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JA on F1 Season Preview 2018: Formula 1’s turning point year?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Mar 2018   |  2:36 pm GMT  |  330 comments

Shortly we leave for Melbourne. Some are there already, especially the drivers who need at least a week to acclimatise to the time zone which is 10 hours ahead of Europe.

This season has a turning point feel about it for a number of reasons.

For a start it’s the first time in F1 history that the field has featured two four time world champions; Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are both vying for the honour to join Juan Manuel Fangio in the pantheon of five time champions.

Many of the factors making it a turning point are behind the scenes, like the negotiations about what the F1 rules will be past 2021 and how much the teams will all get paid.

Others are less subtle – we will never again see F1 cars without some form of driver head protection device, but the introductory model for 2018 lacks refinement.

And Liberty Media is now fully at the controls of the promotional side of the sport and F1 is presenting a fresh face to the world, using some new tools to do so. This is long overdue, but Liberty have to get it right this season and show their strategy leads to growth; especially against the backdrop of grumbling from the teams.

It’s the first F1 season to start without a full-time Brazilian driver on the grid since Emerson Fittipaldi made his debut in 1970.

And on track the hope is that this will be the season where it all comes together and the three main teams compete on relatively level terms for the world championship.

Ferrari build on 2017 form with a platform of stability and strong technical leadership, while Red Bull have a wonderful looking car and Renault close the performance gap after seasons of underperforming.

That’s the plan at any rate.

In practice it will only take Lewis Hamilton to grab pole position by 3/10ths of a second and win the race by 20 seconds for everyone to despair about another season of Mercedes domination.

But I’m not so sure it will be like that. He may win by that margin in Melbourne, but it’s a long season and Mercedes are now down to fine details in looking for their new points of motivation. They have won so much and controlled so many races that they need a fresh challenge.

Last season it was a common goal for all team members to be the first team to successfully defend the world championship across a major chassis regulation change. This year there is no unifying purpose, just lots of individual goals gathered collectively under the banner of “the best or nothing” which is their motto.

Ferrari and Red Bull are very highly motivated to beat them and having been on the receiving end of some pastings the last few seasons, the approach is there with both teams to mount that challenge.

Ferrari had a great car last year but let themselves down on execution; the drivers made mistakes, the strategist made mistakes, the engine builders in the second half of the season, the team collectively didn’t execute perfectly often enough. They will have worked on that and I expect to see a far more disciplined and efficient Ferrari team this season.

Red Bull have done all those things very well for many years. They have an excellent and very aggressive strategist, their team execution is very high standard and the drivers take their chances. Both are very highly motivated this season to beat each other and for their own personal reasons.

They just need to qualify on the front row more often and get control of races, as they did in Vettel’s time there.

The signs are that they will be down on engine power to start with and that will cost them points, but I’ve no doubt that they will be competing for wins for most of this long season.

Amazingly Red Bull have not led a single lap in Melbourne in the turbo hybrid era; showing that they (and their engine partner) have tended to start the season far from ready for battle.


Midfield -it’s all about the drivers
If you could take the front three teams away and F1 could be the race that happens behind then it would be what Liberty and many fans would like it to be – close, unpredicable, competitive and it would be all about the drivers.

When it’s as tight as it is in performance terms between midfield cars, then it’s down to the drivers to execute perfectly – especially in qualifying – to set the platform for the points scores. And it’s all about differences between team mates.

Renault has two strong qualifiers, the Haas drivers can be very fast but also varied, Magnussen finished behind Grosjean in the 2017 championship, but outscored him 8-4 in the final eight races. However his qualifying was uneven.

Force India’s drivers tend to be consistently fast and there is still plenty of niggle. If Ocon is going to become a top F1 driver, then he needs to come out on top of Perez this year.

Williams are the big question mark. Stroll had some good races, but in general struggled with qualifying last season, although he showed some signs of quality in Monza and Baku especially. Sirotkin is a good driver, but the final tenth in F1 is very hard to find, especially for rookies under pressure.

