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Mandzipop

F1 2016

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Avalanche of news coming out today. Liberty Media are immediately moving to discussions to ensure that no more European races will be lost, so Silverstone and Monza should be fine. They are also going to offer shares in the sport to the teams to help prop up their income (as it's almost inevitable that their fees will be cut quite drastically in 2020) and they are going to launch a full-scale media blitz for each race, with lots more marketing, advertising and digital exploitation than previously.

Ross Brawn is going to be in overall charge of the sporting and technical side of F1, with a view to simplifying things and cutting costs. I can imagine Toto Wolff's face at seeing Brawn in charge of that side of the sport :D 

Liberty are also apparently unhappy with the viewership of the sport being reduced in favour of money deals. Although the money is important, the sporting become more niche and less mass-market is the opposite of what they want. What they can do about the impending UK situation (loss of terrestrial viewing rights after 2019) remains to be seen, but hopefully they'll stop Sky from making the races all satellite-only.

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone is apparently sitting in his massive flat rejecting all requests for an interview because he is having a titanic sulk.

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So far it feels like a positive all around. The new owners realise it's a long term investment and, as such, are willing to invest in making the sport bigger instead of cashing in which seems to be how Bernie has ran things for a while.

Not sure how Ferrari will feel about having to earn that $100 million dollars every year though. I suspect some sulking/threats will be made. Ross Braun seems an excellent choice to make decisions on costs of running and car specs - he's worked from the bottom up a few times as well as enjoyed sitting at the top so should be fair. I agree that it might be tempting for him to look at mercedes and punish them but i think he's a bigger man than that.

I read on the BBC that liberty media want each GP to be like the Superbowl for the host country. That's ambitious but definitely something worth aspiring too - make it something where people want to be there as part of the experience.

I also hope that if liberty media isn't connected with Rupert Murdoch that they may try and move F1 online. Either as it's own pay-per-view entity or via something like Netflix. I know Netflix says it isn't interested in live sport but F1 would be a good way to test the water given there's a relatively small number of race weekends to cover. In an ideal world I'd like it to be "free" on regular tv but i think the time has passed on that. I think I'd be willing to pay £5 a race weekend or some form of discount for a season pass.

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Ross Braun had some interesting comments on what his goals are. I like the idea of trying to even the playing field in terms of cost and I'm certainly on board with not having drivers present because of the money they bring but on merit. I'm not sure I'm so keen on him trying to keep the technology at bay though. I understand his reasoning but I feel a big part of F1's appeal is the innovation and technology.

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A shocking revelation about the decline in British viewing figures last year. Nothing to do with Hamilton not winning, I'd say, as that wasn't clear until the very end of the season. Sky having exclusive rights to half the races and the way to get SkyF1 always been tied up in packages (i think you used to have to get the HD package then it switched to needing to have all the sports channels or something) is probably the main reason but combining that with less than exciting races is a bad combo. They really need to sort this out before Sky has exclusive rights - at what point does the loss in viewers/advertising cause them to rethink? At least make it easy to watch the races without paying for other things. Although if a race was more than £10 per race, I wouldn't bother. At that price I'd only watch certain races too.

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Mclaren have apparently approached Mercedes for informal talks about getting their engine. I'm guessing this would be for the current season potentially?

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No, there's not enough time. They're in a ten-year contract with Honda but there's probably break clauses, most likely one they can enact after 4 or 5 years (so maybe for 2018, certainly for 2019) if Honda have been shit, which they have been. Their performance in testing is utterly shocking. You can tell Alonso is absolutely furious. There's no excuse for Honda going backwards like this. If Alonso doesn't aggressively pursue the Mercedes option for 2018 I'll be very surprised.

At the moment Ferrari are looking exceptional, but then I remember hearing this before and then during the season Mercedes curb-stomped everyone. Disappointingly, it looks Red Bull will start off the pace. I suspect they'll pick it up quickly (they always seem to improve mid-season better than any other team) but whether enough to challenge effectively is another question.

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

No, there's not enough time. They're in a ten-year contract with Honda but there's probably break clauses, most likely one they can enact after 4 or 5 years (so maybe for 2018, certainly for 2019) if Honda have been shit, which they have been. Their performance in testing is utterly shocking. You can tell Alonso is absolutely furious. There's no excuse for Honda going backwards like this. If Alonso doesn't aggressively pursue the Mercedes option for 2018 I'll be very surprised.

At the moment Ferrari are looking exceptional, but then I remember hearing this before and then during the season Mercedes curb-stomped everyone. Disappointingly, it looks Red Bull will start off the pace. I suspect they'll pick it up quickly (they always seem to improve mid-season better than any other team) but whether enough to challenge effectively is another question.

It's not like the Red Bull Renault situation a year ago where Red bull seemed to get antsy too quickly over Red Bull considering Renault's past performance. Honda are just bad and while they appeared to be moving forward last year seem to be back at square one. If there was a way to get a different engine ASAP I'm sure Mclaren would at this point. It also sounds like the Honda deal was largely driven by Ron Dennis who they've somehow managed to dislodge in a "batman CEO shareholder meeting gone right" scenario.

I can never remember whether spain's track is one that has lots of slow corners or not. The reason I'm wondering is because Red Bull tends to excel on those types of track while long straights tend to favour the cars with the best engines. It could be that Red Bull will be better on certain types of track.

