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What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?
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Author:  MB-BOB [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:56 pm ]
Post subject:  What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

You know them, you love them (maybe not), I suppose F1 needs them to prop up teams that shouldn't be there. Maybe one or two have achieved a higher end-of-year WDC ranking than mid pack? I can't think of one, but maybe you can?

Please do not include drivers backed by large sponsors. I'm just looking for that certain "gentleman racer" that has paid his own way to mediocrity...

Author:  Ennis [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

You're loading your own results with the question.

Drivers backed by large sponsors are paying drivers. If you want to basically limit this to "crap drivers with large sponsors", then of course you're not going to find many in the upper echelons of the WDC.

Author:  MB-BOB [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

OK, include the large sponsors then, I don't care. I was looking for drivers that fooled just a team owner for a ride, not a driver that fooled a team AND a sponsor. I was trying to eliminate drivers backed by sources linked to governments... the driver really is not bringing the money.

But I guess most drivers have some backing at the outset... I've read that Schumacher's agent opened the door for him (initially) at Jordan.

Maybe the question should be who finished the highest in the WDC as a driver who paid for his seat throughout his career.

Author:  SteveW [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Even Niki Lauda was a Pay Driver initially, who probably wouldn't have got a drive without buying his first seat.......

Author:  MB-BOB [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

I'm looking for drivers known as paying drivers the majority of their career, not those who graduated to paid status.

For example, was Pastor Maldonado a paying driver throughout?

Author:  Lotus49 [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

He was yes by PDVSA, but they are all paid by the team too so I think what Ennis says is true, we're basically talking about the "crap" drivers so they're not going to be very high in the WDC.

Perez has some serious backing but because he's got the talent I take it he doesn't count?

Author:  Ennis [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

MB-BOB wrote:
I'm looking for drivers known as paying drivers the majority of their career, not those who graduated to paid status.

For example, was Pastor Maldonado a paying driver throughout?


Again though, anyone who performs well and gets near the front is likely to find themselves being elevated from 'paying' to 'paid' (or sometimes both - Perez a good example of someone who brings huge backing, but gets paid and isn't considered a paying driver).

Author:  minchy [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Lotus49 wrote:
He was yes by PDVSA, but they are all paid by the team too so I think what Ennis says is true, we're basically talking about the "crap" drivers so they're not going to be very high in the WDC.

Perez has some serious backing but because he's got the talent I take it he doesn't count?

My first thoughts were Perez too. I think I would include him as his personal sponsor did contribute towards a large % of Suber, Force India and also possibly McLaren's budget.

Author:  mikeyg123 [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

I think it's an interesting question but a bit to nuanced to give a straight answer. Does the OP mean a proper gentleman racer like Dumfries or Bira or a driver who is bought and paid for by the sponsors - Diniz/Maldanado etc. Or does the OP mean drivers who are well backed like Perez and Bottas but also justify there place on talent.

Author:  MB-BOB [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

mikeyg123 wrote:
I think it's an interesting question but a bit to nuanced to give a straight answer. Does the OP mean a proper gentleman racer like Dumfries or Bira or a driver who is bought and paid for by the sponsors - Diniz/Maldanado etc. Or does the OP mean drivers who are well backed like Perez and Bottas but also justify there place on talent.


Make it what you want it to be. It's a discussion question, so without doubt it will take whatever turn you guys want it to take anyway. So there's no point in trying to define the question. Maybe all the drivers bring money (directly or indirectly) to the circus...

Author:  mikeyg123 [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Well I also think there's a distinction between people like Bottas who came into F1 with backing and Alonso who gained personal sponsors through success.

So I would say that in recent times Bottas probably has finished higher in the championship than anyone else who came into the sport at least partly because he was backed with money. Obviously when you go further back you have the likes of Piquet and Lauda who came in with sponsorship but ended up very much earning there way.

In terms of drivers who were in F1 totally because they were financially backed I would say Sato's 8th in 2004 takes some beating in recent times.

Author:  Exediron [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

If we're admitting that drivers who begin their careers as pay drivers can become World Champions, why is there any stigma about beginning your career as a pay driver?

Author:  MB-BOB [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Exediron wrote:
If we're admitting that drivers who begin their careers as pay drivers can become World Champions, why is there any stigma about beginning your career as a pay driver?


