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Loeb will not make F1 debut in Abu Dhabi
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Loeb will not make F1 debut in Abu Dhabi
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Oct 2009   |  11:42 pm GMT  |  94 comments

Rally champion Sebastien Loeb will not appear behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso next weekend in the F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi, it has been announced.

Picture 26
According to colleagues in the French media, Loeb has not been able to get a superlicence and so cannot race.

Despite being a five times world rally champion and a competitor in the Le Mans 24 hours, Loeb has not fulfilled the criteria for qualification, such as victories in GP2 or success in a national F3 series. This seems a little unfair given that F1 drivers like Kimi Raikkonen are allowed to go the other way and take part in world championship rallies.

The news was broken by Marie-Pierre Rossi of the Citroen press department, but it seems odd that Loeb would have let things get this far before finding himself with no licence.

However other drivers have managed to get into F1 without fulfilling those criteria, most notably Raikkonen, who came to F1 from Formula Renault and was approved by the superlicence judging panel of the time, which was made up of Max Mosley, Ron Dennis and Jean Todt. Loeb could have taken his case to their successors, but appears to have opted not to.

“It is absolutely impossible to perform just like that on a circuit you don’t know when you’ve been a rally driver your whole career,” said four times world champion Alain Prost yesterday. “These are completely different disciplines. That takes nothing away from his talent.”

The connections to make the transfer were strong, especially on the commercial side; Loeb is backed by Red Bull, the owner of Toro Rosso and Abu Dhabi are big backers of the WRC. Loeb has tested for Toro Rosso last winter and spent time in their simulator. Through the summer he was very keen on the idea of having a go in the final race, after the rally season has ended.

Earlier this month he took part in the GP2 test at Jerez and afterwards denied that the test was a warm-up for Abu Dhabi,
“”I’m just doing this because I have the chance. I would like to do the [F1] race, but nothing has changed – it’s the same every day.”

Loeb was not particularly competitive in the test and may have decided that, although it might be fun to race in F1, he would be likely to trail some way behind the field. This season has been one of the toughest ever for drivers coming in to F1 with no testing and in cars which are much more tricky for rookies to drive than the F1 cars of a year ago with grooved tyres and more downforce.

Look at how Grosjean and Alguersuari have got on, let alone more experienced drivers like Bourdais and Piquet. And then there was Luca Badoer…

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94 Comments
  1. sidepodcast says:

    Look at how Grosjean and Alguersuari have got on, let alone more experienced drivers like Bourdais and Piquet. And then there was Luca Badoer…

    agreed. but then how do you explain kobayashi?

    1. George says:

      He did some winter testing I think

    2. Philip T says:

      Agreed he’s an exception, but then he is crazy!

  2. Frenchie says:

    And then there was Luca Badoer…

    James, you made my day. :-)

    1. luciano says:

      Actually, Fisichella’s performance has made Badoer’s look quite respectable.

      1. Patrickl says:

        Yeah, Badoer was only 2 to 2.5 seconds slower per lap than Raikkonen. At Spa he was only 102 seconds slower over a 44 lap race. 2.3s per lap …

        Respectable indeed.

        Fisichella is half a second a lap slower. Still too much, but how does that even begin to compare?

      2. Frenchie says:

        Sorry Luciano but Badoer’s performance was over a second a lap behind Fisico.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think it was Ferrari’s mistake to put him there in the first place. Gene, who won Le Mans this year, would have made more sense in my opinion.

  3. Andy says:

    It may be somewhat unfair that you need a special licence to compete in F1, while not when competing in WRC (especially considering that in rallying you are also risking the life of your co-driver), but on the other hand this is something everyone knows, and if you want to drive in F1, then you get the superlicence. I have no doubt in my mind that had Kimi needed a special licence to drive a rally car, he would’ve acquired it, and conversely, I have no doubt that Loeb would be granted a superlicence if he applied for one.

    It is also good to keep in mind that WRC benefited hugely of the publicity that Kimi brought with him when he took part in the Rally of Finland. This would not be the case, at least to the same extent, if Loeb came to compete in F1. Formula 1 simply doesn’t need the extra publicity the same way rallying does.

