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Here comes a new Fittipaldi
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Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Sep 2011   |  3:22 pm GMT  |  79 comments

For many years Emerson Fittipaldi held the record of the youngest world champion, until the new breed of Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel lowered the bar.

Now we need to keep an eye out for Emmo’s grandson Pietro, who has just won NASCAR Limited Late Model series at the age of….15!

Racing under a special licence, Fittipaldi minimus has come up through karts and this season entered the Limited Late Model series, a 24 round championship, which is a breeding ground for NASCAR stars of the future.

“I’m very proud, not because he is my grandson, but because he’s the first Brazilian to win this title and he’s very young,” said the two times world champion.


At the moment Pietro is saying that he wants to follow a path to NASCAR, but if he’s got real ability it may be that his grandfather – not to mention his uncle, Max Papis – will steer him towards open wheel cars and F1,

“I follow Formula One but found NASCAR to be more competitive,” Pietro told motorsport.com’s Nancy Knapp Schilke in July. “In F1 the ratio is 80/20 with 80% being the team and only 20% is the driver and there are only two to three top teams in F1 so it really depends on the team. But in NASCAR it is a 50/50 ratio for the team and the driver and most of the teams are very competitive.”

We’ll see how long he carries on thinking like that..

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  1. Williams4Ever says:

    “I follow Formula One but found NASCAR to be more competitive,” Pietro told motorsport.com’s Nancy Knapp Schilke in July. “In F1 the ratio is 80/20 with 80% being the team and only 20% is the driver and there are only two to three top teams in F1 so it really depends on the team. But in NASCAR it is a 50/50 ratio for the team and the driver and most of the teams are very competitive.”

    >> The younger generation is indeed very quick to learn facts of life :) All respect to the Young Fittipaldi and best wishes to him for whatever career path he chooses

    1. unococCC says:

      NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

      How can this be…. Formula 1 is 1 not *a**car!

      Brings him over, chukc him in a GP3 next year @ 16 years old. GP2 at 17. F1 at 18. Title by 19 and double by 20. As long as I don’t have to see vettel hold it

      1. Douglas says:

        love that

  2. goferet says:

    ”In F1 the ratio is 80/20 with 80%
    being the team and only 20% is the driver”
    ————————————————

    I can’t help but agree with the lad, obviously he’s mature way beyond his years.

    I mean, how else would you explain Vettel’s domination this year.

    It’s true F1 is anti competition by it’s very nature in that only the big teams (in most cases that do sell other products) will always win unlike Nascar where just about anyone good enough can win it irrespective of the car (If only it wasn’t on bloody ovals)

    And that’s why you had people like Aryton Senna chasing the fastest seat on the grid despite his talent, F1 is really bogus in this aspect for look, we even do not really know who’s better between Alonso, Button, Vettel, Hamilton or granpa Schumi simply because they haven’t got equal cars.

    I think Pietro will remain in Nascars for that’s where his passion is & where a driver’s passion is, that’s where he excels for instance Valentino Rossi quite couldn’t come to terms with an F1 car nor Sebastian Loeb.

    On the other hand Schumi couldn’t get to grips with motorbikes

    1. terryshep says:

      Considering his very limited chances to drive an F1 car, I think Sebastien Loeb came very close to competitive times. Don’t forget he managed 2nd at Le Mans and 7 consecutive world championships in WRC, probably shortly to be 8, shows that he is extremely talented behind the wheel.

      One might even ask if coping with tree-lined, ice or gravel covered roads at 130mph, without the luxury of knowing the road conditions before you get there, might not be a higher skill than that displayed by F1 drivers?

      Let’s just say they are different skills, but equally admirable.

      1. Neil Barr says:

        Two words: Robert Kubica.

      2. unococCC says:

        can you see, you just mentioned someone who isn’t the best at either rally nor f1. Loeb is better at WRC than Kubica at f1. Really noarguemnt, one is a nearly 8 times champion, the other hasn’t got anything near that. And Kubica isn’t close to WRC standings at all while Loeb seemed ok at F1.

