29 June 2015
Vettel unconcerned by dwindling German driver numbers
Sebastian Vettel plays down the relative lack of German drivers coming through the ranks, while Nico Rosberg tips Pascal Wehrlein for F1.
Sebastian Vettel says he is unconcerned by the relative lack of young German drivers coming through the ranks at this present time, insisting waves of talent come in cycles.
Germany is currently the second most successful nationality in terms of F1 world championships – with all 11 of its titles won by Michael Schumacher and Vettel -, while Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg currently make up three of the 20-strong grid for the nation.
However, beyond F1, Germany's representation has dwindled, with currently no drivers competing in GP2 or FR3.5, while Marvin Kirchhofer is the only driver to fly the flag for the nation in the GP3 Series.
Despite this, Vettel – who is an ambassador for the German-based ADAC Formula 4 Championship, which counts Mick Schumacher as a competitor – says he has little doubt that Germany will always be well represented, pointing out France was suffering with numbers before the likes of Jean-Eric Vergne and Jules Bianchi emerged.
“Obviously there's a couple of German guys around and I think it's completely normal to have sometimes more, sometimes less drivers from your country represented in Formula One,” he said. “I remember a couple of years ago I think when I joined, when Nico joined there was a period when we had six German drivers on the grid so obviously we were quite lucky because we had young drivers and experienced drivers.
“Now, at that time, I remember there were no French drivers and the French press was desperate because there weren't any French drivers on the grid. They asked the questions: what is the secret, why are there so many German drivers? So I think it's natural that it goes up and down. If you look at the grid now, there's a couple of French drivers for quite a couple of years now.
“I think that's normal and then you need to give everyone time. I think if you talk about guys that are now 15, 16 years old, obviously it could turn around quick. You can, obviously, drive a Formula One car at the age of 17 but if you look at it in a normal way, it takes quite a couple of years from there where you need to develop yourself.
“I think it's wrong, now, to give you a name because it's wrong to put pressure on any of these young drivers but I think there's a couple around. It's true that maybe it's less if you look at the number compared to ten years ago but as I said, I think it's completely natural if you then look further down the road to go-karting.
“Still in Germany, there's one of the strongest championship in the whole of Europe with the German kart championship for juniors and for seniors. Seniors are considered guys from 15 years to probably 18 years old so I'm not worried.”
Indeed, Rosberg points to the German-based DTM series as a breeding ground for talent, highlighting Mercedes' own reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein as his tip to reach F1 soon, calling him 'the best candidate short term'.
Germany isn't the only successful F1 title-winning nation suffering for young talent. Behind only UK and Germany in terms of F1 titles, Brazil, Argentina, Finland and Australia feature just four drivers between them across GP2, GP3 and FR3.5 – Brazil's Andre Negrao, Bruno Bonifacio and Pietro Fantin, plus Australia's Mitchell Gilbert.
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
the conversation - Add your comment
Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.