Money Makes The Racing World Go Round
In a lot of respects, financial support is one of the key factors of ensuring a race driver of a position within the motorsport hierarchy, when you consider how global economies have dictated just who will be in the thick of the action, whereas some will just be sitting at the sidelines.
Unless there is a works drive or the chance to join a top-tier team, drivers will always struggle to survive in a dog-eat-dog world when it comes to making that next logical step up the ladder.
Single seater drives, which includes GP3, GP2 and Formula One, are becoming more costly for those that are pursuing that lifelong dream to race in the most watched series across the globe.
Talent alone is not necessarily a guarantee that a driver will make it up the ladder, unless they have been scouted by one or more entities that will help back their future career, as long as the results show that the investment will be worth it.
One case in point is that of Max Verstappen, who will become the youngest ever F1 driver by nearly two years, as the young Dutchman will team up with Daniil Kvyat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2015 season and beyond.
The 16-year-old is currently racing with Van Amersfoort in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, and lies currently seconds in the overall standings behind Lotus Junior driver Esteban Ocon, who races with F3 powerhouse Prema Powerteam.
Having made his single-seater debut in the Ferrari Winter Series, he has shown great potential as a future star and champion in the making, having won 8 F3 races this year and became the first driver to take a clean sweep of victories in the series’ history, and repeated said feat on two successive weekends.
Are there doubters to a talent that will not be old enough to take his driver’s test by the time he makes his F1 debut in Australia next year? Yes, there are those skeptics that are already out with the daggers for the youngster. However, let us not forget that we have not yet seen him in action in the latest F1 technology to make any clear judgement.
The same judgement were already being made with Kvyat when he was announced as part of the team at the later part of last year, but he has impressed many with how he has adapted to the challenges, as well as how he composes himself.
Formula One is the dream for many racing talents that have no budget to aid them to get a race seat, such as two-time McLaren BRDC Autosport Award runner-up Scott Malvern, who won the Formula Ford and Formula Renault championship in successive years, but he has, like a lot of talents, had to search further afield to keep racing and work hard to get the monies together.
Even outside the world of Formula One, drivers have had to make a choice that would not be of consideration, say a couple of decades ago, as there are those that want to be professional and get paid for what they love doing.
Sam Bird is one prime example of this, as the former Mercedes AMG Petronas test and reserve driver is now racing in the WEC and FIA Formula E Championships. This is even though his efforts in becoming runner-up to Fabio Leimer in last season’s GP2 series did not guarantee the Brit a seat in Formula One.
This trend will continue to happen over the coming years, as racing teams are businesses, who will want to go out there for glory, but with the sponsorship that drivers bring to the table, it also helps to ensure that they are able to compete and hopefully keep themselves from having to close their doors for good.
It even increased in tempo this past weekend, when recent driver changes took place at Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix, where Le Mans winner André Lotterer replaced Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham, as well as Alexander Rossi and Max Chilton being pushed to and fro at Marussia, due to funding issues.
This really puts into clear perspective and just shows just how things can change in an instant, which can lead to another’s joy, whereas the other party has to bear the brunt of bitter disappointment.