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Werthead

Formula One 2018

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Fingers crossed for ricciardo. Be interesting to see how he overtakes in a presumably slower car.

50 million on two drivers is a lot for red bull. I think they panic bought Max when everyone was after him. I still think Max will see a return to form with more reliability. His last couple of races showed his crazy streak appears to be lifting. But credit to ricciardo walking if there wasn't going to be parity. I think him and max are the real deal in terms of post alonso,vettel, Hamilton. Although les clerc and gasly may be the next big things too - if they get Ferrari and red bull drives they'll be worth watching.

Although I'm torn on Kimi. He's the best number 2 driver out there and actually follows team orders. Plus he either suits tracks later in the season more or he just ups his game around contract renewal. There's no denying his fanbase either.

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

Good job on Daniel for not accepting second-best and for believing in himself. This may end up being a really inspired (or insipid) move. It's also made the driver market much more interesting.

It is a surprising decision, but at least he's going to get to be the number 1 drivers in a manufacturer team, although he'll have to hope Renault make a step forward if he wants to be able to challenge for race wins next year.

 

3 hours ago, Werthead said:

That does leave a question mark over Ocon. If Lawrence Stroll is going to buy out Force India, keep Perez (who saved the day for him) and move Lance over from Willians, Ocon will either have to leave the sport or move over to Williams. Ah, maybe Red Bull would get on loan for Toro Rosso?

Maybe Sauber or Haas could be options as well? I don't know whether they've confirmed any of their drivers for next year. Sadly, I think they'd both be better options than Williams at the moment.

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16 hours ago, williamjm said:

It is a surprising decision, but at least he's going to get to be the number 1 drivers in a manufacturer team, although he'll have to hope Renault make a step forward if he wants to be able to challenge for race wins next year.

 

Maybe Sauber or Haas could be options as well? I don't know whether they've confirmed any of their drivers for next year. Sadly, I think they'd both be better options than Williams at the moment.

It's a tough call between no. 2 driver in a strong team and no.1 in a weak one. At least he's in charge of his own fate this way. Renault has very deep packets and they've said from the start they are here to win races. Ricciardo puts the onus on them to create the car which they couldn't really say with hulkenberg and sainz who while good aren't yet in the same league as ricciardo. 

There's also the plus for him that if Renault don't give him a race winning car by 2020 then the market opens up with the likes of Vettel and Hamilton out if contract/moving/retiring. 

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On 8/4/2018 at 3:08 PM, red snow said:

It's a tough call between no. 2 driver in a strong team and no.1 in a weak one. At least he's in charge of his own fate this way. Renault has very deep packets and they've said from the start they are here to win races. Ricciardo puts the onus on them to create the car which they couldn't really say with hulkenberg and sainz who while good aren't yet in the same league as ricciardo. 

There's also the plus for him that if Renault don't give him a race winning car by 2020 then the market opens up with the likes of Vettel and Hamilton out if contract/moving/retiring. 

Hamilton might go in 2020 (he'd only be 35 though, so not a done deal) but I'd be surprised if Vettel (who is 2 years younger) does, especially if Ferrari either win the WC this year or keep coming really close and he figures he can seal the deal once Hamilton goes.

Edited by Werthead

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17 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Hamilton might go in 2020 (he'd only be 35 though, so not a done deal) but I'd be surprised if Vettel (who is 2 years younger) does, especially if Ferrari either win the WC this year or keep coming really close and he figures he can seal the deal once Hamilton goes.

That's a good point regarding Vettel. It would be quite funny if ricciardo proved to be his nemesis in a mercedes down the road.

I guess the question is whether the various teams are bluffing about not signing beyond 2020. I suspect they will continue after a few concessions.

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7 hours ago, red snow said:

That's a good point regarding Vettel. It would be quite funny if ricciardo proved to be his nemesis in a mercedes down the road.

I guess the question is whether the various teams are bluffing about not signing beyond 2020. I suspect they will continue after a few concessions.

I wouldn't bet on Mercedes staying. For now they do because they are very successful, but they'll probably pull out as soon as they lose that dominance to another team. They're already pulling out of DTM, where they have been competing much longer than in Formula 1, in favour of Formula E. If Formula 1 ditches the MGU-H then that's probably it for Mercedes.

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1 hour ago, Loge said:

I wouldn't bet on Mercedes staying. For now they do because they are very successful, but they'll probably pull out as soon as they lose that dominance to another team. They're already pulling out of DTM, where they have been competing much longer than in Formula 1, in favour of Formula E. If Formula 1 ditches the MGU-H then that's probably it for Mercedes.

I can see the mercedes argument too in terms of they are clearly more interested in engine development that could wind up in their regular cars and electrical energy efficiency is realistically where car motors are going. Pretty sure the main reason mercedes got back into the sport was for the hybrid engines. If they are being beaten by Ferrari or red bull they are far more likely to leave to coincide with the end of mguk engines.

Maybe it was telling in an interview with toto wollf that he was talking about different challenges away from F1 in future (or just good gamesmanship).

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Mercedes see value from F1 in promoting their brand and improving their technology. The second they see that value decline, they'll be gone.

