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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:38 pm 
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He is one of my favorite all time racers, but I still can't wrap my head around why he did so poorly in F1. I know the obvious answer is that he came to a more difficult series (F1) from a lesser series (CART) with more talented drivers. And on the surface that makes sense, but as you really start to dive into the topic of what makes a successful F1 driver, a good car/team is EXTREMELY important. (look how Michael did with his come back, Vettel, Alonso, Button, etc...). In some ways I think that CART racing may be a more accurate indicator regarding how good the driver is/was in relation to other CART drivers, since there are typically only 1-2 engines, 1-2 chassis and the parity is MUCH closer than F1. Do we really believe that Hamilton is 2 seconds faster than Massa, Hulkenberg, Alonso or Button? That being said, Alex dominated for so many races, against guys that are pretty good racers and very similar equipment.

For some reason, I kind of wonder if it was a bad match for his driving ability and the F1 car. Some people say he drove too hard and you can't push the F1 car like you can a CART car. I never understood that, but as I have been racing Karts over the past few years, you realize that some chassis you are actually faster in if you drive 90% (Tony Kart).

This is a topic that you just can't talk to an average sports fan and have a dialogue, so I pose this question to the enthusiasts. What do you think the reason(s) Alex didn't perform as well in F1 as CART or even close to it?

I look forward to your opinions and replies.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:26 am 
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rodH wrote:
He is one of my favorite all time racers, but I still can't wrap my head around why he did so poorly in F1. I know the obvious answer is that he came to a more difficult series (F1) from a lesser series (CART) with more talented drivers. And on the surface that makes sense, but as you really start to dive into the topic of what makes a successful F1 driver, a good car/team is EXTREMELY important. (look how Michael did with his come back, Vettel, Alonso, Button, etc...). In some ways I think that CART racing may be a more accurate indicator regarding how good the driver is/was in relation to other CART drivers, since there are typically only 1-2 engines, 1-2 chassis and the parity is MUCH closer than F1. Do we really believe that Hamilton is 2 seconds faster than Massa, Hulkenberg, Alonso or Button? That being said, Alex dominated for so many races, against guys that are pretty good racers and very similar equipment.

For some reason, I kind of wonder if it was a bad match for his driving ability and the F1 car. Some people say he drove too hard and you can't push the F1 car like you can a CART car. I never understood that, but as I have been racing Karts over the past few years, you realize that some chassis you are actually faster in if you drive 90% (Tony Kart).

This is a topic that you just can't talk to an average sports fan and have a dialogue, so I pose this question to the enthusiasts. What do you think the reason(s) Alex didn't perform as well in F1 as CART or even close to it?

I look forward to your opinions and replies.



I just know I am going to get jumped on for saying this, but it is not intended as anything bad against CART, so hold back.

It could be that it is easier to get the best out of a CART car and track than getting the last few 10ths out of a F1 car and track.
You obviously can not judge drivers directly head to head unless they are in the same car, and even in the same team there can be half a second between drivers one week and hundredths the next.

Even if the drivers ability is the same, one may hit a lucky gap and get a better run or catch a car ina bad part of the track, or even get a cloud shadow during their run.

As for the faster at 90%? 90% of what? your ability, the maximum speed of the car, or at the point where you preserve just enough of tyres so that they make the end of their run? Purists would say which ever it is it would need to be 99.9% and as the saying goes, plan the race and race the plan



Blundell and Fabi were in the same series, and were comparable in F1. I actually rated Fabi very highly, although his record was not so good.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:55 am 
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rodH wrote:
He is one of my favorite all time racers, but I still can't wrap my head around why he did so poorly in F1. I know the obvious answer is that he came to a more difficult series (F1) from a lesser series (CART) with more talented drivers.
He didn't come from CART to F1, he came back to F1. He had driven among other teams for Lotus, and in 1993 had a huge crash going up the Raidillon when his active suspension failed. He was hopitalized after that, though I don't believe it was for more than one night, and I obviously don't know whether there was any influence on his speed. But it was a huge one and we all know of a few drivers who lacked that little bit of speed afterwards. Still, he went on to great success in CART, so perhaps there weren't any after effects.

While replying to a question about the possibility that steel brakes could improve F1, Gary Anderson said Zanardi "couldn't get used to the carbon discs and pads so he used steel discs." Apparently Patrick Head was surprised by how well he did with steel discs and carbon pads.
Source: Autosport http://www.autosport.com/premium/feature/6804/?_ga=1.247809871.972732676.1471596111

Why he left Williams early I don't know. I also wonder how he felt/thought about the grooved tyres.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:42 am 
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I just think he wasn't good enough.

