F1 Feeder Series: When Should They Call It a Day?

I love the junior series of F1 and MotoGP alike, granted I am a relative newbie to it as I only started watching last season, but I have been addicted ever since. 

There is something about watching the battle between so many win hungry young men and women, the risky/aggressive moves that make you catch your breath and wonder how they haven’t been snapped up by a F1 team.

However, one thing I have noticed, after a little bit of research about the drivers, is how many are taking up vital seats and making a career in a feeder series.

Isn’t the point of GP3 and F2 to demonstrate your skills so the higher series of F1/IndyCar/WEC/FE take notice and want you?

2/3 years in a junior series seems earns you through label of ‘veteran’. The likes of Pierre Gasly, Mitch Evans, Alex Lynn and Raffaele Marciello all had this label in the 2016 season and decided to hang up their gloves and move on to greener pastures before they become old news.

Their decision was not without good reason and they bowed out gracefully. However, the likes of lifers such as Johnny Cecotto Jr (27), Sergio Canamasas (29) and Robert Visiou (21) make the entire series look like a bit of a joke.

In 2015, Johnny Cecotto Jr called time on his 6 year stint in GP2 only to reappear in 2017 with Rapax, a short retirement that is only really rivalled by that of Felipe Massa and Jenson Button’s 2016 retirements. Cecotto Jr’s best result over his entire 6 (nearing 7) year career has been 2nd, his most recent results being a 2nd place finish to the McLaren Junior and his team mate Nyck DeVries in Monaco.

If you google ‘Sergio Canamasas’, you are presented with many reasons why he should have been ousted from the series years ago. From Will Buxton’s ‘Enough is Enough‘ articles, countless videos of crashes to a Fox News video simply titled ‘Is this the world’s worst race driver?’. Canamasas started his F2 career in 2011, making this year his 6th in the series. Unlike Cecotto Jn who has managed to at least grace the podium recently, the highest Canamasas has managed so far is a 10th place finish with his last podium appearance being 3 years ago. Not impressive, more embarrassing for someone who is so experienced behind the wheel of these cars.

I’m partially letting Visoiu off lightly here because he did leave and rejoin through series but nevertheless, he did feature in GP3/F2 previously and didn’t make much of an impact in either. With a mere 3 podiums between the start of 2013 and the end of 2015, his ability could be described as forgettable. I didn’t know he had even raced in F2 until I made a remark, as he wandered past us, about him being unfamiliar with the Monaco track because he was ‘a newbie’ and my friend kindly informed me that he was very much not a newbie.

I have only been a fan of the feeder series for a short time but with a little research and listening closely to the analysis from the commentators, you soon find out about the most successful, the most memorable and the most exciting times that you have to look in to to truly respect. Some make a lasting impression for good, others for bad such as Canamasas and some just make very little impression at all like Cecotto Jr and Visoiu.

On a brighter note, one thing that made me laugh last year was the partnership of Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi. Not because they were an unlikely pairing, I loved them together, but because Pierre was referred to as a ‘veteran’ every race and Antonio a ‘rookie’. Yes, this statement is very true but I only laughed due to the age different of them. Pierre being a good 2 years Antonio’s junior and yet being described in a way that you expect them to be sitting down on a night and Pierre teaching Antonio the ‘tricks of the trade’. It always made me giggle, so silly as it sounds.

I realise that for the entirety of this post, I’ve called it F2. If I don’t keep calling it F2 even when it was GP2 last year, I will revert back to the old ways. I’m only saying this because I’m very aware of how much free time people have on their hands to pick at the semantics.




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