I suspect that in the behind-the-scenes horse-trading, Mercedes agreed to surrender discussions on the front wing (since that's pretty meaningless to their road car design) in favour of retaining the MGU-H on the engine. However, the complexity of the MGU-H is what appears to be stopping the likes of Volkswagen and Aston Martin from coming on board as engine manufacturers (and Red Bull are very keen on Aston Martin getting involved, reportedly as if global TV viewership continues to dwindle than at some point Red Bull might offload the team because it no longer brings marketing value for their energy drinks). Mercedes and Ferrari are probably happy for more engine manufacturers not to get involved, so that works in their favour.

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It beats me how F1 doesn't notice the dwindling audience goes hand in hand with the dwindling "free to watch" market. Despite this no one in UK will be able to watch unless paying skysports dedicated channel

7 hours ago, Loge said:

So, it looks like Lawrence Stroll is buying Force India. Good news for the team, I guess. Bad news for Williams. Let's see if they can get an approval from the other teams.

Must be nice to have a dad who can buy you an F1 team to play in.

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37 minutes ago, red snow said:

It beats me how F1 doesn't notice the dwindling audience goes hand in hand with the dwindling "free to watch" market. Despite this no one in UK will be able to watch unless paying skysports dedicated channel

I don't think this is true outside the UK and maybe Italy. And even in the UK you should be able to subscribe to F1's streaming channel. Costs money, but not nearly as much as a Sky subscription.

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4 hours ago, Loge said:

I don't think this is true outside the UK and maybe Italy. And even in the UK you should be able to subscribe to F1's streaming channel. Costs money, but not nearly as much as a Sky subscription.

It still costs money as opposed to being free. That's going to cost them a lot of viewers. £8 a race or £13 for practise and qualifying while not massive still makes it a choice/hurdle. The F1 channel doesn't really seem to warrant paying for monthly as on average you have 2 races a month and a gap between seasons.

Check the table in this article and you'll see the majority of countries air races behind a pay wall. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_broadcasters

 

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I don't think it's been formally announced yet, but the inside track is that Channel 4 have bought the highlights package rights from Sky. So their service will continue the same as it has, except they'll only show one race - the British Grand Prix - live and the rest will all be highlights. Not idea, but it could be far worse (like not seeing F1 at all). You can also get the Sky F1 Pass on Now TV, which is more affordable than subscribing to Sky outright (though still not great value for money).

Interesting question is whether Force Stroll forces out Ocon right now and swaps in Lance, or they wait until the end of the season. Probably for goodwill's sake the latter. All of this creates a headache for Mercedes, who want to keep Ocon in the sport in a decent car, but the only places he can go are a lot weaker than Force India (assuming that Stroll retains Perez for helping save the team).

I believe this is where we are at for 2019:

 

Mercedes: Hamilton & Bottas 100% confirmed

Ferrari: Vettel 100% confirmed. Raikkonen is out of contract (OOC) and Ferrari are believed to be considering dropping him for Charles Leclerc. However, a strong 2018 season, Vettel's approval and some recent improvements in race pace, along with his great technical feedback, may make it tempting to retain him for just one more year.

Red Bull: Verstappen 100% confirmed. Team has options on Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jr. for second driver.

Renault: Ricciardo and Hulkenberg 100% confirmed

Toro Rosso: Neither driver confirmed. Pierre Gasly could be promoted to Red Bull. Brendan Hartley likely to be dropped out of preference, but may be retained as Toro Rosso/Red Bull's younger drivers don't have superlicences yet. Option to bring back Carlos Sainz Jr., but he doesn't want to go back to Toro Rosso.

Haas: Magnussen 100% confirmed. Grosjean was looking like he was going to get his marching orders, then was probably going to be retained after a couple of stronger results, but now may be in danger if the team decide to look at someone like Sainz Jr., Ocon or Alonso (!). Ocon is unlikely, as Mercedes are strongly invested in him and Ferrari (who help Haas a lot) won't want to help a rival. If Alonso wants to stay in F1 but leave McLaren, Haas is probably his strongest chance of scoring a podium or at least finish in the Top 7 consistently. Leclerc also a possibility if Ferrari decide to retain Raikkonen.

McLaren: Neither driver confirmed. Alonso is considering racing in IndyCar, but apparently McLaren's IndyCar partners have said they want Alonso for the whole season, not just one race again. This may make it more tempting for Alonso to remain in F1 (especially since the 2018 car was designed for the Honda engine and there wasn't enough time to redesign it for the Renault, so their 2019 performance may be better). Vandoorne has been disappointing, and McLaren want to bring their young prodigy Lando Norris into the team. Raikkonen also a possibility if the team want a star name to replace Alonso. They also have their eye on Carlos Sainz Jr. Possibilities range from a Spanish superteam (Alonso and Sainz) to Vandoorne remaining to partner Norris. This is quite wide open until Alonso decides what he's doing.

Force India: Neither driver confirmed and the team has just collapsed and been saved by Lawrence Stroll (with help from Sergio Perez). On that basis, combined with his continued string of podiums, the most likely outcome is that Sergio Perez is retained and Lance Stroll is promoted from Williams, forcing out Esteban Ocon.