Over the years with seen a few poor F1 drivers do well in American single seaters.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:31 am 
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An interesting topic. I have always wondered if it was the difference in the rules which led to him being unable/allowed insufficient time to adapt to F1.

F1 had just over a year previously gone from a wide tracked, slick tyred formula to narrow track and grooved tyres. Aerodynamically the cars would be less stable, their grip levels far more inconsistent and varied. CART used wide track cars, ground effect aero and slick tyres. Far more consistent and predictable.

Zanardi drove in F1 at a time initially when the cars were closer to CART in 1991 for Jordan, 1992 for Minardi and 1993 for Lotus. He was ok at the time, scored points for Lotus but was a little overshadowed by his team mates.

He came into a class that would have been alien from somewhere he had clearly developed a niche. I just feel he wasn't adaptable enough to cope. Not to say he wouldn't have been capable in F1, but like some of the existing drivers (Damon Hill springs to mind for some reason.... think he mentioned it once) he simply couldn't get 'into the groove' with the new regulations.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:43 pm 
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There are levels and levels... Put those other CART drivers and F1 and they much likely would've done worse than Zanardi.
F1 is where the best in the world are, and where good drivers from other series can join and get exposed.

Sebastien Bourdais is another example like Zanardi.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:14 pm 
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moby wrote:
rodH wrote:
He is one of my favorite all time racers, but I still can't wrap my head around why he did so poorly in F1. I know the obvious answer is that he came to a more difficult series (F1) from a lesser series (CART) with more talented drivers. And on the surface that makes sense, but as you really start to dive into the topic of what makes a successful F1 driver, a good car/team is EXTREMELY important. (look how Michael did with his come back, Vettel, Alonso, Button, etc...). In some ways I think that CART racing may be a more accurate indicator regarding how good the driver is/was in relation to other CART drivers, since there are typically only 1-2 engines, 1-2 chassis and the parity is MUCH closer than F1. Do we really believe that Hamilton is 2 seconds faster than Massa, Hulkenberg, Alonso or Button? That being said, Alex dominated for so many races, against guys that are pretty good racers and very similar equipment.

For some reason, I kind of wonder if it was a bad match for his driving ability and the F1 car. Some people say he drove too hard and you can't push the F1 car like you can a CART car. I never understood that, but as I have been racing Karts over the past few years, you realize that some chassis you are actually faster in if you drive 90% (Tony Kart).

This is a topic that you just can't talk to an average sports fan and have a dialogue, so I pose this question to the enthusiasts. What do you think the reason(s) Alex didn't perform as well in F1 as CART or even close to it?

I look forward to your opinions and replies.



I just know I am going to get jumped on for saying this, but it is not intended as anything bad against CART, so hold back.

It could be that it is easier to get the best out of a CART car and track than getting the last few 10ths out of a F1 car and track.
You obviously can not judge drivers directly head to head unless they are in the same car, and even in the same team there can be half a second between drivers one week and hundredths the next.

Even if the drivers ability is the same, one may hit a lucky gap and get a better run or catch a car ina bad part of the track, or even get a cloud shadow during their run.

As for the faster at 90%? 90% of what? your ability, the maximum speed of the car, or at the point where you preserve just enough of tyres so that they make the end of their run? Purists would say which ever it is it would need to be 99.9% and as the saying goes, plan the race and race the plan



Blundell and Fabi were in the same series, and were comparable in F1. I actually rated Fabi very highly, although his record was not so good.


I would agree with the bolded statement. It's not that way anymore, since the current IndyCars don't have power steering but have a lot of downforce.

I should point out that Juan Pablo Montoya was in CART for a few seasons before he went on to win 7 races in F1, including the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003.

Sir Frank probably looked at CART in a favorable light at the time since he hired three champions from the series in a 9-year span. Zanardi was a bust, unfortunately, but the other two won for him.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:59 pm 
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some good points. It is interesting, as I have several F1 and a few CART 1:18 scale models and the Raynard that they used in CART is actually much more similar in appearance and demensions (although slightly larger) to my Senna McLaren MP4-6. The driving styles are also much more similar on those cars than the cars we see in F1 today where you barely see any effort or steering wheel movement ("sawing") outside of just turning the wheel to corner.