No-one is quite sure where McLaren are; they had many problems in testing with packaging the Renault engine, which tends to need more cooling than other motors, but there were some signs of speed. Alonso is always reliable and competitive and Vandoorne improved a lot as last year went on, so they will be looking to pick off the weaker drivers in the other midfield teams who have a faster car.


What to expect in Melbourne

Mercedes will be out to avenge the loss to Ferrari last year. Hamilton was forced to pit earlier than as ideal due to the tyres overheating because of sliding too much. He didn’t have enough of a gap but stopped anyway and came out behind Raikkonen and Verstappen. This presented Ferrari and Vettel with a gift that they gladly took.

It was an early sign that the 2017 Mercedes was a bit of a ‘diva’ on the tyres, especially on warm days, and that is where Mercedes has focussed its efforts for this season.

Interestingly, Hamilton has only converted two of his previous six Melbourne poles into wins.

Last year’s Australian Grand Prix was low on overtakes – just two on-track passes in the race after the opening lap. The tyres were quite conservative last season, most races were one stop affairs and the narrow strategic options that allowed for meant that we had few differences between the tyre age and compound on track to create an offset, which is needed for opportunities for passing.

Pirelli has worked hard to address that with softer compounds, albeit with the same construction. The tyre pressures are still very high, which doesn’t help matters, but we should at least see two stop races in most venues.

Melbourne tends to be be a high attrition race, last year only 13 cars saw the chequered flag, so there is a real benefit to being reliable and staying out of the walls.

There are some split strategies whereby you put one car on the faster starting tyre and the other on the option and then use one car to hold the field as rivals pit earlier than them. That’s the kind of strategy that can work at Monaco and we saw it in Melbourne last year with Sauber. It didn’t yield points because most of the front runners finished and hoovered up the main points.

But there are usually accidents and safety cars so the lower grid teams can score points, as we have seen many times in the past.

As for the win; Hamilton might well take the pole, but the polesitter has only won two of the last eight Australian Grands Prix, while the second placed driver on the grid has won the last two years in Melbourne.


JA on F1 Predictions; Winner in 2018 Team Mate match ups

Mercedes – Hamilton
Red Bull – Verstappen
Ferrari – Vettel
Renault – Sainz
Haas – Magnussen
McLaren – Alonso
Williams – Stroll
Force India – Ocon
Toro Rosso – Gasly
Sauber – Leclerc

What do you think for the season? Who do you predict will be champion? And who will come out on top in the team mate match ups? Leave your comments in the section below

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1

Good race, but shame about:

Difficulty of overtaking

“Distortion” caused by pit stops under virtual safety car. Maybe cars should be held for, say, 10 seconds when pitting under safety car, to compensate for reduced time lost in pit stop owing to lowered speed on track.

2

Who says 2018 will be a dull season. Drivers have carrier on the line

1. Ricciardo VS Max (any one of them can win both are great driver)

2. Alonso VS Stoffel (I feel for Stoffel as he always get updates later on so didn’t have much to lose as performance wasnt there in the car this time it will be diff )

3. Occon VS Parez (Occon will outshine Parez)

3. Sainz VS Hulkenberg (Sainz Aggression will be very hard for Hulkenberg to resist)

4. Leclerc VS Ericssion (charles will show his class and outshine his team mate)

5. Hartley VS Gasly (any one can will but I think Hartley exp will give him edge)

6. Sirotkin VS Stroll (anyone of them can win but will lose against their test driver pathetic they missed out a great story)

3

Foxtel have been showing some old F1 races, as a build up to Melbourne start.

On the race I saw last night the Leader finished 30 seconds ahead and only 3 cars finished on the lead lap, bring back the good old days!!!

4

Jake, Ha ha! One in the eye for the rose tint specs brigade!

5

Max will be 2018 World Champion. Just watch, and enjoy!

6
Clarks4WheelDrift

Ha ha, did Bottas break a leg or something… 😉

7

James,

I have a crazy thought I would like you to comment on:

Should we be thinking about Renault as a player in the Ricciardo situation?

