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GP Week : Issue 181
With no in-season testing, and minimal GP Friday running, it’s diff icult for F1 rookies to get meaningful in-car time. Tyre-maker Pirelli is offering one potential solution, as KATE WALKER explains TYRED OF THE FRIDAY MORNING NO-SHOW Formula One is a sport filled with competing interests. The 2013 season has already demonstrated the dichotomy that exists between the team and driver championships, thanks to the Red Bull Sepang drama, but there is an equally strong split between the sport and the show. Pirelli have come under fire for fulfilling their brief of spicing up the racing by supplying compounds designed to degrade rapidly, with some teams and fans complaining that the 2013 rubber leads to artificial racing. But in a season that has seen the first three races won by three different drivers – all of them world champions – it is a facile argument. The best drivers will always rise to the top, whatever the conditions. It is what separates the elite from those who are simply very good at what they do. Becoming part of that elite group is the challenge faced by all those drivers yet to claim a title. But before a young racer can set his eyes on the prize he must first get the opportunity to strut his stuff. And has been oft repeated in recent years, the end of in-season testing has had a detrimental effect on a young driver’s prospects. Speaking to the media in Bahrain, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn used the example of rookie driver Esteban Gutierrez to highlight the challenges of bringing on young talent in the modern era. For “drivers like him – rookie drivers – it’s quite a dilemma, because they hardly have any opportunity to drive the car,” Kaltenborn said. “Especially in Esteban’s case, because he never got any Friday sessions from us. At the same time, when he comes in as a race driver the expectations are so high, from the team’s side and from his side as well, and there are so few opportunities to actually make points, so it’s a difficult situation to handle.” But in the past few weeks Pirelli have proposed a possible solution to the young driver drought – the Italian tyre manufacturer has offered to supply an extra set of more durable tyres to those teams running a young or reserve driver during the Friday morning practice 11 GPWEEK.com // 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> FEATURE