F1 Winter Break
Mid-season intrigue revolves around Ferrari plans for drivers and F1 engine supply
Scuderia Ferrari
Honda, Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jul 2017   |  8:30 am GMT  |  235 comments

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne was at the Austrian GP on Sunday and in the wake of his visit, the extent to which Ferrari is at the centre of things with regards to future moves on engines and drivers, has become clearer.

Marchionne said that Fernando Alonso would not be returning to Maranello, but did give Kimi Raikkonen another hurry up, asking for more commitment from the Finn. He also said Raikkonen needed to “do a great job now if he is to protect the possibility of winning the championship.” He didn’t specify which, but the way he was again used on Sunday as a strategy spoiler against Mercedes to help Vettel indicates that Marchionne was thinking about the Drivers’ championship, rather than the Constructors’.

But on the rumour of an agreement with Max Verstappen from 2019 onwards, Marchionne was more enigmatic, saying only that “we have not signed anything.”

Sebastian Vettel got (another) dressing down from Marchionne after his behaviour in Baku, as he had after last year’s Mexican Grand Prix, but Marchionne said that the option to stay in 2018 lies with Vettel. The question is how many years that extension might be. This could well coincide with a move to install Verstappen, if Ferrari succeeds in prising him away from Red Bull.

What is clear is the increasing influence of Marchionne on F1 politics. He intervened in the post Baku events, has removed the head of Ferrari’s engine programme and continues to promote Mattia Binotto, the current technical director whom some Italian colleagues are now seeing as a future Ferrari team principal.

Marchionne is set to become an even bigger fixture in F1 in the coming years as he scales down his role with FIAT Chrysler Automobiles and resolves around his role at Ferrari. He motivated the moves that have put Ferrari technically on a level to lead the world championship and is steering them through the transition of ownership from CVC and Bernie Ecclestone to Liberty Media.

Alfa Romeo F1

He also has a dream to promote Alfa Romeo, an FCA brand, in F1 and there is talk in Gazzetta dello Sport today of the Haas engine in 2018 being branded Alfa Romeo. Haas is proud of its Ferrari connection and its technical collaboration but a thorough evaluation will tell them and Ferrari of the relative merits of rebranding the rear end of the car to Alfa. It seems an obvious opportunity.

What is more interesting in the Haas- Ferrari relationship is how they bring on Ferrari’s young drivers. With Sauber switching to Honda next year, Haas is the only place for Ferrari to bring youngsters through.

Leclerc, Giovinazzi

They made a mistake taking Esteban Gutierrez, when he was a Ferrari reserve driver. The other driver Jean Eric Vergne would have been much better but he didn’t have the backing. Now Ferrari has Antonio Giovinazzi who did a 50% good job in his two substitute Grands Prix with Sauber in Australia and China, but more excitingly they also have Charles Leclerc, who is dominating F2 (the former GP2) in his rookie season, reminding everyone of Lewis Hamilton in 2006.

He looks like one of the rare talents, clearly deserving of an F1 opportunity in 2018 and Haas is the most likely place, but they have Kevin Magnussen on a contract with another year in it and Romain Grosjean, who for all his complaints about brakes and balance is still capable of stunning results, such as his 6th place ahead of the Force Indias in Austria on Sunday.

A Magnussen-Leclerc line up would be interesting with Magnussen a good benchmark for Leclerc to measure against.

Haas is evaluating both; it ran Leclerc several times in Friday practice last season and is running Giovinazzi this weekend in Silverstone. As Force India found with its evaluations of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon in 2015 and 2016 you can arrive at a strong picture of a driver from these tests and that’s how Ocon got his chance this year, which he is repaying in spades.

Ferrari, McLaren

McLaren approach Ferrari. Red Bull or Williams long term option for Honda?
Meanwhile Italian colleagues were briefed that McLaren had approached Ferrari about a supply of engines for next season, although their preferred option remains Mercedes. McLaren’s management and Honda both ruled out the idea of a temporary split while Honda sorts itself out with Sauber and then pressing on together again in 2019.

This divorce would leave Honda available for a Red Bull or a Williams to swoop in 2018 or 19 and establish Honda as a long term partner, something both teams desperately need. It is the main weakness in Red Bull’s F1 proposition and it keeps on coming up and costing them, as it has since 2014. There were hopes that Audi would be that partner, but the VW emissions scandal blew that up. Whether that is temporary or permanent, time will tell.

The VW Audi Group is constantly evaluating an F1 presence with one of its brands, especially if F1’s new owners succeed in their plans to increase the F1 audience and engage with younger fans.

We are moving towards the early adoption of louder and simpler hybrid engines, possibly as soon as 2020, if Ross Brawn has his way. This would be a clever move as it would come a year before the manufacturer teams bilateral agreements end, so any threats to leave by Mercedes or Ferrari if they aren’t getting what they want from F1 financially would be tempered by the need to redo the engine a year before departure. There is no doubt that both giants are ready for a fight and there are various tactics going on behind the scenes where both are showing how strong are the levers they can pull in F1. As Wolff said in the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva last month, “I wouldn’t want to be in Chase’s (Carey, F1 CEO) shoes.”

The early move to the simplified engines will also help Honda a lot to reach competitiveness sooner. Their mistake was to empower inexperienced engineers too soon on this F1 project, underestimating the scale of the task and they have taken steps to remedy that. Sticking it out and winning is the best way for Honda to show what it is made of and both Liberty and the FIA are very keen to keep Honda in the F1 fold.

Honda F1

After Red Bull found itself struggling to find an engine in 2015, the FIA amended the engine regulations so now the manufacturers are obliged to supply teams, which is why Ferrari would perhaps supply McLaren if push came to shove. McLaren has a long history with Mercedes, albeit one with the ‘spy gate’ scandal of 2007 and subsequent $100m fine at the heart of it.

The boss of Mercedes F1 engines back then Ola Kallaenius, is now the heir apparent to the CEO Dieter Zetsche and is apparently minded to work with the executive committee at McLaren of the Bahrainis and Mansour Ojjeh, while Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda remain opposed to Mercedes supplying McLaren again.

What do you make of the goings on behind the scenes in F1? Leave your comments in the section below

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James, what's the likelihood of Vettel taking penalties for extra engine components used? Believe he is already maxed out at 4 on the Turbo and MGUH? Is this correct? Haven't seen much media coverage about this but it could have a significant bearing on the championship.


Only Merc, the Merc customers, and Kimi are better off than Vettel:


Even then he's only used 2 more TC's, and 1 more MGU-H.

As NickH says below, they are rotating the turbo's, so that shouldn't be a problem. Usually a new spec turbo goes along with a new spec MGU-H ... both Haas drivers took new ICE's, TC's, MGU-H's, and MGU-K's at Austria.


I think both Ferraris are well behind, or ahead if you wish, in terms of use of components so its a matter of when, not if. My guess is that they will throw in a new set of components either in Belgium, Singapore or Malaysia, not Italy as they want to do well in front of the tifosi, but would not want to leave it later in the season.

Unless Ham runs into trouble of his own and Ferrari decides that this would be a good opportunity to limit the damage.

I do think that they were rather conservative in the last few GPs and that might be just stretching those engines to avoid penalty alltogether but there are too many power circuits to count on that.


They are rotating the turbos, he isn't necessarily on his last one.


I was sure that before qualifying they had put in the 4th MGUH.

Even so, for what purposes are they rotating? Isn't usually normal from what we've seen since 2014.


Once upon a time, Ferrari had a secret little chamber that mixed oil with fuel then fed the engine, and their cars flew. Then Papa Marchionne sacked Allison who went to Mercedes and told them everything.
Soon Toto was singing to the FIA who clamped down.

Ferrari have had no poles and no wins since. There is a moral there somewhere.


... and then they fire Lorenzo Sassi


@Phil..read below and please just disappear. I bet even JA knew about this yet

According to AMUS Ferrari suspects Mercedes to have solved their tire troubles on an illegal way. Of course the engineers of the German team react differently. So how much of it is true? Well, there is the fact that the hydraulic suspension, as we knew it in 2016, has been forbidden earlier this year. But are there legal ways around these prohibited regulations?

The answer to that question seems to come from Mercedes. If you make a new system you just have to make it so complicated that the FIA stewards can not asses it in its totality. But Mercedes is only one of five teams who are under suspect. The other four are Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso, Force India and McLaren.



You have been warned several times about being abusive and aggressive to other poster

We will delete all your comments if you do it again - Mod


Think you have hit the nail on the head.


Once upon a time Mercedes had a not so secret little suspension system and their cars flew. Then Ferrari queried the legality with FIA. Soon FIA responded.

Mercedes' leading driver is trailing Ferrari's by 20 pts after 9 races. There is a moral there somewhere.


Oh behave.
The oil burn and the fric are completely different.
Ferrari know they did wrong that is why they moved their engine man. To avoid any action by fia.
Why else would you move the man responsible for your best f1 engine in years. Ham will walk the drivers and mercedes will have the constructors won by suzuka.👊😁


Apparently other teams wanted Ferrari docked points over this, so yeah, it was big. If this was Merc, I can only imagine the number of "cheaters!" that would be getting thrown around here.

Ferrari's U-shaped floor hasn't been in the new of late, though I heard the FIA asked them to stiffen their floor in Austria.

WCC won by Suzuka? They would need to be ahead of Ferrari by 172 pts by then (in just 7 races) to win it there ... not gonna happen.

We need to see what the Ferrari engine upgrade delivers for them. I heard that Mercedes are also bringing an engine upgrade to Silverstone ... 2nd PU was to clear up niggling reliability issues, and 3rd is a performance step.

If the current performance of the cars holds after the new upgrades, then I think Hamilton has a good shot. If the races are clean and it's just about pace, then that favours Hamilton. However, if the current performance holds, it's likely that Vettel & Ferrari will try to disrupt Hamilton, and keep him off rhythm. Then also with it being as close as it is this year, the effect of any retirements or grid penalties is magnified.


Moving their engine guy mid season sure does sound fishy. Could be a legal maneuver as well since he is now part of a different organization maybe the FIA can't force Ferrari to provide testimony by him if a bigger deal was suddenly made of the oil burning. Either way, it is interesting how their pace changed between the clarification events.


Once upon a time Mercedes had a not so secret little suspension system and their cars flew. Then Ferrari queried the legality with FIA. Soon FIA responded.

The FIA banned the little suspension system and Mercedes... went on to have three of the most dominant winning seasons in Formula 1 history. I Think the moral might be a little bit muddled.


Except that Allison wanted to leave to return to the UK. He wasn't 'sacked' as such. Merc have also been burning oil so why would they start throwing stones in a glass house?


Mafia Rules: You keep Ferrari secrets till death - which can be sooner or later, as you wish.

But seriously, I'm surprised that non-disclosure agreement is not enforceable.


