In any sport which require teams to be formed, the top seats are limited. In cricket, in football or any other sport. One has to wait for a seat or spot to be available and have a go in the big shows. So for the younger talent to enter a sport, we need the experienced participants to exit. A Robert Kubica return will potentially conflict with this very system.
Same can be said for Formula 1. While it is true that average age of the grid has dropped over the years, the number of younger, new drivers each year has remained low for most of the sport’s history. With only 20 (for 2017 or 2018) seats in the sport, it is harder than ever to break through the lower divisions and claim one.
Felipe Massa decided to quit last season. A younger driver could have taken his drive. Williams decided it was better off to keep the willing experienced driver instead. Williams have this opportunity again for 2018. Yet, Williams just might go with 32-year old Kubica. I am not the only one to raise the question. Vettel also recently was quoted on the issue:
“I think it’s very tragic what happened to him back then, he was considered a future champion. However, I do not understand why he is now pushing for a comeback. Why did he not do this earlier? For him it would certainly be a nice story, …on the other hand, it would be a pity for younger drivers, from whom he would take away a race-seat.”
If we look at the grid, Kimi is 38, Massa and Alonso are 36, while Hamilton is 32. It is true that fans will want their favourite drivers to keep driving. A drive which might not result in a championship contender seems a little unappealing for champions like Kimi or Alonso. True that they want to race just like others but there is no future step. After one title, you need second or more to keep growing in the sport. Drives which do not complete at the top can easily go to younger talents as stepping stones to those drives which do. But when we have experienced champions in these drives (Yes I mean Massa and Kimi), these valuable learning experiences are snatched from others.
Hence a fairytale Kubica return, though glorious for fans, is a bad news for younger drivers who wish to enter the sport.