We know, per your reporting, that they tried to get him in the 11th hour in the negotiations with Red Bull over the Toro Rosso engine switch. When I think about it, they have every incentive to be involved in the Ricciardo sweepstakes. If Ricciardo leaves Red Bull, they will face the fact that Red Bull will want to trigger Sainz and will demand a big package to get him out of his contract that Renault may want to avoid. If they could get in with chance at Ricciardo himself, they would have substantially more leverage over that situation. This would also put a lot of pressure on their drivers for this year to perform, which is good for the team.

I think the situation would be more attractive to Ricciardo than we would think at first sight. Renault would unquestionably make him their lead driver with clear team backing of manufacturer resources- a status he wouldn’t have at Mercedes or Red Bull given the established driver situations. They have good personnel and have shown good progression since their return. If they can turn in a solidly improved performance this year and show reason for faith in their ability to climb to the top in the next half-decade, they would have quite a package to sell him in the event he decides to fly the coop.

8

Yes certainly a possibility

But time is not in his favour on that one

9

How long do you think it will take Renault? I thought their plan was two years for a title push? That’s 2020 and Ricciardo will be 30-31. That’s a perfect age.

10

Spot on, I would just suggest Grosjean and the Hulk.

11

There’s a pretty major assumption in this article that argues Mercedes will have lost motivation and will therefore not win again in 2018. Ferrari managed to keep up motivation and win five world titles in a row between 2000-2004. Why not Mercedes in 2018? Mercedes’ unifying purpose this year is to keep winning! Once you’re at the top, you want to stay there.

@3 “Red Rob” – You say that Hamilton will buckle under pressure this year. Have you forgotten last season already? Check who folded under pressure at the first corner in Singapore. Clue: It wasn’t Hamilton.

12

Check who folded under pressure at the first corner in Singapore

I know this one, it was the guy that crashed into Kimi right?

It wasnt Vettel he qualified on pole and was leading the race until he was hit.

Hamilton could only manage P5, but to be fair, street circuits are his weakness.

13

Hey Jimothy, haven’t seen you for a while, is it because you have been fishing somewhere else? Or just that with the halo and everything no-one has been talking about Lewis, and we all know you are incapable of discussing anything other than Lewis…..

14

The guy that hit Kimi was Max, how is that talking about Lewis?

I mentioned Vettel too in case you missed it.

I only mentioned Hamilton once, you mentioned him twice and ignored the others, are you sure its me that only talks about Lewis?

15

I find it so depressing that all talk is about Mercedes and Ferrari contesting the championship with the afterthought of Red Bull contributing to the show. It makes me wonder:

a) Why I bother to follow anymore, if indeed I do after this weekend.

b) Why the other teams bother to turn up.

F1used to be unpredictable but has evidently turned into a two team event. Or three if you believe the wishful thinking (or media hype?) surrounding Red Bull.

So is the best we can hope for just the same old same old?

My prediction for 2018:

I will continue to watch MotoGP, WSB and BSB with my four wheel excitement coming from BTCC.

I will forego my regular F1 trips and visit more historic race series events instead. Proper cars, internal combustion engines, no halo, no grid penalties and no predictability.

16

@ Just sayin…so you’re willing to give up all the excitement of seeing the ‘new’ logo flashing up, you’re giving up all the expectations of “quiet’ racing! you’re throwing in the towel for grid kids and don’t forget the new sound track…all this in a fit of pique!!!! You’ll be sorry hahahaha

17

Mercedes – Hamilton

Red Bull – Ricciardo

Ferrari – Vettel

Renault – Sainz

Haas – Magnussen

McLaren – Alonso

Williams – Stroll

Force India – Ocon

Toro Rosso – Hartley

Sauber – Leclerc

18

It’s a key year for some drivers as well, I think. Sainz needs to show well against Hulkenberg if he’s ever to get a drive in a top team. If Ricciardo doesn’t do the job against Verstappen then where does that leave him? Bottas needs to up his game considerably or he’s going to be the guy who wasn’t as fast as Nico Rosberg.

