Verstappen wins as Vettel fights back

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wins the final Malaysian GP ahead of Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fights back after starting 20th.

01/10/17

Qualifying Result

1.Hamilton  2.Raikkonen  3.Verstappen  4.Ricciardo  5.Bottas  6.Ocon  7.Vandoorne  8.Hulkenberg  9.Perez  10.Alonso  11.Massa  12.Palmer  13.Stroll  14.Sainz  15.Gasly  16.Grosjean  17.Magnussen  18.Wehrlein  19.Ericsson  20.Vettel

Tyre Choice

Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson and Sebastian Vettel will start on the Soft tyre while everyone else will start on the Supersoft tyre. It’s more likely to be a 1 stop rather than a 2 stop.

Non-start for Raikkonen

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen will not start the race due to a suspected Turbo issue. On the lap to the grid from the pits, the Finn reported the issue back to Ferrari. Raikkonen was able to make it to the grid and his mechanics tried to fix the problem. It wasn’t to be and Raikkonen was removed from the grid to his garage and will not start the race.

Race

The lights go out and it’s a good start for the first two rows. Lewis Hamilton leads as Valterri Bottas overtakes Daniel Ricciardo round the outside of turn 1 and tries to overtake Max Verstappen down the inside of turn 2. Verstappen holds onto 2nd as they exit turn 4. Lap 2, Sebastian Vettel overtakes Nico Hulkenberg for 12th place into turn 4. It’s been a very good start by the German who along with Stoffel Vandoorne, Lance Stroll and Magnussen how now 5th, 8th and 10th. Lap 4, The gap between the top 2 has been hovering around 1.5 seconds and now Verstappen has DRS on Hamilton.

With the DRS and the over speed, Max Verstappen overtakes Lewis Hamilton for the lead into turn 1. Lap 8, Verstappen has built a gap of 2.4 seconds to Hamilton with Sebastian Vettel now in 11th. Lap 9, Daniel Ricciardo has been stuck behind the second Mercedes of Valterri Bottas and has now overtaken the Finn for 3rd into turn 4 as Vettel overtakes Kevin Magnussen for 9th into turn 15. Lap 10, Nico Hulkenberg pits for the Soft tyre and rejoins in 19th place. Lap 12, Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean pit for the Soft tyre with Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly doing the same the next lap.

Lap 14, Stoffel Vandoorne and Jolyon Palmer pit for the Soft tyre. Lap 18, Max Verstappen has increased the gap to Lewis Hamilton to 9 seconds with Daniel Ricciardo only 4.3 seconds behind Hamilton in 3rd. Lap 21, Sebastian Vettel finally overtakes Sergio Perez for 5th place into turn 1. Lap 25, Esteban Ocon spins after trying to overtake Carlos Sainz round the outside of turn 1. Lap 27, Hamilton pits from 2nd to go onto the Soft tyre. Lap 28, Verstappen pits from the lead and goes onto the Soft tyre. Vettel also pits on lap 28 and goes onto the Supersoft tyre. Lap 29, Valterri Bottas pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins with Vettel ahead.

Lap 30, Daniel Ricciardo pits and rejoins in 3rd on the Soft tyre. Max Verstappen leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel and Valterri Bottas. Carlos Sainz is retiring with an engine problem. Ricciardo will now have to hold off Vettel who is on the Supersoft tyre and gaining quite fast. Lap 46, Vettel’s progress on the Supersoft tyre hasn’t been as expected and has now only caught up to Ricciardo. The gap is only a second. Lap 52, Ricciardo looks to have sustained the challenge of Vettel to hold onto 3rd. Lap 56, Max Verstappen wins the final Malaysian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo.