On Dutch tv it was suggested all the Max/Ferrari rumours are spread purposely by Sainz and co to destabilize and create a path for Carlos jr to go to the works team. It's interesting to see that Marchionne isn't very outspoken (no!) on this topic. I also wonder if he's a big Vettel fan given what he's been doing in Mexico and Baku. I can only speculate.

A temporary split for McLaren to Ferrari/Mercedes and then re-uniting with Honda would be very awkward to say the least. Not sure how that would work but I guess anything is possible in F1. It also begs the question what the best option would be for the likes of RBR/Williams. With Renault they have proven they can beat the factory team but with Mercedes/Ferrari this historically has never happened (consistently). Interesting times ahead.


James, can you tell me what do you think about Alonso's future? Is it possible we will see him at competitive team once again fighting for at least podium, 4th, 5th?

I remember his great racecraft in Suzuka 2005 where he overtook great Michael Schumacher at 130R corner driving at outside.


I'd like to see him retire personally. There is no more WDCs around here for him, and F1 doesn't need a retiring champion to take another and then retire himself. F1 needs to mint new champions.

Put it this way - would it be better for F1 if Max gets a WDC or if Alonso gets a 3rd?


"would it be better for F1 if Max gets a WDC or if Alonso gets a 3rd"

Simple, Alonso gets a #3, Max had plenty of time to get #1 and quite frankly he's a bit to inconsistent, accident prone, mistake ridden and hard on the machinery currently. Fast does not always translate to Championships, it's not the only element, and Max is missing almost all of the other attributes right now.


Seeing Danny Ric minted as a as a new champ would be the best of all for F1.
He's got the chops to bring back the hoards...Max doesn't.


yeah I agree with this, its ok but we dont need Alonso be champion again, neither he deserve it, and Max has plenty of time ahead to win like 10 WDC and still has a lot to learn... but of course RIC will be winning first, great driver, consistent, great personality, I think 99% of the fans would be fine with that.


@ LKFE...maybe i'm imagining it but last sunday when Ricciardo arrived on the podium he received quite a massive cheer from the spectators. I was somewhat surprised at the sheer volume!!! No doubt that he's extremely popular and he'd be a popular champion IMO of course. The hordes love him.



No you weren't imagining it there was plenty of vocal support for him and Aussie flags in the crowd.

He's also very accessible to the media with that ready smile and willingness to engage with a no BS approach when answering questions. I've also read that he gets approached by the Italian media and answers their questions in Italian.

Dan the Man is pretty marketable and gets a lot of media coverage in Perth.


Alonso has great racecraft. Do you remember his battle with Vettel at Silverstone in 2014? It was great and it could only happen if you have great drivers on the grid. They haven't fought even for a podium, but they provided great racing, wheel to wheel, side by side action at Luffield, Copes. Alonso would fight for 3rd, like Ricciardo, Vettel, Verstappen if it would be poss in the race.

I think Alonso is the best racer we have got on the grid. It would be really bad for F1 to lose him.

I can understand your point, I respect that.


Love to see Alonso get a third. I am sure Max will get plenty when he learns how to not destroy his car every race. Of course Red Bull will have to forget to get Ricciardo's tyres or something just to make sure the next big thing wins.

Why not a Ricciardo title? Wouldn't that be good for F1 too? Or any one of the other talented young drivers on the grid? Because it has already been decided that it's going to be Max, so everyone might as well just get on board.

Personally I would welcome a title winner that hadn't had the groundwork for his legendary status so painstakingly prepared for him by the media, despite not doing much to deserve it. What is wrong with an oldy winning the title, anyway? Young people are all annoying.

That might have been unfair. Maybe there are some polite, articulate, reasonable and fair young people all hiding in a room somewhere.

Anyway. What were we on about? Oh yeah. Go Max! You can do it, Max! The smart money is on you!


Hay Basil, there is one such young polite, articulate, etc., etc., driver in the room and his name is Lance Stroll!


What would be best is Alonso and Max in fast cars so we can see the pretender vs the old great - no matter who wins we would be watching with interest


Yes, in a perfect world that would be nice. There would be a spending cap. Cars would be evenly matched and any one on the grid would have a chance at glory. I have talked about this repeatedly. But that's not how they have it set up, is it?

It's all bought and paid for, like that prix fixe on the menu in a local French restaurant. F1 Grand Prix is basically fixe, where you only have a handful of choices as to what you will eat, pick any one of your 3 or 4 choice drivers who have a chance to win.


What would be best is Alonso and Max in fast cars so we can see the pretender vs the old great - no matter who wins we would be watching with interest


I dont see a way that could happend...

Max is not contender for this or next year, and even if he jumps in a Ferrari by '19, will need other factors come in to place for him to win... so maybe 2020 will be Max's year? but... then I don't see Alonso around by then...

Max will be champion, not now but he will... has plenty of time, Alonso in the other hand already run out of it.

most likely the future great battles would be between MAX (RB), GIO (ferrari) , OCO (mer)....

of course F1 also need to retire MAS, HAM, VET, RAI...


Alonso gets a third.

Always been his dream and its nice to get one 10 years after too.

Max will get his chance.

And so should kubica 😜


How many WDCs you think are in here? This ain't a kids baseball game with participation trophies.

2017 is spoken for.
2018 - I don't see how it's not a Mercedes/Ferrari thing as well

That's 2 years gone.
And at this point how can you not forecast 2019 and even 2020 to be a Mercedes/Ferrari thing?

You think Mercedes wants to lose the WDC/WCC to a sugar water maker? I'd like to see it just for kicks, but it ain't gonna happen.


Seebee... why did you write that? We all know it, we just don't want to think it (apart from @Aveli) otherwise there's no point in watching every GP in the hope that someone different will win.


Yup. Reality hurts. But that's the world of F1. 2 (hopefully) contenders and the rest pretenders, or grid filler as I like to call them.


Alonso wins WDC on the eve of his 50th birthday....
Driving a Tesla!
Admit it...you'd love it!


How does he win a WDC in a Tesla at 50? Oh...autonomous driving Tesla and he was a ride along ballast?


Pistol. Alonso would make Max squeel. Trust me


Cos Alonso has done more for F1 than Max ever has? So why speculate and aim to make things easier to mint a new champion? You deserve a seat in F1 if you are a great driver, which he is. If you're the one that took on Schumacher and Ferrari with Renault on half the budget and beat him twice?

In 2010 and particularly 2012 with the all conquering Red Bulls running away with titles if it wasn't for Alonso's driving the championship would have never even gone to the last race. He's destroyed his highly regarded team mate, and the highly regarded Button the year before... if that's not good enough for F1 then there's something wrong.


I agree Max and Fernando should drive for world championship. Max drove at Interlagos, Brazil 2016 like Senna at Donington in 1993, Michael Schumacher at Barcelona in 1996 and like Lewis at Fuji, Japan, 2007.

Both, Fernando and Max have got great racecraft. They provide great racing. Red Bull needs better power unitt to be able to compete, reading James' article I think it might not happen.

Don't forget about Jenson Button, he's great champion, hopefully he will be at McLaren on the grid at Albert Park in 2018, like Robert Kubica in Renault.

We need youngsters like Max and experienced drivers like Lewis, Fernando. It's would be better than current battle among Bottas, Vettel and Lewis as only one superstar. Vettel hasn't got even Twitter/Facebook account (I respect Vettel's 4 championships, 9 consecutive wins in Grand Prix in 2013, however he can do more for fans). Drivers should be available for fans, like Daniel Ricciardo, also great racer.


Cheesypoof. So according to you Stoffel Vandoorne is "Highly regarded", while Valterri Bottas is "Second rate". Hamilton two Button one means "Button wins", but Alonso vs Button one all means "Alonso destroys Button"! Your unique way of looking at things never fails to amuse....


I didn't even mention Hamilton in my comment. Thanks for bringing him up again though, what would we ever do without You? When Hamilton and Button were Mclaren team mates, if you add their points scored in those 3 seasons, Button outscored Hamilton. Simple fact.

If you do the same for Alonso and Button as team mates, while Button beat him one year, even if you count Alonso's more retirements and missing races through injury, Alonso outscored him.. something like 66% of the points were scored by Alonso. It is not even close. That's what I mean. If you can't handle that fact because it won't let you sleep at night in your Lewis obsessed state, that's not my fault.


Cheesypoof. No you didnt mention Lewis, but lets not pretend that you dont love talking about him! Im not trying to pretend that Fernando is inferior to Button, we all know he is the better driver, just pointing out the different spin you like to put on similar events depending on who is involved. We all know that Lewis was also superior to JB, the hitherto un heard of cummalative points total between Hamilton and Button does favour Jenson, but having actually watched those seasons, I am well aware of the reasons for this, and therefore I sleep like a baby thankyou!



Yeah, cheesy was asking about my physical well being a few threads back. Apart from the weather being a little chilly I'm feeling perfectly fine. Isn't it great having people you don't know from a bar of soap express concern for your health.


Did you say you sleep like a baby or cry like a baby? I'm confused.


@ Cheesy....just how out of touch is that poster who thinks that babies sleep all night. My recollections are that night time is when they bawl their eyes out, continuously....


It is right about now that we're due for the monthly reminder, brought to you by Sebee.

In this episode: Singapore 2008, yes, again. The actions of Alonso that day have coursed him ever since. Just look at his carrier since - sure, good earnings, but is money making him sleep well at night? Or the knowledge that he'll never rank with the greatest of the sport...based on his 2 WDC?


That's a massive assumption, one that literally has no merit. So by that logic what did Kubica do that was so heinous? Alonso had no need to win Singapore 2008 his Renault was too slow to fight for a world title and no one would have held it against him. He's highly regarded, gets paid a fortune, and If he wanted to stay in F1 he could. If that's "cursed" then we should all be so lucky.


Renault were going to pull out of F1 if there was no sign of results coming. It was under that pressure that Briatore and Symonds concocted the plan for Piquet Jr to crash, and to light fuel Alonso - starting from 15th - for his first stint. It is simply incredulous to believe that Alonso would not have questioned such a strategy, which went totally against the norm in those circumstances. Any chance he was told not to worry about it, and why?


Let me perpetrate the biggest theft and fraud the sport has seen right in front of the eyes of millions. Let me give you the very thing I stole.

In case you didn't know before as you claim, now that you know it was stolen, you keep it with pride, while you continue working at the place where I stole it from, OK?

It matters not how I got it for you and what impact it had on the entire sport or legitimacy of 2008 championship standings. You keep that trophy proudly by your bedside.

If he didn't know before as you suggest, he certainly knew after. As a champion and an ambassador of F1 what has he done to make it right? Nothing.


As we all know in hindsight, Robert's indiscretions relate to a WRC hobby, and the price was unfortunately paid immediately.