It’s a cruel sport.

19

Mercedes – Hamilton

Red Bull – Ricciardo

Ferrari – Vettel

Renault – Sainz

Haas – Grosjean

McLaren – Alonso

Williams – Stroll

Force India – Ocon

Toro Rosso – Hartley

Sauber – Leclerc

20

I’ve been watching f1 since 1991. Love it. Sat down with my 6 yr old who is a Hamilton fan and watched some of the testing. He summed it up.” Daddy what are those silly round things hiding the drivers heads?”. If a 6yr old can see what’s wrong why can’t the fia. We need to see the drivers at work. There needs to be an element of risk. Drivers like grosjean know that they can take massive risks with no consequences. Get rid of halo and chop 100kgs of weight off the cars. They are now like the old champ cars not nimble f1 cars. Rant over for now.

21

Your 6 yr old probably thinks that sex is disgusting and can’t see the point of going down the pub. He probably thinks Gummy Bears is better entertainment than Endeavour. So careful about playing that card.

There is still plenty of risk. Drivers are just less likely to get maimed, is all. You muck it up and you lose places, may even go out of the race.

Anyway, you missed a chance to tell your 6 year old that there was a time when racing drivers died in action, and the world is a better place for making it increasingly less likely that that will happen.

22

There needs to be an element of risk. No one wants anyone to get hurt.

I don’t see moto gp bikes with halos on and they go as fast as f1 in a straight line.

23

OK.. so if you want risk but no risk of injury, then what is the problem with the halo? As I said, there are still risks in terms of strategy – you could lose places, you could end up off the track.

24

Bobster, some very good points there, two in particular stand out. 1, draivers dying on the circuit is a truly terrible thing, some of the gruesome stories from the sixties and seventies are enough to turn the stomach, and yet some yearn for those days!

2. Endeavour, just brilliant.

25

Even a 6 year old can tell that MotoGP is leagues ahead of F1 in terms of risk and excitement.

26

This could be the best season ever.

1) Tighter between top three teams

2) Lewis under real pressure, let’s see if he can handle it. History says no.

3) Max has a few seasons under his belt now and will win races if the car is good

4) Ricciardo will fight like hell to make sure point 3 doesn’t happen

5) Quiet optimism from Ferrari which I like. Vettel will be there/thereabouts

6) Bottas’ second season will be better than the first so don’t discount him from a few race wins either.

Gentlemen, start your engines! (Oh that’s Indycar).

27
thomas adelaide

1) The tracks and Formula specifications make that legitimately impossible.

2) Where is this pressure you speak of coming from? The dude is in the fastest car with a non-threatening teammate and about to start a “gravy” season. I see no pressure for LH at all. If anything it could be his most relaxed season in F1 to date. Not suggesting he won’t still want to win, that doesn’t go away, but I see very little pressure for him. Bottas is under far far more pressure.

3) Seems fair.

4) Seems fair.

5) Seems familiar. Generally doesn’t last long.

6) Who’s to say he won’t have a worse season?

28

Red Rob, Lewis can’t handle pressure? What nonsense.

29

James, It just occurred to me that moto gp guys at riding at similar speeds with the helmet on so why then F1 drivers have to have a protection device such as halo? They’re basically in a car which is much more safer than being in a bike. Do you think this could ever change? Seriously, F1 is being neutered this way…it is really sad for the sport.

30

You can’t compare the two.

The dynamics of a bike crash and a car crash are completely different.

I would be very unusual for a rider to collide with an immovable object, they tend to fall off and slide as opposed to stopping dead. It’s the sudden stops that are more likely with a car crash that causes most issues.

Why have we not had any discussion over the body armour GP riders wear.

I don’t have any issues with it but if you are comparing risk mitigation in F1 unfavorably against GP then the amount of body protection riders wear is relevant.

Racing cars are safer now but riding bikes is also safer than in the past.