Race Result

1.Verstappen  2.Hamilton  3.Ricciardo  4.Vettel  5.Bottas  6.Perez  7.Vandoorne  8.Stroll  9.Massa  10.Ocon  11.Alonso  12.Magnussen  13.Grosjean  14.Gasly  15.Palmer  16.Hulkenberg  17.Wehrlein  18.Ericsson  DNF Sainz  DNS Raikkonen

My View

His first podium since the Chinese GP earlier this year and his second GP win, Max Verstappen thoroughly deserves this victory after the torrid year he has had so far. With Daniel Ricciardo in 3rd, it was the first time this year that both Red Bull’s have been on the podium together. A good recovery drive by Sebastian Vettel to finish 4th just shows the pace of what both Ferrari drivers could have done if they started higher up or even started at all. My driver of the day has to go to Stoffel Vandoorne who out-raced and out-qualified team-mate Fernando Alonso. The result lifts Vandoorne to 14th in the championship with 13 points. It was also a strong debut drive for Pierre Gasly who has replaced Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso.

Drivers Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton 281pts
  2. Sebastian Vettel 247pts
  3. Valterri Bottas 222pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo 177pts
  5. Kimi Raikkonen 138pts
  6. Max Verstappen 93pts
  7. Sergio Perez 76pts
  8. Esteban Ocon 57pts
  9. Carlos Sainz 48pts
  10. Nico Hulkenberg 34pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes 503pts
  2. Ferrari 385pts
  3. Red Bull 270pts
  4. Force India 133pts
  5. Williams 65pts
  6. Toro Rosso 52pts
  7. Renault 42pts
  8. Haas 37pts
  9. McLaren 23pts
  10. Sauber 5pts

 

 

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Formula E Season 4 Information

With Season 4 commencing in early December, here is the background information about the all-electric series.

27/09/17

Team and Driver Line-up

  • Renault e.Dams: Sebastian Buemi and Nico Prost
  • Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler: Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt
  • Mahindra Racing: Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld
  • DS Virgin Racing: Sam Bird and Alex Lynn
  • Techeetah: Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer 
  • NIO Formula E Team: Oliver Turvey and Luca Filippi
  • Andretti Formula E: Antonio Felix da Costa and
  • Dragon Racing: Jerome d’Ambrosio and Neel Jani
  • Venturi Formula E: Yet to confirm
  • Panasonic Jaguar Racing: Nelson Piquet Jr and Mitch Evans

Driver Changes

  • 2016 World Endurance Champion, Neel Jani joins the series with Dragon Racing alongside 2 time Formula E winner Jerome d’Ambrosio replacing Loic Duval.
  • Inaugural Formula E Champion, Nelson Piquet Jr moves from NIO Formula E Team to Panasonic Jaguar Racing for Season 4 alongside Mitch Evans replacing Adam Carroll.
  • Former reserve driver of the team, Alex Lynn steps up to a full-time race seat at DS Virgin Racing alongside Sam Bird for Season 4. Lynn raced in New York in Season 3 for the team replacing Jose Maria Lopez as he had prior commitments to the World Endurance Championship.
  • Jean-Eric Vergne will stay with Techeetah for Season 4 and will be partnered by World Endurance Championship LMP1 star Andre Lotterer. Lotterer, has won The  Le Mans 24 Hours 3 times, who also won the WEC title with Audi before switching to Porsche for this year. He replaces Stephane Sarrazin.
  • IndyCar podium finisher Luca Filippi will partner Oliver Turvey at the NIO Formula E team. The 2011 GP2 runner-up will replace Nelson Piquet.

Pre Season Testing

Testing for Season will be held at the Ricardo Tormo track in Valencia over October 2-5. The new official test venue, which will contain three days of testing taking place.

Picture courtesy of the official Formula E website.

Race Calendar

  • Round 1: Hong Kong ePrix Race 1, Hong Kong, 2nd December 2017
  • Round 2: Hong Kong ePrix, Race 2, Honk Kong, 3rd December 2017
  • Round 3: Marrakesh ePrix, Morocco, 13th January 2018
  • Round 4: Santiago ePrix, Chile, 3rd February 2018
  • Round 5: Mexico City ePrix, Mexico, 3rd March 2018
  • Round 6: Sao Paulo ePrix, Brazil, 17th March 2018
  • Round 7: Rome ePrix, Italy, 14th April 2018
  • Round 8: Paris ePrix, France, 28th April 2018
  • Round 9: Berlin ePrix, Germany, 19th May 2018
  • Round 10: Zurich ePrix, Switzerland, 10th June 2018
  • Round 11: New York ePrix Race 1, United States, 14th July 2018
  • Round 12: New York ePrix, Race 2, United States, 15th July 2018
  • Round 13: Montreal ePrix Race 1, Canada, 28th July 2018
  • Round 14: Montreal ePrix, Race 2, Canada, 29th July 2018

