SEPTEMBER 16, 2005
Another knock-on effect of the Minardi purchase
It is tough enough at the moment for young drivers to break into Formula 1 but now without Minardi there seems to be only a small chance for new boys. The problem is that the cars are such complicated beasts these days that drivers need to know them inside-out before they can extract the maximum from them and that means that teams are more inclined to go for drivers with experience rather than promising youngsters who represent a risk. The effect of this will be that the same drivers will be circulating between the teams and everyone else will be queued up behind. It is not the first time in F1 that this has happened but it is not a particularly healthy state of affairs for the sport, which may start to appear stale unless there are now stars emerging. The purchase of Minardi means that only Red Bull drivers are going to be used in the team in the future and while this is a good thing for the Red Bull driver promotional scheme it does mean that other talents such as Heikki Kovalainen and the current Minardi drivers Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos may end up either having to go elsewhere or become test drivers, a position which may lead to future employment but may also be a dead-end.
One way around the problem would be for F1 to expand to 12 teams, which it can do under the terms of the Concorde Agreement. The problem with that is that no-one is willing to see the extra two teams getting prize money for a minimum period of three years and as a result of that there is little incentive for newcomers because the odds are stacked against them to such an extent that it makes the enterprise too risky. The system exists as it is because the teams that dod exist have gone bankrupt and their money has been absorbed into payments to the other teams - and they are not keen to reduce their income to help rival operations.
The problem, like most of the problems in F1, is grounded in the inequality of the financial arrangements that exist at the moment. A new more sensible distribution of money would be wise, although the banks and Ecclestone Family trust funds would get less money than is now the case.
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