Monday, 14 April 2008

Honda signs a 16 year old karter

I wondered how long this would take.

F1 makes me laugh sometimes because they have no quarms about copying what other teams are up to - usually around the technical developments of competitors cars but also around anything else that they think might give them a tiny advantage.

Back in 97 Tyrrell developed the X-wing which were these truly awful wings which sat astride the sidepods to give the car a little more downforce. They seemed to work and we saw a spate of copycat developments (including Ferrari) until it was thankfully banned (on terms of safety but actually on terms of looking dreadful!).

Of course, we have the annual battle of the motorhomes each year. Each team has their own motorhome and each year they get bigger and bigger in an attempt to outdo each other. I don't know what the current state is but I believe Red Bull has the current largest home that requires a convoy of transporters to bring it ot each European race. The first European race of the season is in just under a fortnight so we'll see what the latest developments are in that particular race.

Anyway, I digress. Back in the late 90s McLaren signed up a promising young karter called Lewis Hamilton and provided guidance, some cash and opened some doors for him in the sport. Hamilton grew up with support from a leading F1 team and arrived in F1 the most well-prepared rookie in the history of the sport.

Honda have watched with interest and have obviously been looking for a candidate that they can do the same with - looks like they've found one. Now, far be it for me to read into what Honda are doing but I suspect they wouldn't have looked twice at this guy if it wasn't for what Hamilton did last year.

I suspect we'll see a few more teams signing up teenagers before the season is out!


Anonymous said...

You silly fool, this has been going on for years, and isn't really something teams could "copy". It's not a new technique at all, it's just that Hamilton is the first one to pay off so massively.

Also, Quarms should be spelled Qualms.

ALSO, X-wings were banned purely on safety grounds. I don't think aesthetics have ever interested the FIA. Lol.

Gregor Spowart said...

Thanks for this. But if it's been going on for years then maybe you could give me a list of 16 year olds signed up by F1 teams and supported throughout the career?

Also, yes, they were banned on safety grounds but I don't know if you recall the rumour that Ecclestone wanted them banned as soon as they appeared on the Ferrari? That sentence WAS a bit tongue in cheek though.

ALSO, you got me on the qualms bit! ;-)

Boy Goerge said...

Yeah, Sorry to inform you but yeah, this is nothing new. Many F1, Nascar and Indy drivers have gotten their start Kart racing. Plenty teams often scout the Kart circuits for new prospects to develop. Hamilton success just makes a good story to tell.