Poll: Age Versus Experience

A couple of months back, we briefly touched on a subject in a similar vein, but in the light of the recent F1 themed musical chairs, a slightly different, on the surface at least, issue has arisen.

For those of you unaware, Felipe Massa was confirmed as a Williams driver for the 2014 F1 season, replacing Pastor Maldonado. Across the paddock at McLaren, it’s looking more and more likely (at the time of writing) that Sergio Perez will be replaced by the soon-to-be F1 rookie, Kevin Magnussen. These driver appointments by themselves are fairly straightforward but when you look at them a little closer, things start to unravel. Well, for me anyways.

In my opinion, McLaren have made the better decision here by giving some young talent a chance. Yes, it’s harsh on Perez who has had to deal with an under-performing car all season (his ex-world champion teammate hasn’t faired much better) but McLaren are bringing new blood into a sport which has become increasingly incestuous. Massa, whilst no doubt a talented driver, has had his shot at glory and failed. I’m sure when the appointment was made, there was a collective groan heard coming from the GP2 paddock where a host of fantastic young talent reside. A host of talent which by the looks of things will never get the opportunity they deserve.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe hiring Massa to steady the ship is exactly what Williams need right now. Maybe McLaren hiring Magnussen is a massive and unnecessary risk. Maybe.

How do you feel about these appointments? Who has made the better decision in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below…

Paddy McGrath
Twitter: @PaddyMcGrathSH
Instagram: speedhunters_paddy

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I think it's pretty normal for a team to have an experienced driver alongside a young driver and both of these teams are heading this direction. It's also pretty cool that both teams are trusting nordic drivers, which shows that there is still room for drivers who bring talent instead of money.


With new rules coming in and a restriction on test days it would be better to go with an established driver who knows how to get a car to reach its potential and who can provide feedback to the team on how to make the car faster, rather than a new guy whos learning both the tracks and the cars. In Williams case its a smart decision despite losing Maldernados money, but Mclaren getting rid of Perez was a bit rash, sure he's had a bad car (by Mclaren standards) but he knows how to race and be agressive

Gianluca FairladyZ

Like Paddy McGrath said it, I think that Massa had his Chance over this years. Unfortunatley he didn't make it to become a world Champion, conditioned as well by the horrific accident caused by the flying spring from Barrichellos car. As a Ferrari fan it's sad to see him going to Williams, such a familiar member of the "Scuderia", but from personal view i grant him this next step. There, maybe he'll have the Chance to become a Team leader, instead of being always in the shadow of his former and actual teammates Schumi / Raikk/ Alonso.


Well GP2 "talent"can curse all they want but thats the reality of open wheel racing and not everyone will get to race at F-1. And about veterans vs newbloods ill side with veterans since they know what their doing, they know how to do it and they know what needs to be done. And veterans wont do the "Grosjean style" and after last weekend @ macau "The Oriola"(I drove him into the wall, it was a racing incident trust me). Besides Massa's position in Ferrari was pretty much settled ever since MSC days when he was always #2 so his current position you could consider similar to Rubens Barrichello.  Anyways thats just me ranting away


I agree with the comments below. A Formula 1 team is about more than just individual drivers. The team must work together and benefit from each other. Massa will bring experience to Williams and help his younger teammate to develop, just as Button will with Magnussen.
I do find it exciting to see new young drivers in Formula 1. It keeps things fresh and new which is a rarity when races are decided before they've started (i.e. Vettel).


Well, speaking in my personal opinion, it is also hard to know that not only Sergio "Checo" Perez is leaving the team, but also Esteban Gutierrez, who maybe is leaving becaus an Russian driver is coming whit more money (That's what i have heard by this side of the world). 
And what concerns me more, is that at least here on México, it isn't enought promotion for the motor racing. The only main sponsor here is TELMEX, also supporting other racing categories, but anyways isn't enought; here the football soccer is overrated.
Plus to said, i want to go on a track day, but there are no closed speedways to do that, the only ones on my city are only one drag strip far away, the other one was dismanteled (reason unknown).
I love my contury, but im considering hardly to leave and go to US, where there's a higher car culture than here. Maybe there's a better chance to continue practice of photography on cars, since that's also one of my dreams. I don't know... i have hope that there's a chance that something will change here...


Let the GP2 drivers whine all they want, there are only so many spots on the grid and even fewer great drivers to be paired up with. If these guys think that teams want double rookies driving for them, well, they aren't ready for F1. Both of these teams are gambling a little already IMO. Typically, you would see a World Champion and 'someone else' driving for Williams, McLaren, Ferrari... 
At this level, I am sure that the new guys are far from lacking experience or technical know how, but certainly something has to be said for having a team leader that you can shadow and learn from. I'm sure that most of these tracks are not new to the drivers and they'll get plenty of simulator time, but nothing is going to compare to someone that has driven the track 100 times, knows the little quirks of the track and can come up with a good setup on a new car right away. 
That said, I think the new drivers trying to prove themselves should be very interesting, especially since it may feel like anyone has a chance next season.


Massa is way past his prime. Having said that, I don't think it's bad for Williams to hire him. It's bit of a unfair poll, since Williams has hired young rookies for the past few seasons. It will do good for Williams to have an experienced driver on hand to help them develop their new car. I think one of Wiliams main issue over the past few seasons was actually the lack of an experienced driver to help them develop the car.
On the other hand, I also think McLaren did the right thing to sign Magnussen because he's clearly quick and to give him a chance. I do think it is unfair to Perez (as much I dislike the kid). That is a major shaft to him. 
However I sort of feel these kids are entering F1 too early, like that Russian driver is what..18, 19? At that age I honestly don't think they have the mental maturity to race at those speeds, but also to understand and communicate technical information, or have the EQ to drive safely.


Vittorio Jano I very much support your first thesis but what does nordic descent have to do with "talent instead of money"?


maxproof Vittorio Jano I'm not saying that nordic people in general are any more talented than people elsewhere. The amount of Finnish drivers in F1 is more about culture and popularity of the sport. The point is that both Denmark and Finland have about 5,5 million people, so they are very small markets. Since nationalism plays a huge role for an average viewer in high level sports, the sponsors would prefer drivers from bigger markets. Good example is from last year when Slim (the rich guy) just announced that Sauber must hire a Mexican driver. I've also read a lot of speculation, that Massa is still in Ferrari only because Brazil is Santander's biggest market.


The thing that kept massa in a Ferrari for so long was fiat. They are huge in brazil and only launched the 500 there last year. Brazil love their F1 drivers they're like royalty to boot him off Ferrari when he was flailing the last few years could of hurt sales.


I don't think that getting Massa was a very smart move from Williams. Having an experienced driver in your team can be a key role when it comes to developing a car through the driver's input. But I'm not sure if Massa is really up to that task, especially when you think of the endless times that Rob Smedley had to remind him of really basic stuff (at least for an F1 driver) during his races.
But on the other hand, I don't think that there's really an upcoming star in GP2 right now... Fabio Leimer has taken 4, almost 5 years in GP2 to get his first title. During previous seasons, he was never really shining, more of an average driver. So, that doesn't really speak for his competitors, at least that's my view...
World Series by Renault (former Nissan) has seen more talented drivers in my opinion and that's where Kevin Magnussen won the championship this year and he made it into a 2014 F1 cockpit... so I guess you can't expect to have 2-3 new drivers replacing experienced ones if you can't see that little extra thing in the upcoming young drivers. 
 Although, I also don't like the policy of rather having an average driver in a cockpit just for the sponsor money, which is quite common these days, and not giving a go to the young guns...