Again, the the cars in CART were much more similar to each other (parity) than what we see in F1, so it is so hard to know for sure, but he not only was successful in CART, but he DOMINATED CART. Would be interesting to get Chip Ganassi and Mo Nunn's opinion when comparing JPM to Alex, as well all know they came from the same teams. I haven't analyzed the data, but I think Alex had more success in CART than JPM, and we all know JPM is/was a capable driver.

Colinjb wrote:
An interesting topic. I have always wondered if it was the difference in the rules which led to him being unable/allowed insufficient time to adapt to F1.

F1 had just over a year previously gone from a wide tracked, slick tyred formula to narrow track and grooved tyres. Aerodynamically the cars would be less stable, their grip levels far more inconsistent and varied. CART used wide track cars, ground effect aero and slick tyres. Far more consistent and predictable.

Zanardi drove in F1 at a time initially when the cars were closer to CART in 1991 for Jordan, 1992 for Minardi and 1993 for Lotus. He was ok at the time, scored points for Lotus but was a little overshadowed by his team mates.

He came into a class that would have been alien from somewhere he had clearly developed a niche. I just feel he wasn't adaptable enough to cope. Not to say he wouldn't have been capable in F1, but like some of the existing drivers (Damon Hill springs to mind for some reason.... think he mentioned it once) he simply couldn't get 'into the groove' with the new regulations.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:04 pm 
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nixxxon wrote:
There are levels and levels... Put those other CART drivers and F1 and they much likely would've done worse than Zanardi.
F1 is where the best in the world are, and where good drivers from other series can join and get exposed.

Sebastien Bourdais is another example like Zanardi.


And like Zanardi, was the failure due to an inadequate team/car or his ability, or both? F1 places so much on the manuf championship that the cars are not even CLOSE in level. What other series do we see such a large gap between the fastest and slowest cars. As mentioned before, is Hamilton really 2 seconds quicker than Alonso? I think we know the answer.

Sebass also happens to be struggling in CART now that he is back


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:14 am 
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rodH wrote:
nixxxon wrote:
There are levels and levels... Put those other CART drivers and F1 and they much likely would've done worse than Zanardi.
F1 is where the best in the world are, and where good drivers from other series can join and get exposed.

Sebastien Bourdais is another example like Zanardi.


And like Zanardi, was the failure due to an inadequate team/car or his ability, or both? F1 places so much on the manuf championship that the cars are not even CLOSE in level. What other series do we see such a large gap between the fastest and slowest cars. As mentioned before, is Hamilton really 2 seconds quicker than Alonso? I think we know the answer.

Sebass also happens to be struggling in CART now that he is back


Zanardi drove a car capable of multiple podiums on his F1 come back.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:20 am 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
rodH wrote:
nixxxon wrote:
There are levels and levels... Put those other CART drivers and F1 and they much likely would've done worse than Zanardi.
F1 is where the best in the world are, and where good drivers from other series can join and get exposed.

Sebastien Bourdais is another example like Zanardi.


And like Zanardi, was the failure due to an inadequate team/car or his ability, or both? F1 places so much on the manuf championship that the cars are not even CLOSE in level. What other series do we see such a large gap between the fastest and slowest cars. As mentioned before, is Hamilton really 2 seconds quicker than Alonso? I think we know the answer.

Sebass also happens to be struggling in CART now that he is back


Zanardi drove a car capable of multiple podiums on his F1 come back.


Ralf drove a car capable of multiple podiums, Alex got the inferior dregs in terms of equipment

An excerpt from Zanardi's book

Williams] had made a huge investment in me and honestly, there were people inside the team who hadn't done anything to make the investment worthwhile.

"A few drivers in the team thought that CART drivers had little to offer, but over the years, they had to save face and admit that it wasn't the case. In 2001, they hired [Juan Pablo] Montoya, who Ralf Schumacher had always criticised.

"Ralf has always been horrendous to me. Unfortunately, he thinks that he destroyed me both on and off the track, but the truth is he never understood a thing. Perhaps he should have had more confidence, because he is a very good driver. However, in seeing how manipulative he was, I realised how weak he actually was. His attitude didn't influence me at all - what influenced me was the mistakes the team and I made, and my overall relationship with the team.