    Interesting tidbit on the judging panel that granted Kimi his superlicence. I wonder if it is a coincidence that he ended up driving for both Ron Dennis and Jean Todt…

  4. Snooks says:

    I don’t know if I’m alone with this but I’m glad this didn’t happen. Clearly just a big PR stunt that sort of de-values the prestige of being at the pinnacle of motorsport.
    On the other hand though this gives substance to the arguement that potential new drivers should be allowed to test in current cars (although that one’s been done to death).

    1. CarlitosF1 says:

      No, you’re not. See comment #26.

  5. Werewolf says:

    Fascinating. Does this mean Valentino Rossi would need to win in junior formulae before being eligible for a super licence (unless the panel agreed he was worthy)?

    1. rpaco says:

      I would hope so, what experience of Formula car racing does he have? Anyway according to @Suziperry he is far too busy.

      BTW Stewards are also required to hold superlicences but the rules say they can be issued to anyone the FIA takes a shine to regardless of experience. (see the sporting regs)

  6. J. Smith says:

    “Loeb was not particularly competitive in the test and may have decided that, although it might be fun to race in F1, he would be likely to trail some way behind the field…”

    Right.

    That’s why he has dominated rallying for the past five years,
    because he just doesn’t have the skills even an average F1
    driver has ?

    For example, a driver with the initials “K.R.” who worked for Ferrari for a few years, and crashed out in his WRC debut.

    1. James Allen says:

      Calm down. No one is saying he doesn’t have the skills, only that the testing restrictions make it hard for him to adapt in time.

    2. Ian says:

      Fisichella has the skills as he proved in Spa this year but look where he is now. F1 is an extremely different and unique set of circumstances to rallying.

    3. Andy says:

      “For example, a driver with the initials “K.R.” who worked for Ferrari for a few years, and crashed out in his WRC debut.”

      This K.R. just happened the match the speed of his much more experienced, professional rally drivers in his class, in his debut. Crashing out is part of the game, has happened to all of the best, even to Loeb this season.

      I’m quite sure Loeb would be able to compete successfully in F1 if he was given the proper chance, he certainly has the talent, and I don’t think James is disputing that in any sense. As for why you decided to turn this against Kimi escapes me. He has managed to show his unique talent in being competitive in a number of different types of motorsports and if you are unable to appreciate it, that’s your loss.

    4. Peter says:

      This guy K.R. made a pretty good job in the WRC. A crash does not mean anything. Loeb is just as exceptional driver as Kimi, but no one in te professional autosport doubts KR. driving skills, read some comments from McLaren and Ferrari insiders.

    5. john g says:

      you think it’s the same skill set!?

      rally is completely different to F1, the only similarity is a steering wheel, engine, and 4 wheels. to suggest that a 5 time WRC would automatically be immediately competitive in F1 is just ignorant. sure, put them in RoC etc, and they’d be very similar, but put both in either their respective race categories, and it’s a different story.

      kimi crashed out of the WRC. so what, does that make him crap compared to loeb? kimi would thrash him all day long in F1. not that he’s any more skilled. but like i said, it’s a totally different discipline.

    6. pSynrg says:

      It’s so annoying that people generally think that if it has 4 wheels and an engine then it’s all the same.

      Usain bolt would probably be rubbish at a marathon.

      Someone that races horses and wins isn’t likely to walk away with a dressage or show jumping trophy.

      Etc.

      Loeb is the greatest rally driver the world has ever seen, of that I have no doubt. But it doesn’t mean he can win an F1 race (or even be competitive) and vice versa, of course!

  7. Michael S says:

    You are incorrect a bit James… Kimi raced in the jr class in Rally no the top class. So if you want to compare it is not too off from Loeb racing in GP2 open wheel series.

  8. jessica says:

    that’s a shame I was looking forward to seeing him

  9. tom says:

    nobody else would of had a chance

  10. Fulveo Ballabeo says:

    No question, at the time it certainly seemed like Badoer was stinking the place up. But Force India Spa pole-sitter Fisichella also seems to have spent (too) much time at the back of the grid since moving to Ferrari. Does Fisi’s Ferrari turn put Badoer’s (relative lack of) performance into a new context? With all the grief Badoer received, no-one seems to be saying much about this.

    1. Stevie P says:

      The Ferrari with it’s KERS affecting braking dynamics must be a difficult car to acclimatise to. It took Massa and Kimi some time at the start of the season; it’s taken Fisi several GP meets (so including practise sessions etc) to be able to consistently get it into the top 15.

      The difference between Fisi and Badoer, is that Fisi is “not last”, whereas with Luca he was off the back by a second or two. Fisi is struggling; Badoer was just shocking – sorry Luca!

    2. DK says:

      Fisi has vindicated Luca imo … It also mean Kimi’s feat with F60 in second half of the season is remarkable indeed.

    3. Neal Rayner says:

      Perhaps puts an interesting spotlight on Raikkonens ability as well.

  11. toastiejoe says:

    OK, but how do you explain Kobayashi, who took to it like a duck to water?

    1. Ian says:

      To think Howett thought it was slow!

    2. Stevie P says:

      ’twas only his first race… let’s see how the “meandering Kobayashi” gets on in Abu Dhabi (I still can’t believe he hasn’t been ticked off for his swerve on Nakajima). The Toyota looked good in Brazil too. Trulli qualified in a high position; so perhaps that helped Koba. But despite this, it was still a cracking and “racey” debut…

      Someone (below) mentions Buemi’s drive too, which has gone under the radar a bit, due to the news surrounding JB and Brawn.

    3. DC says:

      My undestanding was the Ferrari was a particularly difficult car to drive, even by F1 standards. And KERS does make a difference to brake bias and feel, it is not the magic button all think it is. It takes a lot of getting used to.

      1. DC says:

        I should have added that maybe the Toyota is just an easier car to deal with, but also Kobayashi may simply be very talented. I liked his style and hope he gets a seat next year.

    4. rpaco says:

      Kobi had driven the car before in testing last spring. But it was still a great performance from him, almost Lewis like.
      For Fisi it was completely different car and he is still learning the balance shifting effect that KERS has. Still a bad decision to go to Ferrari unless he wants to wind down, virtually no chance of racing next year.

    5. Patrickl says:

      Kobayashi was 1.3s slower than Trulli in Q2. Besides, Trulli is no Raikkonen so it’s easier to get close to Trulli than it is to Raikkonen.

  12. knoxploration says:

    Hi James – I’m curious, who’s on the superlicence judging panel currently, and if they’re not well-known, what’s their connection to the teams if any?

    This seems like yet another conflict of interest in Formula One, akin to having allowed a team boss to also be a driver manager to his team’s drivers. How could it have been seen as sensible to appoint Todt and Dennis, when they could have been placed in the position of judging whether a rival team were allowed to run a hot new rookie or not?

    Imagine the situation if Todt and Dennis were still team bosses, and Brawn or Red Bull had needed a replacement for one of their drivers mid-season this year. They’re ahead of Ferrari and McLaren in the constructors’ championships – how easy it would be for Todt and Dennis to conspire to refuse a superlicense to their hot new rookie.

    Yes, it’s a stretch, but I’m of the firm belief the rules shouldn’t have these gaping holes in them in the first place. Conflicts of interest like this should be prohibited as a matter of course, in the same way the technical rules *should* be written in a manner that wasn’t open to interpretation that took us to the courts every time a boffin had a good idea.

    1. williams4ever says:

      ||This seems like yet another conflict of interest in Formula One,||

      F1 has always been home of conflict of interests.Where the mantra is “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”. Some of the TV Pundits(and Ex drivers) run driver management companies and then run down drivers. One good example was Interlagos Grid walk, where commentator commented “Maybe we may have language issue, since the driver is non English” and next thing you know the driver spoke in perfect English with the said commentator. The commentator should have used some common sense, these days to get into F1 a driver essentially has to spend time in European Junior formulae GP2, WSR etc, would s/he survive without speaking English :-?

      The bias towards this driver when he was defending is properly earned track position was obvious as well.
      One hand we harp on lack of racing and other hand Both Radio and Video Channels of BBC were slandering the rookie driver for giving Button real fight

      1. George says:

        to be fair Kobi was moving about a lot on the track and after watching the replay of his accident with Kazuki again, he moves across then back, then a sharp change of direction as the Williams gets alongside.

