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Top-level F1 drivers are the best of the best
You might take the view that the spread of Formula One's drivers has weakened in the past few years, or decades.
Sure, the sport's increasing dependence on finding investment—though it's never been a cheap discipline by any stretch of the imagination—means those with bigger pockets of money than pockets of talent can make their way onto the Grand Prix grid.
But it's impossible to argue that those at the top of the sport are not truly world-class drivers, among the best racers in the world—of any discipline.
Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have earned the right to be spoken of in the same regard as Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda and Sir Jackie Stewart. However, there is an ever-increasing concern over the prospects of F1's best potential talents, with more than ever considering careers in the United States.
That's because there are truly high-quality drivers on the upper echelons of IndyCar. Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, even at 38, is proving the 2013 IndyCar benchmark ahead of twice-champion Scott Dixon. 40-year-old Dario Franchitti is a multiple title winner.
Maybe there's a question mark over their reputations outside of the States; ultimately those who have flirted with F1 have done so with below-par teams. Is age a factor, too? Those who try to succeed in F1 past their early 30s tend to do so with little success.
Take Sebastien Bourdais, for example. Four times a ChampCar title winner, his transition to F1 was ultimately very unsuccessful (even if he was axed in haste) and he struggled to score points in an uncompetitive Toro Rosso. Justin Wilson, IndyCar race winner and a Formula 3000 champion no less, also struggled in F1.
He's since returned to IndyCar, where this season has heralded his best return with three podiums.
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Formula One 31 IndyCar 29