He is in the mess that he is because he doesn't like competition.He ran away from a competitive car and a competitive teammate to go looking for easy times,but only found cul-de-sacs.Karma is rewarding Hamilton because he is prepared to take them all on.Now Karma must do something about Vettel. Enough of the
doormats he has enjoyed at redbull,and now at Ferrari. Raikkonen out out out.


I think you've nailed it. If you think you're the best, then there should be no need for 'priority' or 'no. 1 status' agreements.


So you're thinking Grosjean to Ferrari, and Leclerc to Haas?

As for Vettel's contract, who do you believe is holding out? You had a story before that it might already be signed, but that they don't want to announce now to avoid persistent questions about Kimi's contract status. The way Marchionne was talking though, is that it's there, but waiting for Seb's signature. If Seb hasn't signed, then what could be different from before? Mark Hughes says that Seb has no. 1 status written into his contract currently ... maybe that's not in this new unsigned contract? Ferrari should be leading the WCC too if not for Kimi's relatively poor displays on Sundays, and if Ferrari wants Verstappen in 2019 then they need to lay the groundwork now.

In Baku, as soon as Kimi cleared the pit window of Grosjean behind, was the time to pit to stave off any undercut threat from Hamilton, but they held him out instead to try and slow up Bottas. Maybe Marchionne's laggard comment was about how poorly Kimi did with that brief?

Always an interesting time at the Scuderia.


I don't think Ferrari will take Grosjean.

Vettel staying looks certain, question is around how many additional years?

I can imagine Vettel at Mercedes in due course.


FTF, *In Baku* = In Austria ... in case anyone was confused by that typo.

JA, so then Grosjean's out of Haas, going where?

What are you hearing, in terms of how many years to re-up? And what have you heard in terms of Vettel to Mercedes?


I'm not saying he is out of Haas. He's doing well for them and they have decisions to make, while he will be wondering about Renault opportunity but there's quite a queue for that seat..


Vettel will stay at Ferrrari 'for ever'. As Martin Brundle has just said, he is Senna and Schumacher combined. What team would want to lose that combination?

I can't ever imagine Vettel at Mercedes. But neither can I imagine Hamilton ever being regarded as a better driver than Graham Hill or Jackie Stewart and certainly nowhere near 'one of the greats' (Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Clarke, Fangio, Ascari)


@3 yrs extension contract for Seb


Vettel stay at ferrari for 1 more year then swap with Hamilton. Hamilton and verstappen at ferrari.👊🏎


I think Ham retires after Merc. He doesn't fit with Ferrari.


Why not? From what I've read, Marchionne rates Hamilton highly, and there's a sense that such a driver should drive for Ferrari one day. I think if Hamilton did ever go to Ferrari, that he would do it as his last hurrah.

Fangio won twice with Mercedes, and once with Ferrari, Alfa, and Maserati. Who do we associate him with more though? Personally, I don't associate him with any team ... not strongly, at least. Mercedes I guess is the strongest association.

Unless Hamilton went to Ferrari and won a number of titles with them, he's going to be associated with Mercedes after his career is done (much like Schumi is with Ferrari despite ending with Mercedes). Just the way it is. But there is history to be made going to Ferrari.

Only Fangio has won titles with more than two constructors (he won with the 4 listed above). Hamilton winning with Ferrari would make 3, and that would look pretty damn good on his CV.


I would have never thought Alonso's personality fit Ferrari's either but then we got surprised when he drove for them anyway and for five years at that!

Based on that, in theory, I agree that it's hard to imagine Hamilton feeling comfortable at Ferrari, but then it can happen I guess.


Vettel at Mercedes.

When will the Schumi-Vettel parallels ever end? 🙂



As long as its Renault power followed by Ferrari power followed by Merc power, the universe will stay stable 🙂

But it's strange, I think a lot of Vettel's current likeability (POSSIBLY:) comes from the fact that he drives for Ferrari. I wonder if that might take a slight dent if he shifted to Mercedes.

But I am sure he would have a nicer boss at Mercedes and that is worth it.


Remember about these parallels. It means he has to win WDCS at Ferrari, and none at Mercedes. 🙂


That last picture is asking for a caption competition...


What can i say? It's brilliant, James, you are truly one of the best journalists i have ever read. The older people on this forum would probably remember heinz Prueller, but he's the one you remind me of. Insightful and rational. I also believe that in the past years it was Ferrari which was keen to get Max in its frame. Two things that stuck with me: 1) Throughout all the controversies regarding Max' defensive tactics versus the Ferrari drivers, there was never a public rebuttal of Verstappen (why should they if he is the one they really want?) 2) That face of Marchionne with his mouth wide-open in utter amazement in the final stages of the Spanish GP as his man, one of F1's most revered drivers could not pass the 18 year old. From that point onwards I knew Marchionne had seen the future.


I don't see the sense in signing pre-contracts, certainly not for Max. Once his current contract expires he can chose any team he wants. Why pin yourself now to Ferrari, when in 2019 , 2020? RB can be on top again?
And what about morale and motivation when you know you are going to leave in 2 years time?
And it is not helping you with the current situation at all. In that respect Max should promise to share his bonusses with the mechanics, see if that has any effect...


I'm just looking at the tea leaves and interspersing what I hear behind the scenes to reflect on what I know to be under discussion and beyond that to paint some imaginable scenarios for the near future


@ James...With Red Bull stating that Verstappen is locked in until '20 and Ricciardo until '19 what do you see as the possible outcome there for DR? By the way, enjoyed the article immensely.


@Kenneth - I Do not understand why Max or Dan would be interested in jumping ship to Ferrari because as the PU gaps shrink, 2018-19 - one would imagine it's a better bet to be in Red Bull.

Engine powers equalizing - it's Adrian Awesome Newey vs the next guy at Ferrari Design after the last guy that gets fired over something 😀


A Nomad...Why? Renault have been in the game for at least four and a half years and they still cannot build an engine equal to Mercedes or Ferrari. What makes you think that they will suddenly come good? Not only is the renault down on power but its reliability sucks as well.


JA, so you're saying that it's only Max in the frame for Kimi's seat at the moment? Where does that leave RIC? I'm not sure RB is the place to be if they are seriously considering a Honda partnership?


Formula 1 is very cyclic, and it's best to wait for one's turn at glory instead of constantly jumping ship. I really hope Redbull stick it out with Renault for 2018-19 because I feel they can be rocking again from as soon as the end of this year.


They were definitely close in Austria, and Renault says that their engine performance step is coming later. So yes, Red Bull might be the better bet for DR and MV for 2018.


@ Nomad...' I feel' means what precisely in engineering terms?


No Max is not free to leave in 2018


According to Red Bull he's also locked in for '19 as well james.


Yes, I believe Vettel will sign a new contract worth 3 years because with the stable rules, this means Ferrari will be competitive during this period

Likewise, I think Ferrari will give Kimi a new contract because Vettel likes him hence the team will support Vettel's choice

Regards Max, I doubt he has signed a pre-contract with the team for 2019, because the team isn't fond of employing young drivers hence Max can only be drafted in 2021

On the engine side of things, it will be awkward for Ferrari to supply Mclaren as this has never happened before as the two are major rivals.

I guess this would explain why Ron Dennis decided to sell his shares in the business


small correction. Max is on the market from 2020 onward. (quote Horner)


I think that depends on how many DNFs he will have in the future. I can imagine a nasty break between Max and RBR and another team sweeping him up with lots of money involved and then a 50/50 chance of either going down in flames or becoming the next star of F1 delegating the current top drivers to also shows.


@ bs63

Interesting quote, I presume then that Max will make a one year deal with Red Bull in 2020 before jumping ship


A Haas-Alfa deal is probably the only possibility that Alfa has at returning to the sport as Sergio has indicated he is not interested in paying to get Alfa in the sport. That being said there needs to be something in it for Haas as you pointed out, Gene loves the brand association between Haas Automation and Ferrari and rightfully so. So what could Ferrari/Alfa offer Haas that they aren't already buying from them, will cost Alfa essentially nothing, and convince Gene that it's worth losing the co-branding of Ferrari?


I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover... but everytime I see Marchionne's face I get irritated. He seems pompous and power hungry. It almost irks me enough to not want Ferrari to win anything this year... but then the only option is Mercedes winning again.

I'm not sure what Mclaren are thinking but they should categorically not ditch Honda. There is no point because they aren't going to win a title with anyone else's secondary engines. I've heard the tone at Mclaren has changed, so either the divorce is final or they are starting to make amends. Maybe Mclaren's Honda contract is so iron-clad they can publicly rebuke them without fear of losing the engines.


You don't think the majority of people at his level are pompous and power hungry in F1? Even if they don't convey it, I bet a good high percentage of them are. Not arguing with you, I think the same of him. Also agree about the sticking with Honda part. The grass isn't always greener, ask Alonso.


' Marchionne seems pompous and power hungry '.Because he is telling it like it is to ' Lil Vet ',to whom no demands of ' good manners ' shall be made.


Crazy for Marchionne to dismiss an Alonso return, he'd more than do the job for them. Looks like McLaren is his best opportunity next year. Or Renault.


I heard he was into cycling .... Tour de France


It would be crazy for Marchionne to entertain an Alonso return!
Alonso's best opportunity for next year is Indy Car; he could possibly do well there, then maybe WEC.
McLaren will NOT win while Alonso is there.


Oh, what a tangled web is woven. Second guessing without any specific direction becomes mere speculation....but a bit of fun nonetheless. There is no doubt that there is a wealth of young and enthusiastic talent being groomed for an F1 future and that in itself is exciting. However for those lads to progress will mean a clean out of some of the 'older' guys and they won't be easily dropped. Drivers like Massa and Raikonnen are still competitive and it is hard to drop them when they are still contributing. The 'mid life' segment of drivers is where the next generation of winners are ATM with a couple of new standouts also in the mix. Verstappen comes to mind likewise Van Doorne and Stroll although whether or not they go on to get to the stop step and reap the F1 riches has yet to be proven. Red Bull have an embarrassment of talent and they are struggling to place them in suitable drives. Without a clean out there will be no where for them to go and hence they will be lost to F1 sooner rather than later. That brings the possibility of new teams to help alleviate that prospect. I was rather hoping that Ferrari would 'sponsor' a new team such as Alfa Romeo and we could also see maybe one new factory team, Audi for example, as that would give us another four driver slots. That then leads onto the supply of suitable engines with the performance characteristics already outlined as being up for consideration. So, each of these events are linked and working backwards from what i've said would be a great start to a rejuvenation and be a great base for the future of F1.


This is a lot to take in! It's fascinating to think of the dynamics at work throughout the pitlane. I'd imagine for those in the know, watching the men in suits and ties (and robes) is a much more intriguing affair than the celebrity drivers. It's like a peephole into the shadowy underworld of billionaire business deals and the antics of the worlds most powerful brands and their leaders.