31

Don’t even joke about it

32

I agree. I mean in theory drivers in this current era shouldn’t be entitled to the salaries they could once command as there is barely any element of danger left in F1, what with the Halo and many many car park run off area tracks. Add in they won’t be pushing anywhere near the limit in races (even more so this season) due to this awful 3 engines per season endurance style regulation.

33

Nick, seriously man…I totally agree with you…I think the last good racing season was 08…no drs and any bs around it. 12 came close just because of the sheer brilliance of alonso…he outdrove the car…and if one wants to remember balls out racing then 05…Kimi’s engine was on fire because of being on the limit…I don’t really get it with F1 the stupid bodywork they put on cars, hybrid formula, 3 engines now this year…no one will race each other, and the last straw the halo. Seriously man, what level they will drop F1 to now…

34

Fully agreed. Drivers getting crazy salaries was in part because they put their neck on the line.

Now, they make up less than 10% of the total package, and the danger is a fraction what it use does to be (people in F1 even like to boast about how much progress they’ve made in safety).

So, there’s no need for the drivers to make any much more than the guy changing the tire. The chance of getting injured is about the same.

35

Twitch, when you say that drivers make up less than 10% of the package, what exactly do you mean by that?

36

The two sports aren’t that similar from a safety point of view. There’s a greater likelihood of a detached wheel or suspension member in F1, far more bits of bodywork to come undone. The bike rider sits on a saddle, the F1 driver is strapped in, far more likely to be trapped if he comes off. So saying “well, they don’t that do in moto gp” isn’t that helpful in terms of deciding what is good for safety in another sport.

37

not really…F1 wheels have tethers on them so its not going to fly and hit a driver in the head…a more aesthetic solution would be to put a canopy like a fighter jet and be done it…this halo is eye soaring and really adds no value to F1…new generation is just playstation babies driving these cars around safe parking lots. Racing has suffered in this era to be honest.

38

I’ve also been looking at MotoGP a bit more closely than usual. The speeds are nowhere near F1. At the A1 ring – the shortest lap of the year – they are a dozen seconds off F1 pace. At Silverstone they are 8 seconds off of F3 pace.

That said, speed may be overestimated as a factor in the danger. Henry Surtees wasn’t driving at F1 speeds when he died.

39

Less chance of a detatched wheel…

….more chance of a full motorcycle flying through the air and hitting you.

C’mon man. Never in a million years will you win any debate about what is more dangerous. Modern day F1 is child’s play compared to F1.

40

Lol whoops, meant to say “compared to MotoGP”

41

@ Bobster….tosh. You think that being thrown off a bike unprotected is safer that being in a carbon fibre safety cell within a roll cage and fuel tanks that are alomst impossible to light up!!! You think that being thrown onto a track in a high side tank slapper in the middle of a pack of 25 riders is safe….really. Did you see Jack Miller’s huge crash last year with his bike being destroyed in hundred of peices with himself flung into the safety wall like a rag doll?

42

I don’t mind rebuttals, but it would help to reply to what I actually wrote. What I said was that Moto GP is not a good comparison to F1 as regards safety because of differences in the conditions.

43

MotoGP is more insane!!

Did anyone catch the opening round from Qatar? Now THAT was a race. Unbelievable!!

After Australia, let’s do a head to head comparison. Qatar vs Melbourne: which was more exciting. We’ve seen the effort from the 2 wheel boys, let’s see what kind of a show the 4-wheelers can put on.

44

@ twitch…what a fantastic last 10 laps!!! The day that F1 puts on a show like that will be their redemption. Don’t forget that we had many races like that last season as well…Austria/Red Bull Ring was an example.

45

It’s totally lame. The big boys race Moto GP. F1 is done. #nohalo

46

I agree

47

Can you please ask todt about the halo not being used in motogp…I am really curious what he has to say about it.

48

Moto GP is nothing to do with Todt. Todt heads up FIA – for cars. Moto GP is controlled by FIM – for motorcyles. Different organisations.

