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Thursday Thoughts: Team Saltire

By saltire | 4 Feb 2010 | 19 Comments | 434 views

This week’s Thursday Thought is that classic off-season question, debated all around the World, the question of your “Ideal Team”: If you were a team boss with 3 vacant seats (2 race seats and 1 test seat), who would you hire? Here’s my choice…

This isn’t as easy a question as it sounds, with so much choice and free reign to pick I’m torn between choosing an ideal team from the past or one from the current batch of drivers. This question is a bit like that classic after dinner party game of name the five F1 personalities you’d love to invite for a meal. At the top of that list would be Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Ayrton Senna but for this topic I’ve decided to choose from the 2010 drivers.
 

F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying

My first choice has to be Fernando Alonso. Fernando has had a tumultuous time over the last three seasons since leaving Renault as double world champion in 2006. He certainly seemed to have found his equal in Lewis Hamilton, at McLaren after letting the demons inside his head get the better of him, but, after two less than successful seasons back at Renault he has regained his enthusiasm and thirst for winning. Let’s not forget that he beat Michael Schumacher two seasons running; he has the knowledge, the experience and the desire to win that all champions must have to achieve their goals, so for me, he’s the perfect choice to lead Team Saltire.

Every successful team needs two great drivers. I’d rather have a team of two drivers hungry for victory than one which has a defined number one and number two driver. It may be difficult from a driver management perspective to handle such a pairing but the rewards could be tremendous. For that reason, my second choice would have to be Sebastian Vettel.

In just two years Vettel has had remarkable success; not least for his maiden win at Monza 2008 in the Toro Rosso. Without doubt he is a future WDC in the making, he has the skill, the bravery and the desire to win but at the moment he is still learning, honing his craft and maturing with each race. He can be prone to make rookie errors but I feel we have yet to see the best in Vettel and having someone who can push him to reach his limits is what he needs right now. With this combination of leadership, determination, skill and bravery I reckon I’d have an outstanding team.

But Team Saltire recognises that behind every successful team there has to be a great third driver, someone who is skilled at setting up the car, at giving precise feedback to the race engineers on getting the most from the car and at suggesting improvements. For me, that person should not be a new driver fresh from GP2 or some other feeder series, he should be someone with race wins and experience behind him and someone who could help mentor the race drivers, so my third choice would be Rubens Barrichello. Obviously I’d be sad to see Rubens retire from active racing but I think he could tick all the boxes as a great test and third driver.

So there you have it.. Team Saltire, do you agree with my choices or would you rather go for Team Maverick?

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19 Comments »

  • jolly

    You surprise me – I thought you would have wheeled David Coulthard out of retirement as your number one driver ;-)

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  • Streky

    I kinda agree with first two choices but in the opposite order as Vettel to me is the driver that’s still improving race by race and has not peaked yet, not saying Alonso is on the way down but has had a break from the top maybe 2010 will be his return to winning ways. Sadly the reason you picked Rubens is actually the reason i didn’t pick him because after last season i feel he made it clear he wants to drive all out and have a crack at being a team no 1 driver (and for that i cannot blame him at all) so for team spare part i picked Robert Kubica

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  • saltire (author)

    I’m full of surprises Jolly… but this was the analytical side of me who made those choices.

    I love DC but I’m not blinkered enough to think that he was the best choice I could have made.

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  • Journeyer

    Fernando has had a tumultuous time over the last three seasons since leaving Renault as double world champion in 1997.

    Are you thinking of Alonso, or Jacques Villeneuve? :D

    As for your line-up, we might get it. Ferrari is courting Vettel, so don’t be surprised to see him get paired up with Alonso at Maranello sooner or later… I’d love to see that happen.

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  • saltire (author)

    Journeyer:
    Are you thinking of Alonso, or Jacques Villeneuve?:D
    As for your line-up, we might get it.Ferrari is courting Vettel, so don’t be surprised to see him get paired up with Alonso at Maranello sooner or later…I’d love to see that happen.  

    LOL told you I was having a bad year .. I meant 2007 haha

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  • Journeyer

    Oh, what’s Team Maverick, though? I don’t see his entry. :D

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  • Steven Roy

    I like the idea of considering an all time team but that is probably just too difficult and I would end up with someone who won several championships as the test driver. I like the combination of Alonso and Vettel though.

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  • f1aroo

    Without a doubt, I’d pick Alonso and Hamilton. This time around I feel their added maturity would allow for a more harmonious, though extremely intense, rivalry.
    Third driver…??? With very little testing nowadays by the third driver, he’d probably only be needed in the case of driver 1 (ahead in points)being poisoned by driver 2—-accidental food poisoning, that is. I’d go for a future champ like Nyck de Vries

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  • saltire (author)

    Journeyer: Oh, what’s Team Maverick, though?I don’t see his entry.:D   

    I think Team Maverick was roped into some Viva site updates last night… the work is never done, thanks for all your hard work Mav! Maybe he’ll get a chance to comment today.

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  • str8y

    Sticking to your 2010 theme, I’d bring Alonso and Hamilton back together. They are simply the two best drivers at the moment, and will have learned greatly from their year together in 2007.

    As for reserve … I’d have Heidfeld.

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  • str8y

    Oh.. and why are we have Thoughts of a Thusday on a Friday? … :)

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  • Maverick

    It was posted yesterday, you’re just slow :-)

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  • Maverick

    I’d go along with that, I think it would be a different situation if Alonso knew exactly what he would be teaming up with, but I would probably want an experienced tester in the third seat, such as Pedro de la Rosa (hmmmm, am I just longing for McLaren 2007?) Otherwise, I think I’d add Hulkenberg as the third driver – I’m expecting big things from OtherNico.

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  • Kimster

    Last time I checked Fernando left Renault at the end of 2006…

    I would have Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel if it would be current drivers but all time it would be Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna

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  • Maverick

    I think when posed with this question, people shy away from something like Hamilton and Alonso because of the 2007 relationship and yet you don’t know how any pair of drivers will get on – Kubica, Alonso and Vettel are all very focussed and I imagine difficult to have as team mates. Look at your picture of your chosen pairing – they’re already arguing over the number 1 status!

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  • saltire (author)

    Yes he did but didn’t start at McLaren until 2007 so that’s why I used the 2007 date. Still as it seems to be an issue I have changed the date to 2006

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  • saltire (author)

    It was posted late yesterday evening as I’d only noticed this week’s question late on in the day…

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  • Streky

    str8y: Sticking to your 2010 theme, I’d bring Alonso and Hamilton back together. They are simply the two best drivers at the moment, and will have learned greatly from their year together in 2007.As for reserve … I’d have Heidfeld.  

    Excuse me for being argumentative but if your statement is true Str8y then basically driver skills make no difference and any idiot behind the wheel of the correct car should win WDC working the other way Hamilton was gifted top drive in best car at start of F1 driving so his skills still haven’t been tested yet except in 2009 and he didn’t really shine in that season did he.

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  • Maverick

    Streky: except in 2009 and he didn’t really shine in that season did he.

    Well he won two races in a car that Kovalainen failed to achieve a podium finish in, I’m not sure what more he had to do to demonstrate his ability because Kovalainen isn’t that bad?

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