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Formula 1

Young Guns and Bushido. F1’s Younger Generation In 2009

3 Mins read

In a recent report by Speed TV, Romain Grosjean is quoted inferring to the 'stupidity' of Renault if he were to lose his R29 Formula One car based on just seven races at the back end of this season. Romain Grosjean's driving to my mind has been nothing short of atrocious.

I haven't witnessed any Driver that incompetent since Luca Badoer; and Badoer was driving a Ferrari F60, the dreaded car that's been difficult for most of the Scuderia Ferrari team to deal with this year. There's hardly been a Grand Prix practice session where Grosjean hasn't spun out. In an Irony to top all ironies, he even hit the same wall that Nelson Piquet Jr was order to crash into at Singapore. He crashed on the very same spot, only this time, Grosjean didn't need to be told to do so, on the contrary, he's just accident prone. His recruitment as a replacement for Nelson Piquet Jr after the fall of Briatore and Symonds must have been based on politics or desperacy rather than merit. Furthermore, Grosjean's incompetence has benefited the reputation of Piquet Jr as a F1 Driver, making his rehabilitation seem bit more savoury. I, can't understand the rationale for signing up an incompetent Driver like Grosjean, while a more experienced Driver such as Sebastien Bourdais is left in limbo by Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Speaking of Scuderia Toro Rosso, their young Drivers have fared slightly better than Grosjean. However, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari , who have a combine age of 42, have been thrown in the deep end of F1 racing. They have no experienced driver to emulate, or serve as a point of reference. It was Sebastien Buemi's birthday on the 31st of October, a day before the season's finale. Unfortunately, during the Yas Marina race the next day, his team mate Jaime Alguersuari went in for the wrong pit stop, and was immediately ushered along without stopping. This at least it makes a significant difference from usual crashing out by members of Toro Rosso. Commercially, the two young drivers of Scuderia Toro Rosso compliment Red Bull’s usual aggressive marketing to a younger fan base, but the reality of this strategy is proving to be technically inept. This isn't a Young Guns or Top Gun movie; this is high pressured Formula One racing and these young men are learning the hard way.

One young Driver, who has impressed many in last two races of the F1 season, has been Toyota's interim Driver, Japanese Kamui Kobayashi. As always, there are a few naysayers.

In an article for Autosport Magazine, Mark Hughes was scathing about Kobayashi's aggression during the Brazilian Grand Prix which led to Kazuki Nakajima crashing out after both drivers came together during the race. According to Hughes, Kobayashi's driving was, and is out of control, therefore, Formula One Stewards should hold him to account. I assume the Stewards see things differently because Kobayashi has not been summoned by the Stewards, and he's reported as being unapologetic for how he chooses to race. Besides, in spite of Hughes' take on the incident between Kamui and Kazuki, I see Kobayashi as the type of Racer Formula One needs right now. He's a wild card ready to shake up things up the way Senna, Montoya and Hamilton did in days gone by.

Kobayashi's racing style is reminiscent of the kind of racing that took place between Prost and Senna. On finishing the Brazilian Grand Prix, Jenson Button who eventually got past Kobayashi and went on to win the Championship exclaimed “Kobayashi is crazy” when asked about his difficulty in get past the Japanese Driver. Button's smile when he uttered these words indicated that it was said more out of respect than contempt. At Yas Marina, Button and Kobayashi were back at it again, when Kobayashi took third position off Button and held it till he pitted coming back out in 10th. All commentators agree that Kobayashi, who finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 6th position, has secured his immediate future with Toyota. Kobayashi is that Racer with the Japanese Bushido Warrior spirit. He's the one to watch out for by Drivers and Fans alik,e because he's not fazed by the enormity of the event, and will raise the stakes in any race. Expect sparks to fly off those F1 cars next season; the Samurai has a sharp sword in his hands.

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