The Gravel Trap on midfield F1 drivers

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Londoner
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The Gravel Trap on midfield F1 drivers

Post by Londoner »

Evening everyone

It's time for our latest edition of The Gravel Trap, which provoked fierce discussion on the Discord when it was published a few days ago. Controversial Klon stuck his neck on the line to ponder, why exactly do midfield drivers like Johnny Herbert and Nico Hulkenberg provoke such intense fandom within Formula 1 fans. Read the analysis and rant away right here!

From Herbert to Hülkenberg - Why Casual Fans Love Average Drivers
Fetzie on Ferrari wrote:How does a driver hurtling around a race track while they're sous-viding in their overalls have a better understanding of the race than a team of strategy engineers in an air-conditioned room?l
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mario
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Re: The Gravel Trap on midfield F1 drivers

Post by mario »

Londoner wrote: 20 Jun 2022, 18:51 Evening everyone

It's time for our latest edition of The Gravel Trap, which provoked fierce discussion on the Discord when it was published a few days ago. Controversial Klon stuck his neck on the line to ponder, why exactly do midfield drivers like Johnny Herbert and Nico Hulkenberg provoke such intense fandom within Formula 1 fans. Read the analysis and rant away right here!

From Herbert to Hülkenberg - Why Casual Fans Love Average Drivers
I can imagine that it will provoke further discussion here too, and indeed I do have some questions to raise about some of the points raised in that particular article.

At the very least, I do find it kind of odd that Klon was citing Giovinazzi as a driver whose departure was quite lamented, because that wasn't the impression I had from those commenting on his departure from the sport.

Most of the comments that I saw about Giovinazzi seemed to tend more towards a sense of indifference with regards to his departure - it seemed to be more of a case of ambivalence, in that most didn't seem to think he was bad enough to deserve sacking, but equally they also thought that he hadn't done anything particularly noteworthy to justify keeping him on either.

I'm also a little wary of some of the nationality arguments that were put forward around the examples of Sirotkin and Mazepin, because I would say that there are other aspects that made both of those figures less popular.

In the case of Sirotkin, I would suggest that perhaps it was more because he denied Kubica a chance at racing - with so many wanting the fairytale story of Kubica coming back through such adversity to race again, Sirotkin's promotion rather spoilt the narrative.

In the case of Mazepin, I would say that there were a far greater number of reasons for the hostility towards him. Firstly, his father has been involved in a long running legal dispute over TogliattiAzot, or ToAZ, with an active investigation into accusations of bribery, fraud and getting individuals imprisoned on false charges so Mazepin could take over ToAZ - I don't think it would have made any real difference what his nationality was when there are allegations of serious criminal conduct swirling around his family. Secondly, there was the rather unedifying legal fight that Dmitry then got into with Stroll over Force India, which again painted the Mazepin family in a rather negative light.

You also had Nikita facing accusations of sexual assault, and rumours, when the lady he'd been with later played down the complaints, that she had done so under duress (i.e. that Dmitry, being a particularly close ally of Putin, had threatened to make things very difficult for her and her family if she didn't quieten down). Added to that, there were the complaints that Mazepin had been directing homophobic abuse towards Russell in the past, not to mention posting racist comments about Chinese people and supporting fans of his who had been directing racist abuse at Tsunoda.

It's not to say that there was an element of bias about his nationality - but, rather, that a lot of people felt that Nikita was a particularly unpleasant character and that he was considered a decidedly less appealing character than just about any other possible driver whom Haas could have hired at the time.

That's not to say that there may be some merit in the arguments put forward in the article, but I would contend that some of the examples are perhaps rather badly chosen and undermine the arguments being put forward.
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James1978
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Re: The Gravel Trap on midfield F1 drivers

Post by James1978 »

A couple I felt in the 90s were Mark Blundell not getting a seat for 1996, then Martin Brundle not getting one in 1997, despite the fact he was near retirement age, I don't think he actually wanted to. Though looking back I do feel Blundell definitely fits into the category you're citing, maybe Brundle was a step above (after all he ran Schumacher close in 1992, much closer than Herbert in 1995 despite not getting the lucky wins Herbert did).

Blundell I'm not quite sure where he could have gone - it was totally understandable McLaren taking DC after he'd been let go by Williams for Villeneuve (and it did always feel he was only a stopgap to fill the seat when it all went wrong with Mansell), but Jordan I feel would have done better if the experienced Brundle had stayed on with one of the youngsters rather than team Ralf and Fisi together. I kinda laughed when they both crashed out of Australia then collided in Argentina!
"Poor old Warwick takes it from behind all throughout this season". :) (Tony Jardine, 1988)
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James1978
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Re: The Gravel Trap on midfield F1 drivers

Post by James1978 »

Oh and I agree it was definitely the denying Kubica a race seat with Sirotkin, rather than his replacing Massa who was meant to retire a year earlier anyway!

Some more for me:

Heidfeld not getting a full time seat in 2010 (was PDLR who'd been out of racing for 3 years really a better bet?) and losing his seat in mid-season 2011 (Bruno Senna strikes twice when you mention Barrichello too!).

Kobayashi for 2013 (Gutierrez? Really?). Though was Hulkenberg his replacement and Gutierrez Checo's replacement? Seems sad to think he was only 6 points behind his teammate in 2012, who's now had 10 more years in the sport and is now a 3-time race winner and Red Bull driver whereas Kobayashi only had a part-season with Caterham after that!

There's gotta be more who haven't quite sprung to mind yet.
"Poor old Warwick takes it from behind all throughout this season". :) (Tony Jardine, 1988)
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