On the Blog

For Season 4, I will be covering more race weekends for Formula E. The rounds I covered during Season 3 went down really well despite only doing 2 race reviews. I really enjoyed writing them and provisionally, I am looking to cover around 7 of the 14 races. This can be changed and tweaked if needed.

For all the latest news and results for Formula E, you can go to the official website here: http://www.fiaformulae.com/en

 

 

Malaysia’s Classic Races

The 2017 Malaysian GP marks the 18th and final year that the country will host an Formula One race. Today, we’ll take a look back through the years and relive some of the classic Malaysian GPs.

25/09/17

1999

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher returned having recovered from his broken leg to take pole position ahead of teammate Eddie Irvine, and the McLaren’s of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen.

Schumacher led from pole ahead of Irvine, Coulthard, Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello. Lap 4, Schumacher slowed and allowed Irvine past to take the lead. Schumacher tried to hold up the chasing pack but Coulthard got past. Coulthard chased down Irvine until his car broke down. Schumacher slowed to allow Irvine to build a lead. Schumacher built up a gap to keep ahead of Hakkinen when it came to the pit-stops. McLaren gave Hakkinen half a tank of fuel in hoping to jump Schumacher.

The gamble failed and Schumacher was still ahead of Hakkinen. Irvine’s gap reached 20 seconds. Irvine pitted and rejoined in 4th with Ferrari knowing that Hakkinen had to stop again. Schumacher slowed again and allowed Irvine to win with Hakkinen overtaking Johnny Herbert for 3rd.

2003

Renault’s Fernando Alonso claimed his first ever pole position ahead of Renault teammate Jarno Trulli and the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher while the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen qualified in 7th.

Alonso led from the start while Schumacher tangled with Trulli. Trulli spun and Schumacher pitted at the end of the lap for a new nose. He was also given a drive through penalty for the crash. McLaren’s David Coulthard was 2nd until an electronics failure forced him to retire. Alonso then led ahead of Raikkonen and Rubens Barrichello. Alonso pitted first, signalling he had a lighter fuel load. Raikkonen stayed out for a few more laps and when he pitted, he had jumped Alonso.

Barrichello also made up time with Alonso pitting on lap 35 for his 2nd stop. Barrichello jumped Alonso for 2nd after his stop and Raikkonen resumed the lead after his final stop. Raikkonen won to take his first GP win ahead of Barrichello and Alonso, who took his first podium. Trulli and Schumacher managed to overtake Jenson Button on the final corner to take 5th and 6th.

2012

Lewis Hamilton headed a McLaren 1-2 ahead of Jenson Button. Michael Schumacher took 3rd for Mercedes with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in 5th and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in 8th.

Hamilton led from the damp circuit ahead of Button. After a superb start, Romain Grosjean tangles with Schumacher. Grosjean falls to the back as Alonso has made his was up to 5th. Lap 4, Grosjean is in the gravel trap, ending his race. Button and Alonso pit for the wet tyre. Lap 6, Hamilton and Mark Webber exit the pits with Hamilton retaking the lead ahead of Button and the early stopping Sauber’s Sergio Perez while the Safety car is out.

The Stewards have brought out the red flag. Lap 14, racing again as Button dives into the pits. Hamilton has a terrible pit-stop and has lost the lead to Alonso. Button’s pits again after contact with HRT’s Karthikeyan. Lap 22, Perez is the fastest driver on track and is catching Alonso. Lap 36, Perez is still catching Alonso with Hamilton still 3rd. Lap 41, Alonso pits for the dry tyre with Perez pitting the next lap. Lap 47, Vettel has got a puncture. The German drops from 4th to 11th after his pit-stop. Lap 51, Perez goes off track and loses five seconds to Alonso. Alonso comes home to win his and Ferrari’s first race of 2012 ahead of  Perez with pole-sitter Hamilton 3rd.