Leclerc to Haas in 2018 (with K-MAG).
Ocon stays at Force India.
Sainz to Ferrari or Renault.
Perez / Grosjean to Renault or Ferrari or Force India in 2018.


Sainz its also under contract and I don't think VET would like to have him on the team if he can stay with his pal RAI. In that case for ferrarri it is better to get GIO on board if RAI retires this year.


Makes a lot of sense from Ferrari's point of view to supply McLaren with engines branded Alfa and neutralises the politics of using Ferrari engines.


I’ve never really understood this. They’ll still be Ferrari engines, and everyone will know it, so why rebrand the engine? It was the same thing when RedBull rebadged their engines as Total. Everyone knew it was still a Renault engine so what difference does that exactly make? Genuinely looking forward to someone’s response, as this doesn’t compute in my mind.


@He Man

There are 7.5 billion people in the world. An incredibly small amount follow the minutia of Formula One. When Bob in Kansas or Kenya or Kuwait sees a photo in a magazine of a "Haas Alfa Romeo", he gets warm and fuzzy about Alfa Romeos.


Tell me about it! I tried buying a Renault last year but told them I wanted the Tag engine not the Renault one, after some negotiating I only paid 5K extra for the Tag engine.


@He Man

Read below. The answer for your question is there

FCA and Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne said that he would love to see Alfa Romeo returning to the Formula 1 Championship with its own team, provided that they are never, ever as good as Scuderia Ferrari. Instead of being a genuine F1 contender, he imagines Alfa as the junior varsity team designed to condition future talent for its big-league brother.

“Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers,” Marchionne said after announcing GP2’s Antonio Giovinazzi as Ferrari’s new third driver at the company’s annual Christmas media event. “For that very reason we are thinking about bringing it back, as our competitor, to racing, to Formula One. It’s important for Alfa to return


Re-badging engines is usually done for commercial reasons, i.e., to sell road cars. In Red Bull's case, their Renault power units were re-badged TAG-Hauer (team sponsor) as RB had spent the previous season publicly slagging Renault off before realising that nothing else remotely competitively was available. No doubt a huge amount of money changed hands to persuade Renault to continue supplying them. Couldn't happen to a nicer team, and the sooner Danny Ricc gets out and into a more competitive car the better.


@ Cashpoor...'slagging off renault'? Renault were exposed to the truth from a badly let down customer. Red Bull only told the truth to counter the drivel put out by Renault that they were going to improve the engine when all it was was 'spin'. Red Bull payed for Illien to prove the point.


You left out the bit about washing dirty linen in public .....


@ Cashpoor...you mean the original dirty linen provided by Renault for Red Bull to do the washing? Renault made promises that they could not keep and tried to keep the results hidden for as long as they could.


For me if Honda is committed to F1 for the next 5 to 6 years at least but hopefully even longer, Mc.Laren should stick to them. I cannot imaging Ferrari not wanting to keep Vettel, specially now when things seem to be falling in place. He has used the performance of the car available to its fullest almost. The Baku thing will be forgotten and forgiven soon enough if he keeps on bringing good results. Many are betting that Vettel will end up at Mercedes eventually, why not of course, German driver in a German car. I believe he will want to finished what he started with them before that. Bringing both championships to the team. If he ends up winning one of the two this year, how can he not comeback with them next season? After that who knows. Mercedes will not always be a contented for the title either. While they are in a dominant stage presently, it might fade as quickly as it started, as it happens to all team that were at least once at the top. Marc


Renault never had their engine labeled Total to start. Infiniti & Tag with Red Bull & mecachrone some years back after leaving F1 as suppliers, are the three instances of rebranding I can think of with regards to Renault. Marc


I have to say I had not thought or known about half of these topics. Fascinating stuff. I guess the long game changes by the hour. I think Kimi will be gone and with it someone with lots of charecter by having an apparent lack of it . Probably sainz to replace him but if versttapen going there then you have an issue as seen at Torro rosso. So may be Grosjean with vettell.
Engine Wise I wonder if actually a lot of people in and around f1 would be very happy with louder engines with some green values. I've been to a few races in the hybrid era and the noise is an issue to me as it effects the visual impact. I think Ferrari need f1 and vica versa and both sides appreciate it but they will have to loose out on some money.
Somehow I'm chuckling about Mclaren doing the hard work with Honda and then another team reaping the rewards. I feel for them but think podiums would be available with a Mercedes PU. Sauber are not there enough with the car to gain from a Honda PU. Deep down I wonder if Hamilton would take a chance and return to Mclaren with their shared history may be more so if they get a strong power unit.
If Red bull get a competitive Honda supply they won't want to share with anyone other than sauber . More whinging likely with them.
The big thing liberty need to do for the next generation of engines is get as many on board as possible to nullify the big OEMs demands . Please let's have Cosworth , illmor back and may be even more teams as has been mentioned of late.
My last thoughts are why are liberty touting Docklands? Poor politics? We don't need another street track to replace one of the finest and historic tracks on the calendar . Liberty could show some strength and leadership by proving they are prepared to say things from old are wrong and we want to help . Short term pain for long term gain. I am proudly taking my 10&12 year old daughters to Friday at Silverstone to show them why I get up at ridiculous times in the morning . I can't afford a weekend ticket for the family plus there is no WiFi for them and as you know their world may fall apart without it.


You wouldn't wish your worst enemy on being lumbered with a Honda PU!


@ Gazboy...I certainly would.


Sure you would 🙂


Wow there are so many things to pick up on in this article!! Great reporting James. That's what I am talking about when said I have been following your work for 20 years.

I haven't seen Enzo Ferrari's hands on work as I was only 4 when he passed away. But what I read and heard about him makes me think that Marchionne is very much in the same line of philosophy as Enzo Ferrari. I had no idea if the leadership change would be any good for Ferrari F1 team or not when he took over. But this is the kind of leadership I was hoping without even knowing. His comments towards Vettel and Raik shows he doesn't tolerate anything that can bring the team into disrepute whether its performance (Kimi) or behavior (Vettel).

I got several comments about Ricciardo's performance from C63 and others in the previous article, but just don't have time to respond. But I'm surprised that Ricciardo isn't in Marchionne's radar. Ves and Vet are similar in many ways. I think they are both incredible drivers, but I'm not sure if they are both leaders like Schumacher was. Ricciardo is on the other hand is a leadership material in my view to go with his ability. Drivers' market shake up would be another great thing to watch out for this season on top of a great championship we have had so far. This F1 season has it all in my view.


James had a long term view of Ricciardo at Mclaren . I think that's where he will end up. These contracts don't seem that airtight.


@ Dirk Diggler. Great, now that you've seen the actual contracts and formed the opinion that they are not 'airtight' i'd love to know the details. Any chance.....


Sadly not Kenneth as it's an opinion . I don't recall saying I'd seen them? However we do get to see surprising moves in f1 leading me to believe what I said afore said .


I hope not, I like RIC but not MaLaren... maybe I could change my mind now that Ron's gone and like the 'all new' McLaren.


@ FZ ...hahaha hit the submit button too early! I meant to add that Machiavelli was an Italian so they have form. I do know however that M is a Canadian citizen.


@ FZ...Maybe Ricciardo is on the list but Marchionne is keeping schtum about it all and letting the speculation run wild. Could just undermine Red Bull at a crucial time.


@ Formula Zero ,You have touched a very much a soft spot when it comes to Enzo Ferrari, Italians called him a Great Man, & how fitting that is. In your passing remarks about Marchionne the guy is simply a brilliant administrator he sits on more ( Boards ) in the Corporate World that only a few can match, what he had done to merge FIAT / Chrysler simply astonishing just ask Mr Obama, Ferrari had beginning of a love affair with the Alfa as Marchionne & yours truly for 27 years as a distributor/ dealer in Australia, driving a Alfa through its all short comings, you get a Heart & Soul as one told me once a Alfa is like a bad woman you get a ride of your life. As for driver Ricciardo 2018 & beyond is a done deal , an Australian but Italian heritage , Marchionne said he wants an Italian team & prove the Italians can do what its takes, so far he's proving a point.


@ FZ...good post. I'd be reasonably sure that Ricciardo is on Marchionne's shopping list but Red Bull won't let him go until '19 when he come to the free market. Verstappen is tied up to Red Bull until '20 so what happens next? I think that Raikonnen will get another 12 months and then Marchionne will have more options to evaluate.


Ricciardo is an interesting one....if Max is really looking at moving to Ferrari, then him staying put at Red Bull can only be a good thing, loyalty seems to go a long way at Red Bull, at least with Dieter, if not the "Puppet-Master" Dr. Marko. Also is Ferrari really much more of a safer bet for a WDC then Redbull, sure this year they are, but who's knows about next year? (well I am sure the more technically minded on here may know). I'd like to see Ricciardo go to Merc, for no other reason than I find Bottas completely uninspiring.


I actually think Marchionne is just trying to stir Vettel into signing a contract. I believe that's literally all this is. He's publicly denounced Kimi, and he's flat out said they won't look at Alonso who realistically would be a threat to Vettel in a Ferrari. So he's paved the way for Seb publicly. I wonder if this means that Seb actually has an option with Mercedes. I'd actually love to see that, as improbable as it sounds. Immediately after, Prost makes a statement that it would be an honor you have Alonso but that they won't have a winning car till 2019. So... all these releases are just ploys to position themselves.. I wonder if Ferrari really think they might lose Seb.


@FZ, @kenneth,

Reading between the lines as we all are, I took Marchionne's comments that they've no interest in Alonso; Raikkonen needs to “do a great job now if he is to protect the possibility of winning the championship", and "has got to show a higher level of commitment to the process (...) there are days when I think he's a bit of a laggard, but we'll see"; and Vettel's post-Baku dressing down; as less his intention of taking on a Sainz, Ricciardo or Grosjean in 2018, and more the intention of motivating his two existing drivers toward winning the driver's championship (and by default, continuing to steal points away from Bottas, Hamilton and Ricciardo).

Ferrari tend to like predictability (the Schumi/Barrichello years), and it seems they'd prefer to have a championship-winning driver capable of more titles (Vettel) with a second-fiddle capable of running interference (Raikkonen) than deal with variables like Mercedes and Red Bull faced in the recent past (and may yet face this year).

If that's the case, then it's perhaps not inconceivable for Marchionne to retain Vettel and Raikkonen in 2018, with Hamilton and Verstappen available from 2019 to step in to replace Raikkonen, and/or Vettel depending on the length of contract Vettel signs for next year.

But given how porous these sorts of statements tend to be, I offer these thoughts with as much weight as the effort it took to type them.

Like Marchionne says: "We'll see".




I agree, he seems to just say what he means, for better or worse. If he was 100% sure he didn't want Kimi I feel like he would probably say that and not worry about the drivers feelings. I take his comments for what they were that he feels Kimi needs to step it up.


Caution. Unless Hamilton does well this year he'll find himself well and truly stuck in the 'number two' driver position for most of the good teams.


