2010 final driver rankings: 27 – 16

Just like the series of posts halfway through the season, these articles are to rank all of the drivers’ performances this season. Across the next few weeks, more detailed analysis will be written on each driver and team. For the moment, here are the lowest ranked 13 drivers of the year:

27: Sakon Yamamoto

Sakon has shown little to prove himself in F1

Sakon has shown little to prove himself in F1

4 months ago:

“His comic driving is coming at the expense of Chandhok and Senna”

Now:

With Hispania’s financial situation consistently becoming worse and worse, Yamamoto was an obvious choice to keep on for the rest of the year. However, despite the extra time in the car, he has shown absolutely no improvement, and has been vastly out-performed by all of his fellow drivers.

A 15th place finish out of 7 races is all Sakon has to show for this year, and unfortunately this simply won’t do, if HRT are to have any chance of catching up to Virgin and Lotus. Christian Klien, who similarly brings in quite a substansial financial package, has proved himself to be much faster, and it would be in the team’s best interests to switch the drivers for 2011.

26: Lucas di Grassi

Lucas has not stood up to Timo's pace

Lucas has not stood up to Timo's pace

4 months ago:

“While he has not been terrible, he needs to show his potential to stay in F1.”

Now:

His 14th-placed drive in Malaysia was his best of the year, and it must be considered that he did this even with the under-sized fuel tank that Virgin were struggling with earlier on. However, despite this, a lack of pace compared to Timo Glock has put his seat in doubt for next year.

In every race of 2010 where both Virgins finished, Di Grassi was beaten by Glock in every single one. While Timo has plenty of experience in F1, and I wouldn’t have been expecting Lucas to beat him, he still hasn’t proved his mettle to deserve a 2011 spot, which follows on from what I said 4 months ago.

25: Karun Chandhok

Chandhok has had no racing time since July

Chandhok has had no racing time since July

4 months ago:

“He has not been given the car to prove himself in the races.”

Now:

With much disappointment, my end-of season review for Karun Chandhok is exactly the same for his mid-season one, simply because he hasn’t been in an F1 car since.

Two 14th place results are slightly better than what Bruno Senna had to offer, but Karun has still been left on the sidelines since Germany, thanks to Yamamoto and Klien taking his place to keep HRT financially afloat.

Rumours have been moving about that Force India were considering Chandhok for next season, but Vijay Mallya has since snubbed the idea, leaving many in doubt as to whether the Indian can remain in Formula 1.

24: Bruno Senna

Senna has done well against Yamamoto, but less so against Klien

Senna has done well against Yamamoto, but less so against Klien

4 months ago:

“Showing his potential is nearly impossible, but it is certainly visible to see that Senna is the faster of the two Hispania drivers.”

Now:

A painful end to the year for Chandhok has completely evaded Bruno Senna, as he has managed to keep his race seat in all but one race. The HRT car has held him back, but he has at least comprehensively beaten Sakon Yamamoto.

A 14th place result in Korea was the best of the season, in difficult conditions for the Brazilian to survive. Rumours of him being replaced by pay drivers never surfaced, and he has done his best in a car that is rooted to the back of the grid. On the other hand though, Christian Klien has certainly pulled out a few surprises on Senna, particularly in qualifying, so Senna’s potential is still unclear.

23: Christian Klien

Christian Klien has shown good potential in qualifying

Christian Klien has shown good potential in qualifying

Was not racing by the time of the previous review.

Now:

Several impressive qualifying results have been heartening for Klien, but with only 3 races under his belt this year, it is still tough to judge his performance.

Both in Singapore and Brazil, Christian out-qualified Senna by huge margins (up to a second). However, in the races, all he has to show for himself is a 20th place finish. On two occasions out of three, his lack of race pace was down to the reliability of the car. Therefore, it would be very difficult to evaluate his drives just yet, but based on his Q3 pace, I would say that Klien made the best of what he had.

22: Vitantonio Liuzzi

4 months ago:

“In no way has Liuzzi justified his race seat this year.”
Now:

Liuzzi was at the back far too often in 2010

Liuzzi was at the back far too often in 2010

A 6th-placed finish was a good end to a dismal season for Liuzzi. While team-mate Adrian Sutil gave Michael Schumacher trouble in the championship table, Vitantonio has been lagging at the back with the Toro Rossos.

6 points finishes in a row was the highlight of Sutil’s season. Yet those 6 top 10 places are all that Liuzzi mustered over the entire year. The Force India car is not up to the pace of the Mercedes or Renault teams, but was well ahead of Williams and Sauber throughout most races. Adrian showed this, yet Tonio was consistently knocked out of Q1. He didn’t start too badly, with 9th and 7th in Bahrain and Australia, but another couple of 9ths were all he could manage until Belgium.

Retiring 4 times in the last 5 races (every time in a collision) was a disastrous end to a year to forget for Liuzzi. I would be hugely surprised if Force India were to retain him for 2011, with talent like Paul di Resta struggling to enter F1.