        You would be forgiven for thinking it was a deliberate attempt to take a car out of the race and I’m baffled as to why Kobi has not been punished in some way for what was at best causing an avoidable accident imo.

      2. Glen Slagg says:

        I admire your ability to listen to both the radio and TV at the same time, but you must have been watching a different TV channel to me.
        I heard Jenson Button complain to his engineer and then Martin Brundle explained what the rule was about moving over to protect your position. I didn’t hear any “slander”, and that was the one and only time it was mentioned. I seem to recall that they were full of praise for the new boy.

  13. Rudy Pyatt says:

    But then there’s Kobyashi… Impressive. Most impressive. If Toyota remains in the game, they should definitely give him a race seat. But still…

    James, are there any moves about to modify the superlicense criteria? To deny one to an FIA world champion, albeit in another discipline, is absurd. It smacks of condescension to say that F1 drivers can freely “step down” to other categories as though they are inherently inferior to, easier than, F1. So winning LeMans, Indianapolis or the MotoGP title don’t count either? Makes no sense.

    1. The top 6 in the Indy Racing League and *I think* the Indy 500 winner automatically qualify for a super-license.

  14. Tom - Australia says:

    Good decision in my opinion.

    An inexperienced driver flying around at 300km/h represents a danger to himself, his colleagues and the crowd.

    As for the second part of the article – just makes Kamui San look even more impressive right? That guy HAS to get a drive next season.

  15. Kenny says:

    Alguersari and Grosjean get a Super License but Loeb can’t have one. That needs to be fixed.

  16. Raul says:

    Im still wondering why kobayashi had a good race like he did. He didnt show much in european GP2…

    1. Alias says:

      The Toyota isn’t such a bad car, it is actually quite fast. And it properly goes a long way to explain some of the performance between the rookies.

  17. Jonathan says:

    I gotta ask you James, what your thoughts are on Kobi Kobyashi’s performance over the weekend because relative to the aforementioned Alguersari, Piquet Jr. and Grosjean, he did an absolutely outstanding job and SHOULD be on the top of any Team Manager’s most wanted for 2010 list…………….

    1. Patrickl says:

      Let’s not get carried away after one reasonable result.

      He started 11th and finished 10th with 5 people ahead of him not finishing. He also was almost a lap down. The Toyota was one of the fastest cars this race.

  18. monktonnik says:

    I think that it is a shame that it is so difficult for drivers to enter F1 and hit the ground running. This would have been a real boost for F1 and WRC.

    For me it highlights a couple of things:

    1. How well drivers like Sutil and especially Hamilton have done. I think that Lewis’ success has skewed the perception of what a rookie should be able to achieve.

    2. The rules on testing HAVE to be changed. It is clear that the lack of testing for rookies entering the formula and drivers swapping teams mid-season is a real issue and means that their learning has to take place on track, partially in qualifying or race conditions. Isn’t that a safety issue for the FIA? In a sport where perception is everything can the teams afford to appear to be fielding cars that are impossible to drive piloted by rookies without the necessary experience or old timers without the speed. From the point of view of a drivers career it is potentially very damaging, as well as for the relationship with the sponsors.

    James, what do you think of Bernie’s suggestion of Monday testing after the Grand Prix? Have you heard any kind of response to that in the paddock?

    1. john g says:

      teams are having a young drivers test in december. as for monday testing, i don’t see why they can’t do it on thursday or friday (using engines, boxes and tyres specifically for testing), give something back to the hardcore fans

      1. Monktonnik says:

        Thursday, Friday or Monday; I don’t think it is a bad idea whichever day.

        I think they need more than a few days of winter testing.

  19. Paige Michael-Shetley says:

    When we think about Kimi Raikkonen and wonder how good he is, we should remember just what James recalled about his entry into F1, not just at such a young age but in making such a leap into the series. He only went on to immediately be immensely quick on his debut in Oz; who can forget Murray Walker going nuts about that qualifying lap?

  20. dcowlives says:

    I think this is about protecting Loeb’s reputation, and the super licence was merely a good excuse.