McLaren-Ferrari ... it just doesn't seem right, does it?


@ Axle K...yes, i thought the same. Two manu's in the same name doesn't work. Like BMW Volvo or Mercedes Fiat. Silly really.


Your right . It's like exactly what f1 shouldn't be. Too diplomatic or orchestrated. Redbull-Ferrari.


It's like kissing your sister, it's a bit, er, weird...............


Certainly doesn't. A brand line McLaren does need to be a works team. That is of course why they believed in Honda. However, under the current engine dominated F1, McLaren-Ferrari sounds much better than "Great Memories Of McLaren F1 team". At this rate they are in the making of new Williams.


Alfa Romeo are motor racing royalty, It would be fantastic if it were to come back to open wheel racing they have an amazing heritage. But not as a subservient team to Ferrari as Toro Rosso is to Red Bull.
It would be disrespectful to Alfa Romeo and to Italian racing history.
Alfa Romeo should only be back on track as an equal with their own engines and chassis and no restrictions on performance nothing less.


James I have three questions
1 As you say Ferrari may do end up getting Max for 2019 but they if want to replace Kimi for 2018 are you hinting it particularly with your idea of a Leclerc-K-Mag Haas line up for '18 that it should be Romain to fill that void ?
2 Under the new engine ideas given that noise improvements are being demanded will the next generation hybrid units still be turbocharged?
3 What are the chances that Ferrari will only offer McLaren a year old engine i.e this year's Ferrari engine for next year ?
Keep up the good work.
Stephen Taylor


Ola Kallaenius... is apparently minded to work with the executive committee at McLaren

@people who are more LINGUISTICALLY savvy than I am - What does "minded to work" mean in this context?

Would he LIKE to work with Mclaren OR does he LOATHE the idea? I could not find a proper example for the use of the word "minded" (in such a context) on GOOGLE.

..it also forms such an important part of the article!! 😀

What a fantastic article by the way..

Thank you!


Apparently minded = certainly willing to consider; i.e. 'Like'.


Reading between the lines and thinking how I would use the term I would suggest "contemplating" or "prepared to". The converse being that Totonator and Herr Lauda do not want to work with McLaren.


I think that term is used to indicate that Kallainius is 'of the mind' [ capable of being] to be able to sit down and work through the possibilities.


Liberty and the FIA need to get tough with Ferrari and Mercedes, they aren't going anywhere and should be reminded that they choose to enter the championship, and it would carry on without them. Ditching the MGUH is a good move, and it needs to be done as soon as possible to attract any other engine suppliers.
The driver merry go round is endlessly fascinating, the momentum seems to be pushing Max towards Ferrari, but it appears to be happening a bit further in the future than next year. Leclerc is impressing everyone in F2, and seems destined to be in that Ferrari seat long term. Grosjean and Vettel next year seems sensible enough, but Romain needs lessons in keeping his trap shut, although perhaps not from Seb....


I disagree with many things you say. But as C63 mentioned, I'm a stickler for fairness. So, I agree with you in this instance. Engine is something is completely invisible to the fans. Even though these engines are quite amazing in many ways, the rules give Ferrari and Mercedes too much power for the good of the sport. Bernie and Mosley created this issue. Now the new owners have to live with it. Instead of cutting cost, the cost just increased due to such a big technical overhaul. Who would've thought that the engines could cost $20m+ per year. No wonder teams like Sauber are always hanging by a thread. So, for me Liberty Media need to let Ferrari and Mercedes know that F1 can survive without them. We can't be too harsh on Ferrari and Mercedes because they are simply doing better job. But FIA and Liberty have the responsibility on how much power they give to these Sharks.


𝗟𝗲𝗰𝗹𝗲𝗿𝗰 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗙2

Ah TimW, don't fall into that trap - Vandoorne was also very impressive in the feeder formula's, but.............


Gazboy, so were Lewis, Seb, Farnando, Max, Michael, Ayrton etc etc etc.....


....he wasn't a rookie


Sergio apparently now appears to be against the changes to the PU, if you can believe it. I wonder if it is for real or if it is for the 100M/season negotiation, but below is what he said. Heartbreaking if true that preserving the current PU is the Ferrari goal.

Future of Ferrari is not looking bright, and they will have no choice but to do an SUV to move units. McLaren saying they are going 100% electric and maybe even drive all wheels is going to be a differentiator. It will be interesting to see how McLaren will try to capitalize on this angle to try to make Ferrari look inferior.

Here is what he said:
"Double turbo instead of the electric motor?" La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted the Ferrari president as saying in Austria.

"I have told Liberty this morning: I believe that creating a power unit system that denies the development of technology is a mistake.

"Either we do something clever and consistent with the development or we forget it. These easy solutions to remove the hybrid parts of the engine, or to bring back the 12 cylinder aspirated engines, are in the past," Marchionne added.


Hi James

Speaking of Ferrari and engines, any word on what Ferrari plans for upgrading vettel's engine? I believe he is on his last turbo and mgu h. Is the engine upgrade for Silverstone only icu related or do they plan to take grid penalties with Sebastian?


4th TC and 3rd MGUh


Turbos haven't failed and can be reused without penalty. From what I understand Ferrari is doing this by plan and there is no excessive wear and tear. Are they going to be better off this way as opposed to leaving same turbo in until end of it's useful life...time will tell.


But if a new Turbo is better, they need to figure out if it's worth taking a penalty


All will become clear on Thursday, one imagines


James, two questions if i may,

1. Why was the head of Ferrari engine programme fired? Because it is apparent that he and his team have done a good job.

2. Whats the hurry to sign Verstappen? Just incase Vettel goes to Mercedes?


Re (1) - Seems Sassi was not fired, but moved to manage the hybrid programme at FCA. Apparently there could be some behind the scenes politics involving the (alleged) oil burn...


From all the reports I have seen I can confirm your question number 1 quite easily.

#1: The head of Ferrari engine program wasn't fired. He has been promoted to implement the same F1 engine technology to the worldwide road car division because of his amazing work. So, it's a complement mor than anything. You can see the details of his new position on Ferrari Tweeter News feed, Ted Kravitz's qualifying notebook and a lot of other independent news outlet. The reports about him getting fired is story without basis from some parts of the British media.

#2: From what I read about Verstapen Senior and Junior both think that the RBR cannot overhaul the might of Mercedes and Ferrari over the next few years. Therefore, Max simply doesn't want to drive a car that he can't win races with. And as Ferrari shown much improvement and he always wanted be a Ferrari driver, they approached Ferrari. Otherwise, up until fairly recently Ferrari had been more interested in Sainz. Horner said that both RBR drivers have no option but remain in the team due to contractual agreements in place, possibly even for 2019 as well. However, there's a old school clause called "the driver doesn't wanna drive the car" could lead to the break up of the contract.

Maybe JA can verify my answer to your questions.


Weakness is the engine proposition, always has been

That's why if I were Horner I'd leap on Honda deal for 2019, once they and McLaren divorce


@james- Yikes! Just when I comment a little above saying surely Renault will match the Mercedes Power before Honda does, you the main man are making me seriously doubt that now!!

is it really true? Those in the know feel Honda will strike Gold before Renault?


@ James....I find that logic rather confusing. Renault have been in the PU business now for at least four and a half years and they still can't build a race winning engine. Honda have been in the PU business for around three+ years and they are still worse that Renault. Why would you have faith in them building a race winning engine in the future? Don't forget that we are looking at the possibility of major engine changes for '20 now which has been mentioned as a possibility.

Fulveo Ballabeo

Seems logical. But what about the very public slagging RB gave Renault two years ago when the engine wasn't up to snuff? I can't imagine that'd go down well in Japan. And Honda hasn't developed a consistently top-flight F1 engine since the days of Senna (see: BAR, Honda, McLaren).


I would try and get the Honda in the back of the Torto Rosso for next year and then the Red Bull for 2019. Gives Honda a bit more data to look at, and gives RB a better understanding of the Honda unit before the 19 car is designed around it.


"... Yes Jim, yes! ......"


But James, if Red Bull do the logical thing and sign with Honda, why would Mclaren follow through with the divorce? Surely both Red Bull and Mclaren want the same thing.. and if Honda are happy with Mclaren why would they divorce them?


I think...

1. Because they were burning oil
2. They don't want max to go to Mercedes.


Let's go back to a V8 hybrid...remove the turbo.

Or at the very least increase engine capacity to 1.8L.

Hopefully those levers Ferrari and Mercedes wield aren't as powerful as they say and they just build whatever the regulations state. It's annoying that certain agendas are put ahead of the spectacle and the sport.


Fact is, that statistically, the V8 era was the most competitive in modern era.
Is 8 years it gave us 5 WDCs, close races, top 10 separated by 1s, sound that was entirely fine.



Hello! I only got a chance to read your reply on the Vipers, V10 M5 and Tesla yesterday on that other article on Zak. It is an eye opener to a lot of people I guess - that you actually would consider a Tesla on the road yourself, but demand that the racing world (with very few cars) use the more "Alive" V10s 🙂 - Does seem reasonable.



I don't understand why there can't be a clear line between the two.

It's like saying that because you eat healthy you only eat salads and never anything else.

One set of logic can and should apply on the road. And the track should be about going fast in an entertaining way, not about road relevance. Road relevance is ruining a lot about motorsport.

Plus Ça Change

Fact is, that the future of road cars is not to be found in antiquated V8s. Hybrid and fully electric vehicles are where it's at. Manufacturers won't continue to invest R&D dollars in technology that's utterly irrelevant to unit sales. Why is this so hard to grasp?


Red Bull won 4 WDCS and sales of Renault and Infiniti cars decreased significantly.

Honda is taking a giant steaming PU in F1 and their sales are at record highs.

Mercedes only sold more cars while being in F1 and winning because the brand pushed down stream hard with many small and more affordable models, not because of F1.

I actually wonder how many car sales can be attributed to F1 presence. There sure seems to be plenty of evidence that the efficacy of marketing in F1 may be just slightly overblown.

And then there is a real question of...do most viewers really know what's under the engine cover? Does it mean anything to them that a V8 car burned 150kg vs. PU, which now burns 105kg at triple the engine cost? Or do they just watch that V8 sound vs. PU sound video (now at over 4m views) and conclude F1 sounds lame and they're not going to a Grand Prix anymore?


"[Marchionne] intervened in the post Baku events..."

How so, James? I'm hoping he didn't influence the results of Vettel's follow-up hearing?


Leaked news in Italian media says that Marchionne has slammed Vettel behind the scene for his behaviour. Don't always assume that because he is the Ferrari boss, he can influence everything. If anything, Marchionne only cares about the Ferrari brand. Drivers are not on top of priority list, the brand is.


I'd be very surprised if he didn't actually write the apology or at least dictate it!!!


