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James Calado taken on by Massa’s manager
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James Calado
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Apr 2013   |  4:51 pm GMT  |  25 comments

Rising star James Calado’s chances of making the move up to Formula 1 have been boosted by a deal to be managed by Nicolas Todt, whose All Road Management group manages Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi.

Nicolas is the son of FIA president Jean Todt and also a shareholder in ART Grand Prix, a front running team in GP2 and other categories. Calado is currently driving for ART GP in the GP2 series.

Calado, 23, competed with current Williams F1 driver Valterri Bottas for the GP3 title two seasons ago and last year won two races in his first season of GP2. He is one of the front-runners this year, although he blotted his copybook in Malaysia by causing an accident at the start, which brought him a grid penalty in Bahrain. Nevertheless he is expected to compete for the title and seasoned observers in the F1 paddock have him on their radar.

Todt said, “I am delighted to have James join ARM. Through my role at ART Grand Prix team for whom James is currently in his second year racing in GP2, I have been strongly impressed by his talent, attitude and level of commitment since his very successful GP3 campaign. I hope that James will fight for the GP2 title and prove that he deserves to enter the F1 elite. I wish to thank the RSF founder, Graham Sharp and Derek Walters for their contribution: the RSF (Racing Steps Foundation) has sustained and guided James towards his successful racing career and will continue to be a strategic partner for the further development of his career.”

Calado has thus far benefitted from backing from the not for profit Racing Steps Foundation, established by Graham Sharp and Derek Walters, which was established to help young British drivers find opportunities at the top level of motorsport.

With seats in F1 now so dependent on drivers bringing budget, these are difficult times for young drivers to break in, however much talent they have. But there are teams like Force India which give young drivers a chance to run on Fridays in practice sessions at Grands Prix and there is the Young Guns Test at Silverstone in the summer, where Calado is likely to have a chance to get some F1 seat time, brokered by Todt.

Incidentally, although Force India has started the season without a reserve driver in the car on Fridays, after Jules Bianchi’s signing by Marussia, they will soon be filling that slot. Deputy team principal Robert Fernley confirmed in Bahrain to this website that the team will soon be announcing the identity of the reserve driver.

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25 Comments
  1. goferet says:

    Yes, I can confidently predict that James Calado will make that huge leap to F1 for with a manager like Nicolas Todt, one can’t go wrong >>> This is where connections and not necessarily money make a difference.

    And yes, Nicolas has had a good eye for talent for with Massa, Maldonado and Jules on his CV, he has been pretty much spot on (e.g. Massa fought for the title in 2008).

    So now, with James slated to move up the ladder, some F1 drivers better start pulling up their socks because the guillotine is getting prepared.

    Regards Force India’s mode of business, I do not agree with it because their official drivers need all their running time on Friday to dail in the cars as shown by the fact the official drivers aren’t always happy to hand over their cars as the possibility of damaging their car is always on the cards.

    In my view, reserve drivers only need that Silverstone/Abu-Dhabi test to show what they got and if they get the call, they can horn their skills a little more during winter testing.

    1. Random 79 says:

      +1

    2. Wheels says:

      What up goferet!

      I see Calado as the most obvious talent of the British drivers in the lower formula. Just needs to rid himself of the occasional brain fades….

      1. goferet says:

        @ Wheels

        Hey man.

        Yes, I agree with your assessment.

        As for Calado’s brain fade moments, that will iron itself out with experience.

  2. Irish con says:

    I rate James higher than Max Chilton. And if max is in f1 then James will be there eventually also. I think it was in Valencia last year calado was walking it but the safety car screwed him and also he broke down in silverstone and would of made a difference in the end of season standings and people’s opinions of him.

  3. From “speedtv.com” regarding Force India:

    Luiz Razia is hoping to return to Formula One by the end of 2013.

    The Brazilian came tantalizingly close to making his Grand Prix debut this year, signing with Marussia but then losing the drive when his sponsors failed to pay.

    Now, the 24-year-old has told Jovem Pan radio he is in talks with Force India about becoming a test and Friday practice driver.

    “The possibility is there,” said Razia.

    “Force India is very interested in doing this project. But – strangely enough – I need sponsorship.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Can’t see it happening…but I might be wrong :)

  4. Rich B says:

    If it helps him get to F1 that’s great news, I think he outshone his team-mate Esteban Gutierrez last year

    1. ferggsa says:

      I did not watch the season and can not tell, but Gutierrez did end up higher in the standings 3rd vs 5th
      Gutierrez does seem lost with Sauber this year

      1. sjd1992 says:

        He did, but James had much more bad luck than Esteban which cost him in the end.

        He lost a dominant win in Valencia due to a safety car (which Gutierrez inherited), then in the sprint race the same weekend was hit whilst leading and damaged the car, causing him to lose the win to Razia on the last lap. He broke down at Silverstone as well and suffered food poisoning at Singapore which lost him any chance of points. Without that (amongst a couple of other issues) he would’ve finished third easily.

        If James can find the form of last year and put together a challenge for the title again then I can’t see why he doesn’t deserve to be in F1. I think he has more natural talent than all the current crop of rookies (Bianchi apart, and just on a par with Bottas) and would thrive at the top level.

        On Gutierrez, I think he needs a bit of time to find his feet. He’s still only 21 and going straight up against a teammate like Hulkenberg is making him look worse than he actually is. Of course, errors like in China need to go, but given a few more races I can see him beginning to hold his own a bit more at this level.

