Brundle: F1 all about fresh blood
17 February 2013
F1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle says there is nothing wrong with the number of rookies coming into the sport this year, insisting that it is the natural order of things to have turnover.
Although this year's field has been the victim of the current economic situation, with the likes of Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen and Kamui Kobayashi all failing – or refusing – to raise the required amount of sponsorship to retain their seats and subsequently losing out to better-funded youngsters, Brundle refused to criticise the shake-up.
Speaking on Sky Sports' F1 Show, the Briton reasoned that those that had been forced to make way had had enough opportunity to impress the leading teams and perhaps secure their future in the top flight, just as Sergio Perez had with McLaren, and insisted that the newcomers should be welcomed with interest rather than dismissed as mere 'pay drivers'.
With Marussia recruit Max Chilton – himself unfairly branded with F1's biggest stigma – insisting that no-one would be offered a drive without a modicum of talent and a decent resume behind them, Brundle - who had to force his way back onto the grid during his career - claimed that the eight potential changes behind the frontrunners was no different to previous years in which the 'old guard' had had to make way.
"It's sad isn't it, but it's the business," the former Tyrrell, Ligier, Williams, Benetton and Brabham driver said, "I've always said that it's really hard to get to F1 and even harder to stay there.
"They all had their chances to shine. Maybe that sounds a bit brutal, but they had their chances to shine. Just like when I got kicked out of F1, you had your chances, nothing else was there and it's about the fresh blood."
The Briton, who will continue in his role with the broadcaster this season, said that he was looking forward to seeing how the new talent – Chilton, Giedo van der Garde, Luiz Razia, Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas and, potentially, Jules Bianchi – would fare after stepping up from the junior ranks.
"I looked at Gutierrez in his overalls [at the Jerez test] and thought 'how's he going to go?',” he admitted, “If it had been Kobayashi, you'd pretty much know how he was going to go - he'd be amazing from time to time, pull off a few great overtakes, and be on the missing list for the rest of the season.”
Of those ousted from the ranks for 2013, Kobayashi and Bruno Senna look likely to wind up in sportscars, the Brazilian having already inked a deal with Aston Martin and the Japanese set to test with one of Ferrari's customer teams. Kovalainen and former Caterham team-mate Vitaly Petrov have yet to make their plans – if any – known, although the Finn has been linked to a possible Pirelli role, while Glock has already confirmed a swap to the DTM with BMW.