Who to replace Badoer?

Yeah, OK, Luca Badoer was ‘hapless’ in Valencia, but all his performance did for me was to highlight just how amazing F1 drivers are – all of them.

Badoer is a god of driving by most mortal standards, and is obviously pretty fit because he got all the way to the end… but in a car capable of third, he finished dead last.

It’s not often you see the sheer quality of F1 drivers brought into such sharp focus.

Anyway, it got me thinking – like millions, possibly billions of people all over the world – who should take that Ferrari seat once Spa is over? They’ve promised Luca a run at Spa, a track he knows, but he’ll still be a second off the pace and then his adventure will be over. Marc Gene is a brilliant guy and pretty quick, but you’d never describe him as a demon.

Who would I put in the car? I’d like to give Mike Conway a run against Raikkonen.

Bear with me on this. You don’t know who he is, and he’s only been mildly on my radar since demolishing the field in British Formula 3 in 2006… the category Jenson Button came from, remember. He also won a GP2 sprint race at Monaco in 2008, a win I saw on telly and it made me think ‘he’s one to watch’. Last night, I saw him again, racing in IRL at Infineon, and after qualifying ninth and running as low as 14th after a first-corner melee (not his fault) and subsequent pit stop, I thought ‘hmm, that’s that Conway kid, I’ll keep an eye on him, he’ll move up the field’. Then I fell asleep and woke up about 70 laps later, and he’d moved up to third! And that’s where he finished, behind Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe.

Like Conway, the two guys in front of him had tested in F1 but haven’t ever had a seat (Conway was a Honda F1 test driver in 2007) and they were absolutely the class of the field.

So, there’s my opinion, for what it’s worth. Get Conway his super license, get him on the simulators and then let him loose. Now’s the time for experimentation and I like the way this guy goes about racing.

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