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Formula 1 2020/2021: Shits getting crazier


TheLastWolf

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39 minutes ago, williamjm said:

I'm not sure even Perez was expecting to be suddenly leading the race but he's in a great position now considering how difficult it is to overtake.

And yet the top four are so tightly bunched. The level of skill on display is phenomenal. 

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Alonso dropping the pack 35 seconds behind the leaders without any of them being able to overtake him and then sprinting off and leaving them behind in the final 10 minutes or so was very funny to me. Hamilton must have been furious. 

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7 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Why has Hamilton fallen off so much? 

 

Well, the car isn't up to snuff is the main reason, but I think we're also seeing (like we have in the past though not maybe to quite this extent) that he's much more consistently a great frontrunner than a great through-the-pack fighter. Like clearly he can do that and be awesome and did as recently as last week but he seems to get discouraged if the wheel-to-wheel doesn't go right immediately? I dunno. And he's definitely not as good at managing his tires in the pack as some others, I feel. 

 

There has just been some bad luck in him finishing below Russel nearly every time so far, mind you. 

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37 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

 

Well, the car isn't up to snuff is the main reason, but I think we're also seeing (like we have in the past though not maybe to quite this extent) that he's much more consistently a great frontrunner than a great through-the-pack fighter. Like clearly he can do that and be awesome and did as recently as last week but he seems to get discouraged if the wheel-to-wheel doesn't go right immediately? I dunno. And he's definitely not as good at managing his tires in the pack as some others, I feel. 

 

There has just been some bad luck in him finishing below Russel nearly every time so far, mind you. 

Does the quality of the car change that much year to year? Just seems odd that he was fighting for the title last year and has been an afterthought since. 

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Great to see Perez winning but him drawing within 15 points of Max creates an interesting dilemma for Red Bull if Max has a DNF relatively soon and Perez gets ahead of him in the points.

There is a small but nontrivial chance this was the last-ever Monaco Grand Prix. Apparently F1 are really unhappy with the conditions in the existing contracts and want major changes, including getting rid of the Monaco TV director (who, once again, turned out to be awful this year) and replacing him with the F1 team who manage every other race; adjusting the downhill chicane to create a better overtaking zone, and adjusting the payments so they make sense given the small crowd size in Monaco. Apparently the organisers are so far resisting everything, on the grounds that F1 wouldn't dare cancel the race. However, F1 are much more concerned with the spectacle and if the racing action is as poor as it has been for the last few years (even the rain didn't spice things up that much), then Monaco could be kicked to the curb. 

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Does the quality of the car change that much year to year? Just seems odd that he was fighting for the title last year and has been an afterthought since. 

2022 was the biggest across-the-board rule change since 2014 (when hybrid engines came in). The cars now have a completely different aerodynamic philosophy to make close racing more possible (which seems to have worked), bigger wheels and a heavier chassis. It makes them very different to engineer and drive, and Mercedes seemed to get the aero design wrong in their initial design. Their upgrades have improved things but for now they are behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

It's arguably Red Bull who have achieved the most in both keeping a competitive car in the fight for most of last year and nailing the new regulations this year.

 
 
 
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5 hours ago, polishgenius said:

Alonso dropping the pack 35 seconds behind the leaders without any of them being able to overtake him and then sprinting off and leaving them behind in the final 10 minutes or so was very funny to me. Hamilton must have been furious. 

I can imagine Alonso enjoying that. If he didn't think that he would be likely to overtake Norris in front of him then why not take things easy at the start of the stint?

It was a good victory for Perez, helped a bit by the conditions shaking things up but he and his team managed to deal with them better than the other front runners. Things never seem to quite work out for Sainz when it comes to victories, although it was probably one of his stronger races of the year.

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8 hours ago, Werthead said:

Great to see Perez winning but him drawing within 15 points of Max creates an interesting dilemma for Red Bull if Max has a DNF relatively soon and Perez gets ahead of him in the points.

If they weren't the bread in a Ferrari sandwich after the last safety period, would Perez have been ordered to let Max by? I wonder.