I would think that most drivers who pay their way would do so through the feeder series leading up to the Big Top. By the time they are considered for F1, their reputations based on driving skills should be well established, rewarding them with a drive based on merit.

Author:  Exediron [ Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

MB-BOB wrote:
Exediron wrote:
If we're admitting that drivers who begin their careers as pay drivers can become World Champions, why is there any stigma about beginning your career as a pay driver?

I would think that most drivers who pay their way would do so through the feeder series leading up to the Big Top. By the time they are considered for F1, their reputations based on driving skills should be well established, rewarding them with a drive based on merit.

Yes, but if the likes of Schumacher and Lauda can get to F1 because of money and go on to become all-time greats, it kind of casts doubt on the whole worthless pay driver stereotype, doesn't it?

Author:  pendulumeffect [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Didn't Nigel Mansell remortgage his house to get an F1 seat early in his career?

Author:  mikeyg123 [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

MB-BOB wrote:
Exediron wrote:
If we're admitting that drivers who begin their careers as pay drivers can become World Champions, why is there any stigma about beginning your career as a pay driver?


I would think that most drivers who pay their way would do so through the feeder series leading up to the Big Top. By the time they are considered for F1, their reputations based on driving skills should be well established, rewarding them with a drive based on merit.


Schumacher, Piquet and Lauda would not have gotten the first drive they did without it being funded.

Author:  mds [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

OK... So I went back about 30 seasons and this is what I came up with. Going back any further is pointless for me as I don't know by heart who did or didn't bring money.

- Stroll, 2017, 12th => it's possible he could turn into a really fine driver but for 2017 I think it's clear he has bought a seat and is a pure pay driver
- Petrov, 2011, 10th => not exactly sure about his status as a pay driver
- Andrea de Cesaris, 1991 & 1992, 9th => not a hopeless case as far as talent was concerned, but brought a lot of cash and remained in F1 for a long time despite his "destructive" nature?

Author:  MB-BOB [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Excellent comments mds. This kind of research is what I was looking for.

Daniil Kvyat finished 7th in the 2015 WDC in his first year with Red Bull.

It's no coincidence that Kvyat came to F1 in Sochi's first year (2014)...

Author:  telmernatorx [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

ok, for absolute pay driver i go for pedro diniz. undoubtedly a pay driver who had his best season in 1999 finishing 14th with 3 pts. level on points with alex wurz and only 4 points behind hill and trulli in 11th and 12th in the standings. im pretty sure in either 99 or maybe 2000 he was voted most improved driver by bosses or other drivers i forget, but that might not be true.

by finishing 14th in the standings that season diniz finished above much more established, experienced and higher regarded drivers such as Jean Alesi, Olivier Panis, Marc Gene, Pedro de la Rosa, Alex Zanardi and Jacques Villeneuve. Considering Diniz only finished 4 races all reason this is no mean feat. So in terms of successful season for an obvious pay driver, id call that a pretty decent success. Also baring in mind that at this time points only went down to 6th place.

Author:  mds [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

MB-BOB wrote:
Daniil Kvyat finished 7th in the 2015 WDC in his first year with Red Bull.

It's no coincidence that Kvyat came to F1 in Sochi's first year (2014)...


Ah, but Kvyat was brought up through the Red Bull Junior Team and came off the back of winning GP3. I also think him coming to F1 is more linked to the departure of Vettel, than to the advent of Sochi on the calendar.

So for me he doesn't qualify here :)

Author:  mikeyg123 [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

MB-BOB wrote:
Excellent comments mds. This kind of research is what I was looking for.

Daniil Kvyat finished 7th in the 2015 WDC in his first year with Red Bull.

It's no coincidence that Kvyat came to F1 in Sochi's first year (2014)...


Kvyat I would put very much in the Bottas mould of pay driver.

Author:  MB-BOB [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

mds wrote:
MB-BOB wrote:
Daniil Kvyat finished 7th in the 2015 WDC in his first year with Red Bull.

It's no coincidence that Kvyat came to F1 in Sochi's first year (2014)...


Ah, but Kvyat was brought up through the Red Bull Junior Team and came off the back of winning GP3. I also think him coming to F1 is more linked to the departure of Vettel, than to the advent of Sochi on the calendar.

