Re: Article claims Bottas almost certain to replace Senna in 2013
Posted by: Pancho Pepe
Date: 28 March, 2012 22:56
Crusty, Chavez is leading comfortably in the polls right now. But given the fact that the FW34 is a good car and -as Pastor loves to say- "for sure" he will have good races and maybe podiums, the next president, even if its not him, will most likely keep the sponsorship.
Venezuela has, now officially, more oil than Saudi Arabia (we are just getting stated on getting it out of the ground). So, budget-wise, the F1 presence is a drop in a bucket here, and with the projected income due to increased oil production, it will be even more irrelevant.
The F1 presence has been of an enormous value for PDVSA, which in spite of being the number one company in Latin America in terms of revenue, and #27 worldwide (Santander is #35), it was virtually unknown outside the oil industry.
Same for the "Venezuela" brand image, which up until recently suffered from very negative media on the economic side (criticize Chavez for anything else, but the economy is doing great, the middle class is growing, poverty dropped by more than half... therefore you see his high poll numbers). Nobody now can continue saying that Venezuela is a country in ruins as they were saying up until recently, and the F1 presence has helped in that regard.
So, for any president in Venezuela, as things are now, F1 is a keeper.
Local politicians' criticisms of the F1 deal have all backfired, as the majority of the population sees no problem with it.
Now, did you know we even bought a GP2 team? Venezuela GP Lazarus replaced Super Nova this year. We have 3 drivers in GP2 (none of which will make it into F1, unfortunately, as PDVSA will not invest further in them, and no F1 team will take drivers that cannot at least win races in GP2). We now have a national program to help develop drivers in motorsport.
So, Bottas? Well, is he "the real deal"? Maybe, maybe not. Rosberg was the real deal but he's being outpaced by a senior citizen with diminished reflexes and inferior physical condition. Hulkenberg was also the real deal, but he has been skipped by the big teams after sadly being dumped by Williams (should have dumped Rubens, sorry to say)... why didn't Ferrari grasped him? He'd probably be better than Massa. If he was really the next Shumi, some big team would have him at least as 3rd driver. For many Sutil was also the real deal.
Remember Antonio Pizzonia? Boy, I will not forget how much good press that guy was receiving 10 years ago! "Jungle boy", "Future champion", and yes; "real deal". Teams fought for him after he had won Formula Renault and British F3... SFW sacked Marc Gene to bring him along after Pizza boy was dumped by Jaguar mid season. At Williams was nowhere near Montoya... He ended up as our tester, and then totally out of F1 as nobody wanted him. Then, not even in GP2 he did well. Pizzonia had good speed in testing and in lower categories, but race weekend pressures in F1 and a well known lack of discipline, ruined his career.
So, yes, Bottas could be the real deal, but you know what? so could be Pastor or Bruno. Although, if Bruno doesn't start to match Pastor's speed, he could be another Pizzonia (I doubt it, though). From Valtteri we have only seen glimpses. How would he perform under pressure? I have no idea.
I really think that Williams needs some stability right now. Show that the team is back in solid form, that the engineering team is again a solid one, that the team can innovate, win races or score podiums, and then we can think about attracting top drivers and sponsors.
Remember, top drivers can also be "paid" drivers. Santander would NOT, I repeat would NOT be at Ferrari if Alonso wasn't racing there. Can you confirm you understood the message?
In any case, if we pull out the great performances I think we can have this year with these two drivers, the sponsors would be knocking on our doors (or at least opening their doors when we knock). I do agree that we might have had more TV time in the 1st two 2012 races, than in most of the whole 2011 season. So, that is very important for sponsors.
Lets hope a good replacement for Adam Parr is found soon. A top manager is paramount when it comes to showing the stability and strength needed to succeed and attract more top talent.
Optimism and confidence is what I feel about the team at this moment. Its been a few rocky years for Williams recently. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.