Red Bull, Mercedes and now Ferrari have said no to Fernando, that should make it easier for Honda to maintain the McLaren relationship. It's a disaster at the moment, but who knows, in a year or 2, things can pick up.
I've said it before, McLaren should not look at their relationship with Honda through Fernando's eyes. I appreciate his talent and desire to win, but it's a long term deal with Honda. McLaren will not win titles with Mercedes or Ferrari or Renault, they need to be a works team. The could win a few races, but not championships. But I also agree that Honda has to react big time. Seek outside help, headhunt capable hands, get Milton Keynes up and running. I still think the McLaren-Honda association can succeed.


Bottas could step into Ferrari seat next year. Why not? They reject Alonso based on his personality (is there any other reason?). Bottas comes with good speed and consistency good to keep Seb happy.

Merc must be thinking to go for Ocon. So much promise, can't let that die away


Bottas will be beating Vettel because he is a better driver.


Sure. Maybe I can take Niki Lauda's job so that I can pay for pay to to watch every F1 race.

Bottas isn't leaving Mercedes brand any time soon. I am sure Mercedes will keep him next year. But if they don't for any reason, he will be back at Williams.


Any truth to the rumour that Sassi was axed because of his role in the (alleged) oil burning? Seems he was moved out of F1 to manage hybrid drivetrain programmes at FCA as an act of contrition to keep the FIA happy? Some teams (RB?) were apparently demanding that Ferrari be docked points over this?


Ferrari are probably right to reject any approach from Alonso. They need to go for a younger potential superstar and only they are in a position to know the relative merits of the various candidates.

As for McLaren, they have some difficult choices over engines. Can there be much doubt that Honda will get their act together eventually ?

I can't see a McLaren Ferrari but it would be ironic for McLaren to go back to Mercedes only to find that Honda come good with Sauber.

Ferrari would be giving up to much IP to one of their long term greatest rivals and for McLaren, they would still be no more than a customer team.

We desperately need a couple of independent engine suppliers but that isn't going to happen before 2020 when the simplified engine formula comes in, hopefully with a standardised Energy Recovery System. We could then expect Cosworth or Riccardo to produce a competitive engine to rival the manufacturers.

It might cost them Alonso, but maybe McLaren should gamble on sticking with Honda for 2018 ?

At least they would not be playing second fiddle to the official Mercedes or Ferrari team.


I would not rule out Kmag going to Ferrari as opposed to Grosjean. I can see Grosjean staying in place and one of the junior drivers joining him. From Ferrari's perspective, they would see Kmag as a good fit personality wise and his being a good team player. He's another one of those guys like Bottas who seem to not be that dynamic until you hand them something to work with.


There seem to be a lot of cooks stirring the pot, but Jean Todt and the FIA control everything. They really should make their plans more transparent. Bring the simpler engines ASAP.


Marchionne seems to have a Napoleon complex. I expect him to ride a black stallion at Monza with a cheese board on his head.
Max will be at Ferrari in 2019.
So will a certain British driver.
Vettel will go to Mercedes before it changes it's name to China F1 or Toto Racing pairing with Ocon.


Palmer to Ferrari? I doubt that


Where are the men in white coats?


Grosjean to Ferrari until 2020 with Leclerc replacing him. Makes a lot of sense. You wonder what Red Bull are going to do with Gasly, though. A second year in Super Formula isn't going to do him any good, but Red Bull don't have the same clout to place drivers that engine manufacturers do. Maybe they could oust Wehrlein at Sauber if they wrote a big enough cheque?

Tornillo Amarillo

Marchionne is set to become an even bigger fixture in F1 in the coming years as he scales down his role with FIAT Chrysler Automobiles and resolves around his role at Ferrari.

Marchionne I think has an awful style in his declarations about drivers, you can read a lot literally and between lines. He treats disrespectfully Champions like Vettel, Alonso and Kimi, like they are only "kids", like you have to talk less and focus more, you are a laggard, I'm not interested in your services, and the likes.
There is a judgement without appeal, he reserves for himself the last word and once it is said to the journalists the damage is irreparable and undone.
That certainly hurt fans' feelings, you don't want to have your idol mistreated.
So negativity is also an anticlimax here and maybe we can expect to have more of that since Marchionne is more implicated in Ferrari.
It remembers me Ron Dennis, they are the bosses, but the work environment they have created is hard to swallow.
I was a big supporter of Hamilton leaving McLaren when during negotiations Dennis spoke to the press like a heartless boss belittling Lewis, you cannot accept that EVER... and Lewis didn't, and only for that I was so happy, because he was already a world champion and one of the fastest man in motorsport. Then he built to be triple champion, so the calculated risk is always worthy.
In this conditions, I don't think Ferrari is a good place to dream for a free soul. Maybe they should hire only in that extraordinary Finn blood, like Kimi, maybe Nico Rosberg, maybe Bottas in the future, they really know what they are doing and they know with who they are dealing.

ps: failures in expectation in McLaren with Perez, Magnussen, Vandoorne could be related to this environment problem, I'm always concern about this. I guess. Lucky enough, and despite Boullier unfortunately criticism about Vandoorne, Ron is out and Stoffel got a huge support from Zak Brown being confirmed for 2018 and praised as a future champion. Stoffel is already doing better.



I just checked the Sergio M clip on youtube where he calls Kimi a "laggard" Surprising it doesn't seem to be really that negative like how I felt reading about it.


Tornillo Amarillo

Some journalism exacerbate the concepts like "ROSBERG LOST THE TROPHY" but you read it and they add "...and found it 5 days latter" or something like that, but if the persons mention a word like "laggard" is a different story I guess, the concept was mention on purpose.


Marchionne has boosted Fiat’s value by 8 times over 13 years

While Fiat and its spinoffs have surged in "VALUE" after a series of "DEALS" Marchionne did.



PS: Chrysler was just a few places away from the Lowest brand that was FIAT.


I wish he spotted "LAGGARDS" closer to self before spotting others 😉

The abarth models seem very tempting and yet I am unable to convince myself to go place an order for one this year - Fear of thier Reliability and unpredictable Customer Service!

I would blindly buy a Honda any day. Oh the irony! 😀


Ah yes Sergio M maybe doing wonders for Brand Ferrari they think, which is why they installed him, but he is terrible for Brand Formula 1 when he iNSULTS the very IDOLS that keep BRAND FORMULA 1 - RELEVANT in the world.

The last time I checked, FANS CARE much MORE about the WDC than the WCC.

I can see why in the real world the Fiat brand is known to sell good cars, yet people are scared of their after Sales Service. In some regions, they keep firing the After Sales Service Partners and its months before something remotely close to proper "Authorised Service Centers" pop up as a replacement - thus marring the ownership experience.

This brand really needs a LOT of Soul searching as to how it manages its Operations based on FEAR PSYCHOSIS threatening their employees and does not even spare its Super Star Drivers who are idolized by the world.

I guess it's no surprise that when you buy a FIAT.. the Same energy of FEAR transfers unto the ownership experience. Will the Service Center still be there the next time I go? Will the same Managers and Mechanics be there? What if the Service Center vanishes again and parts are not available immediately?

Yep, FEAR is not healthy 🙂


I find it somewhat bemusing that without doubt the greatest influence on the direction of development of the whole motor industry, has been the VW Audi Diesel emission cheating scandal. The fallout from this has convinced several manufacturers to make brave statements about their future vehicle line-up being solely electric or at least very greenly hybrid! That it should be VW Audi considering an entry to F1, therefore is serendipitous as they are responsible for moving the industry toward the F1 spec from the other end.
One must ask though will they be allowed in? As the ten team limit is about to be extended if at least one other rumoured hopeful is admitted, will it stretch to 12 or will Sauber become Audi F1 racing?
We await a serious leap forward in battery technology to allow greater capacity and faster charging. This must go with domestic energy storage with this being topped up during the day with solar and used to re-charge the car at night otherwise both the grid and the power stations (which are 15-20 years out of date in the UK) will become seriously overloaded as the main transport energy source switches from hydrocarbon to electric.
The next generation of F1 engines needs to have the electrical limits raised considerably or dismissed altogether, though we then enter new dangers.
There are a lot electrical features that could be applied to the cars per Max's cost capped regs version.


@Dick Ansell

You know what would be really horrifying? From 2020.. perhaps they will start using complete electric cars like Formula E, but they will also have a PETROL GENERATOR on the car that keeps running at the SAME RPM THROUGHOUT the lap, holding it at its Peak Torque and power level.

The Generator keeps charging the batteries that power the Electric motor as per need and power is also regenerated while braking.

If on certain circuits there is a POWER SURPLUS per lap, then the Petrol Generator stays shut for parts of the lap. On certain circuits, if there is power DEFICIT, then perhaps the Generator runs at higher rpm than its peak efficiency.

This will (obviously) prompt them to eventually REDESIGN the LAYOUT of the CIRCUIT to solve this glaring INEFFICIENCY.

This will also give a chance for Public Road designers to intern under Track designers and "Learn" 🙂

@Sebee.. i know you are crying right now imagining the Constant stable BUZZ of the Petrol Generator that keeps humming at the same RPM constantly. ^.^

Perhaps, they will switch to "DIESEL" since it has more torque at lower rpm and better suited for Generator operations. Lower Rpm means they can use the same engine throughout the year - thus reducing costs for smaller teams!! I am sure SAUBER is salivating right now.


They'd sooner come up with a battery replacement system. Car pits, they lift it, flick a switch to off, drop out the bottom, slide in freshly charged battery, flick switch on, go, go, go. 20-25 more laps!

Standardized battery shape and replaceable batteries is something that is not discussed as much as it should be for road cars.

It is my theory that the Apple car will have a replaceable battery. I think the battery will be split 50/50. Half fixed, half replaceable where you can pull up to a battery depot and swap out the replacable half for 150 miles of range in 2 minutes.



Oh, i found out what made the Rimac Electric car burst into flames! apparently, the extreme heat produced by the electricals is OIL cooled.


I read on the interweb that Richard Hammond crashed a Rimac Concept Car that is fully electric and the car turned into a fireball as soon as he jumped out of it !!

I can understand batteries can start sparks but what exactly fuelled the electric "sparks"? The Carbon Fibre Body?

Earlier we had metal body cars using Carbon based Fuels.

Now we have Carbon based bodies (Rimac is Carbon FIbre) and Metal based batteries (Rimac has a Lithium Iron battery as per wiki).

The net result is still the same it seems, the cars still are flammable if you crash em.


Very interesting.
I have repeatedly expounded upon a steadily declining fuel consumption limited F1, understandably converging with Formula E down the road.
And why not glass racetracks, solar capture as off set to F1 hydrocarbon emissions.
It's not so unbelievable, as can be seen in the articles:

For all of the massive $$$ spent in F1, they could really lead the way of automotive technology by creating solar panel race tracks and combine it with a steadily decreasing fuel limit, on a stable trajectory, with open PU configuration to foster innovation.


