Some of F1’s more experienced drivers have recently complained of the ‘GP2 mentality’ among recent graduates to the series.  Such complaints are certainly not new; Ayrton Senna was not very complimentary about Michael Schumacher’s driving following the French Grand Prix in 1992 (where the German driver punted the Brazilian out on the first lap at the hairpin).  Similarly James Hunt never forgave Riccardo Patrese for his role in the start line accident in the Italian GP of 1978.

So is there a problem with the younger drivers today, or is the situation no different to how it has been in the past?  Age may be a factor, with six of the 25 youngest drivers to start an F1 race currently on the grid (Alonso, Button, Vettel, Rosberg, Massa and Perez), but as this includes three world champions and two of the others are race winners, their talent is probably a significant factor in being promoted to F1.  However with few if any paid seats available for novice drivers, perhaps it is the pressure of having to perform before their money runs out that is the root cause of some of the desperate moves seen?  Certainly, some drivers seem to take a seat in a backmarker team too soon in their career rather than do another year in GP2 because their money may run out.  There also seems to be reluctance among F1 teams to take drivers who have spent ‘too long’ in GP2 even if they have won the championship.

If there is a problem with driving standards, then it needs to be addressed.  This needs to be reflected right through the career ladder from cadet karting up to F1.  If young drivers see their heroes in F1 being penalised for poor driving, then they will expect a similar punishment if they perform similar actions.  Also if they progress through the ranks with those that drive poorly getting penalised, they will be less inclined to drive in that manner when they move up to the next category.

So what do you think, is there a problem with poor driving in F1 and if so what is the best way to tackle it?

 

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Rapierman
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Rapierman

Half of it may be poor driving, but the other half is in allowing money to dictate the terms. “Love of money is the root of all evil,” as it were.

Jack Flash (Aust)
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Jack Flash (Aust)

It has been said by many pundits and ‘F1 old-scholars’ for a while now, that the far greater safety of Formula 1 and its feeder series in recent decades, has lead to a lowering of ‘driver etiquette’ imperatives and lesser ‘sense of safe limits’ within the new breed of drivers coming into the sport. I support that observation to some extent; but I also think that the GP2 environment (like the GP3 and karting world) tends to promote very ‘confrontational driving styles’. Why should it – I don’t know. Probably the reason you point out MIE – each new driver… Read more »

Brian
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Brian

Perhaps drop the “spec” aspect of GP2. Maybe the issue is that when good drivers hit F1 from the feeder series and they aren’t at an obviously slow team, they have trouble adjusting to the fact that they may not be able to use their ability to beat the car in front of them.

Bob Wheeler
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Bob Wheeler

Using the Patrese incident as an example shows your ignorance of what really took place. I have a photo of Patrese talking to the press in the paddock at Watkins Glen where he had a series or aerial shots taken at the start. It clearly showed he was not at fault. As a matter of fact he did his best to avoid any incidents. It was James Hunt who veered to the left causing the sad mayhem that cost Ronnie Peterson his life. With that being said, the GP2 mentality is both a fault of the GP2 organizers and too… Read more »

Jack Flash (Aust)
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Jack Flash (Aust)

Bob. There are more respectful ways to introduce a counter opinion, than your first sentence. C&D please.
Thanks. JF

Negative Camber
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Negative Camber

Agreed Bob. The GP 2 mentality is most likely infused by the process itself. Thanks for sharing and remember, decorum & civility mate. No personal attacks. Good insight on the Hunt issue. :)