8 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Does the quality of the car change that much year to year? Just seems odd that he was fighting for the title last year and has been an afterthought since. 

Not just fighting for the title; they've been the dominant team for the last seven years or so. 

8 hours ago, Werthead said:

2022 was the biggest across-the-board rule change since 2014 (when hybrid engines came in). The cars now have a completely different aerodynamic philosophy to make close racing more possible (which seems to have worked), bigger wheels and a heavier chassis. It makes them very different to engineer and drive, and Mercedes seemed to get the aero design wrong in their initial design. Their upgrades have improved things but for now they are behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

Yeah, this. Also, the ethanol content of the fuel has been increased this year. It has been speculated that Mercedes didn't quite hit the sweet spot with their engine regarding the new fuel chemistry. And engines are effectively frozen for the time being.

The cost cap will also factor in eventually in terms of the kinds of upgrades they can develop. They can't just try everything because that costs money. 

I wouldn't read too much into the result of this race. Monaco is a unique challenge and with weather and accidents factoring in, today was kind of a crap shoot. Right now it's the Ferrari - Red Bull show and Mercedes are the best of the rest. But they seem to have made progress on their porposing problem and I think they're close. 

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Even without rule changes the cars evolve so much that the teams build a new car from scratch every season. It's one of the things that make the sport so expensive. And sometimes the changes don't suit a driver. The Mercedes dominance from 2014 on was unusually long.

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17 hours ago, polishgenius said:

 

Well, the car isn't up to snuff is the main reason, but I think we're also seeing (like we have in the past though not maybe to quite this extent) that he's much more consistently a great frontrunner than a great through-the-pack fighter. Like clearly he can do that and be awesome and did as recently as last week but he seems to get discouraged if the wheel-to-wheel doesn't go right immediately? I dunno. And he's definitely not as good at managing his tires in the pack as some others, I feel.  

Car is definitely nowhere near as good as it was in years past but I'm not sure I'd agree with Hamilton not being great through-the-pack driver. I don't remember which race it was last season (just checked, it was Sao Paolo), when he started in the back row in the sprint race qualifiers, just sped past majority of his opponents in the sprint qualifiers (checked this as well, he ended in P5) on Saturday and won the race on Sunday. When he's on form and his car is good enough, he's insanely good. Not sure which of the two (or both) is the reason for his drop in performance this season but he definitely can make his way up the ranks. Let's also not forget that Monaco GP is notorious for few overtakes. I know it's iconic, synonymous to the sport and all that, but watching the whole race with next to no overtakes can get quite boring.

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3 hours ago, baxus said:

I'm not sure I'd agree with Hamilton not being great through-the-pack driver.

 

I guess in-the-pack would have been a better choice of words coz as I say even last week he went on a great run up the places- but it's when he gets a bit stuck, has to worry about the car behind as much as the car behind, tire management is different because he's not just blowing past people into clear air, that's when he seems to get unhappy. Like the dropoff in the car explains why he's behind the 'raris and the Red Bulls - it doesn't explain why he's behind Russell every week and in danger of getting swallowed up by Lando Norris in a McLaren. 

 

Basically what I'm saying is he's extraordinarily good at getting the best out of a great car, but not so good at getting the best out of an okay car, compared to other drivers. 

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I’ve only returned to following F1 seriously over the past two seasons, so I’ve only really experienced Hamilton and Mercedes as overly-entitled serial winners who had all of the advantages, and it’s very welcome to see other teams compete.  Hamilton’s legacy won’t be erased by this experience but his record will always have an asterisk of “*in an incredibly dominant car”. It’s not like Schumacher, who won two titles in a Benetton (when Williams was the best car) and then went to a garbage Ferrari car up against an incredible McLaren Mercedes car, and gradually turned Ferrari into a dominant car.

And while I’m taking potshots at gilded legacies, I’d like to see Monaco dropped or radically changed.  It has been a procession rather than a race for decades now.  All the glamorous yachts owned by Russian oligarchs don’t improve the race for the TV fans who actually finance the sport.  F1 probably needed Monaco’s OG glamour and history to offset all the new soulless petrostate races, but they are riding high now and have enough bargaining power to set the agenda.

