Robert Wickens of Guelph and Toronto, a champion karter, won the Formula BMW-USA championship. This earned him a Red Bull sponsorship.
When he went to Europe to drive in Formula 2, Helmut Marko, the ex-F1 driver in charge of driver development for Red Bull-Renault Racing, told him he was expected to win.
Wickens finished second in the series and was stripped of his sponsorship.
Said 'Dr.' Marko: “See ya.”
Wickens was not surprised. “They expected me to win, and I didn’t,” he said.
Jean-Eric Vergne of France is a Red Bull sponsored driver who’d previously won the British Formula 3 championship.
He was entered in this year’s World Series by Renault, in which he finished second.
(Do you see where I’m going with this?)
You would expect that Vergne would be stripped of his sponsorship – particularly since the guy he lost the championship to was none other than Canadian Robert Wickens.
But instead of ‘Dr.’ Marko saying “See ya,” Jean-Eric was at the Korean Grand Prix today to drive a Toro Rosso F1 team car in first practice.
Hmmm. I wonder why?
Actually, I’ll tell you why.
Robert Wickens is a North American and Jean-Eric Vergne is a European.
F1, despite calling itself a “world’ series, is a European series complete with Eurocentric attitudes and prejudices.
Which explains why Robert Wickens, a Canadian who lost, got his walking papers and Jean-Eric Vergne, a Frenchman who lost, got promoted.
Vergne replaced Jaime Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso.
First practice in Korea today (Friday - Thursday night in Canada) was pretty much ruined by rain. Michael Schumacher was "fastest" with a time of 2 minutes, 02.784 seconds, followed by Sebastien Vettel (2.02.840) and Paul Di Resta (2.02.912).
Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa went out for one slow lap and retired to the garage where it was dry. Lewis Hamilton was seventh fastest and Mark Webber was 10th.
Vergne was 13th fastest, but was about five seconds slower than Schumacher's time.
In the second session, which dried up enough for the guys to get down to work, Lewis Hamilton was fastest with a lap of 1:50:828. His McLaren-Mercedes teammate Jenson Button was second at 1:50:932.
Third through fifth fastest were Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Sixth through 10th quickest were Alguersuari (nothing like having to sit out a session to motivate a fellow . . .), Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Sebastien Buemi and Paul di Resta.