So for me he doesn't qualify here :)

At the time (2014), he had plenty of quid-pro-quo backing by Russian financiers who backed Torro Rosso... https://www.grandprix247.com/2016/05/07 ... -in-kvyat/

Besides, knowing the Russians as we do, Putin would not have committed govt funds to establish a Russian GP at Sochi unless a Russian driver was included as part of the deal.

Author:  Lotus49 [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

MB-BOB wrote:
mds wrote:
MB-BOB wrote:
Daniil Kvyat finished 7th in the 2015 WDC in his first year with Red Bull.

It's no coincidence that Kvyat came to F1 in Sochi's first year (2014)...


Ah, but Kvyat was brought up through the Red Bull Junior Team and came off the back of winning GP3. I also think him coming to F1 is more linked to the departure of Vettel, than to the advent of Sochi on the calendar.

So for me he doesn't qualify here :)

At the time (2014), he had plenty of quid-pro-quo backing by Russian financiers who backed Torro Rosso... https://www.grandprix247.com/2016/05/07 ... -in-kvyat/

Besides, knowing the Russians as we do, Putin would not have committed govt funds to establish a Russian GP at Sochi unless a Russian driver was included as part of the deal.


You realise that link is talking about backing given to STR after Kvyat got demoted from Red Bull and was already an established F1 driver rather than for when he was promoted to STR from a junior formula like mds is talking about?

And it doesn't change he had the talent and was next in line for the STR gig anyway as a lower class winning RB junior so got the drive through talent rather than financial backing. And Kvyat's speed then got him the RB gig ahead of Jev so again through talent.

If he counts as a pay driver then so does Bottas and Perez.

Author:  Flash2k11 [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

De Cesaris would probably be my pick. Molboro money opened far more doors than his natural talent ever would, though I wouldn't lump him in the same bracket of driver as someone like Deniz.

Author:  Exediron [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Lotus49 wrote:
If he counts as a pay driver then so does Bottas and Perez.

Perez is almost certainly a pay driver, and also one of the better drivers on the grid. Bottas may have been a pay driver at one point, but I'm not aware of Mercedes gaining any sponsorship through signing him.

Author:  Lotus49 [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Exediron wrote:
Lotus49 wrote:
If he counts as a pay driver then so does Bottas and Perez.

Perez is almost certainly a pay driver, and also one of the better drivers on the grid. Bottas may have been a pay driver at one point, but I'm not aware of Mercedes gaining any sponsorship through signing him.


Wihuri went to Mercedes with him from Williams.

http://en.f1i.com/news/269095-bottas-ow ... onsor.html

Author:  mikeyg123 [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Exediron wrote:
Lotus49 wrote:
If he counts as a pay driver then so does Bottas and Perez.

Perez is almost certainly a pay driver, and also one of the better drivers on the grid. Bottas may have been a pay driver at one point, but I'm not aware of Mercedes gaining any sponsorship through signing him.


Bottas brings money to Mercedes. I can't remember who said it but someone major in the team said the money he was bringing was a factor in his signing. Certainly if we are call Kvyat a pay driver then we have to call Bottas one.

Personally I don't think either fits the usual cap of pay driver. Both would have made a healthier F1 on talent alone.

Author:  Exediron [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Lotus49 wrote:
Wihuri went to Mercedes with him from Williams.

http://en.f1i.com/news/269095-bottas-ow ... onsor.html
mikeyg123 wrote:
Bottas brings money to Mercedes. I can't remember who said it but someone major in the team said the money he was bringing was a factor in his signing. Certainly if we are call Kvyat a pay driver then we have to call Bottas one.

Personally I don't think either fits the usual cap of pay driver. Both would have made a healthier F1 on talent alone.

Fair enough. So he's still a pay driver.

Personally, I think that rather than trying to reclassify drivers like Perez or Bottas as not being pay drivers (when they clearly are) we should change our own perception of pay drivers. Being a pay driver does not mean one is talentless.

Author:  Lotus49 [ Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Exediron wrote:
Lotus49 wrote:
Wihuri went to Mercedes with him from Williams.

http://en.f1i.com/news/269095-bottas-ow ... onsor.html
mikeyg123 wrote:
Bottas brings money to Mercedes. I can't remember who said it but someone major in the team said the money he was bringing was a factor in his signing. Certainly if we are call Kvyat a pay driver then we have to call Bottas one.