"Throughout this, Ralf was unbearable. He never missed the opportunity to throw salt in a wound or make sarcastic and cutting comments. He loved to say that Montoya, who was winning in CART at the time, was a 'nobody in a championship that anybody could win'. He also said that Montoya was only a test driver for Williams and not very impressive at that. James Robinson, then the chief engineer, had to explain to Schumacher that Montoya was really respected. Maybe this isn't any of my business, but I was delighted when Montoya joined the team and beat Ralf on many occasions.

"The end of 1999 had seriously compromised the situation. I was lacking the determination that had helped me persevere through other difficult times in my career. The general atmosphere also contributed to this. [Chip] Ganassi was particularly good at being supportive and exuding a particular enthusiasm. Although I can't complain about Frank Williams, I spoke to him a few times and he never complained about how much I was being paid for not doing much. I started to see in his eyes that he was questioning what 'we' were doing wrong, and by that 'we', he obviously meant 'me'.

"I left Williams without providing an answer and I still feel badly because I would have loved to have done well for him. I don't think he doubted my talent, as he was always convinced the team hadn't exploited my strengths, but I didn't find a way either. Something was missing in the magic formula, but I'm sure he was one of the few who didn't whisper: 'He won everything in America because he was racing against nobodies, but he didn't stand a chance in Formula One because all the drivers are good.'..."


Last edited by bradtheboywonder on Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:24 am 
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bradtheboywonder wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
rodH wrote:
nixxxon wrote:
There are levels and levels... Put those other CART drivers and F1 and they much likely would've done worse than Zanardi.
F1 is where the best in the world are, and where good drivers from other series can join and get exposed.

Sebastien Bourdais is another example like Zanardi.


And like Zanardi, was the failure due to an inadequate team/car or his ability, or both? F1 places so much on the manuf championship that the cars are not even CLOSE in level. What other series do we see such a large gap between the fastest and slowest cars. As mentioned before, is Hamilton really 2 seconds quicker than Alonso? I think we know the answer.

Sebass also happens to be struggling in CART now that he is back


Zanardi drove a car capable of multiple podiums on his F1 come back.



Ralf drove a car capable of multiple podiums, Alex got the inferior dregs in terms of equipment


Source?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 11:37 am 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
bradtheboywonder wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
rodH wrote:
nixxxon wrote:
There are levels and levels... Put those other CART drivers and F1 and they much likely would've done worse than Zanardi.
F1 is where the best in the world are, and where good drivers from other series can join and get exposed.

Sebastien Bourdais is another example like Zanardi.


And like Zanardi, was the failure due to an inadequate team/car or his ability, or both? F1 places so much on the manuf championship that the cars are not even CLOSE in level. What other series do we see such a large gap between the fastest and slowest cars. As mentioned before, is Hamilton really 2 seconds quicker than Alonso? I think we know the answer.

Sebass also happens to be struggling in CART now that he is back


Zanardi drove a car capable of multiple podiums on his F1 come back.



Ralf drove a car capable of multiple podiums, Alex got the inferior dregs in terms of equipment


Source?


Based on interviews at the time. I remember BMW asking to have him fired because he kept basing his results on having inferior parts compared to Ralf, and BMW felt that wouldn't be a good look if he kept blaming the parts


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:15 pm 
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bradtheboywonder wrote:

Based on interviews at the time. I remember BMW asking to have him fired because he kept basing his results on having inferior parts compared to Ralf, and BMW felt that wouldn't be a good look if he kept blaming the parts


So did he have inferior parts or not? Surely if that was the concern and he was getting inferior parts BMW could have just given him the same parts as Ralf for 00?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:36 am 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
bradtheboywonder wrote:

Based on interviews at the time. I remember BMW asking to have him fired because he kept basing his results on having inferior parts compared to Ralf, and BMW felt that wouldn't be a good look if he kept blaming the parts


So did he have inferior parts or not? Surely if that was the concern and he was getting inferior parts BMW could have just given him the same parts as Ralf for 00?
[quote="mikeyg123"][quote="bradtheboywonder"]

Williams gave preference to Ralf, so he had the better parts and equipment. I guess if BMW did that, they might have risked putting Ralf offside, so rather than having Alex calling out what the team was doing, they replaced him with Button.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:40 am 
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bradtheboywonder wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
bradtheboywonder wrote:

Based on interviews at the time. I remember BMW asking to have him fired because he kept basing his results on having inferior parts compared to Ralf, and BMW felt that wouldn't be a good look if he kept blaming the parts


So did he have inferior parts or not? Surely if that was the concern and he was getting inferior parts BMW could have just given him the same parts as Ralf for 00?
mikeyg123 wrote:
bradtheboywonder wrote:

Williams gave preference to Ralf, so he had the better parts and equipment. I guess if BMW did that, they might have risked putting Ralf offside, so rather than having Alex calling out what the team was doing, they replaced him with Button.


