What a busy few days for the past couple of days on the F1 Driver market. First, we got confirmation that our beloved Kimi won't be racing at the final two rounds, while Alonso who just suffered an injury will indeed participate. Now we have been confirmed that ex-Ferrari man Felipe Massa will indeed join Williams, ousting Pastor Maldonado; and now that Kevin Magnussen will replace Sergio Perez at McLaren next season. One more coveted seat is in the line, that of Lotus, which will likely end up in the hands (or ass) of Nico Hulkenber, thanks to the materialization of Quantum's investment package.
An early pay seat is no guarantee of success and can quickly back fire if you run out of the talents.
A lot of drivers have voiced their concerns to the Pay Driver issue. But it seems that in this case, the market has some what self regulated. Of coarse the ousted drivers can still secure a seat at Force India/Sauber/Caterham/Marussia; but such teams are also more likely to try new talent at the next seat or keep developing one. Risk at that level can pay-off or at least level out with the revenue the pay driver brings in. But for Top Teams, it is irrelevant. You can't sell off a seat, when half of your business is performing, which entails wins, podiums and point hauls in order to secure your Championship hopes and revenues, as well as maintaining your Motorsport Pedigree.
Take Checo for example, through out the season he only beat Jenson Button, his teammate, 4 times in the 15 races so far (I discounted the two races where each did not finish but completed over 90% of the race). You see, he got his initial Sauber seat thanks to his Telmex backing and although he did put two impressive performances in his stint at the Swiss outfit McLaren unfortunately didn't have many options to replace Hamilton.
Pastor Maldonado gave Williams its latest victory in 2012, but nothing more.
And that brings me to the importance of financial stability. The Top Teams have to realize that the survivability of all teams is crucial if they want to remain competitive as well. After all in most cases, drivers prove themselves through their performances in the end/mid field teams. Feeder series are important, but without F1 testing it's hard to determine who the Best of the Best of the Best are. Unfortunately given the current economic times, it won't be the last time we'll see or hear of pay drivers replacing talent, but remember in a highly competitive sport with such limited seating, these are the ones who will rotate faster. Sure drivers can always blame the car, but you can't blame your teammate if he keeps on beating you.