Ferrari really should have won here with their downforce.  But they’re qualifying better than they are racing so far, within the very fine margins that apply in F1.  It’s still all very close and competitive and the season could play out any which way.

As annoying as Horner is, he deserves credit for taking a risk to switch from Renault to Honda.  It’s no small feat to consistently be one of the top teams while buying a third-party engine.

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

Basically what I'm saying is he's extraordinarily good at getting the best out of a great car, but not so good at getting the best out of an okay car, compared to other drivers. 

I don't see other drivers really lighting the grid up in an "okay car" either. A great car is a prerequisite for a champion, but it's by no means a guarantee. Latifi or Mick Schumacher would probably get some points here and there in a Red Bull or a Ferrari, but it would never make them title contenders. The only two drivers who are overachieving with their cars are Bottas and Magnussen, and neither of them is really up for the podium, let alone the race for champion. Also, Magnussen's initial momentum seems to have run out lately.

Mercedes has a third best car this season and it's exactly where they are in the standings. Russel and Hamilton are 4th and 6th in driver standings, respectively, and I would say it's more than likely Hamilton ends the season above Russel. Hamilton has a reputation to uphold and being 6th is not really good enough for a driver who's been the world champion seven times, but results are not as bad as many try to make them out to be. I think a lot of the "Hamilton can't overtake" comes from him getting stuck behind Alonso yesterday (and in one more race this season, but I can't remember which one) which is kind of unfair because a) Alonso is a former world champion, not some random replacement driver and b) Monaco is notorious for lack of overtaking opportunities.

39 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

And while I’m taking potshots at gilded legacies, I’d like to see Monaco dropped or radically changed.  It has been a procession rather than a race for decades now.

I've had to leave with 15 minutes of racing time left and watched that bit later on and nothing at all happened that would have an impact on the race result. It was insane. The only way to win or lose a position is by your or your opponent's mechanics doing a really good or a really bad job during the pit stop or if someone crashes. I get the whole tradition, glamour etc. aspects of this race but it really wasn't that fun to watch.

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27 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

I’ve only returned to following F1 seriously over the past two seasons, so I’ve only really experienced Hamilton and Mercedes as overly-entitled serial winners who had all of the advantages, and it’s very welcome to see other teams compete.  Hamilton’s legacy won’t be erased by this experience but his record will always have an asterisk of “*in an incredibly dominant car”. It’s not like Schumacher, who won two titles in a Benetton (when Williams was the best car) and then went to a garbage Ferrari car up against an incredible McLaren Mercedes car, and gradually turned Ferrari into a dominant car.

I have to disagree with this.

Williams did not have the most dominant car in '94, for three reasons:

The FW-16 had serious aerodynamic issues that caused the car to be unstable and extremely pitch sensitive. It's likely this contributed to Senna's death, though this is a controversial issue. These problems were largely solved with the FW-16B, which was a good car, but didn't appear until the second half of the season. Coincidentally, pitch sensitivity isn't an issue with an active ride car because the attitude of the car is controlled... ah, "actively".

The Benneton on the other hand was a very good car and tailored to Schumacher. Frank Dernie mentions in an interview that one area where the Bennetons of that era stood out was "they made good downforce at high ride heights". This means low speed corners, where the car rebounds on its suspension because downforce bleeds off, and light fuel loads, like at the end of a stint or the end of a race. I'm not going to comment on the "traction control" issue.

And don't think for a minute that the '94 Cosworth engine had the massive power deficit that was reported in the media. These engines all have the same displacement, they are all naturally aspirated, and by '94 they were all running pretty much the same fuel. That means that if you can measure straight line speed, and, determine how fast the engine is revving (which teams were doing with audio analysis), you can determine, with confidence, the power it's making. The Cosworth was down, but not by much. At the same time it was more efficient, lighter, required less cooling and had a broader torque curve. 

Finally, and it impresses me that no one has ever commented on this, the temporary circuit changes that came in post-Imola, which involved slowing down circuits by adding chicanes and re-contouring corners; guess what; favored the Benneton. With it's good low speed aerodynamic performance and torquey engine, the performance advantage of the V10's and V12's was reduced. 

