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Lewis Hamilton for F1?

Much of the gossip at Silverstone was about the new star of GP2, Lewis Hamilton. He is tipped for a drive at McLaren next year, although this seems unlikely in view of the team’s need to have two experienced and proven drivers to maximise the potential of the car.

Lewis Hamilton

It raises the point of how drivers will progress into F1, now that the Minardi name has disappeared. The team lives on in the shape of Scuderia Toro Rosso but its ethos has changed fundamentally; it is now intended to be a gateway for American drivers into F1. Perhaps the big teams will come to regret the demise of little Minardi, for it has given so many now-famous drivers their first break in the premier formula.

Consider some of the names that once drove for the second Italian team. Michele Alboreto had an early association with the team and Pierluigi Martini had a Minardi seat for many years. Then Alessandro Nannini, Gianni Morbidelli, Christian Fittipaldi and Alex Zanardi made their F1 debuts in Minardi cars. And there was a time when the team was run by a certain Flavio Briatore.

Minardi

Even today, there are drivers who owe their start to Minardi; Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber are two, for a start. And then there is some guy named Fernando Alonso. With a name like that, what chance did he stand of getting into F1, had not Minardi eased him in?

So I wish Lewis Hamilton the best of luck. I hope he gets the F1 drive he so clearly deserves, but I suspect that he might have to wait a bit longer than next year before someone gives him a chance.

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