      3. Neil Barr says:

        The question was raised: “… if coping with tree-lined, ice or gravel covered roads at 130mph, without the luxury of knowing the road conditions before you get there, might not be a higher skill than that displayed by F1 drivers?”
        It seemed obvious to me that Kubica’s experience answers that in the affirmative. We are in agreement on that point, although perhaps not on the effectiveness of brevity.

      4. C-M says:

        He was turned down for a super license oddly enough. Sauber wanted to give him a try.

    2. unococCC says:

      I can’t oder that list for you…

      “Alonso, Button, Vettel, Hamilton or granpa Schumi”

      It goes
      Alonso – smashing his teammate who nearly WDCed it.
      Vettel – making the most of his super brilliant super fast ultra reliable car. And relaxed when in the best seat in the house. Not so when he has the vaigest hint of competition (see the whole of 2010).
      Button – slower than hamilton but doesn’t crash. Both DNFs not his fault and still ahead by 20 odd points in teh standings
      Hamilton – constantly crashing this year. On pace higher than Button, but this year due to crashing is lower
      Schumacher – he’s being beaten by Rosberg quite a lot and with a bit of margin in there

  3. rvd says:

    Wow, good news, I hope he gives single seaters a shot.

  4. Stuart Harrison says:

    Sounds like a man who had his head screwed on at a very early age :)

    Is this 80/20 split a sentiment that is shared within F1? From an outsider’s perspective it’s tricky to tell the impact of car vs driven except when you have people making relatively large moves (recently Trulli from the front-running 2009 Toyota team to the back-marker 2010+ Lotus team).

    I suspect the global audience (and therefore potential earning capabilities) for F1 are much larger than for NASCAR?

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Given the prize money available in NASCAR you can make more money there than in F1.

  5. MISTER says:

    He does have a good point on the 2-3 top teams and the fact about 80/20 is not far off.

    Either way, I am sure we will hear about this chap again. The talent is there.

  6. zombie says:

    Unbelievable! How on earth did this scrawny kid even turn the wheel on that heavy behemoth? Hope he follows the footsteps of his grandpa and makes it F1 in 5 years time.

  7. John M says:

    As much as I don’t really care for NASCAR, I think he’s making a pretty wise statement. Pretty impressive from a 15-year old.

    1. Borg says:

      You should try Watkins Glen NASCAR race, it’s quite impressive to see these machines go on a street track. I wish they did it more. Montreal produced some cracking NASCAR road races.

      Also – go down to first row at an oval and stand there when a NASCAR field of 43 cars takes a green flag. It will bring fear of God into you. It’s simply insane!

      Go to any oval and take the NASCAR driving experience on – it will make you appreciate how hard these guys work over the long long race.

      I’m not going to argue for or against NASCAR, obviously I’m a big F1 fan. All I will say is that it offers a value and has a place. You don’t have to like rock music to be able to admit there is some darn great rock songs out there. I always find it a bit narrow minded when motorsport fans are locked into F1 only with blinders on to any other form of motorsport.

      1. Borg says:

        To be fair, I feel the same way when NASCAR fans are locked in their NASCAR world only.

      2. John M says:

        I’m not ignorant of NASCAR, I just don’t care for it much anymore. The rules have been shifted too much into contrivance for my taste. For instance, the use of yellow flags to bunch up the field is artificial to me. But then, this is exactly what young Fittipaldi was talking about and why it appeals to him. He doesn’t have to be in one of the top teams to have a chance. He makes a very good point about the drastic disparity in F1 compared to NASCAR.

        Also, I preferred the old days when the cars were actually real…heavily modified, sure…but they were still real cars. As for Watkins Glen, I’ve seen it…I much prefer nimble, lighter cars that look like they belong on a road course.

        Oh well, to each their own.