I also agree with being wary about Ferrari as they usually look good in testing but often fail to deliver in the actual race season. I'd still look at it as Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferarri until we've seen the first couple of races.

3 hours ago, williamjm said:

They certainly won't be mistaken for any of the other cars.

the rinky dinky panther.

I think the BBC compared it to Mr Blobby.

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16 minutes ago, red snow said:

I can never remember whether spain's track is one that has lots of slow corners or not. The reason I'm wondering is because Red Bull tends to excel on those types of track while long straights tend to favour the cars with the best engines. It could be that Red Bull will be better on certain types of track.

Barcelona is generally thought to be a fairly representative track with a mix of high speed straights and some slower corners, that's one reason they like to test there (along with the weather).

the rinky dinky panther.

If Force India win a race this year, I think they should play this as the anthem:

 

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Interesting first qualifying session. Hamilton may have ended on top but it looks like Ferrari are definitely competitve, it's difficult based on one data point to tell whether the 0.3 gap is representative or if Hamilton just drove a better qualifying lap. I'm hopeful this means we might actually have two teams genuinely competing for race wins which would be a nice change, although it does look like there's too big a gap to Red Bull and the others for there to be any more than two contenders.

Further back Giovazanni put in a decent performance after being asked to debut on a few hours notice, although I'm not too impressed with Lance Stroll so far who seems a bit out of his depth.

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I'm just hoping that Ferrari still has the excellent starts and Hamilton the iffy ones. I think if Vettel can lead into the first corner we could have an interesting race. While I'd rather have Hamilton vs Alonson - I do think Vettel could cause headaches in the race. Otherwise I think Hamilton will sail off into the sunset and the we'll have to settle for a possibly interesting race between Raikonnen, Bottas and Vettel.

Maybe further down the pack will provide entertainment too.

I think some of the laptime was as much Hamilton laying down the law as the mercedes being dominant.

Good effort by Grosjean in the Haas too. It again suggests the Ferrari engine has improved - assuming they have the next gen engine too.

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So Vettel wins. Good. This could be an interesting season. Mercedes seem to have blundered with the pit stop strategy, though. That probably won't happen again. Still, at least Ferrari are close enough to take advantage. Verstappen wasn't so far behind either, so the the Red Bull isn't bad. McLaren is still an embarrassment. It will be interesting to see how much Renault can improve. 

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Anyone know if the rumour about Mercedes using an illegal fuel/oil mixture to generate more power has any legs to it?

 

Good for the sport that Ferrari have won. The car seems strong enough to really challenge Mercedes. Raikkonen does not seem able to match Vettel. Vettel was showing good form, the way he should as a former champion. Mercedes might have had a better result if they had waited with Hamilton's first pitstop. Hamilton seemed nervous on the radio. Bottas is a clear number two, in case anybody was still wondering. 

 

Too bad for Ricciardo that his race was done before it even got started. Red Bull have some work to do. I was surprised to see Toro Rosso do so well, and had expected more from Force India. 

Horrible weekend for Palmer, and Stroll isn't convincing yet either. Still has some time though. Ocon did well, IMO.

And McLaren... What to say... Utter disaster again.

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Alonso pointed out that compared to pre-season testing, where they ended up wasn't too bad. But it was still ridiculous considering how competitive they were (at certain moments, anyway) last year. They haven't dropped in performance compared to last year but they've not improved any, which I suspect was his minimum red line for extending his contract. If he's not at least trying to go to Mercedes next year, I'll be shocked.

Hamilton seemed reasonably chill at the end of the race. He pointed out that he called the pit stop as his tyres were gone and he had nothing left on them. If he'd been asked to stay out for a couple more laps to miss Verstappen in the pit stops, he would have lost even more time and would still have been behind Vettel, so the situation was unavoidable.

From some of the discussions it sounds like Mercedes' old (pre-2014) problem with their higher tyre degradation has never really gone away, they could just cover it with the engine during their dominant phase. Now they can't do that so it's a problem that might come up. Also, the Mercedes apparently has issues with hotter air going through their diffuser which the Ferrari doesn't have. Hamilton even said he thinks if Vettel had gotten in front at the start of the race, the Ferrari would have been able to pull away from him because it handled being in turbulence a lot better than the Mercedes did.

Still, interesting to see how the season shakes out. It requires both Hamilton and Vettel to be on the top of their game every race. Bottas also did well on his maiden Mercedes drive. I wouldn't be surprised to see him win at least a couple of races where Hamilton and/or Vettel have problems.

Red Bull didn't start disastrously, but compared to their great form last season they are way off where they should be. Hopefully their normally excellent in-season development kicks in and they can make up that ground in a few races. That's also the danger with Ferrari: they won the second race in 2015 and everyone was suddenly saying it was going to be a real championship and then they fell off a cliff and weren't able to keep up mid-season development like Mercedes could.

Williams, Toro Rosso and Haas (until they blew up) did very well, Renault were shockingly bad (and can't blame a Lotus-designed car this time) and Force India were about where I'd expect them to be, although I also expect them to improve over the course of the season like last year. I hope they can change the livery a bit though, it was like watching a dessert on wheels.

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