Thursday Thoughts this week comes from Journeyer who asks:
If you were a team boss with 3 vacant seats (2 race seats and 1 test seat), who would you hire?
If I were a team boss in F1 with an unlimited amount of money, I’d want to pick a fast team of drivers but also ones who will get on well with each other. There is no point having animosity in the team leading to a split within the garage, we saw the damage that did to McLaren.
I would also want two potential race winners, perhaps one faster than the other, who would go for the title while the second can back him up should he falter. That’s not to be confused with a ‘team orders’ situation where the weight of the team is squarely behind one man. I actually think the line-up that would best fit this description exists already, at Red Bull. Vettel is marginally quicker than Webber, who is still under-rated for some reason. They would both be free to win races but I’d lean toward Vettel for the title run, just as the team did last year. If I were picking two guys to work together, I’d pick these two and it just so happens they are already teammates.
There are plenty of reasons why you would hire Hamilton, Alonso, Button or Raikkonen (or even Michael Schumacher). The only one that tempts me from that list is Button, the others just seem like too much hard work, too demanding in terms of preferential treatment. Yes, even Kimi.
My test driver would be an experienced hand who’s had a long career but is maybe looking to gradually find his way out rather than stop dead, and also knows how to set up a car. That’s why I choose Rubens Barrichello. He’d be my ‘third driver’. I’d also keep Anthony Davidson hanging around for testing and development purposes, I want to put him in a race seat and if when running him I find out why Mark is under-rated I can easily slot Ant into the seat.
Being a perfect world I’d move these drivers – and Adrian Newey – to Williams. I am a fan of Williams and it is time they were championship contenders again. Rubens can do his year of racing with them and then can move into testing. Of course, if Nico H turns out to be dynamite I reserve the right to change my mind about any of this.
So that’s who I would pick if my talent pool was restricted to current F1 drivers, but that’s not answering the question completely honestly. If I truly wanted my ideal team I’m going to do something radically different.
I’m going to hire Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Again at Williams because JPM should never have left them, and because Ryan is a born Williams driver if ever I laid eyes on one. Montoya’s never-give-up attitude struck fear into Schumacher himself, and if Michael is back I want Juan back. I’ve always been a fan of Juan, right back to the CART days. I think what he’s achieved in racing is fantastic and is criminally overlooked. Plus his new-found experience of tyre-management in NASCAR, where you have to nurse them, will help massively in the new-look F1 this year.
In the second car, Hunter-Reay is arguably the best road-course racer in IndyCar right now and is American too, which is what F1 needs, and I don’t care if it screws up IZOD’s marketing plan. Have him learn F1 for a year or two and then he can take over the title challenge in the 3rd year after Juan gets bored and does something else. RHR would make a brilliant F1 driver.