      3. Borg says:

        I think we often long for days gone by. NASCAR was better a while back. Even into the 90. So was CART, so was F1 in views of many. So was the music when you were young. And of course those wonderful retro cars.

        It’s hard to stop progress. Even in NASCAR you have F1 type engineering now and serious work on aero. But you’re right, it doesn’t take much convincing to appreciate the days gone by.

        I did not mean the ignorant comment toward you – it was a general comment. Whenever NASCAR gets brought up it gets a hard time on F1 sites. At least you(and James) had a “taste” bofore you said “it’s not for me”. Many don’t even have that taste before they pronouce it DOA.

  8. Dave Aston says:

    Pretty freakish to win a series like that so young, there would be some pretty hard guys there to race against. I always thought it was funny that Emerson won two world titles so young, but then raced karts in Brazil after he left F1. I think he won a championship at 36, racing against teenagers, before he went to the CART or INDYCAR series, or whatever it was called then. I’m pretty sure Scott Dixon won the NZ Formula Vee title at 13, he got special dispensation to do the series. And Graham Hill didn’t even drive a road car until he was 24? Brock started racing at 22, won his first Bathurst 500 at 27 in 1972, and the Bathurst 24 hours in 2003 at 58. Jimi Hendrix didn’t pick up the guitar until he was 15… I’ll stop now… Go Pietro!

  9. terryshep says:

    Here come the kids, indeed! If you look at the bike GPs, as I know you do, James, you’ll see Maverick Viñales, the latest Spanish babe, winning GPs as a rookie at age 16 and Marc Márquez, who at age 18 has strung together 7 Moto2 wins this season in succession (sound familiar?) and is scheduled to go up to the MotoGP class next year with the Yamaha satellite team. They’re the wave of the future.

    In case you think it can’t happen here, remember that our present champion was only 19 yrs old when he started in F1.

  10. Jimmi C says:

    It’s good to see these names coming back. We’ve had two Hills (excluding Phil), two Villeneuves, two Sennas… maybe two Mansells and two Katayamas in the future?

    (Also: I misread the title of this at first to say “Here comes a new Fisichella.” My first thought was ‘So what?’

    Sorry Giancarlo…)

  11. Disgrace says:

    I enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis James, and I’m not a fan of NASCAR, but I find the tone of this article to be somewhat condescending towards NASCAR. The final line comes across like a snide remark, even if it wasn’t meant to be.

    Anyway, continued thanks for your blog James.

    1. James Allen says:

      No disrespect intended, sorry

      1. Liam in Sydney says:

        I did not get that impression when first reading it.

        Just that when you know you are better than first thought, some people (particularly racing drivers who tend to be an ambitious and competitive lot) start to look outside the square at harder challenges.

    2. Col says:

      James is a fan of F1. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t try to hide that fact.

  12. DJH584 says:

    We have a “new” Senna in a F1 seat, so why not a “new” Fittipaldi as well?

    Whatever Pietro decides to do, I wish him every success. I hope that Emerson does not pressure Pietro into F1 and that he is allowed to naturally progress through his chosen route.

    Regards

    David

  13. mo kahn says:

    Commendable :)

    See? there is a life outside Britain and a better one :)

  14. jmv says:

    is Max Papis married into the Fittipaldi family?

    1. James Allen says:

      Married to Pietro’s Mum’s sister, apparently

      1. Robie says:

        I would have thought Christian Fittipaldi would have been a greater influence on F1 than uncle Max.

  15. Werewolf says:

    If Pietro can fill his grandfather’s shoes in any category, he will be a great man. I would love to see him successful in F1, though.

    F1 statistics are simple compared to genealogy – Emerson has children younger than this grandchild. Anyone remember “I’m My Own Grandpa” (Lonnie Donegan, I think), or am I just getting old?

  16. ronmon says:

    You can’t reasonably argue with the kid’s math from any angle.

