Formula One: Lewis Hamilton’s debut season might never be repeated- Gary Paffett
The McLaren reserve driver, Gary Paffett believes that seeing a debut season similar to Lewis Hamilton’s has become next to impossible. While talking to the reporters, the driver stated that limited per-season practice makes debut season very tough for the
rookie drivers now.
While talking about the first season of the McLaren driver, Hamilton, he stated that there are possibilities that such a rookie season might not be seen again in the sport until the regulations are revamped. As the caravan of cars entered the 2010 season,
FIA announced several changes in its regulations to ensure cost cutting in the world’s most expensive sport. Some of the major modifications included a ban on refuelling, disallowing of the KERS, prohibition of the pre-season tests and some others.
In 2007, Hamilton stepped straight into the driving seat of the legendary team, McLaren although he had no previous experience of driving a Formula One car. The contract with the British team was signed at the end of his 2006, as the chocolate skinned driver
bagged championship in GP2 series. Since the season wrapped up by August, the driver had ample time to practice with his new team, McLaren. By the time the next season began, he already had practiced for a couple of months, which enabled him in giving a remarkable
debut season with the highest ranking motor sport of the world.
During his first season, Hamilton came out to the track with a loud roar, challenging his team mate and two times world champion, Fernando Alonso. Alonso who had previously broken the spell of the seven times world champion, Michael Schumacher on the track
by winning two consecutive titles in 2005 and 2006. However, in 2007 he was aggressively challenged by his teammate and a far younger driver, Hamilton. As the season came to an end, Hamilton missed his first title only by a single point while Alonso stood
third. The very next season, the Briton bagged his first championship, becoming the youngest world champion ever in the history of the sport, a record that was previously held by Alonso.
Looking at the way Hamilton’s career with the series unfolded, Paffett believes that the pre-season testing has played a big role. He even believes that there are possibilities that the racer would have been still struggling for a race seat, had the current
test restrictions been in place when he entered the sport. Now, only a brief young driver test is allowed after the end of the championship calendar until next year’s February.
While talking to the reporters, the McLaren reserve driver stated, "One example that is quite easy to see is Lewis himself. After the  GP2 season he got in the car and was testing in November, December, January and February, so by the time January
came, they could say 'yes, he's ready'. If that had happened now, he couldn't have driven the car till February, and they wouldn't have had any time to see if he was up to speed and maybe he wouldn't have been in the car [for the season]."
Paffett concluded saying that with the new rules the career of the substitute drivers, like him has come under a lot of pressure. He further stated that this makes the new drivers stay unprepared for long period of time.
"It's very difficult; there's no time even for the reserve drivers who have race experience to get up to speed if they're called on to drive the car,” he said.