It must be my type of brain, but the first thought on reading the Smithsonian mag article was "if they put the Solar film on top of a piezo film they could utilise the weight of the vehicles as they passed along the road" (Until maglev happens that is, thanks Professor Eric Lathwaite (One of my heroes))


Dick, all the pieces are clearly visible already to what you note.

Tesla is pushing for storage and is demonstrating the effectiveness of their storage systems for grid use, just google it.
There are other solutions to storage, like combining hydroelectric with solar. During the day when there is power, it is used to pump water from a lower lake to a higher one, and at night the water it let flow pushing hydroelectric generators.
Of course Molten Salt Reactors are a real thing, will come online in a few years and features and highlights of the technology read like a dream list. Compact, potentially portable in 20 or 40 foot containers, using current nuclear waste for fuel and not able to have a meltdown - it's straight out of sci-fi.
Add to this the battery tech that's moving forward fast with the lithium batteries with new electrolyte now offering safety and double the capacity of lithium-ion, and other inventions that have pushed battery recharge cycles to half a million cycles, and you can see beyond doubt that future is electric.

And here is a little sobering thought - China is at the forefront of all of it. Reusable generation. Molten Salt Reactors. Electric Cars. All of it. In a short few years - perhaps a decade. China could become fully energy independent, and the western world will be paying China to take the nuclear waste from our old outdated reactors that they will then use for their modern Molten Salt Reactors. Imagine - they will be potentially paid, and paid well, to get the fuel for their reactors to satisfy their energy needs. The rest of the world will look foolish!

And then, they could become the centre for all the production of these technologies. If Apple makes a car, where do you think it will be made? You think it will be 100% electric? You can bet it will be. And it will be made in China. China could soon be making the world's batteries. The world's electric cars. The world's power generators. Imagine that.

Finally, Audi/VW. What to say? First, they are dead to me. What they did, the disregard to the general population around the world with their product is unforgivable. I certainly don't forgive them. I will never own any of their products, because to be seduced into their product is to give them a pass on what they did - and that's too much to allow. What would they learn? That consumers forgive after 2 years? Nope. Not sufficient enough a punishment. EPAs and courts may have punished them, but car consumers should as well. I understand why they would want to suck up and be in F1 to market their wares, but the history of VW going back is filled with bad choices, and this whole diesel thing - well, it's too big to ignore and allow F1 to make better. There is science that these emissions that VW was contributing to take on average 4 years out of peoples lives. Part of me wanted VW to fail for doing what they did with this diesel stunt. I certainly wouldn't want to see them in F1, but we know F1 won't turn them away if they decide to enter. Money talks.


A small crumb of comfort regarding China: all industrial revolutions come to an end sometime......


I think I may have had a comment error here and this reply didn't go here. I was just pointing out that electrification of the world will stretch China's industrial revolution by a bunch of decades as they provide cars, batteries and Molten Salt reactors to the world.


You saw those Nova documentaries didn't you? (One on battery tech, and the other on nuclear tech?) Brilliant innovation. What's interesting is that the vast majority of that innovation is still happening in the US, but because China has a, er, less complicated regulatory system, the start-ups will often test-bed the technology in China. Unwittingly, this would allow China to keep up to speed with many of these developments.

I have high hopes that technology will ultimately help us decrease fossil fuel use and thus help with pollution and climate change. But what it means for F1? Ultimately, I think F1 and FE will merge into a new F1 that has no ICE in its PU at all! Peeeeee-youuuuuu! Lol!


It was impressive, that episode of NOVA. Sure, tech is being developed here by smart dudes. But where will it be made? Exactly.


Sure, but they could be making electric stuff for the world for decades to come.


I have to come back on some points, not to disagree but to amplify:
The molten salt reactor is probably the safest type of reactor there is but can we get them built in the UK? No there is not sufficient scope for repeatedly doubling the cost as with the ludicrous EDF project currently under way. The Thorium salt reactor is far too cheap and safe to justify the enormous profits to be made from water cooled pressurised reactors. Like the everlasting light bulb and the water-gas powered car, the thorium rector has been buried to preserve profit.
Lithium supply is limited and concentrated in few parts of the world, including China of course so we must find another better way, I have hopes of Graphite being used as a basis as an electrode and as a conductor.
Yes the use of catalysts to change gas to electricity directly is now being used by major US corporations, the CHE Combined Heat&Electricity fuel cell is another coming tech also being delayed by the large electricity suppliers, i had shares in Ceramic Fuel Cells 5 or 6 years ago while UK tests were being carried out. A unit the size of a fridge which provided your heat and electricity fed on mains gas.

Back to emissions, what is not really appreciated by the general population is that even when all forms of emission control are working properly to spec and to Euro 5 regs; it is only working when the engine the filters, the cats etc are all up to specified working temperature. This means that a lot of local shopping, or school runs never reach operating temperature thus never come anywhere near meeting the emission regs or the publicity figures. In fact when cold they can be ten to twenty times the permitted level. This was demonstrated on a Renault van by a BBC Horizon program in the only test station they could get to co-operate, in "mid europe" (others all refused). (the prog was a year or two before the scandal)
In F1 terms though we should remember that Audi won Le Mans and the WEC with a diesel car. But could they buy Sauber or Force India?


Yeah, that Nuclear project in UK is funny. By the time that thing is built, Molten Salt will be here, and then what? What a waste that thing will be, making fuel for Molten Salt reactors at a huge price basically. EOL before it's even online.

You point to an interesting point. Nuclear lobby is so strong in the western world. With power plant shelf life ending but licenses extended beyond what was considered safe in the past. Politicians protect their region's economics to build or gain advantage for their plants. It is one of the reasons why Molten Salt never took off in the past. Bill Gates apparently wanted the US to do it, but when he saw the political opposition and lobby fight it to protect current plants, he went to China, who welcomed him with open arms immediatly. How funny is that?

Intersting point on the emissions. This, the temperature issues, idling, and the rest of it is exactly why the inefficiencies are huge and the system is prime for disruption and automation.

You know what's funny? Companies knew Apple was coming with a smart phone and their answers to it were lame. They know now that Apple is coming with a car, and auto industry is not doing what it needs to do to transform. When that Apple car comes, they will feel it and hard.

I will repeat a staggering data point to you Dick. In North America, the entire passenger fleet utilization is...are you sitting down? 4%. Four frikken percent. The other 96% of the time the cars are sending parked. If you run the data based on car seat occupancy, it is actually 1%. Isn't that crazy? The second most expensive thing people buy, unused 96% of the time.

Now think about this - Apple manages to get utilization rate to 8%, and HALF the cars can be removed from the road. That's still 92% unused fleet. Get it up to 16% and 3/4 of cars can be removed off the road. Still 84% unused. It's mind boggling how much efficiency is in this system. If automated, think of all the parking space that's freed up for other use. Sports, courts, homes, parks, etc. The car takes so much space, and it is used only 4% of the time. It's NUTS!

Someone will disrupt the hell out of this industry, because it is prime for disruption. And would car industry disrupt selling us things we don't use 96% of the time? Nope. It's going to have to be a tech company. And as numbers above tell you, they won't need to replace all the cars on the road. In fact, they will be just fine if they shoot to replace 10 cars with 1 Apple Car. It will more than do the trick.

Can you imagine the world with 10% of the cars? The efficiency? The emissions eliminated? The noise. The wasted time. The stress. The time saved. Traffic all but gone. This is all within reach if cars go autonomous and electric and if the automobile finally lives up to given name.

All of this, all of what is surely about to happen is why those discussions that automation and electrification is the biggest threat to F1. dean above argues about putting F1 on a track toward FE, but FE is already there, why would it want F1? Something basically doesn't survive here, and I bet it's not FE.


I'm afraid, your opinion is just one voice, nothing more. The dieselgate punishment has been dished out, you have to move one. I don't know whether they paid you to write against VW group but your assertion that they are dead is absolutely wrong. The group has many marques under it, some of them at the forefront of electric-powered vehicles. Diesel cars won't go away quickly too, don't be carried away. I was in India & china, and almost 60% of cars I saw there were diesel.
Summary: Don't buy anything VW. VW is not made for everyone


That diesel gate punishment that has been dished out was not dished out by me. I pay the price by breathing their crap. My kids pay the price. You pay the price. Whatever punishment they got wasn't mine. So whenever I can I tell friend and family NOT to buy a VW product - that is my punishment - to NOT give them any revenue. To NOT support their recovery from their abuses. I know they are not the only offenders on this, but they sure as heck are the biggest. I don't care about their other marques, where they get in the board room and decide which components they will share between brands, slap some different sheet metal, a different logo on it and it's 20, 30, 40 grand more, but with same crappy diesel engine. No way. Like I said, VW is dead to me, so is Audi, Porsche, Lambo, Bugatti, Skoda - whatever they make, my punishment to them is to not support a company who has gamed their customers like this. I mean think about what they did - basically totally disregarded their customers, lied to them, took their money and make them pollute our breathing air with product that didn't meet clearly stated regulations. That's forgivable? No way!

I don't cheer for failure, but if the come into F1 you can be sure that I will do so. And if the start winning, I won't watch F1. That's how strongly I feel about what this company did. No amount of PR is going to smooth it over. I even want their electric cars to fail, and as you know I'm a fan of electric cars for public transportation.

Honestly, I hope other people feel this way about them and boycott the brand for the rest of their lives. Sadly, I'm likely a tiny minority on this point. But one can hope.


Most times I read posts by Seebee and I can see a little bit of sense in some of it, but this one is totally devoid of anything remotely approaching logic.
Let's start with electric cars and some real world facts. A few weeks ago I did a back to back track test at a local circuit with a Tesla S (current spec) and our race team R8LMS. The Tesla lasted 6 laps (about 50k's) until it went into low battery mode and needed to be recharged. The Tesla has about 550 kgs of battery and in the same number of laps the R8 used about 14 kgs of petrol. Right there is the first problem, 550 kgs gets you around the same distance as 14 kgs of petrol. The refuelling (recharging) of the Tesla took around an hour using a 450 volt 3 phase outlet, that's for another 6 laps. We refuelled the R8 in 23 seconds and it would do around 60 laps before it needed refuelling.
Simple maths, for 40 times as much weight the electric car travelled 1/10th as much distance and took 160 times longer to refuel. There's a long, long way to go before electricity has remotely close to the calorific value over weight of petrol. My great grandchildren will have great grand children.

