Formula One can be a harsh world to work in – William Swerve takes a look at some other examples of drivers receiving their P45s.
You think Red Bull is harsh for firing Daniil Kvyat? Or maybe you don’t? F1 has never exactly been a shrinking violet when it comes to the way its teams treat its drivers so here are six other examples to make you realise – as far as his employer is concerned – a driver is only as good as his last race.
1) Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault
Don’t *always* do everything your boss tells you to.
Even agreeing to drive into a wall in 2008’s infamous Singapore Grand Prix wasn’t enough to save Piquet Jnr’s Renault seat; the Brazilian was summarily sacked halfway through 2009 following a run of poor results. His then boss Flavio Briatore has never publicly stated that he might have done things differently, but his subsequent unmasking by the somewhat disgruntled ex-employee thanks to a confession – and some damning throttle trace data – subsequently saw the incomprehensibly flamboyant playboy banned from F1 for life (Flavio, not Nelson).
Whilst Nelson’s Few Good Men moment of justice saw him exiled to the US to take up truck racing, Flavio – having already dated the likes of Heidi Klum and Naomi Campbell – struggled to cope with life away from a sport he once admitted he found baffling and tedious, by marrying Italian Wonderbra model Elisabetta Gregoraci, a woman 30 years his junior. Yes, Nelson: Flavio can handle the truth.
2) Rene Arnoux, Ferrari
Nobody knows the reason why, but then again, when did Enzo ever need one?
(Veteran F1 journalist) Nigel Roebuck says he knows, and presumably Rene does too, but the rest of the world remains stubbornly in the dark as to why Enzo Ferrari himself beckoned the Frenchman into his Maranello office one race into the 1985 season purely to boot him out of it.
Two years earlier, he alone had carried the championship fight to Brabham and Renault, but his gradual dominance by new team-mate Michele Alboreto the following season, a lacklustre start to the current one and mutterings of Oliver Reed type fitness levels saw the man James Hunt later suggested was overly economical with the truth get his Scuderia marching orders, and that was that, (or off to Ligier, if you want to quibble).
3) Andrea de Cesaris, Ligier
What doesn’t kill me, only makes me go on and try again at the next race.
“De Crasheris” didn’t earn his nickname lightly, and was already deep into a career-long reputation for single-handedly testing the rigidity of the modern Grand Prix car when he somersaulted his Ligier at over 100mph out of the 1985 Austrian Grand Prix.
Groggily stumbling back to the pits in much the same manner some of his cars did once he’d finished with them, the Italian might have reckoned he was better off heading in the opposite direction given the P45 that found him once he got there.
“I can no longer afford the services of this young man,” was team owner Guy Ligier’s brutal summary of the then 27-year-old’s dysfunctional CV, presumably whilst sobbing over the latest accident bill.
Somehow De Cesaris managed another 7 teams spanning a 14 year career before being forced to quit the sport entirely as personal backer Marlboro – in an ironic business parallel – finally overcame its incomprehensible addiction to the then 35 year old, concluding backing him was even more ruinous than taking up it’s products.
4) Juan-Pablo Montoya, Mclaren
If you’re going to resign, remember to tell your team before telling the media.
In a surreal replay of the pastiche Radio 1 DJ duo Smashie and Nicey’s race to resign before they were sacked, Montoya announced he would leave current employer Mclaren to join NASCAR at the end of 2006, only for a livid Ron Dennis to immediately insist he could do that a lot sooner given he’d completed his last race for the team.
The dynamic, charismatic Colombian had won three races for the Woking marque, but already strained his boss’ patience with a series of costly 2005 errors that torpedoed team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s admittedly tenuous title assault, not to mention an enforced absence at that season’s Bahrain race following a “tennis” injury even Dennis could barely explain without you fearing his teeth would shatter first from gritting them so hard.
But it was the triggered destruction of both Mclarens at – as it transpired – his final race at Indianapolis that really did for the ex-CART champion, whilst the out-of-the-blue NASCAR announcement sparked such indignation at the British team it inspired one of the most passive aggressive press releases in F1 history.
5) Alain Prost, Ferrari
A bad workman always blames his tools – at least, according to Ferrari.
Hauling his Ferrari to nearly double the points total of team-mate Jean Alesi wasn’t enough to keep Prost’s job in 1991, or at least, it wasn’t once he’d let journalists know he thought his state-of-the-art Italian steed was less Prancing Horse, more Leyland DAF.
The Scuderia’s humiliation of the Frenchman was completed, not only through denying him a send-off in the final race at Adelaide, but replacing the three-time World Champion in favour of Gianni Morbidelli; a man whose own CV pinnacle was an Italian F3 title.
Nonetheless, Ferrari’s pre-Schumacher era penchant for shooting itself in both feet ensured Prost had the last laugh; not only was he spared the tragi-comically sodden Australian Grand Prix, but in picking up a healthy stipend to sit out the following season, was effectively paid to dodge the Italian team’s F92A bullet – a car so bad it could only dream of truck pretensions as it wobbled around the world’s Grand Prix tracks with all the grace of a red shopping trolley.
6) Everyone else, Toro Rosso
A great opportunity – to finish your career in your 20s.
Red Bull’s talent academy is a real rollercoaster, of which, if you’re not careful, can spit you out at the end, leaving you feeling disoriented and sick to the stomach.
Franz Tost’s “rookie training school” has witnessed the dazzling ascent to F1’s top step of such talents as Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and now – famously – Max Verstappen, but in so doing has seen the equally impressive career curtailment of Sebastian Bourdais, Jean-Eric Vergne, Scott Speed, Sebastian Buemi, Jaime Alguerauari, Viantonio Liuzzi and – more than likely despite only just turning 22 – Daniil Kvyat.
Red Bull backing can get you from go-karting to F1 quicker than most people went from Formula Ford to F3 thirty years ago. The trouble is, it can also send you in the other direction even quicker.