49

And the new F1 theme tune…… cheap B movie sound track or Hollywood blockbuster🤮

Sorry folks, but I hate it!

50

Standing starts are fun to watch and part of F1s DNA, but I am curious how many millions of dollars are lost in 1st lap or 1st half a lap carnage?

51

Plus it’s going to get worse this year with the standing restarts. I think this is a crazy rule. Maybe Liberty wants more Singapore-esque startline crashes.

52

Formula 1’s turning point year

I’m not from USA but I live here. It seams ridiculous to me that a US company buys F1, there is an increasing American presence in F1, with Haas and within other teams, and yet the US TV audience gets the world feed from this year with no US commentary!! How is that progress?? Sure as a Brit I’ll be able to understand the commentary, but that is not the way to grow the domestic F1 market in US.

53

It was actually the voice of Jackie Stewart commenting on American Indy car races that got me interested in open wheel racing. Americans seem fascinated by British royalty so I don’t think this is a downside. What I would like to see is an American broadcast team doing the pre and post shows. Also American journalism is still utterly lacking in any sort of in depth analysis that you can find on any number of european sites. Us Americans have to work for our F1 news. That certainly doesn’t help grow the U.S. audience. Neither does having to pay for a premium cable package to watch F1. I gave mine up last year. $92 a month for a package from DirectTV that included F1 in HD. No thanks.

54

Who was doing the US commentary? Good old boys such as David Hobbs and Steve Matchett?

55

I don’t know why you’re all wasting your time speculating. Only one man knows what’s really going to happen due to his astounding insight, mental acuity and legendary understanding of the sport at the atomic level. A man whose remarkable knowledge means he knows more about what goes on in the depths of F1, than even those who make the actual deals and have the actual conversations.

Yes folks – we’re waiting for Sebee to chip in.

56

You’ll have to make do without Sebee henceforth. Don’t summon him or ask for his input. I hear he’s done commenting and won’t be watching the new FI logo halo PU thing. Perhaps have fun in my absence by starting a bit called “What would Sebee write?” Let us all at least have some laughs at my expense. Few things top a good laugh.

No V10s. No sound. No soul. Nothing more left to say about the pile of smoking oil burning efficient hybrid flip flop pile of overweight heap with engine modes that will line up on the grid this weekend.

But let me leave you with a little nugget. 15 year old F2003GA V10 Ferrari sets a lap record at Road Atlanta this past weekend. And it sounded and looked glorious. No halo ruining the shot or anything! Read about it and see it at link below. Enjoy.

https://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/a19492021/ferrari-f2003-road-atlanta-record/

P.S. ESPN2 isn’t even replaying the opener at a normal hour in US Sunday morning. Oh…how the ratings will plummet! Roll on 2018 season…in the dark.

Peace. Out.

57

We’ll see….. 😀

58
Clarks4WheelDrift

Peace brother.

59

Its no laughing matter that your absolutely correct that the current state of F1 is a shambles and its getting worse with Liberty Media making all the wrong decisions.

Not to mention the fact that we will need to listen to all the imbeciles across the networks reading their scripted praises – for fear of losing their livelihood but not a damn of journalistic integrity – over the next few races about how great the Halo is because even thou its ugly it will save a drivers life – and how cute children have now replaced those women, those terribly women who parade around sex to our little ones- nope not good for the family viewing … never mind the useless accolades for equally useless drivers like Stroll and the amazing business prowess of Clair and Zak. Oh I can hear Crofty’s crap already.

All that aside, I for one will not give in to their stupidity and neither should you. This side needs a voice – perhaps one with more reasoning and less emotion. So I ask you not to go… just yet.

60

Be careful that the door doesn’t hit you on the way out. No doubt you’ll flounce back in at some point.

61

Don’t go just yet Sebee. More than a few juicy controversies coming up.

LM to sell out to new buyers! V10s back for 2021! VER hooks Kimi’s rear wheels to cause crash again! Hamilton gets 6 race suspension for doping!

