Former Dutch F1 driver, Jan Lammers, has backed his countryman Robin Frijns, to break in to the F1 big time after impressing the Sauber team during the Abu Dhabi Young Driver test last week.
Frijns is tipped to be taken on by Sauber in a long term deal, and Lammers who competed in 23 Grand Prix for ATS, Shadow, Ensign, Theodore and March believes that 21-year-old Frijns is the next Dutch F1 driver.
“Everything about Robin impresses me,” Lammers told Sniffer Media at the weekend. “He has a really nice combination of fearlessness and determination. There is something fresh and different about him. He doesn’t seem to be phased by anything at all.
“He’s talented and he has the ambition to succeed,” continued Lammers. “This is the era of the intelligent driver and from what I see; Robin certainly has the mental strength to do a really good job in F1. A team like Sauber is probably the ideal starting point for a driver. Look at Kimi and Perez and what they went on to achieve after being nurtured by Sauber.
“So far he is doing everything right. Winning titles and also doing a sensible job in his first F1 tests. He appears to have the X-factor that teams are looking for in F1. Robin has a very convincing talent and I really hope he succeeds.”
Lammers also warned about the fickleness of expectations heaped upon Dutch drivers, saying: “The Dutch are not easily satisfied. If we won the World Cup final in football we would still find something to criticise the team about! I hope he is given space if he makes it on to the F1 grid. The time is right for a new talented Dutch F1 driver, we need a new spark and Robin looks like he could be exactly that.
The 1988 Le Mans 24 hours winner also made an acute observation about the commercial opportunities open to Dutch drivers.
“It’s funny with Dutch companies sometimes because many of them that are based here are big multinational corporations that don’t necessarily need a Dutch driver if they are involved commercially with a team. Often they are more interested in a multinational outlook and this is something I experienced this as a driver and team owner. It can be difficult for Dutch drivers but it looks like Robin has broken through and I wish him all the very best of luck on making it on to the F1 grid.”