Standards are slipping in F1, warns Webber

7 Comments

Mark Webber says the standard of drivers in F1 has fallen since he entered the sport 11 years ago.

Webber, who is quitting F1 to join the World Endurance Championship at the end of the year, believes today’s grid is not as strong as it was in 2002.

“When I was on the grid at the back with Minardi you had [Eddie] Irvine, [Mika] Salo – all those guys had been on podiums,” he told Autosport.

Now he believes “there are a lot of talented guys out there, but a lot are slipping through the net unfortunately. That’s a sad state.”

Webber singled out Sauber reserve driver Robin Frijns as a “phenomenal young talent” who was struggling to find a place in F1 as he did not have any money behind him.

During the off-season race-winners and podium-scorers such as Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock lost F1 drives as their teams had to find drivers who could bring backing.

When Webber made his grand prix debut in Melbourne 11 years ago there were nine race-winning drivers on the grid: Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Olivier Panis, Jacques Villeneuve, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Eddie Irvine.

At this year’s season-opening race there were also nine former race winners among 22 starters. Webber was one of them, along with Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado.

Have a decent tax refund coming? Buy Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco-winning car

Photos courtesy Bonhams
Leave a comment

Are you expecting a better than normal tax refund? Did you get a very nice bonus from your company due to the new tax cut?

Well, if you have a good chunk of change hanging around and potentially can be in Monaco on May 11, you can have a chance to bid on the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that the late Ayrton Senna drove in — and won — that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

We’re not just talking about any race winner. It’s also the same car Senna won his sixth Monaco Grand Prix, and the chassis bears the number six.

It’s also the same car Senna piloted to that season’s F1 championship (his third and final title before sadly being killed the next year) and is the first McLaren driven by Senna that’s ever been sold or put up for auction.

The famed Bonhams auction house is overseeing the sale of the car.

“Any Grand Prix-winning car is important, but to have the golden combination of both Senna and Monaco is a seriously rare privilege indeed,” Bonhams global head of motorsport, Mark Osborne, told The Robb Report.

“Senna and Monaco are historically intertwined, and this car represents the culmination of his achievements at the Monegasque track. This is one of the most significant Grand Prix cars ever to appear at auction, and is certainly the most significant Grand Prix car to be offered since the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196R, which sold for a world record at auction.”

How much might you need? You might want to get a couple of friends to throw in a few bucks as well.

“We expect the car to achieve a considerable seven-figure sum,” Osborne said.

The London newspaper “The Telegraph” predicts the car will sell in the $6.1 million range.”

“This car will set the world record for a Senna car at auction,” Osborne said. “We are as certain as you can be in the auction world.”

While you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive before the auction, it’ll be ready to roar once you pay the price.

“In theory, the buyer could be racing immediately upon receipt of the cleared funds after the auction,” Osborne said. “All systems are primed and ready.”