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And then there was one ...
Alonso remains the last driver on the grid linked to our beloved team, Minardi.
Many congratulations to Mark Webber. Some of us were fortunate to be there in Melbourne when he made his debut and I wish him all the best at Le Mans, where he will join plenty of other Minardi old boys.
Webbo has to go down as one of the unluckiest drivers but, equally, you make your own luck. He would have done better if there were more old school circuits like Spa and Silverstone.
I think I'll keep an eye on Le Mans next year to see Webber in action. If their LMP2 cars were anything to go by, they will be really competetive with LMP1 cars. On the one hand it's sad to see Mark go, but on the other I really hope Ricciardo can give Vettel a run for his money next year.
Now that we just have Alonso left, we might ask ourselves who are the spiritual heirs of the Minardi feeling. Should we be looking at the STR guys? Should we look at backmarkers in general, like Caterham and Marussia? Or maybe there just aren't any...
[Edited on 25-11-13 by Stan]
I suppose he could do a Vettel on Vettel but does anyone think he is in that class?
re: other teams. I have a soft spot for Marussia. British underdogs, for the most part, who excelled in junior categories. Much like an Italian team was doing 30 years ago ...
I was a big Marussia fan when they still were Manor/Virgin. The CFD design approach they had at the time fascinated me. But after they said goodbye to Nick Wirth, their approach became less unique, which is why they lost my interest. They should have given it more time (but that probably is the nerd in me talking).
This season I've become more interested in Caterham. But that's mostly based on van der Garde driving for them. I don't expect him to drive there next year though ;), so my interest there probably just is short lived.
I once considered opening backmarkerf1.com. But I doubt anyone would want to be affiliated with it :).
[Edited on 25-11-13 by Stan]
I also wonder if Mark thinks that as well now?
What I really would have liked to see him do is raise a syndicate to buy one of the minnows (or Sauber). He might not have liked driving around at the back, but his tech input, combined with new regs may have provided a very good start to a team.
As for Daniel, we will just have to wait and see. i dont think predictions can be based on much. I dislike Vettel. I also think that he has enormous talent. He has very good raw speed, and he seems to have some rather magical sympathy with the car. These races where he gets out in front and then goes longer than anyone else, just doesn't make sense when anyone who tries to put laps in ends up with rims covered in Fairy Floss.
What we do know is that Daniel has incredibly good raw speed over a lap. We also know that when he is comfortable, he can be hundredth-of-a-second metronomic (very useful if you can get in front). I have heard that he is faster than Vettel in the sim, so that is interesting. The thing that gets me about young Ricci-boy is what is behind that ever-present smile. I beleive i detect a very serious person who is single-minded and prepared to be ruthless. It has not been much spoken about, but he and JEV were maters, then suddenly they weren't. Something Prost-esque about that. We also know that he has learned how to be aggressive and attack without using the other cars as armco. Most of all, his driving and his manner are a lot calmer than Mark's. When he has to defend, he does it with a lot of style and persistence. when he has to attack, he plans and pounces. These are very different from Webber, whose emotions were as clear through the wheel as they were through his mouth.
Certainly, no-one would expect that he could take Vettel on from the get-go. What would not surprise me though is a series of races in the latter half of the season that have Daniel camping on Vettel's tail and pushing his tuetonic mind buttons. What is certain is that RBR have serious money in this kid. They had their choice of a pretty good range of ex-WDCs for next year, and they spurned them all. You can argue that the choice was made from other factors such as marketing, salary, demands, etc, but they would still not go with someone who wasn't at least capable of beating them all.
Channel 10 in Oz did a pre-race feature on Webber (of course), and when asked for one piece of advice for Ricciardo in regard to Vettel, Webber just said "kick his arse".
Who to follow???? Of course I will be following Dan. Like many though, RBR just dont engender enough spirit to warrant sympathetic fvouritism. Likewise, the lower order are somewhat lacking in tradition, or anything really. Williams would be OK, except for their drivers. I really dont want to fall in that trap every race of hoping that this time, Phillipe wont fuck it up. I'd go Lotus, if Maldo-crash doesn't get the gig. Rather like watching Grosjean these days, though he still has the rush of blood from time to time. Other than that, will take a keen interest in Toro Rosso, and also Force India, but i feel that they are on the edge of the performance abyss at present.
Now we just wait............for testing, and the lies that come with it.
Ferrari, one of their test driver Davide Rigon is managed by minardi family.
STR for me has nothing to do with Minardi, the spirit disappeared, some of the staff was changed, there are more than the factory inheritance.
Each year it is also a pleasure to see Paul Stoddart in Melbourne and F1x2 Minardi.
Of course I always have a look at Marussia and Caterham small minnows F1, but it is not minardi ....