  21. Chris Cole says:

    ‘Look at how Grosjean and Alguersuari have got on…’ Maybe, but look at how exciting Kobayashi was (if a little, well, reckless) in his first race…

  22. Sideways Bob says:

    While Kobayashi rocks up and drives a barn stormer.

  23. BrightMinds says:

    I’m still gobsmacked by Kobayashi’s rookie performance!

    Also, something that I feel deserves a mention is Buemi’s performance on Sunday. Great drive to pop the TR in 7th when his team mate trailed home last.

  24. Mr G says:

    I think Seb and Red Bull realise as well that a poor performance will devalue the Red Bull brand.
    This year with the F1 and WRC Reb Bull has been, as a brand, at the forefront of both sporting events with a very good team performance and most of all attracting a broader spectrum of people to the sport, especially to the WRC.
    The superlicense issue is a mimor problem for F1 if they wanted to have Loeb driving the last GP of the season when the titles are already decided.

    1. Don’t forget Red Bull Racing have a team in NASCAR too!!

  25. Gaz says:

    Would have been interesting to see him in F1, although like you say, with no testing I imagine he would have struggled.

  26. David Smith says:

    And Giancarlo Fisichella!! Okay he wasn’t a rookie but even he admits by his own admission it wasnt the switch he was hoping for.
    James have you had any conversations with Rob Smedley over the GP’s I bet he’s frustrated..

    1. James Allen says:

      I have, it’s been a tough year, but he’s very happy that Felipe is fit and well and that’s the main thing

      1. guy says:

        James, with that answer you should be a politician.

      2. James Allen says:

        You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment!

  27. Jordan D says:

    Yes James, but look at Kamui Kobayashi this weekend. Apart from some dodgy weaving, he performed excellently and to see him finished a credible 9th was impressive.

    Not all the new boys have been bad.

  28. Finn says:

    I feel this is probably for the best. I expect Loeb (for lack of time in an F1 car) would have struggled and embarrassed himself and Torro Rosso.

  29. CarlitosF1 says:

    In a way I’m happy that Red Bull didn’t get away with this one: a blatant PR stunt that suggests drivers are somehow interchangeable assets and not elite talented sportsmen. Not that I don’t trust Loeb’s chances to adapt himself to single seaters, it’s only natural that he could acieve it via testing… But putting him in the grid in Abu Dhabi would be a stunt that certainly has nothing to do with what this sport needs to be better.

  30. Stephen Pattenden says:

    Off to the rally in Wales tonight – can’t wait!

    James, can i please ask you three non-related questions:

    1 – Why are you not doing the drivers press conferences any more? Who is?

    2 – Why are Williams, supposedly, the only team objecting to an increase in break disc width for next season?

    3 – What’s the situation with KERS for next season?

    Great website as ever, keep up the good work!

    PS – Any chance of you writing an autobiography of your time in F1 anytime soon? What about Allen on Button, just like Allen on Mansell!?

  31. alex m says:

    James, how could you ! I thought Luca Badoer’s reputation had been largely repaired by Fisichellas results in the same second Ferrari.

    Joking aside, there is some truth in that ? This season has been such an up and down experience for every single team out there, as a die hard F1 nut, even I am not trully sure where half the drivers come out of it.

    Does Lewis now stand tall as the best car developer there is ? The transformation of the McLaren has been the most dramatic of years ? Yes, I know so much is the team and the computers, but we will never have to listen to any Alonso fans drivel on that subject again…

    The field has been close, like those years when it tightens up due to the same regulations being enforced for a while, yet we just saw the biggest changes for ages.

    1. Raul says:

      He barely chooses his own race strategy!

      put that on maclaren account, please!

    2. williams4ever says:

      He drives Best whatever McLaren Offers him. Given the weird how the season panned out due to lack of in-season testing “Development” skills are not demonstrated, rather ability to drive anything given to him is established. The Parallel you can draw with how Kimi picked up Ferrari’s season after Massa’s freak accident at Hungary. Kimi has pretty much done the same.

