by Matthew Roddan
All the talk at Sochi this weekend will inevitably be about the prospect of Red Bull leaving F1 due to the inability to source a 2016 Engine. But surely the problem runs deeper than this.
Next season all the grid will be powered by either Mercedes or Ferrari (with just two exceptions in the form of the Mclaren Honda and Lotus Renault teams which are unlikely to feature given current performance) so we are provided with a spectacle which is largely all about 2 engine Manufacturers and due to recent rule changes regarding aero and other innovations, very little else.
So we will be back to processional racing where cars with the same engine package will not be able to overtake and we will be able to pretty much predict the outcome by the circuit type. This is precisely why Adrian Newey chose to take a step back from the sport (albeit it that he is still very much there).
F1 needs to reinvent itself and allow teams to bring new innovations. This will be the only way to retain existing fans let alone attract new ones. With Bernie hinting that the sport is once again up for sale one assumes that any buyer will want to see these changes implemented so there is some hope that Bernie will see sense in the form of increasing fans increasing the price !
Two surprising comments attracted my attention this week. Firstly, Martin Brundle’s assertion that Bernie Eccelstone dictates the Television coverage given to teams during the Grand Prix and secondly that Nigel Mansell when interviewed on 5 Live made the astonishing claim that given a few months to train he could be as fast as Hamilton in the Mercedes.
It is true that the television coverage of Mercedes at the Japanese Grand Prix was minimilistic prompting me to tweet this image which was about the extent of coverage we saw of the Mercs ;
However, I doubt that this was the influence of Bernie. The fact is that Lewis Hamilton’s flawless performance was not going to be the best thing to watch whilst all the action was going on mid-field and Nico Rosberg overhauled Sebastian Vettel using the undercut, so no overtaking to see there !
More surprising is Nigel Mansell’s view that he could match Hamilton. If 30 year old Rosberg has been trying for two seasons and failed I cannot see how a 62 year old Mansell could do so. Perhaps this is an insight into the mindset of World Champions – you have to believe you will always be the best to become the best, something that Rosberg must now surely be doubting.
Review of Suzuka by Matthew Roddan
Thanks to a good start Hamilton lead the race from start to finish. This is his best season by far.
Although many would not consider Singapore a success it was certainly lucky that he suffered a DNF at the only race he had no hope of winning due to the Ferrari dominance.
Back to Suzuka, we saw a fairly mundane race with the main action once again being provided by Max Verstappen and the rest of the pack squabbling over positions seven to twelve. Max has a great future albeit now somewhat in the balance due to uncertainty about the future of Red Bull. That said, if Red Bull do leave F1 (unlikely) Max will no longer be tethered to Red Bull and may even find himself at the front of the queue for Kimi’s seat at Ferrari in 2017.
We have seen throughout the season that the Merc is by far and away the superior package. However, we have also seen that the Merc package struggles once it is in the dirty air amongst traffic. If Hamilton or Rosberg are not occupying the front row they often struggle throughout the race.
By Matthew Roddan
Our launch coincides with the Japenese Grand-prix at Suzuka and the anniversary of the fateful crash of Jules Bianchi. A feature of the race will be the gap between Ferrari and Mercedes, come the finish line. Have Mercedes bounced back from their dismal performance of Singapore or have Ferrari genuinely started to compete ?
By Matthew Roddan