      2. Louis says:

        Speed wise Bianchi is on another level but Calado is a very, very smart driver and he’s proving it in GP2 with his fabulous tyre management. He’s probably the only driver I rate highly in this year championship, all the others have been around too long, last year he was in the title hunt for most of the year so that was impressive for a rookie and very rare in the recent years as pay driver were like 4 or 5 years in this series. On a more negative note, he was pretty much smash into pieces by jev in F3 anyway he’s by far the best prospect for great britain and he’s is joigning an elite group with as college probably the next great ferrari driver and like a said he may not be a Hamilton or a Bianchi in terms of speed but his smartness with the pirelli tyre will compense it, similar to Button but a bit faster. Still way above Chilton, Guiterrez, Van Der Garde…

    2. Simon Donald says:

      Esteban Gutierrez isn’t performing very well this season I don’t think. He is only a few races in so one needs to give him a chance but he certainly is being outclassed by the Hulk. Sauber do seem to have taken a step backwards this season in performance tho (or more accurately, others seem to have taken a bigger step forward particularly Force India).

    3. yoshif8tures says:

      Esteban has been very disappointing. I really feel that Kamui would’ve got more out of the car and at least some points on the table. I hope he can make a comeback to F1 just like Sutil did this year.

    4. Random 79 says:

      I don’t get to see any GP2 and I don’t mean to be negative, but frankly it doesn’t surprise me to hear that he outperformed Gutierrez.

      It’s true that new drivers can’t rely on pure talent these days – by the sounds of it some teams could go bust without the added income – but ideally we should be seeing drivers with sponsorship and talent.

      Seem Calado might fit the bill – best of luck to him :)

  5. Rich C says:

    I’ll say this for only about the millionth time: how can this possibly not be a conflict of interest?

    When your personal manager is also the team boss or a big stakeholder it just reeks.

    How do they arrive at an equitable contract for the driver when they are in effect negotiating with themselves?

    1. James Allen says:

      You could look at it another way, if the team owner also manages the driver he can keep costs under control

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        How about Calado being a Lotus test driver with a view to a future seat, Mr Allen? Not to replace Kimi obviously.

      2. Rich C says:

        Exactly the point: perhaps it’s in the *team’s interest, but that’s not necessarily the *driver’s best interest.

        Can you imagine a footballer’s Team manager being his own personal manager, too?

        What do they do when its time to negotiate a new contract? Does he run around the table and sit at a different chair when he’s speaking for the player and then run back to the other seat to speak for the Team?

      3. Rich C says:

        And how on earth does the Manager check out the possibilities at other teams?

    2. alexyoong says:

      Less conflict of interest, more securing of both parties’ interests. Given the aim is to secure a seat, rather than necessarily secure top dollar, there isn’t any conflict. Both driver and team owner/manager want the same thing. If they don’t, then they part ways.

      On the other hand, someone like Briatore managing Webber when the former was in charge of Renault was a potential conflict. If you don’t get him into Renault, do you necessarily want him in another top team challenging Renault? What’s more important, success of Renault or success of Webber for someone in Briatore’s position? Got to be the former, so therefore got to be a potential conflict.

    3. Oliver W says:

      Todt is only now both team boss and manager. Contracts to drive for ART were signed at least three months ago so no conflict there. Obviously Colado care of Todt will be looking for an F1 opening in 2014 but as Todt/ART do not own or run a F1 team once again no conflict.

  6. mhilgtx says:

    Well good luck to James.

    On to Force India, I think the idea I heard somewhere of allowing the teams to have a 3rd car run P1 only as a test bed and driver development car is a really good idea. Not sure how much more cost there would be here but it would sure add some value to those that come to the race on Friday’s.

  7. Martin says:

    Hi James,

    I’m curious on the sponsorship side as to how much of a role Todt will play. Bianchi is French and Calado is British so they will be slightly different markets, but it would seem that they are largely competing for the same market and at the moment unless Ferrari picks up the tab for Bianchi, both drivers need to bring money to an F1 team.

    Todt, through Massa in particular, would be connected to the the Middle Eastern sponsorship market. How would he present these two drivers to an Abu Dhabi investor?

    Could Calado end up with a situation where after two seasons in GP2, Todt uses all his sponsorship contacts to get Bianchi a Force India drive but cannot afford to then place Calado in a decent FR3.5 team? Will racing steps be forced to contribute?

    Or looking at it from Todt’s perspective, having got Bianchi into F1, is that enough for his managemnt brand, and having a demonstrated record of several drivers into F1 is better than maintaining a driver’s career? I’d imagine that Massa’s Ferrari history has made Todt reasonably rich by most standards, so his main goal would be to keep in business rather than put one large bet on one driver being an F1 race winner.

    All just food for thought.
    Cheers,
    Martin

  8. Andrew M says:

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t know Maldonado was part of the Todt stable of drivers. As if having a country pay for your drive wasn’t enough of a leg up…

  9. Ed H. says:

    I must admit this is good news as I’m a big fan of James Calado, ever since I went to the season finale of 2010 F3 at Brands where James won in increasingly wet conditions on a day when Jean Eric Vergne binned it in the gravel trap. (And we all know how good J.E.V. is in the wet) I’m not saying he’s the next Jim Clark or Jenson Button based on just one race, but he’s getting there as he is definitely a wet-weather specialist like them. Last year he was the best rookie in GP2 by far, and he is definitely better than Max Chilton, who I think is less consistent and much more of a ‘Pay-driver’ (Although this term is used so loosely now that it seems just an umbrella term for a slow driver who people feel shouldn’t be there) than Calado. (He is no Rodafolo Gonzalez or Ma Qing Hua)

    It would be great to see him in F1 but it’s a shame when people focus on the negatives such as the Malaysia crash (A racing incident, penalty was very harsh I think but he will learn from it) as there’s genuine talent in there, it just needs an opportunity to be harnessed and nurtured, which is what Todt seems to offer.

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