      And as some one who is not Alonso Fan, One thing that differentiates Alonso and Lewis is Monza’09 last Lap. An Alonso would play smart and bring car home in points for team unlike some one with pure racing instinct who went chasing the car in front like a blind bat and binned the car. Lewis is more in Mould of JPM only difference is Lewis has complete confidence that his team will back whatever he does on the track, unfortunately the Colombian didn’t have that luxury. And that last ingredient of Confidence in Team can make or break the career of the driver and results that the driver can give his team…

      1. Philip T says:

        Lewis also has a world championship to his name. How anyone could mention his name in the same sentence as JPM without it reading ‘JPM, he was alright in the beginning but he’s no Lewis Hamilton’ is beyond me!

        There was a time I thought Juan Pablo would get a championship to his name but if he ever gets one now, I’m sorry, but I don’t rate driving in circles.

  32. Neal Rayner says:

    Kobyashi appears to have managed it. How much running has he had this year before he raced ?

    1. James Allen says:

      A lot in GP2, but you are right, he did well. That said, it was just one event and a rather odd one at that. I’d be interested to see whether he could keep that up race after race.

      1. guy says:

        toyota seem to be curiously dowplaying his long stint pace – assume this is for the sole benefit of the board to increase the offer to kimi?

      2. john g says:

        not really, if you look where he started and finished, and how many people ahead of him crashed out…

        i was a fan of his driving, but it wasn’t particularly fast.

  33. Andy Kitson says:

    Hi James

    Absolutely the right decision in my view. No rally driver should be allowed to step into an F1 racing car and race it (with 19 other open wheel cars around them on the grid) when they have only competed alone against the clock or in a couple of endurance LM appearances in sports cars (ie. closed wheels). A couple of F3 and two further GP2 type races should be the absolute minimum in my view. No doubting his driving ability at all, he is fantastic and could be good in racing one day, but race craft at a high and fast open wheel level is something he doesn’t have yet. Rally drivers have succesfully switched before – Vic Elford for example, but lots of saloon car and sports car racing experience first, not just two LM appearances.

    Kimi going the other way is totally different. Rallying is all about the driver and car against the conditions and the clock. No cars to race wheel to wheel with, all he endangers is himself and co-driver. That is the ultimate test of pure driving skill and a totally different discipline, not racing.

    1. George says:

      “all he endangers is himself and co-driver.”

      erm don’t forget the fans!

  34. Fuchsia says:

    damn, i was looking forward to seeing another sebastien on the grid.

  35. Jon Wilde says:

    Sorry for sending this message in a comments section, your email address does not seem to work.

    James

    Great Site! Thank you for your insight over the course of the year. Long may it continue!

    I don’t think I’m the only one confused by the engine situation for next year, I was hoping you might be able to provide some insight into the situation.

    Firstly, does anyone know if the Cosworth engine is going to be any good?

    Secondly, in recent news on F1 websites it has been published that Red Bull are considering the use of the Cosworth Engine for next year because the FIA have not confirmed if Mercedes will be permitted to supply more than 3 teams. This doesn’t really add up to me, Cosworth have been confirmed as engine supplier for the 4 new teams for next year and potentially Williams as well. Assuming all the teams actually make the grid they could be supplying 5 teams in total. How come Cosworth don’t have the same restrictions as Mercedes? I assume this is because they have been awarded the deal as supplier for the standard engine, but is this really the direction the sport should be taking? If the Cosworth engine is better than Renault or Toyota next year and we still have a year of engine development freeze. What incentive is there for either manufacturer to remain in the sport? They could be classified 12th & 13th rather than 5th & 6th .

    Thirdly and slightly off the topic of Engines, Toro Rosso was for sale at the beginning of the year, why don’t QadBak Sauber buy their place on the grid? Since Red Bull will be focusing even more on the A team next year surely now would be the right time to sell?

  36. Kenny Carwash says:

    I find it very hard to believe that whoever was orchestrating this move really thought that Loeb had any chance of being granted a Super Licence for Abu Dhabi. I’d very much like to see how a rally driver of Loeb’s calibre would fare in F1 (and the same applies to Valentino Rossi, for that matter), but there’s no way a driver from another discipline is going to be granted a Super Licence for a race weekend without extensive testing experience in current F1 machinery.

    If Toro Rosso are serious about this, they need to get Seb involved in their winter testing programme. Hopefully the FIA will figure out an arrangement whereby limited tests can be run for new drivers, perhaps by restricting new part during new driver tests or not counting their testing mileage to their permitted total.