Personally I don't think either fits the usual cap of pay driver. Both would have made a healthier F1 on talent alone.

Fair enough. So he's still a pay driver.

Personally, I think that rather than trying to reclassify drivers like Perez or Bottas as not being pay drivers (when they clearly are) we should change our own perception of pay drivers. Being a pay driver does not mean one is talentless.


Yeah agree completely.

Author:  Fiki [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Dare I say it? I believe Alonso's highest ranking after becoming a Ferrari pay driver was 2nd. :D

Author:  Siao7 [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Fiki wrote:
Dare I say it? I believe Alonso's highest ranking after becoming a Ferrari pay driver was 2nd. :D

The moment I saw this thread I thought of you and Alonso!!!

Author:  mds [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Exediron wrote:

Personally, I think that rather than trying to reclassify drivers like Perez or Bottas as not being pay drivers (when they clearly are) we should change our own perception of pay drivers. Being a pay driver does not mean one is talentless.


I try to think of it as "drivers that would not be in F1 if it wasn't for their money".
And I realize this is also highly subjective ;)

Author:  Blinky McSquinty [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

mds wrote:
Exediron wrote:

Personally, I think that rather than trying to reclassify drivers like Perez or Bottas as not being pay drivers (when they clearly are) we should change our own perception of pay drivers. Being a pay driver does not mean one is talentless.


I try to think of it as "drivers that would not be in F1 if it wasn't for their money".
And I realize this is also highly subjective ;)


It is subjective. Many fans do not think of the business side of life for a driver, but even in karts they must begin learning the art of finding sponsors. It is really simple, with the exception of a few, they must find financing for their racing. It is estimated that the cost for a driver to get into Formula One is approximately 8 million dollars.

https://www.raconteur.net/business/the-8-million-cost-of-the-road-to-formula-one

For some drivers born to wealth, such as Stroll or Peter Revson, they can afford to pay their way. But for everyone else, no exceptions, they must have sponsors attached to them when they enter Formula One.

IMO (and with no exceptions) all drivers can be classified as pay drivers.

Author:  Paolo_Lasardi [ Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

mds wrote:
Exediron wrote:

Personally, I think that rather than trying to reclassify drivers like Perez or Bottas as not being pay drivers (when they clearly are) we should change our own perception of pay drivers. Being a pay driver does not mean one is talentless.


I try to think of it as "drivers that would not be in F1 if it wasn't for their money".
And I realize this is also highly subjective ;)


Same here, drivers that would not be a logical choice for F1 based on results but entered thanks to money only. Guys like Rikky von Opel, Prince Bira, Giovanni Lavaggi, etc. Obviously, it means they won't be a lot with real good results.

Niki Lauda may be the only top driver who comes close to that category. He bought his way into F1 1971/1972 after mediocre F2 results and succes in F3 was limited as well. However, he dovetailed his F1 season 1972 with a winning campaign in British F2 and overall P5 in F2's European Championship. So, I do not think he really fits.

Perhaps, Hector Rebaque (MEX) is a leading candidate for the most successful pay driver? At least, he had a top car for one-and-a-half seasons ...

Edit: Rebaque finished 10th in 1981 driving the wdc winning car (Brabham).

Author:  Bigbazz [ Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Exediron wrote:
If we're admitting that drivers who begin their careers as pay drivers can become World Champions, why is there any stigma about beginning your career as a pay driver?


I think the stigma comes when the pay driver has a less than exceptional junior career, but then again plenty of junior series champions have come up short while others have only thrived after ariving at F1, Mansell being one of them.

Author:  paul_gmb [ Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What Is the Highest WDC Ranking for a Paying Driver?

Whether you count Perez as a pay drive or not, I think that bang for the buck he is up there.

Besides personal backing (which is something most drivers bring through sponsors) he collected enough dollars for his team through his finishes.

Not a bad choice to have someone bringing in good sponsors, but also delivering points that bring money.

Yes, he does seem to only care about itself sometimes. But as much as that seems to be true, he is doing his talking on the track and bringing in good revenue for his team by constantly finishing in the points.

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