got their hands on the kind of equipment that allowed them to deliver on their potential and challenge for the WDC. In both cases they were closer to the end of their careers than their start.

There are quite a few examples from further back in F1 history of this sort of phenomenon - Mika Hakkinen, Mario Andretti and Peter Revson spring to mind.

Who do you think could fall into this category now? The obvious candidates would be The Hulk, Perez and KMag but is there anyone else we think could be the next late bloomer?

waynes
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Sebastian Vettel

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Big Tea
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Hill? Mansell did not get good results for several years either.
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Ringleheim
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Re: Late blooming careers

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The ratio for success in F1 is now something like 90% car, 10% driver.

It gets worse, shifting to the car side, all the time.

in the '50s, it might have been the other way around, though a good car was still very important.

At any moment in time, there are probably 6 or maybe more drivers who would win the world championship if in the right car, and if they had the right (i.e., slower) teammate.

For example, let's say last year Danny Ric was in a Mercedes and Bottas remained as his teammate. Danny would have been the WC.

And if that driver pairing remained for another 3 years after, Danny Ric would almost certainly be a 4 time world champion.

As it was, he was struggling in obscurity at Renault.

Such is F1.

ENGINE TUNER
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Ringleheim wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:37 pm
The ratio for success in F1 is now something like 90% car, 10% driver.

It gets worse, shifting to the car side, all the time.

in the '50s, it might have been the other way around, though a good car was still very important.

At any moment in time, there are probably 6 or maybe more drivers who would win the world championship if in the right car, and if they had the right (i.e., slower) teammate.

For example, let's say last year Danny Ric was in a Mercedes and Bottas remained as his teammate. Danny would have been the WC.

And if that driver pairing remained for another 3 years after, Danny Ric would almost certainly be a 4 time world champion.

As it was, he was struggling in obscurity at Renault.

Such is F1.
Speculative nonsense

There is no proof that the car is any more important now than at any time in the past.

From the fastest to the slowest driver on the grid(if theoretically sat in the same car)the difference might be a full second over a lap.

The difference between the fastest and slowest car might be 5s over 1 lap of Barcelona, probably closer to 4s.

The current field of cars is probably the closest that F1 has ever had.

The drivers are quite close in speed and should mainly be differentiated by major mistakes.

If the car/driver ratio was the opposite in the 50s compared to now, why was Fangio always switching teams looking for the best car rather than just going to who would pay him the most? If anything the car difference was bigger in the 50s than now in both speed and reliability.

All the drivers( not just 6) could win the championship in the right car with the right teammate. But that is not how F1 is or has ever been.

You have no proof that RIC is faster or makes less mistakes than BOT. There is no basis for comparison. Furthermore, driving faster(or "better") does not always determine who is champion. You calling it 4 for 4 in RIC's favor is absurd specifically when taking 2016 into account.
Last edited by ENGINE TUNER on Sat May 23, 2020 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ENGINE TUNER
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Possible late bloomers

Perez, possibly
Hulk, probably not
RIC, BOT, SAI, RUS, WER, ALB

Just_a_fan
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Ringleheim wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:37 pm
The ratio for success in F1 is now something like 90% car, 10% driver.

It gets worse, shifting to the car side, all the time.

in the '50s, it might have been the other way around, though a good car was still very important.

Fangio swapped teams several times to ensure the best car.
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Jolle
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Re: Late blooming careers

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If we look at the current drivers, most of them are or were at one point part of a program from one of the teams, picked up in their teens. The amount of money you need to make it trough the junior series is almost impossible to do without some serious backing. In Mansell and Lauda’s years, you could do it will loans, like Mansell mortgaged his house. Now, the costs are so high that it is impossible and you don’t get second chances.

Different routes, as a professional racer, trough non feeder racing series as super formula or indycar are still possible but, with the investments the F1 teams make in their own drivers, almost impossible to find a seat.

Not only late bloomers are a thing of the past, “independent “ drivers are. At this moment all of the eighth drivers from the 4 works teams were part of a junior program in their teens, with Bottas an odd one out, but having a manager teamboss (just like Webber and Alonso).

What Sainz has done is quite remarkable. He is going from a non works team to a works team, not part of the teams junior program. Don’t think that has happened since Raikkonen went from Sauber to Mercedes.

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GPR-A
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Just_a_fan wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:13 pm
Ringleheim wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:37 pm
The ratio for success in F1 is now something like 90% car, 10% driver.

It gets worse, shifting to the car side, all the time.

in the '50s, it might have been the other way around, though a good car was still very important.

Fangio swapped teams several times to ensure the best car.
He could even jump into his team mate's car and inherit a podium. That was some serious shi*. :lol:
But again, those guys were gladiators.

Fulcrum
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Damon Hill - debuted in F1 aged 31, following a fairly unspectacular junior career that began post 20.
Clay Regazzoni - started competing in motor races aged 24. Debuted in F1 aged 30, for Ferrari (Ferrari hiring a debutant, wow!).

Of the current drivers, Bottas, Latifi and Grosjean appear to be the latest to enter motorsport competitively.
  • Bottas' karting career shows data as early as 2001, aged 11-12.
  • Latifi started karting aged 13-14.
  • Grosjean has karting data dating from when he was 14-15.

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PlatinumZealot
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Senna..

The slow one.
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DChemTech
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Fulcrum wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:33 am
Damon Hill - debuted in F1 aged 31, following a fairly unspectacular junior career that began post 20.
Clay Regazzoni - started competing in motor races aged 24. Debuted in F1 aged 30, for Ferrari (Ferrari hiring a debutant, wow!).

Of the current drivers, Bottas, Latifi and Grosjean appear to be the latest to enter motorsport competitively.
  • Bottas' karting career shows data as early as 2001, aged 11-12.
  • Latifi started karting aged 13-14.
  • Grosjean has karting data dating from when he was 14-15.
Yep, this probably tells all there is to say. If with late blooming one means that the driver only picked up racing in their 20ies or so, and still made it to F1 - not a chance. Drivers these days have gone through an extensive breeding programme, starting at very early age (or rather, being forced into by their parents to fulfill the dreams they never could) and being fully devoted since. Perhaps a start in the teens is still possible, but even that will be rarer and rarer. And keep in mind F1 is no exception in that sense - the same applies to any competitive sport, except curling perhaps.

When it comes to late-blooming in the sense of achieving success later in the career, that can happen, sure. But probably that is as much a matter of luck and proper negotiation as of pure skill. As said above, any of these drivers can win in the right car (even if the cars are closer than ever - the gap between drivers is still much less), so it's really a matter of being at the right spot at the right time. Perez is now called a potential late bloomer, but had the McLaren he moved into not been a team in decline, he might have been the next bright star at that point, and same applies to Magnussen. But the cars were not as good as was to be expected from that team, and so they ended up in the midfield perpetually.

When it comes to the importance of car vs. driver, I do agree that current cars are probably closer together than ever. Still, I also agree that the impact of the driver becomes less and less compared to the past. The cars may be closer together, they are also significantly more consistent and reliable. In the past, reliability issues presented more opportunities for good drivers in mediocre cars. Besides, larger differences in car performance between tracks/generally more difficult to drive cars meant that, even if the raw pace difference between cars was larger, good drivers could make more of a difference than they can in the current generation. Maybe not every round, but at least in certain situations (and not just rain).

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NathanOlder
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Re: Late blooming careers

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Senna won his first title at 28, So I guess thats a late bloomer compared to the likes of Ham, Vet, Alo.
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