    There are no more than six or eight competitive seats in F1 at any given time. In a year like this, there are really only two. When Alonso, Hamilton and Button can only eke out a win when RBR makes a mistake there is obviously no parity in the series. I’m not complaining, because the “manufacturer” setup of F1 makes it that way. But Pietro sees this and knows that the odds of ending up in one of those very few seats is not favorable. Even then, he would have to be lucky enough to end up in the team that happened to have the edge during his tenure there.

    Now consider NASCAR’s Sprint Cup. I know, it’s mainly on ovals and I prefer road courses just like most of you. But out of 28 races this year they have had 15 different winners that include 6 multiple winners and 4 first timers.

    This intelligent young man wants to win races and championships. He figures that his best chance is with NASCAR and I don’t disagree.

    For what it’s worth, I think the best racing anywhere is the Aussie V8 Super Cars. If we had a series like that in the US with a full schedule and good TV coverage I would never watch an oval race again.

    1. Neil Barr says:

      Challenge accepted.

      When Vettel sold his soul to Dieter Mateschitz his expectations of a “can’t-lose seat” must have been far short of his present enviable position. Certainly not a gamble Pietro would have taken, but then who dares, wins.

      Let’s compare the top seats in NASCAR and F1. How many different championship winning teams there have been over the last 7 years (this year included)?
      In F1 the answer is 5. [as, for our purposes, McLaren is effectively 07 WCC]
      In NASCAR the odds are much better than 3 to 12 that the team that fielded the 2011 Cup champ will be same one that won the previous 5 years. So the answer is probably 3, maybe 2.
      Conclusion: the presumption of NASCAR offering a greater chance of ultimate success is demonstrably wrong.

  17. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    No mention of Piquet Jnr yet…

      1. mac says:

        Why the LOL?
        Piquet Jr is a tough little fighter, and has had a pretty good rookie year. It’s a very British thing to make fun of NASCAR and oval racing, (and anyone with a modicum of success, if I’m to be honest) but you’re missing out on some damn competitive, strategic, balls-out racing, Piquet this year proved he has the mettle and the fight, which is a heck of a lot more than could be said of the ‘beloved’ Raikkonen, who ran away with his tail between his legs and burned a few bridges in the process. LOL
        Anyway, look forward to tracking the young man’s career, whatever discipline he chooses.

      2. Craig says:

        Mac, I respect your comments. I think you may be forgetting that the driver in question compromising not only his safety but that of his fellow competitors and any innocent race fans that could have been injured. In my view that is unforgivable. That being said, I have no ill will against the driver. I am in no way ‘making fun of Nascar’ which I enjoy immensely. Its great to see basic, less technical formula to F1.
        Craig from Scotland.

  18. bmg says:

    James, for a 15 year old he really did some up the biggest challange for F1.

    Closing the gab between the best and the rest.

    P.S
    I to thought your last comment was uncalled for.

  19. For sure says:

    Congrats to the kid and no disrespect to NASCAR. I can never understand what exactly is the challenge there? You just drive around the ovals.
    If it wasn’t for the car, what makes one driver faster than another? Again I am not trying to insult them, I would appreciate some constructive answers.

    1. Mark says:

      Ovals may have a simple shape (they’re not necessarily 100% oval!) but they’re still corners to get around the fastest way possible and that means the best line, tyre management, car setup, strategy – all things that need skill.

    2. Quercus says:

      The strategies and the skills might be different but any racing where you’re dicing on the limit of adhesion is racing. If you were comparing circuit racing with drag racing I’d probably ask the same question.

      I assume young Pietro has done the usual karting thing — so I guess his skills are well honed.

    3. mac says:

      “I can never understand what exactly is the challenge there? You just drive around the ovals.”
      Really?
      At 160-190mph, with 800+hp, very limited tech, in a big ol’ heavy chassis that reqires constant input, little downforce, and 42 other drivers on track, sometimes 3 wide, for 300-500miles? Yeh, no challenge at all…
      I tell you, one lap as a passenger in that environment will have you needing new britches. I guarantee you’ll walk away with more respect for this discipline than you have now.