    I suspect the FIA may still be reluctant to grant Loeb a Super Licence though, as his circuit racing experience is extremely limited. Testing will allow him to get to grips with F1 cars, but is there any substitute for years of karting and racing in lower open wheel formulae when it comes to developing a racer’s instincts?

  37. The Kitchen Cynic says:

    surely we’re not suggesting that the need to keep Toyota in the sport, which in turn needs a successful Japanese driver, led to any shenanigans?

    Will it be convenient, in a year or so, for the FIA to remember that it knew something was afoot a la Renault?

  38. Owen says:

    Seems like a lost opportunity to expand the spotlight on motorsports, let alone the promotional aspect for key partner Red Bull. All because of red tape / and FIA bureaucracy. For the good of the sport, they need to change so that these types of events are welcomed.

  39. Carl M says:

    It’s a shame he can’t compete in formula one, he would do alright. On the driver market I’m keen to see which way Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen go. Each driver will end up at Brawn or Mclaren, just a question of which one where. Be good to see Kimi in a Brawn or Mclaren either way.

  40. Henk Ensing says:

    So Loeb doesn’t make a guest appearance in F1 – who cares anyway? Amazing rally driver, but just as uninteresting as K.R..

    Rossi in F1, now that would have been something to get excited about. Shame it that won’t happen….

  41. JohnBt says:

    Never never ASSUME one can be in F1 just like that. Yes Kobayashi did well for his first race, there’s more to it than one race as we all know. FIA must allow more testing, unless they want a circus full of clowns. Those who think and feel they’re a cut for F1, better be careful if your wish comes true as it can BACKFIRE BIGTIME. In all motoracing F1 cars behave rather TWITCHY most times, easy to crash than keeping in line. Hope to see an improvement in 2010.

  42. Lady Snowcat says:

    I’d love to know how much the rather sad GP2 test affected Seb’s thoughts on the subject… after all he could have done what Kimi did and go to the panel as, let’s face it, he needed special dispensation as he didn’t have the automatic qualification…

    It’s also weird that Toro Rosso suggested they hadn’t been asked to give Seb a drive (even though he has the right name!)….

  43. Sebastien Leob takes his sixth wrc drivers championship in a row. This is supreme achievement in any world class sport. Its a pitty he’s not taking part in f1 this weekend. But due to limited f1 testing rules of 2009 I’m glad Sebastien is not giving it a go and its quite obvious that Michael Schumacher opted out for the same reasons.
    It would look bad to see both these world class drivers stuggle at the back of the grid and race. Maybe if the FIA changed the rules a bit to allow talented drivers to gain testing experience we could see a more exciting f1 emerging in 2010. I have been dissapointed this year by f1 when you hear great names coming into the sport and then hearing of their withdrawel again at the last minute.

    James could you give me your views on this?

    Sean Lorinyenko

    1. James Allen says:

      Good point Sean, like Schumacher you mean? It’s not as if the sport needed any injections of drama this season!

    2. Hi James, I think it will be difficult for any new or past drivers to come into f1 with limited testing. Do you believe Loeb responce that he’s misted his chance to come into f1?

      Regards, Sean Lorinyenko

      1. James Allen says:

        I do think it will be difficult, yes.

      2. Hi James,

        I keeping asking myself every year will Michael Schumacher ever race or test again in f1?

        What you think of his chances of returning for that 8th title?

        Sean Lorinyenko

      3. James Allen says:

        Montezemolo has been saying he’d like to see it next year in a third car if the new teams fail

  44. jonn foster says:

    Hello James,

    Toyota have now pulled out of f1 racing and Renault may do the same shortly. Do you think this will weaken the championship status and the 2010 f1 champion will have less value?

    Regards Jonn Foster

  45. jonn foster says:

    Hi James,

    Can Seb Leob make it 7 world titles in a row in 2010? Can you see Red Bull giving him another f1 test if he keeps winning?

    Jonn Foster

    1. James Allen says:

      Why not? Never say never

  46. jonn foster says:

    Hi James,

    Which is more difficult? Winning an f1 drivers championship or wrc drivers championship?

    Jonn Foster

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