And did Button get inferior parts?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:32 am 
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Can't answer that one. I'm a Zanardi/CART fanboi so my interest faded once he left the side.

I did enjoy seeing JPM beat Ralf though after the way he treated Alex.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:37 am 
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bradtheboywonder wrote:
Can't answer that one. I'm a Zanardi/CART fanboi so my interest faded once he left the side.

I did enjoy seeing JPM beat Ralf though after the way he treated Alex.


My point was that if they gave Button equal parts they may well have just given them to Zanardi.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:42 pm 
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Zanardi had outings in F1 from 1991-1994 for Jordan, Minardi and Lotus never competing a full season though always being the replacement driver and being overshadowed by his teammates. With 6th as best result in 25 races and also 2 DNQ's I don't think he was a great talent for F1. Despite big successes in CART he didn't seem to have become a better F1 driver in 1999 with Williams on the contrary looking worse than his first F1 period.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:45 pm 
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I think it was just a case on not being able to quite adapt to an F1 car, Despite Indy and F1's cars looking fairly similar, they are very different beasts to drive and not only that but the tracks are vastly different so an entirely different driving style would be required.

I'm not saying it's impossible to make the transition but i think some just do it better than others, take Bourdais for example. He was one of ( if not ) the best Indy drivers of all time and he just couldn't get the same performace out of an F1 car as he could in an Indy car.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:53 pm 
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jasonthebadger wrote:
I think it was just a case on not being able to quite adapt to an F1 car, Despite Indy and F1's cars looking fairly similar, they are very different beasts to drive and not only that but the tracks are vastly different so an entirely different driving style would be required.

I'm not saying it's impossible to make the transition but i think some just do it better than others, take Bourdais for example. He was one of ( if not ) the best Indy drivers of all time and he just couldn't get the same performace out of an F1 car as he could in an Indy car.


Yes another example was Michael Andretti even though he did show potential in the end. Still I think it was the right decision to replace him with Hakkinen.

I wonder if Jacques Villeneuve was the only one being successful in F1 after first being successful in Indy?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:16 pm 
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Amon wrote:
jasonthebadger wrote:
I think it was just a case on not being able to quite adapt to an F1 car, Despite Indy and F1's cars looking fairly similar, they are very different beasts to drive and not only that but the tracks are vastly different so an entirely different driving style would be required.

I'm not saying it's impossible to make the transition but i think some just do it better than others, take Bourdais for example. He was one of ( if not ) the best Indy drivers of all time and he just couldn't get the same performace out of an F1 car as he could in an Indy car.


Yes another example was Michael Andretti even though he did show potential in the end. Still I think it was the right decision to replace him with Hakkinen.

I wonder if Jacques Villeneuve was the only one being successful in F1 after first being successful in Indy?


Depends how you define success. Montoya was one of the best drivers of his era.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:21 pm 
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jasonthebadger wrote:
I think it was just a case on not being able to quite adapt to an F1 car, Despite Indy and F1's cars looking fairly similar, they are very different beasts to drive and not only that but the tracks are vastly different so an entirely different driving style would be required.

I'm not saying it's impossible to make the transition but i think some just do it better than others, take Bourdais for example. He was one of ( if not ) the best Indy drivers of all time and he just couldn't get the same performace out of an F1 car as he could in an Indy car.


I agree, he may just not have suited the cars as well. Not sure I agree about Sebastian, he raced in indy after the fallout of IRL/CART and it seems like all the good drivers either left for another series, retired, were over the hill, or just starting out. He had some great results, but the competition a guy like Alex faced. I still have a hard time watching IndyCar due to the old, left over drivers there. Guys I use to see win, I actually find myself rooting against, because the series needs fresh faces and talent.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:52 pm 
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bradtheboywonder wrote:
An excerpt from Zanardi's book

Thanks. Interesting read. I'll need to look for Zanardi's book, guy has lead an interesting life. To go through his crash and to end up a double Paralympic Gold medalist must be a fascinating journey.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:11 pm 
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I´m afraid that I can not contribute anything of value to this discussion, except for this: Mr. Zanardi probably has the firmest handshake on planet earth.

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