Hamilton wins F1’s first ever wet night race after chaotic start

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins an action packed Singapore GP ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes Valterri Bottas as both Ferrari’s are eliminated after a chaotic start.

17/09/17

Tyre Choice

Rain starts to falls just before the National Anthem. The teams make the tyre choices. Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jolyon Palmer, Sergio Perez, Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson will start on the Wet tyre. Everyone else will start on the Intermediate tyre.

Race

The lights go out and its a poor start by Sebastian Vettel who sweeps to the left to cover off Max Verstappen. Unbeknown to Vettel, his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen also got a good start and goes to the left of Verstappen. Raikkonen steadily moves over to the right and with Verstappen in the middle, contact is made. Raikkonen then smashes into Vettel’s side-pod. Raikkonen has broken his front left and right suspension and can’t control the car. Raikkonen spears into Verstappen at turn 1. Fernando Alonso got an amazing start and was side-by-side with Verstappen before turn 1. Alonso is spun around with Raikkonen and Verstappen now officially out at turn 1.

Not the start that Ferrari wanted. Sebastian Vettel leads out of turn 1 but then. The 4 time champ loses the rear and crashes into the wall, damaging the front of his car. Vettel is now facing the wrong after spinning and has serious damage to his side-pod. Starting 5th and avoiding everything, Lewis Hamilton now leads ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. The Safety Car is called out and leads the cars through the pit-lane as there is debris at turn 1. It is confirmed that Vettel is out. The race that Ferrari needed to bounce back and win, has gone the opposite way.

The debris is swept up by the marshals and the racing continues on lap 5. Valterri Bottas is overtaken by Jolyon Palmer into turn 1. The Brit is up to 5th and could score his first points of the season. Lewis Hamilton leads ahead of Daniel Ricciardo by 4.4 seconds. Lap 9, after taking damage at the turn 1 collision, Fernando Alonso is told to retire the car as the team had lost too much data and the car had taken too much damage. Lap 11, Daniil Kvyat is out. The Russian locked-up going into turn 7 and hit the barrier. The Safety Car is called out once again.

Due to Kvyat’s crash, some drivers switch tyres. Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon pit for the Intermediate tyre. Nico Hulkenberg, Jolyon Palmer and Stoffel Vandoorne also pit for the Inters the following lap. Lewis Hamilton leads behind the Safety Car ahead of Ricciardo, Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Hulkenberg. Racing continues on lap 15.

Lap 23, Lewis Hamilton has gotten the gap to 4.3 seconds ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Lap 25, Kevin Magnussen pits from 11th place. The Dane puts on the Ultrasoft tyre as he thinks the track is dry enough. Felipe Massa also thinks that the track is dry and puts on the Ultrasoft tyre. Lap 28, Stoffel Vandoorne and Carlos Sainz pit. Sainz goes onto the Supersoft tyre with Vandoorne on the Ultrasoft. Lap 29,  Ricciardo pits. The Australian puts on the Ultrasoft tyre and is followed by Valterri Bottas. At the end of lap 29, Hamilton pits, putting on the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoining in 1st. After the round of pit-stops, Hamilton leads ahead of Ricciardo, Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Sainz and Sergio Perez.

Lap 38, there is a Sauber facing the wrong way and in a very dangerous position. It’s Marcus Ericsson and the replay shows the Swede losing the car and spinning at turn 12. The Safety Car has been called out. Nico Hulkenberg has pulled into the pits. It’s a long pit-stop for the German and it looks like his chance at a podium are over with a hydraulics leak. Renault send him back out, rejoining in 10th. Lap 42, Ericsson’s Sauber has been removed off of the track and racing continues.

