Many fans believed Mark Webber had a lot left in the tank for F1 when he retired. Others considered it a wise and timely move for a driver who was unlikely to go anywhere but down the grid.
At a time when opportunities in F1 for rookie drivers are almost non-existent, here are some (potentially controversial) picks from the current grid who we think should be following the Aussie in to the F1 sunset
Make no mistake, Massa’a inclusion doesn’t diminish his achievements. Oh so nearly world champion in 2008 – embarrassing his world champ team-mate in the process – and returning from his head injuries at the Hungaroring are significant achievements. Yet the pace of 2008 has never really returned and Massa’s race craft has been shown up by Alonso, and now Bottas. If Massa was an F1 rookie, his mistakes this season would have been career ending.
Unless Massa can get on terms with Bottas on both Saturday and Sunday, it is time for him to go back to his family at Ferrari and race outside F1.
Sauber have pretty comprehensively failed to get on top of the new regs this year. Their car has done nothing to flatter Sutil in his eight season of F1 but there is no doubt that he is unlikely to rise to the front of the grid.
Whilst his is not a plum seat at present, it is a seat at a decent midfield team that could be helping to blood the next Bottas or Bianchi. Time for Adrian to find a seat in the DTM and open things up in the midfield.
We’ve saved the (arguably) most controversial to last. Why is a former world champion on the list? Because of one question: can Button lead the McLaren-Honda partnership back to an F1 world title? We don’t think so.
You just do not get the impression that Button has really galvanized the team. In his post race interviews the frustration is evident but that is not what McLaren need at the moment. They need a driver who will motivate, dig deep and drive whatever he is given showing (blind) faith in the team to improve with time. McLaren need a lead driver that can get them to the front in qualifying and race day. Button on his day, and in those wet/dry races, is a cut above. But McLaren-Honda will need, and deserve, someone who can deliver that week in, week out.
Button has got more out of F1 than most other drivers ever will. Time to do more triathlons and enjoy being in the exclusive F1 world champion club.