Half Term Rookie Report: Charles Pic

Charles Pic

When the young French driver joined his team Timo Glock had to Google him to find out who he was. Hopefully his German team mate also clocked up some time on You Tube as well, because that would have given him an idea that despite Pic’s apparent pre-Formula One anonymity he’s got the talent to go toe to toe with more experienced drivers.

The Stats

Races completed 11
Points 0
Retirements 3
Out-qualified team mate 5
Higher race position than team mate 4
Highest qualifying position 20th
Highest race position 15th
Average qualifying position 21.9
Average race position 19.3

The Season

What we didn’t know at the beginning of the year was that this was going to be a tough year to be a rookie, and tougher still when you’re fighting over not being the last to cross the line. nd to make sure Pic was under no illusions that Formula One is no easy ride, Marussia performed their first serious test of the MRo1 happened on a global stage in front of around half a billion eyes. No matter, it was his chance to make his name and although it wasn’t a smooth first race as he had to stop on Lap 53 with an oil pressure issue, he avoided getting caught up in the usual rookie fare of losing carbon fibre.

Pic inherited a good 15th position in Australia due to a plethora of technical issues and accidents, but in Malaysia he finished two laps behind in wet conditions just ahead of both HRT drivers. Again keeping his nose clean Pic may not have been tearing up the headlines like 2011 rookie Sergio Perez, but he wasn’t landing cash-strapped Marussia with a bill for repairs every weekend. Quiet he may be, but in China he finished a mere 0.3 seconds behind Glock.

During the controversial Bahrain race weekend the French driver outqualified Glock for the first time by around 0.3, but felt the sting of his first retirement on Sunday with an engine problem. Back to more familiar territory in Europe the race in Spain saw him edge ahead of Glock again in qualifying by almost 0.5, but the race proved a trial being filled with rookie errors. Spinning on the first lap he was then handed a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags and to compound a tricky weekend his driveshaft decided enough was enough with 31 laps left.

The German got the better of Pic in Monaco, it was to be expected around such a technical track and Pic qualified half a second behind, but while he raced hard the car’s electrics disagreed 14 laps to the flag. The last three races showed a great improvement in qualifying but Pic was let down by a disagreeable car, but by now his name was being bandied about.

The mastering watched by the Master

Glock by now must have realised his rookie team mate wasn’t happy to simply to follow him about. A retirement by the German caused by his brakes gave cause for Pic’s first finish ahead in Canada, he was helped again when Glock was ruled out of a weekend in Valencia on health grounds. This aside Pic matched his best ever result of 15th finished ahead of Massa, who tangled with Kobayashi, and more importantly on the lead lap.

Back on home turf for the team (the factory not the owners) at Silverstone Pic struggled to clock a time inside the 107% during qualifying but was allowed to race at the discretion of the stewards. Pic did well to finish just behind Glock, but it was in the next two races that the rookie began to shine.

Both in Germany and Hungary Pic out qualified and out raced Glock on both occasions, in Germany he was never challenged by his more experienced team mate (they were separated by de la Rosa) which would have given him a surge of confidence ahead of the summer break. In the final race of the first half Glock’s spin on the third lap set him back and Pic for the second race in a row finished a lap ahead.

However things might not be all rosy at Marussia, Glock was unhappy that Pic seemed to block him during qualifying at Hungary saying, “Maybe he doesn’t understand the English on the radio,” on a radio transmission. And it seems unlikely that the Glock will take this up with Pic declaring it ‘pointless’, explaining “It is happening for the second or third time and so it’s up to the team to solve it.”

The Verdict

Marussia may not provide a chance at ultimate glory at present time, as confirmed backmarkers it seems unlikely that Pic will get the opportunity to pull a Vettel and take a shock win, this aside however it doesn’t mean he has been without opportunity to impress. With a vote of confidence from former Formula One pilot Olivier Panis the driver has certainly shown that he warranted such backing.

Overall Pic has shown race on race improvement and his stats show that he makes up positions on race day, which do tend to be related to others misfortunes rather than racing proper. While this is true, Pic has shown consistancy in his driving that has allowed him to gain on Glock as the season has unfolded, with the last two races illustrating that well. If the young Frenchman continues along this path and remains ahead of his team mate more often than not he looks to have a positive future ahead of him.

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