Sauber: Neither driver confirmed. Marcus Ericsson likely to be retained because of sponsorship, his ties with the owners and his apparently solid technical feedback, as well as his recent improvement in response to his team-mate Leclerc. Leclerc is likely to move up, to either Haas or Ferrari. Unclear who his replacement could be: possibly Ocon if there is no luck at Williams.

Williams: Neither driver confirmed. Stroll almost certain to move to Force India. Sirotkin has been crap, but he brings a lot of sponsorship that Williams needs right now. Ocon the most likely to replace Stroll due to Mercedes connections. Mercedes also keen to bring George Russell into the sport, with Williams his most likely entry point (possibly Sauber if no joy there).

The driver's field is quite wide open actually. Could be a very different grid in 2019.

 

 

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12 hours ago, red snow said:

It still costs money as opposed to being free. That's going to cost them a lot of viewers. £8 a race or £13 for practise and qualifying while not massive still makes it a choice/hurdle. The F1 channel doesn't really seem to warrant paying for monthly as on average you have 2 races a month and a gap between seasons.

Check the table in this article and you'll see the majority of countries air races behind a pay wall. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_broadcasters

 

Looks like it really is pay TV in the majority of countries these days, especially if you want full live coverage, but there's always some kind of free coverage in the core markets. Formula 1 is expensive, and it's a highly commercial sport. The money has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere has to be the audience, one way or another. Ticket sales aren't anywhere near enough. Sponsor money alone isn't, either. TV broadcasting fees have been a vital part of F1's revenue for decades. I'd rather not see public broadcasters pour money into this. That leaves commercial free TV, pay TV, or streaming services. We have it on free-to-air commercial TV in Germany. They provide decent coverage, but you miss about half the race because of the ads. Pay TV provides better coverage, but if you aren't interested in football it's quite pricey. At the end of the day it all depends on how much interested you are, though. 

Formula 1 is a business. It's owners want to maximise profit, not the size of the audience. A larger TV audience means more advertising / sponsorship money. On the other hand, there's the broadcasting fees. Pay TV channels tend to pay more than free TV broadcasters. So, they have to find a balance between maximising the audience and maximising the TV revenue. That's why even Ecclestone would give exclusivity to Sky in Germany. Their subscriber base is just too small. In the UK, you are a victim  of football. It made pay TV popular enough to make exclusivity viable.

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Valid points although football has a much larger fanbase and you do get access to many more games than you do racing. 

You are right in the sense it's a business and if it turns out the UK market becomes too small to justify a paywall then it will become free to air. It's just a question of how willing they are to wind up with a small core paying a lot of money in between.

I think they also vastly underestimate the ease at which people in the UK can watch the race via the internet.

I'm hoping they will have the sense to at least keep highlights on free to air TV. Although the last I heard the UK distributor wasn't interested in only showing highlights for the cost. 

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2 hours ago, Loge said:

It's confirmed: Alonso is leaving Formula 1. The writing has been on the wall for some time.

It's hardly a surprise, but it's a shame to see him go - F1 will be a duller place without him. It's a pity McLaren couldn't have delivered a more competitive car for his final season.

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A good summary of his career.

2012 was definitely the one that got away from him. If it wasn't for either Grosjean trashing the start at Spa or Raikkonen hitting him at Suzuka (just before Grosjean wiped out half the starting grid, again), he'd have certainly won the championship. He'd probably have stayed at Ferrari, might have won again in 2017 and might be locked in a titanic battle with Lewis for a 4th WC. Or if he'd accepted Red Bull's offer to join them in 2007, he'd probably have all 4 of Vettel's titles and maybe 2009 as well, to equal Schumacher. His career will definitely be one of the great "What ifs?" of F1 history.

There's also how he exited McLaren in 2007, in a manner that cost Mercedes $40 million, which is categorically why he has never realistically been on Mercedes' list of drivers (McLaren were a lot more desperate to have him back). His off-track decisions have been pretty bad in hindsight, although most of his moves have made sense at the time. Moving from Ferrari to McLaren in 2015 was a huge gamble, bigger than Hamilton's move to Mercedes two years earlier, and has definitely not paid off.

Of course, given Alonso's form, McLaren will probably take a giant leap forwards next year and start winning races.

The question now is who replaces him? Norris is probably a bit too green and Vandoorne is not good enough to lead the team. Ricciardo has already turned them down. My guess would be Raikkonen or Sainz, with Ocon as an outside chance.

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I agree with the BBC assessment of him. It's a shame we never got a true rematch between Hamilton and alonso. I think he's the best driver on the grid still although it does seem his off the track decisions are his Achilles heel. Hamilton and Vettel are much more canny with off track decisions.

I think if McLaren suddenly improved next year there'd be a chance Alonso would return the following year. His ability to switch formulas and still be competitive makes me think a year away wouldn't harm him. Realistically I think he will be doing a season in Indy racing to try and get the triple crown. It'd get me to watch races assuming there's a way of watching in UK

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