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Thursday Thoughts - Lorenzo's ideal team - Digging into the past to find the best driver lineup possible

Published by Lorenzo Maimone

Although it is technically not Thursday anymore, we like to stretch the limits in our very own Sidepodtime timezone. Thus, here is a guest post from Lorenzo, answering Journeyer's initial question, with his ideal team line up.

My ideal team? When considering this question, I have opted to look at drivers that are alive and active, but maybe haven’t sat in an F1 car for many years. For the purpose of the exercise I will assume that the drivers would be at the same level as the day they left F1 (which is highly unlikely), but I suppose it is my team and before the season starts I am able to take such liberties with my decisions.

Ok, so my first choice would be the French Sicilian with the fiery temperament, who on his day gave both Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost more than a few headaches. I will always remember Jean Alesi's heroic efforts in the Tyrrell in 1990 passing, being passed and re-passing Senna many times on the notoriously difficult to overtake Phoenix Street Circuit. In fact he was a major reason as to why I fell in love with F1 in the first place, his talent was never questioned but his passion more than often led him to make the wrong decisions. Probably the move that effectively prevented him from becoming more than just a mere footnote, was inspired by his passion for Ferrari, when with his infinite wisdom he managed to wrangle himself out of an already signed contract with Williams for 1991 and ended up in his dream drive for Ferrari, alongside Alain Prost instead. Now we all know how that ended up, the Patrick Head/Adrian Newey Williams was the dominant force of the 90’s whilst Ferrari’s glory and form faded season upon season, until 1997 effectively. Still, Frank Williams was “donated” a Ferrari F1 car for his kindness in letting Alesi out of his signed multi-year contract and to this day I believe he still has the car in his Museum, but Alesi remains only a single time winner in the record books. What if, hey?

Number 2? Jacques Villeneuve. Who could ever forget his debut in the Williams in 1996, not I! Standing trackside you could see his unwavering commitment shining through in the body language of the FW18. Leading most of the race until he ran a little wide onto the grass outside of the first corner at Albert Park, shaking loose an oil line in the car, which resulted in the teams instructing him to pull over and let his more experienced team mate Damon Hill past for the win. Still his intentions were clear and Damon was served early notice. Also his relentless stalking and chase of Michael Schumacher in the Championship decider of Jerez 1997, followed by his scything pass down the inside from so far back that the German had no idea he was even coming. The audacity of Villeneuve in only his second season in F1, who in this one moment exposed what was both brilliant and flawed about Schumacher...his inability to accept defeat at almost any cost. My heart sank when in one fell swoop Villeneuve had confirmed for the world that Adelaide 1994 was no accident.

Test/Reserve? Kimi Räikkönen. His talent cannot be questioned, although we are all aware of his commitment issues and dare I say laziness over a season? I have a feeling that he would be horrible at developing the car for me and he would definitely hate the thought of me plonking him in the simulator for hour after endless hour, but I think I could tell when he has that glint in his eye and needs to be in the car. I might even arrange a special sponsor outing where we send Jean Alesi motocross riding on the weekend before Spa (no harm intended of course!) just so that I could slot Kimi in for his customary Belgium win, and then let him party for the rest of the year.

A final thought, sure Alesi, Villeneuve & Räikkönen mightn’t be a conventional choice for an ideal team but I have a secondary element to my choices. Jean owns a winery, Kimi loves a tipple and Jacques can sort of hold a tune. So when/if team Lorenzo F1 fail dismally, the year end Christmas party will be one to savour. Jean will supply the wine for Kimi to drink whilst Jacques provides the entertainment. I can’t lose!