Money got Kvyat into F1 ahead of Da Costa says Razia – And Your Point Is…

Quick Note: This very issue is on my docket. I have made it a point to tackle this in my first few efforts of 2014. Until then here are a few thoughts about pay-drivers and moola.

From GrandPrix 247

Snubbed Red Bull junior driver Antonio Felix da Costa deserved to be promoted up to Formula 1 in 2014, but money talked at Toro Rosso claims Brazilian driver Luiz Razia.

Portuguese da Costa, 22, was the hot favourite to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Toro Rosso for next season, until backer Red Bull actually plucked the Russian teenager Daniil Kvyat straight out of GP3.

Razia, who almost secured the Marussia race seat this year before running into sponsorship issues, told Brazil’s Totalrace that he thinks that da Costa, who was a frontrunner in Formula Renault 3.5 this year and has now been signed as a Formula 1 test driver, deserves the Toro Rosso seat more.

“The strange thing is not the fact that [Kvyat] is coming from GP3,” he explained. “A driver can demonstrate his talent in many categories.

“What I’m saying it that there is a loss of momentum,” said Razia, insisting that da Costa showed every sign of being prepared to take the final step into Formula 1.

“Antonio won a third of the races he contested in the World Series. The Arden team is good, but it had some problems in this season, but even so, he finished the Championship third,” he added.

Razia, the 2012 GP2 runner-up, said that he thinks that other factors played in Kvyat’s favour when Red Bull was making its choice for 2014.

“I’m the devil’s advocate because I’m Antonio’s friend, but I think he was in a much stronger position [to debut in Formula 1].

“But we all know that is not all – it is very clear that next year there is a race in Russia, and Formula 1 needs a Russian.

“[Formula 1] is a very political category, and [Kvyat] is even sponsored by a Russian bank. Toro Rosso has difficulties, as everyone does, so it was a situation where everything fell into place for him,” he added. (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

MyTake

Over the last few years this issue of Pay-Drivers has become more and more prevalent in the news and in the overall discussions of the driver market each year when teams make an assessment of the year’s results. Ever since the world economic downturn in which a large percentage of sponsorships went away, teams have been relying more and more on a drivers connected to  sponsorships to fill the void. Does this have a negative effect on the overall quality of the drivers entering and staying in F1? Maybe. Does this mean some very fast and skilled drivers miss an opportunity to pilot an F1 car? Probably. However, many very skilled and fast drivers miss out on that opportunity for other reasons too. Also, I am pretty confidant that most drivers somewhere along the way needed money to get to F1. This was either in the form of their own or someone else’s money, or in the case of someone like Lewis Hamilton, the backing of a organization such as McLaren International. And let’s not forget Sebastian Vettel was supported by many cans of Red Bull until he became the driver that he is today. The simple fact is all drivers need money in the beginning until they are proven entities. Until they are genuine race winners. Until a team deems them enough of a benefit to spend 5 or 10 or 20 million on them at which point they become a Paid-Employee instead of a Pay-Driver. So get over it and let’s move on…            -jp-

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