      1. For Sure says:

        Mate, it would be unwise to make certain assumptions. I do kf2 and Muay Thai. So let me get this straight, a man who can do 30 laps in a kf2 or a few rounds in the ring would have trouble in a NASCAR for one lap, which is literally four wide corners? Again you just proved my point.
        What I was asking is the general perception of many f1 fans or even the drivers. Surely nothing is easy, even WWE isn’t.

    4. Ben says:

      Skill and bravery I suspect.

    5. For Sure says:

      Ok I will be more specific, surely it is challenging for us but I am talking about pro racers..
      I mean those corners at that speed, is it really challenging for gp2 drivers, moto gp riders or rally drivers?
      If I remember correctly, we have seen 50 years olds racing in NASCAR

      1. Borg says:

        I felt this way at one point, then I drove 12 laps around Michigan International in a Nationawide car at about 50mph less than race speed, you appreciate what it takes for a pro suddenly to do this for 250 laps.

        Remember, it’s 500 miles in many cases, at some 300km/h+ for long streatches. This is why they race on ovals, not even an F1 car can go itno a turn at 300km/h. Skill, line selection, equipment management, strategy, and it’s really physical. There are many appeals to it. But from the three races I attended, and fans I spoke with, the feedback I got is that they still believe in every-day guy being able to take part in the sport. Infact, you can drive lower class cars at the same tracks NASCAR goes to for a few hundred dollars – no chance you’ll ever do that in an F1 car. I did win against Schumacher in a Ferrari a few years back, in my dream.

        NASCAR cars are preceived as simple, there is no crazy aids and computers, there is a high level of control of rules, and it’s got a brute strength to it. Guys run out with tires, hold gas cans on their shoulders, fix cars with hammers, and muscle the car around the track. It has a preception of a “man’s sport” – Rock and Roll, guitar and drums. Where F1 is an engineer’s sport – Techno music, drum machine and synth. To each is own. As I said above, they contrast, and both can be enjoyed equaly by one person.

      2. For Sure says:

        Thanks for the informative answer. I guess it’s more of a endurance racing where fitness is equally as important, if not more important than actual driving itself. I for one don’t believe that every day guy cannot drive 30laps in a high level kart. The reason? Well, every turn is almost equalvelent to a push up, so 10 turns mean 10 push ups. 10 laps mean 100 push ups or something like that. So I can imagine it must be very hard to do 250 laps in a NASCAR.

    6. Alex W says:

      There is a different skill involved, an example is Montoya, we all know he can drive, but he has only won on NASCAR racetracks, not ovals, and Australian Ambrose, only wins on racetracks, never ovals, the the Americans are really good at turning left….

  20. Lez Martin says:

    Your last comment James, I think is justified, if he was to move up the ranks through to F1, I am sure it becomes a more of a dog eat dog world,which can change your way of thinking.
    We can see, that he must eat, sleep and poop motor racing, after all he has the pedigree, seemingly its something he enjoys, and he hasnt been pushed into it, though maybe he is going to be pushed towards either Indy or F1 in the future, as that looks to be the family wishes.
    We will watch this space with baited breath….

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m being selfish – if the kid is the real deal we want him in F1, not NASCAR, which I personally don’t watch. I spent a year in the USA covering Mansell in IndyCar and loved the ovals, Michigan, Indy etc. It’s a great skill being fast on those.

      I went to Pocono for the NASCAR race but didn’t enjoy it. But I can understand the attraction of racing in a series where the car is less important to the outcome.

      1. John M says:

        Agree. I think it would be pretty cool if the F1 circus had two oval races on the calender. One at Indianapolis and one on a short oval. I remember watching some great CART races (before the CART/IRL split) at the short ovals where there was great racing…three wide at times. I think a long oval and a short oval would provide a really interesting challenge for F1 drivers and teams.

      2. Borg says:

        If nothing else Red Bull should take the Monza spec to Indy and try to set an FIA race legal configuration speed record. I’d be curious. But with all the downforce, F1 probably wouldn’t want to because it may give credibility to the IRL. Wiki says BAR set the F1 speed record in Benneville at 246mph in a highly modified not FIA race legal car. De Feran qualified a car into a race at 241mph – a legal qualifying car at an over race track back in 2000. And the reguarly run close to 230mph.

      3. PeteM says:

        No have to disagree. F1 is about many things of which oval racing isnt one of them and pretty sure would never be. I think it would be a waste of F1 technology as it would serve no purpose. Then again did we ever think there would be a night race in F1 10 years ago.

      4. Rudy Pyatt says:

        And those 230mph qualifying speeds at Indy reflect the four-lap average. The fastest point on any given lap during the qualifying run would be well over that speed.

        I agree completely with both of you, John M and Borg. In the CART era, I remember Autosport describing the cars as “heavier than their F1 counterparts, but more versatile.” I’d add that by definition, this was also the case with the drivers. Not “better than,” but certainly more versatile. Racing – let alone winning – at Elkhart Lake, Laguna Seca, Long Beach, Milwaukee and Indianapolis in the same season is a combination of challenges that no other open-wheel series, including F1, has ever approached, with one exception: The USAC National Championship, which raced on short and long paved ovals (Indy and Milwaukee included); road courses; short and long dirt ovals; and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

        I would love to see F1 take on a couple of ovals per year (Indy and Milwaukee? Heck, Rockingham and Lausitz are going to waste as ovals) much as NASCAR tackles Sears Point and Watkins Glen each season. Bernie will NEVER, EVER, EVER let that happen, and I’m skeptical that most of the teams and drivers would be the least bit interested in doing it, but it’s nice to dream. Maybe if Brooklands had survived, the European racing establishment (and fans) would have a better opinion of oval racing.

        For what it’s worth, I believe that Adrian Newey cut his teeth as a race engineer for Bobby Rahal in the ’80s. It doesn’t seem to have done him any harm. And now that I think of it, taking an RB7 to Indy and turning some laps for the hell of it is the kind of stunt that fits with Red Bull’s image.

        James, maybe that’s an off-season story? Team by team, driver by driver, is there anyone (other than Newey and Red Bull? Patrick Head, maybe?) currently participating in F1 who would seriously consider racing an F1 car on an oval? What (other than cubic $$$$$$$$) do they say would get them interested in trying it? Does anyone in the FOTA establishment agree that racing on an oval would be a good opportunity to showcase the engineering excellence and innovation of the teams? Do any of the drivers express fear at the thought of racing on an oval, or do any of them relish the idea of that challenge? I assume that Lewis does relish the thought of it, even if no other driver does.

      5. James Allen says:

        It’s such a different challenge. Bernie offered $1 million once for a shoot out between Indy and F1, when Mansell was over there making headlines. This debate raged at the time then, as I recall

      6. Andrew Carter says:

        Couldnt happen, you have to build the cars up specifically for ovals with a completely different aero and asymmetric suspension package, and an F1 car would probably need a new gearbox as well.

        Considering they’re trying to cut costs in F1 this looks like an extremely expensive endever for just two races or a demo run.

      7. Borg says:

        Oval racing is like Roman gladiators – arena metal vs. metal combat. Can an F1 fan imagine seeing the whole track from one seat?

        Also, what we haven’t said here is that America knows and loves oval racing. Why not give the American people what they want? OK, F1 does what it can to not be me too motorsport and it clearly believes in it’s product, but Americans would be introduced through a marketing effort to promote itself. Non championship off season round? Few teams doing an oval/road course challenge? Think a bit outside the box for the US market. No modern era F1 car has run an oval. Why not do it to show how fast they are? Better IndyCar while V8s are here. There is no manufacturer conflict.

      8. Lez Martin says:

        I watched NASCAR in the days When there was Screensport, and Eurosport was free to air, but it soon become tiresome, partly because of the dodgy picture quality, partly because of the Ovals, (which does suit open wheel racing better).
        I was a big fan of the Indy series,(at one point there was Cart and IRL), when it was also free to watch, (and find it hard to get a live feed free online), and would have liked to see Franchitti in F1, along with possibly Danica Patrick.
        I too would like to see Pietro in F1, but that may come later rather than sooner?

      9. Borg says:

        I agree with you that the NASCAR races are too long. You have to dedicate the entire Sunday – and I think this is part of the challange for some fans. They don’t have time to watch the whole thing. But if you drop a nap into the mix, it’s an enjoyable motorsport Sunday.

        But on your later point – I would like to see a woman in F1. But Danica is business minded driver – she would come to F1 with Mercedes or another top team, but she won’t come into F1 just to be in F1. She knows she has a goal to be in top 10 in the very least.

      10. Victor says:

        Just a comment on F1 racing on ovals. F1 is not (not with the V8s, by any means) the fastest car on a straight or an oval – even some supercars are faster. However, for one thing no other car can give you 5g of braking/cornering force (that’s the magic of F1), for the other thing F1 cars are not designed to run on ovals: their powertrain will certainly blow up, their brakes will cool down far too much, their downforce becomes nearly useless. Technically, ovals and F1 tracks are two worlds apart.

  21. CGM says:

    Excellent result for such a young lad.

    Smart kid too : Not many youngsters simply decide that pursuing the ultimate dream of becoming world champion is just not worth the effort as the chances of success are too slim.
    So good luck to him in his desire to fill his trophy cabinet.

    Personally, if I was his age with his name and with his backing, I’d be chasing the only championship that counts : the ones that has the word “World” in front of it.
    But that’s just me of course !

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Saddly its championship that doesnt mean much in America yet, unlike the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

      1. CGM says:

        Yep, and I really can’t see that F1 will ever take hold in the US whilst there are no teams or drivers to create media interest. I reckon that The Debacle Formerly Known As Team US F1 will scare-away a lot of US investors for a long time to come. Hopefully Austin can re-generate some interest, get something happening, and get some US teams and drivers into F1.

  22. Andrew Carter says:

    I think he’s vastly underestimating the team aspect of NASCAR. I’m not a fan of the series, but even I know that if your not in one of the cars at Richard Childress Racing, Roush-Fenway, Joe Gibbs, Penske and Stewart-Haas you havnt got a chance at going for the Sprint Cup (just look at Montoya in the Ganassi car, he had a good 2010 but thats it). Each team will build something like 20 cars over the course of the season, taylored to the requirments of different track types (road courses, superspeedways (2+ mile ovals), speedways (1.5 mile ovals), bull rings etc)and the level of technology used is comparable to F1. Yes, you will have a better chance of winning the odd race over there with smaller teams, but he’ll also find himslef running outside the top 20 for much of the year as well. Pietro clearly has a lot of talant to win such a series at a young age, but he also has a lot to learn about motorsport, starting with the fact that it doesnt matter what series you race in you only run at the front regularly in a top team.

    1. Dan says:

      He knows that. This is why he said it is 50/50.

  23. Marc says:

    It would seem NASCAR and F1 fans enjoy a different style of racing. Each camp feels their is better and each camp is right. You like what you like and no amount of arguments is going to change that. I follow F1, GP2 and WRC closely. The 24 hours of Le mans, moto gp, le Dakar and the Indy 500 are the other racing events I for most part can’t see on tv, but last to see the results. Each requires a different approach. In each of the above and for all other motor racing races, specific skills are required in each racing class. Are the f1 champ the best race drivers in the world? Apples and oranges. When I read that some see F1 as employing the best racers in the world. La creme de la creme. I smile. Half if not more of the present field of F1 drivers, could be replaced with countless more talented counterpart if not for the fact that talent is not enough in F1. It has to be supplemented with money import. Sad really but it is so.
    As for Pietro I hope he gets to follow the path he wants. If he so chooses to follow the F1 path, I shall look forward to see him there.
    James, as well as you posters. Is there a blog about wrc, of the quality of this one? Thank you. Marc

  24. Bec says:

    It says more about nascar (limited) than the diver, if it can be won by a school kid.