21: Timo Glock

Glock has not been given the car to succeed

Glock has not been given the car to succeed

4 months ago:

“Now is the time for Virgin and Glock to seize the initiative and get ahead of Lotus.”

Now:

With Lotus starting work on their 2011 car amazingly early, a lot of focus was on Virgin, to see if they could bridge the gap to the best new team of 2010. But, with their testing woes, undersized fuel tank saga, and endless reliability gremlins, the year never developed successfully for Virgin, which left Glock unable to prove his value to the team.

True, Timo only retired 3 times in the last 11 races, but in the other 8 cases, he never finished higher than 14th, and was nearly always stuck back in 17th or 18th place. In both 2008 and 2009, Timo stood up well to team-mate Jarno Trulli, so pace doesn’t seem to be the problem.

A much faster and reliable car is what Timo needs to get himself back up the grid next year.

20: Pedro de la Rosa

De la Rosa was miles off Kobayashi's pace

De la Rosa was miles off Kobayashi's pace

4 months ago:

“If Sauber are to move up the grid, they need a younger and certainly faster driver. Nick Heidfeld would do fine.”

Now:

Not a bad prediction, if I may say so. Pedro de la Rosa was completely lacklustre with the Sauber car this year, despite team-mate Kobayashi often having stunning performances.

One single points-scoring finish is all Pedro has to offer after 14 races, and that simply won’t do. Sauber gave up, and replaced him with Nick Heidfeld, who promptly equalled De la Rosa’s 14-race points tally after only 3 races.

He ended the season without a drive, and 5 times less points than Kamui. HRT are reported to be looking at the Spaniard for 2011, but despite this, his future is in serious doubt.

19: Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime was consistently very close to points

Jaime was consistently very close to points

4 months ago:

“One good points performance is not good enough to prove your place in Formula 1″

Now:

Unfortunately, this review is more of the same for Jaime Alguersuari. Three points finishes is all he could do, with a car that never really looked like pushing for points.

However, he also managed 5 11th-placed results, which shows he was on the pace quite often, and consistently beat Sebastien Buemi in the last 5 races. Therefore, it’s a little bit more difficult to assess Alguersuari compared to Buemi.

Franz Tost has praised Jaime over Sebastien, but I feel that, despite everything, Buemi did earn more points in the end, which is why Jaime ends the year lower down.

18: Jarno Trulli

Jarno has done well, but was still beaten by Kovalainen

Jarno has done well, but was still beaten by Kovalainen

4 months ago:

“While he is not off the pace, retirement seems to be looming for Trulli.”

Now:

With hindsight, retirement may not come so soon. Jarno has hinted at staying at Lotus for 2011, and with a much improved car expected, Trulli seems to remain a valuable asset to the team.

Excellent qualifying pace, but poor race pace, has always been Trulli’s downfall. However, now being near the back of the grid, this no longer occurs, as Jarno balanced out his pace between qualifying and races this year.

Japan is where the Lotuses performed best, with Kovalainen leading Trulli to 12th and 13th. In the races where both finished, Heikki was mostly ahead of Jarno, so despite his improvements, Trulli was still beaten by his team-mate. 2011 will tell us if he still has what it takes.

17: Sebastien Buemi

Buemi out-scored Alguersuari in 2010

Buemi out-scored Alguersuari in 2010

4 months ago:

“Maybe some good luck could show his real potential in the second half of 2010.”

Now:

The good luck never arrived for Buemi. A poor car, teamed with dissappointing pace in the final few races, left the Toro Rosso driver with only one points-scoring finish in the last 10 races.

On the other hand, he gave us a glimpse of his potential, by leading the Canadian Grand Prix, and holding back Hamilton and Alonso considerably well. He finished 8th, which was the best of the year for him. Despite this though, he was out-performed by Alguersuari near the end of the year, and has been critisised by the team for his lack of pace.

Daniel Ricciardo was being pushed to replace him, but after he was assigned the test driver role, 2011 is Buemi’s last chance to keep his race seat at Toro Rosso.

16: Nick Heifeld

Heidfeld impressed in only 5 races

Heidfeld impressed in only 5 races

Was not racing at time of last review.

Now:

A replacement for Pedro de la Rosa rather than a driver for next year, Nick Heidfeld still impressed many by beating Kamui Kobayashi in the final few races.

Arriving back to the paddock at the Singapore Grand Prix, after testing for Pirelli, Heidfeld was swiftly hit by the news that he would not be racing for Sauber in 2011, as rookie Sergio Perez was being brought in. Nevertheless, Nick got to work, getting more points than rookie sensation Kobayashi in the last 5 races. While he was overtaken easily by his team-mate in Japan, Nick still obtained 8th and 9th places in Suzuka and Korea.

I still believe Nick is a hugely talented driver, who richly deserves his first race win, but he will need to work fast just to get a drive for next year.

Part 2 will be up soon.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers

%d bloggers like this: