F1 young driver programmes a double-edged sword - Rosberg

Esteban Ocon's "terrible" situation in having to fight for his Formula 1 career shows there are downsides to the help junior driver schemes have given rising stars, says former champion Nico Rosberg.

F1 young driver programmes a double-edged sword - Rosberg

Ocon is currently facing a year on the F1 sidelines after a planned move to Renault fell through at the last second, and other teams said they were not interested in him because of his close links to Mercedes.

The Frenchman's plight has been viewed as a bad thing for F1, with more and more drivers having their careers decided by the major car makers.

Read Also:

But while Rosberg believes that junior driver schemes have delivered great positives in allowing young talent to break through to F1, he is mindful about potential pitfalls as Ocon has found out.

"So many top drivers have had the necessary support because the F1 teams have got involved like they never used to – so that I think is a good thing," Rosberg told Motorsport.com.

"The F1 teams themselves are taking the initiative, and supporting very young drivers, so I don't think it is such a disastrous situation.

"Maybe it is a little bit worse than it used to be, but we generally need to keep an eye on it – because a situation like Ocon shouldn't happen. That is terrible.

"He is such a sensation. The guy has been driving so well, and he doesn't have a drive – that is really terrible, so that must be avoided."

With the costs of competing in junior categories so expensive now, signing up to an F1 team's junior programme is viewed as an almost necessary step to making it in to grand prix racing.

Sergio Perez, who was once part of the Ferrari young driver academy, says that no driver would turn his back on the chance to affiliate themselves with a leading car manufacturer.

"Who wouldn't want to be a Mercedes driver?" he said "When I came here to F1, I'd been a Ferrari driver with the academy, then when I went to McLaren I had to leave the academy.

"But, if you ask me, obviously you would like to be linked to a top team because that's the only way in the next years that you can become a world champion.

"So I'd love to be part of Ferrari or Mercedes programme. But, at the same time, that doesn't guarantee you a place in Formula 1, so it's hard to know."

Max Verstappen has admitted that he did all he could to avoid signing up to a young driver scheme at an early stages, because he didn't want his career path dictated by someone else.

"I could have joined a junior team in 2010 but I didn't because you want to keep it in your hands as long as possible, and you can make the best deals," he said. "That is how we did it.

"That is also what brought me here, but sometimes you don't have those people behind you, so you have to sign those kinds of contracts where you have nothing to say, because basically the team decides for you where you have to go."

shares
comments
How Formula 1 failed Alonso
Previous article

How Formula 1 failed Alonso

Next article

Giovinazzi to partner Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019

Giovinazzi to partner Raikkonen at Sauber in 2019
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022