Next VW, I've actually bought more VW's since they proved how smart they were compared to the California EPA, the self proclaimed world leaders in environmental protection. To top it off, a couple of university students then showed just how stupid the CEPA really is. The fact, missed by many, is that VW actually passed the CEPA test. It was the CEPA testing process that was deficient, VW simply followed that process.
In regards to pollution and so called harmful effects, what we are talking about is NOX, an invisible odourless gas. Not some black sooty stuff spewing out of the tailpipes of trucks and busses and the smoke stacks of ships. The test VW "passed" was for NOX emissions exceeding a small %, all the other pollutant tests were just fine. Trucks, busses and ships (and older cars) exceed that small % by many many times. So if one was really concerned about pollution one should be many times more concerned about busses, trucks and ships.
Some more maths, one cruise ship spews out more NOX in a trans Atlantic crossing than all the VW's that "passed" the test. Which BTW is out of date now due to urethra (Adblue) being used, which is far more effective than the simpleton CEPA standards.

The only PR involved here is the California EPA trying desperately to justify their existence and covering up for the failures. Don't fall for the spin Seebee, looks at the facts.


Great post Gary. Thanks for that. Very interesting data. Kinda puts some reality into the debate.


How is that interesting?

He's totally mixing track and road.

Tesla is not a track car. It is an exceptional road car, and it absolutely is a benchmark on the road for various reasons. It has Ze Germans trembling as they scramble to electrify. To qualify a Tesla is inferior by laps it can do on track is misguided. Especially when 0.00001% of all cars ever see the track.

I replied to him in detail but perhaps it didn't make mod.



Very interesting


Ferrari - whatever happens they wont win the constructors this year unless they hit H2 out of the park, so the WDC is where it's at. Vettel has stretched his legs over Kimi this year (albeit with usual Ferrari No. 1 - No. 2 driver status to be taken into account). Is this the year Kimi finally moves on for good? I think it will be. Who replaces him is anyone's guess...

Am I the only one who was thoroughly underwhelmed by Giovinazzi? I found the coverage of him bewildering, he failed to outqualify Ericsson, had a nothing race and then binned it twice. I know he was new to the team etc but even making allowances for that it was a pretty poor showing.

I can see why Mercedes would be reluctant to supply McLaren with an engine after their lengthy but ultimately unfulfilling relationship. A McLaren using a Ferrari engine is surely one of the harbingers of the apocalypse...


Marchionne has to be more involved in Ferrari maters bcs of the end of the Concorde Agreement in 2020.
Any hints of how the $100M Ferrari history bonus will translate into the new general F1 deal?
Will they get more shares than all others ?
McLaren and Williams have to urge to recover their competitive form, otherwise their current form will affect their past glory contributions, compared to the newcomers RedBull and Mercedes.


I wonder if ferrari having been caught cheating with the oil burn have sacked their engine head to avoid any potential action from the FIA. Why else would you sack a guy who has produced one of the best engines on the grid.
Ferrari have been caught cheating end of.
I think a deal has been done so as not to throw the book at them. Spineless Jean todt should go. We need a fair boss of fia.


To s andretti
I did know the engine man has been moved to the road car Engine division. Now who is assuming 🙄😋


lols....Ferrari caught cheating and got away with it and rest of the F1 grid stayed quiet as they were fishing or playing ping pong ?


The Red Bull inter-team machinations (and likely significant $$$ padding) has lead to repeat mechanical failures for The Max, as per previous comment predictions.
RB are going to get into a quandry, as The Max likely has a performance bail-out clause. Don't think RB won't try to remedy the situation, and/or use up all of the slack in The Max's bail clauses, without breaching the deal, but they walk a thin line, and even one unplanned engine glitch will see The Max free to explore other options.
I've written before that Ferrari should go for Ocon, and I stand by that, but The Max becoming available will be too much temptation. When Marchionne says that they haven't inked the deal, the only variable is whether they get The Max in 2019, or, if RB breach the performance bail clause, Ferrari have access to him for 2018, which they will take, and The Max will take, should it become available.
Either way, I can't see Kimi back in 2018.
One could even imagine a Ocon/The Max Ferrari line up in 2019.
If McLaren were to leave Honda, at this junction, I predict the demise of McLaren in F1!
But I wouldn't put it past the 'genius' Zak Brown; the worst thing to ever happen to McLaren!
RB, still whining, albeit more quietly, behind the scenes, not realizing that they are in the MMC (Mercedes Managed Championship), and Mercedes was always going to manage this hybrid formula with years of advantage just sitting in the bag.
But Renault will come good enogh to eclipse Ferrari by the summer break and take over aftrerwards as the closest thing to competition Merc will have.
It looks like the DR camp has actually won out over the The Max camp at RB, which bodes unwell for RB, as DR is a made man. I don;t care what other commenters will say, he is the most propped up driver, since Fernando Alonso; without some illegal advantage over all of the other teams, DR will NOT win a championship.
The Max, on the other hand, even though the swerving in the braking zone is unacceptable, is the real deal, and he SHALL win a championship, maybe in Red.
Look for Vettel to Merc; the only question is, who will his team mate be?
Could it be possible that they would trade in Lewis?!
It is almost inconceivable; but Merc want to demonstrate that it is THEIR CAR which is winning the championship, thus the manufactured Rosberg championship in 2016, and who knows, maybe Lewy insulted Tonto or did some other greivous breach of ettiquette, and has been cursed by the blockheads.
That would of course free him up to go to Red, where he will likely win his 4th and 5th WDC. Call it luck, intelligence, or canny intuition, but he has made good team moves, and if he could win at Ferrari, he could demonstrate that IT WAS THE DRIVER!
He's got to be thinking about it, at least a little bit.

So, while there is loads of intrigue in the drivers market, I don't think it now rests on a decision to retain Kimi; the whole sharp end of the drivers market is now in play and it won't likely be settled until late in the season.

Maybe Kimi can drive at Renault and win another WDC?!


@ DeanCassady...you really do need to keep up with the current comments made by both Horner and Marko. According to them there are no 'get out' clauses in either driver's contracts and that Verstappen is on hold until the '20 season and Ricciardo comes on to the market in '19. Until then, as it stands, they are both non starters in any other team.


I stopped taking you seriously when you said Max had a performance clause that he could use against Red Bull. That's absurd. They gave him his entire path. Why would they ever install a performance clause for him to back out? Ridiculous.


Well said.


Cheesypoof. You have no idea what Max's contract says.


I'm not a 100% sure that you are NOT being sarcastic?!
Of course The Max got a performance clause, something like: if the machinery fails X number of times, I can get out of the contract, if I want to.
Why would 'they' ever install it; with 'they' being Red Bull?
Of course Red Bull would much rather NOT have such a clause in their contract with Max; but Max's team (internal to Max; Red Bull is outside this circle) would have almost definitely insisted on such a more or less standard clause for openly sought after top-end drivers.
So, maybe you don't know that?!
Your labelling of 'ridiculous' is in itself, unfortunately...


@ deancassady...Are you saying that Horner and Marko are lying and that Verstappen will be gone at the end of this season? When did you read the contracts or are you just making it all up?


James, any insight to offer on this:

[Marchionne] has removed the head of Ferrari’s engine programme


I don't recall seeing much of an explanation in any of the news stories I read about it.



Moved onto road GT programme


Thanks for the responsiveness!

However one follow up: The headlines (and the quoted) suggest he was almost sacked (or demoted) at the behest of Marchionne. So I'm still confused by what led to the change, particularly as Ferrari has made gains with their engine.


But on the rumour of an agreement with Max Verstappen from 2019 onwards, Marchionne was more enigmatic, saying only that “we have not signed anything.”

Just like in football, that doesn't mean anything.


Very interesting and exciting article!
Hope it is the last season for Kimi and that he ends at his own request!
Ferrari would surely be able to recruit Bottas, if they offer better conditions than Mercedes!


James could I ask two questions directly to you
1. Who do you think will be Ferrari's two drivers for 2018?
2. Do you think that Charles Leclerc will be in Formula 1 for next season?


Good stuff James, given the always top loaded nature of F1, the politics are just as interesting as the racing much of the time.


I don't understand - if Honda are viable enough for Red Bull in the future, why would McLaren lose their works status and demote themselves to an engine customer?


There is no great rush to get Max at ferrari as they have vettel. Probably keep Kimi as vettel likes the fact he rarely challenges his dominance.Thats again why no Max or Alonso.
Bottas is doing great.Dont know why the great sage EJ blathers about contracts as every month the fee goes up.He must be thinking of his Jordan skinflint days.
If alonso is to stay in F1 it may as well be Mclaren as they have the resources to develop if the engine is better next year.
Maybe that ex ferrari engine guy is going to Japan for his holidays.


I know this is a hobbyhorse I keep bringing up but there is a very simple solution to F1s 'engine' issues that could be implemented very quickly without making current implementations becomming instantly obsolete:
Scrap the engine formula entirely and have a fuel formula based on the current rules:
-100ish kg max fuel for each race
-Fuel formulation standardised for all teams
-How that fuel is used is entirely up to the 'engine' manufacturer

I'm not sure I'd like to work for Ferrari with SM in charge.


I found this sentence rather interesting:
"McLaren’s management and Honda both ruled out the idea of a temporary split while Honda sorts itself out with Sauber and then pressing on together again in 2019."

Now did Marchionne know something that wasn't publicly known, as I have just read elsewhere that Honda may be pulling the plug on supplying Sauber with its engines in 2018?


Couple of pieces of news that may or may not be correct but seem to fit with what James has said.
-Apparently McLaren has submitted some form of request to Ferrari for engine supply. There were rumours that spoke of the PU being dressed as Alfa Romeo. In return, McLaren would provide political support to Ferrari in the negotiations with FOG over future concorde discussions to safeguard some level of Ferrari's additional payments
Second a rumour is circulating, started by Auto Bild that Honda is about to pull out of the supply agreement with Sauber. If this is true much of JA's comments above would seem to come into play.


James, what an amazing reading this has been with lots of behind the scenes subjects, I didn't want the article to end.

One question, what do you make of the latest Autobild rumor claiming that Honda has decided to step back from Sauber contract?

In social network some fans are commenting that if that were to be true it will mean Honda will pull out of F1. Such a thing would give more credibility to the news that McLaren had approached Ferrari about a supply of engines for next season (now that manufacturers are obliged by the FIA to supply teams)

My god, this year the silly season is reaching a new level.


Let's hope Honda does not leave F1, certainly Liberty and FIA are working hard to make sure it doesn't happen


If losing with a Honda engine has been painful for McLaren, watching it win for Red Bull will be more so...
Can they really risk carrying the burden of development and kissing goodbye to the spoils of all the pain??


With honda pulling out of supplying sauber and mclaren rumoured to be going the ferrari engine route next year could we see honda exiting f1. Leaving just 3 engines.😣


"..Protect the possibility of winning the championship.."
Wow, I didn't think anyone could out-Ronspeak Ron. Take a bow Mr Marchionne.


I am sick of Ferrari being paid cash 50 million maybe more just to show up Saber need help give them the money..
F1 bends over for these guys thank Bernie doing this for 40 +yrs should have one every championship ..

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