  25. Jarv027 says:

    Is it just me or is anyone else sick of seeing all these kids of champions or nephews like bruno (my real surname is not senna) coming through. They’ve all been born with a silver spoon in their mouths and would like to do what daddy and grandaddy used to do. There must be loads of talented youngsters out there who are fast but because they havent the money or contacts like daddy fittipaldi they dont make it. Even brundle keeps us updated every week on how his son is getting on in racing!
    Seriously can anyone name a son of a racing driver who has been better than his father???

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      How about Jenson Button?

    2. Rudy Pyatt says:

      I think one can safely say that Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarret were better than their fathers. By large margins – and Lee and Ned were NASCAR greats themselves. And Louis Unser was legendary (especially at Pike’s Peak), but Bobby, Al and Al Jr. became legends in their own right.

      I don’t rate Michael Andretti at anywhere near the level of Mario (USAC title, Sebring winner, F1 World Champion, Daytona 500 winner), and certainly Marco hasn’t gotten to elite status yet. And Dale Jr. is solid and competitive, but nowhere near his father’s quality.

      I know of nothing close to that in European racing, period. Especially in F1, my impression is that successive generations rarely even attempted to move into F1 until fairly recently (Brundle, the Mansel brothers, the late Henry Surtees). Thus far, significant success has been rare. Damon Hill and JV, I guess, unless you go back to the Ascaris, are the only ones that come to mind. Even there, let’s face it: Graham Hill won the WDC, Monaco and Indy (LeMans too? Someone help me out). Damon was an excellent driver, but his career took place in the Age of Specialization and can’t be considered on par with his dad’s, if only for that reason. Even if he had the excellence across disciplines that his father had, he never had a chance to show it.

      1. Tony Lowe says:

        Alberto, son of Antonio Ascari. Damon, son of Graham Hill, Christian, son of Wilson Fittipaldi, Just a few European parent/child combos in F1, off the top of my head.

    3. Rodger says:

      You see this in all sports, and it’s rare that the offspring matches, or exceeds the accomplishments of their seniors. The only ones I can think is Peyton Manning in the NFL, and Matweather in boxing, but I’m sure there are others in sports I don’t follow.

      It’s kind of like horse racing. People will pay lots of money for an unproven colt who is the grandson of a Kentucky Derby winner just on pedigree.

    4. Daniel Gomes says:

      That’s actually a pretty good question.

      I think Damon Hill really stand out as a great racer with tons of speed and a sharp racecraft to his name.

      Other than that, Villeneuve also drove superbly in 1996 and 1997. No arguing here about how his father was much better, but Jacques wouldn’t win Indy and F1 one after another if he wasn’t VERY special.

    5. Dan says:

      It doesn’t happen only in sports but with every profession. Come on… doctors, carpenters, politicians, etc. If the father is great, the kid will have all the support, all the (excellent) coaching from the very start; the kid will be involved in the profession affairs, he needs only to like being involved – and who wouldn’t like to be a F1 driver?! And which F1 driver wouldn’t like his offspring to excel at what they do too? Don’t blame them, it isn’t their fault they were born “with a silver spoon”!

    6. Dino says:

      Dear Jarv,

      Bruno was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His racing career has been even more difficult than most unknown youngsters, because after the death of his uncle and his father he was not allowed to race any more until when he was 18 y/o, that he started to race without any family support or money…

      1. Jarv027 says:

        Would he had made into f1 without using his great uncle’s name??

  26. SomeOtherMonkey says:

    This is a ten car, one track (Hickory Speedway), Championship. A quarter mile, small, oval. Kind of like a ‘Knock Hill NASCAR championship’. He’s off to a good start but has a long long way to go yet.

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