And plenty more. Hang about…

62

Sebee, see you next week…….

63

PS, if you’re really going…can you flick me a star?

64

As if…

Although he may actually get a sweat up on that treadmill for a change!

Or will he just switch to the Great British Bakeoff and just chase cake?

In any event, speak to you monday!

65

@ LKFE…..He’ll be back sometime….people with obsessions as deep as Sebee’s simply cannot stay off the radar for too long. Just typing the words ‘V10’ etc etc etc is enough to create palpable excitement…..

66

You will be sadly missed. However I absolutely agree and I have pulled the pin too. #nohalo

67

Sirotkin will beat Stroll by quite some margin.

68

My prediction for the race….Kimi wins after chaos takes out a few front runners including Vettel.

For the season though its going to be the same as last year. Lewis for WDC and Merc for WCC

69

The decision on PU 2021 rules will have a huge impact. If Liberty call Mercedes/Ferrari bluff and drop MGU-H Mercedes could decide to win every race before pulling out in 3 years by which time many people will have stopped watching. I doubt if Liberty have the bottle to make that call!

70

A rainy weekend Down Under? It will be exciting! I think Haas will be a surprise team this season.

71

James, what is Wolff trying to achieve with his repeated “don’t push Sergio!” act? Saying it once or twice ok, but now it’s everytime. I think Wolff is a great operator, but I don’t understand his play here. The way he’s doing it here, he’s almost in that area where Liberty will just say ‘screw it!’ and purposely antagonize Ferrari, etc. I can’t imagine that’s what he wants.

What’s his end game?

72

To get a good deal on rules and money and maintain strong position of manufactures

Ferrari leaving is also fraught with problems – especially since the IPO – as they will be quite profitable going forward with their huge revenues and lower costs, plus engine sales and influence

I’ve written about it before several times, but walking away in return for less brand recognition and much lower income in Le Mans, for example, is something investors will want to understand

73

James, Liberty could not organise the logo change and the ‘new signature tune’, how can they deal with the issues you refer to here?

74

I’m not sure this is the best way for him to get that. It seems clear to me that Liberty is willing to let some blood, to get to their final destination. I’m sure Toto can sense that too. I would assume that he’s telling Ferrari to cool it a bit, behind closed doors

75

@ James…all those points are valid but after giving this issue some more thought i am now beginning to think that Wolff’s constant warnings re Ferrari leaving are aimed at backing Marchionne into a corner. If Liberty have the fortitude to proceed and make the changes being demanded then where does that leave Ferrari after Wolff has warned not to provoke him? Mercedes would love to see Ferrari nobbled as they are their biggest competitor ATM. I wouldn’t trust Wolff for one moment. He’s there to win and if he can put further pressure on Ferrari why wouldn’t he?

76

@kenneth … have you been reading Sun Tzu again? 😉

77

@ Redline…there has to be a smart riposte to that but i don’t have time ATM….i’m working on it though hahaha

78

Good insight boss…

I hope this gives LM courage in their conviction!

79

Nothing will change. Only Mercedes and Ferrari will have realistic chances to win championships. Red Bull and McLaren may have cars with amazing aerodynamics but their crappy engines will let them down and lots of buts and ifs will fly around all season long.

80

I predict it will be a tough year for Mercedes, and they may not even with the WDC.

Red Bull will be their main challenger, with Ferrari also there thereabouts. The Red Bull looks devastatingly fast, seems very good on its tires, and most importantly, has 2 drivers who are going to be maximizing every opportunity given to them.

In essence, Lewis is going to be fighting mostly with the 2 Red Bull drivers, the 2 Ferrari drivers, then his team mate – a very tall order indeed to win the WDC.

I also suspect the WCC to be difficult for Merc, as i do not see Valteri Bottas triumphing over Vesterppen, Ricciardo or Vettel – if their cars are just about matched.

This will be a year where the tires will decide the championship. Again. The car (and driver) easiest on its tires is the one who will win.

And Mercedes have an issue there.

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