Ferrari:

Yes, when he went to Ferrari in '96, they didn't produce a very good car. Their '97 car on the other hand was very good. Their '98 and '99 cars were even better. Look how close Eddie Irvine came in '99 when the team shifted focus to him after Michael broke his leg. I liked Irvine. Irvine was a damn good driver but a world champion? Don't think so.

Hakkinen, "the only man Schumacher feared", and McLaren were just that good.  

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35 minutes ago, baxus said:

and I would say it's more than likely Hamilton ends the season above Russel.


I mean, he might, but it's not a proposition supported by the evidence so far. Hamilton's sixth in the third best car, yes, that looks just-about-fine on paper, but he's barely ahead of Norris and closer to Ocon down in ninth than to his own team-mate (I'd say Ocon and Norris are also candidates for out-driving, or at least getting the best, out of their car, given how far they both are ahead of their team-mates too). If he does turn it around, great, he's proved me wrong, but he's unquestionably off the pace his car is capable of so far this year. 

 

45 minutes ago, baxus said:

A great car is a prerequisite for a champion, but it's by no means a guarantee. Latifi or Mick Schumacher would probably get some points here and there in a Red Bull or a Ferrari, but it would never make them title contenders.

 

But like that's my whole point. That Hamilton is magnificent in a top car but less magnificent in a lesser car even accounting for what that car can do. That he's doing less well relative to the maximum he could expect than he would be if the car was at the top, and that this is something that's not new to him although this time is extreme (so far).

 

59 minutes ago, baxus said:

I think a lot of the "Hamilton can't overtake" comes from him getting stuck behind Alonso yesterday

 

I didn't say that Hamilton can't overtake (I appreciate that 'through-the-pack-runner might have come off that way, even though even then I definitely said he can make a run when it does come together, but I also corrected that later), I said that he's relatively less good in a worse car.  I'm not basing that on him being stuck behind Alonso yesterday or even just on this season- obviously it's a long way to go back because he's been in the best car for so long but recall his final three years at McLaren, where all three seasons someone in at least arguably a less impressive- or not more impressive- car finished above him.  

 

The point is that when Hamilton's got a championship caliber car he'll drive the absolute fucking wheels off it better than anyone since Schumacher and possibly better than anyone ever, but when he's got an okay car he won't, at least not consistently.  

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We'll see at the end of the season where Hamilton and Russel end up in the table. I think Russel is a pretty good driver at the moment with plenty of potential to improve and get into title race (this season would be too soon for that, though), so don't take this is not meant as disrespectful or anything like that. I just think that people are too hard on Hamilton. After all, he's been the best in the world for ages and lost the title in the last lap of last season under rather controversial circumstances. It's perfectly understandable if he's lost some of his motivation, especially combined with drop in relative quality of his car. That's not something I see lasting throughout the season, and I do expect Hamilton to bounce back. It's unwise to underestimate one of two most decorated drivers in history.

Just for the record, I'm not a Hamilton fan. I'm no one's fan yet since getting back into this at some point during last season after 15-20 years out of it.

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Hamilton is perfectly capable of extracting more than the car can deliver. We saw that just a couple of weeks back when he brought the car from last to fifth despite running dead last at one point and recommending retiring the car.

I think the problems are that he has been unable to come to terms with the Merc's extreme porpoising in the same way Russell has. Now that issue has resolved somewhat, we've seen an uptick in form. Not getting past Alonso on an ordinary track in an inferior car is also not unusual, and at Monaco he might as well have been driving around with brick walls extending out of either side of his car. Monaco has also been a poor track for Mercedes even in their heyday.

Perez signed a 2-year contract extension yesterday which I think was a good choice. I am interested to see how he continues to develop through the rest of the season, Horner thinks he's closed up the gap to Max by quite some distance and that seems to have been reflected in the results and points.

Continuing rumours that Ricciardo might be out at McLaren if he really doesn't up his game soon, and Latifi at Williams as well (possibly before the end of the season).

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