Approaching the 2 hour limit, the drivers only have 30 minutes remaining. The full race distance will not be completed. Lap 49, after a superb and controlled drive, Renault have told Nico Hulkenberg to retire the car. A huge shame for the German as a top 5 finish was certain. Lap 52, Kevin Magnussen slows and crawls back to the pits. Lap 59, Lewis Hamilton wins ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Valterri Bottas.

Race Result

1.Hamilton  2.Ricciardo  3.Bottas  4.Sainz  5.Perez  6.Palmer  7.Vandoorne  8.Stroll  9.Grosjean  10.Ocon  11.Massa  12.Wehrlein  DNF Magnussen, Ericsson, Kvyat, Alonso, Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen

My View

The Singapore GP will go down as a huge turning point that shaped this championship. After Lewis Hamilton’s back-to-back wins in Belgium and Italy, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari knew that Singapore was a must-win. It was a really good chance for Ferrari to get both cars ahead of Mercedes as that had pretty much been the order all weekend up until the race. For Hamilton, it’s a bonus. An unexpected win after what is the weakest race for Mercedes. Notable mentions go to Carlos Sainz, Jolyon Palmer and Stoffel Vandoorne. It was a result Palmer needed. His first points of the year and learning that he will not be at Renault next year. Also mentioning that Lance Stroll did a great job, impressing with his skill in the damp conditions where he did so well in Italy. Ferrari and Sauber were the only 2 teams not to score any points.

Drivers Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton 263pts
  2. Sebastian Vettel 235pts
  3. Valterri Bottas 212pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo 162pts
  5. Kimi Raikkonen 138pts
  6. Max Verstappen 68pts
  7. Sergio Perez 68pts
  8. Esteban Ocon 56pts
  9. Carlos Sainz 48pts
  10. Nico Hulkenberg 34pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes 475pts
  2. Ferrari 373pts
  3. Red Bull 230pts
  4. Force India 124pts
  5. Williams 59pts
  6. Toro Rosso 52pts
  7. Renault 42pts
  8. Haas 37pts
  9. McLaren 17pts
  10. Sauber 5pts

 

 

Vettel on Pole ahead of both Red Bulls

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took pole position in a close fight with both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo as Mercedes Lewis Hamilton qualified in 5th.

16/09/17

Qualifying

Q1

Q1 starts with Kimi Raikkonen out first. The Finn sets the first time of a 1:44:060 followed by team-mate Sebastian Vettel on a 1:44:680. The pace that McLaren showed in FP3 is true with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne on a 1:44:120 and a 1:44:008. Romain Grosjean is struggling, stringing a series of yellow flags with his latest off at turn 7. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are next on a 1:43:031 and a 1:42:846.

Felipe Massa has a puncture. The Williams driver is just one of many to hit the wall of the exit of turn 21. But the Brazilian has a right-rear puncture and possibly broken suspension. Max Verstappen improves to a 1:42:010.

The times tumble with the track improving at a rapid rate. Carlos Sainz, Jolyon Palmer, Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg make it through to Q2. Q1 ends with Max Verstappen quickest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso.

Out: Ericsson – 20th, Wehrlein – 19th, Stroll – 18th, Massa – 17th and Magnussen – 16th.

Q2

Q2 starts with Kimi Raikkonen out first. His first lap time is a 1:40:999 with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas slower on a 1:40:075 and a 1:41:409. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are next on a 1:40:379 and a 1:40:776.

With 4 minutes to go, the drivers head out back on the track. Fernando Alonso improves to 8th with Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Ocon not able to make it through. Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz make it with Max Verstappen improving to a 1:40:332. Verstappen ends the session quickest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.

Out: Grosjean – 15th, Ocon – 14th, Kvyat – 13th, Perez – 12th, and Palmer – 11th.

Q3

Q3 starts with Fernando Alonso out first. His first lap time is a 1:41:944 with Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton on a 1:40:069 and a 1:40:192. Valterri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel are up on a 1:48:810, 1:39:814 and a 1:39:669. Daniel Ricciardo slots in with a 1:39:862.

The drivers head out for their final laps. Kimi Raikkonen sets a 1:40:095 but can’t improve on his previous time and neither can Max Verstappen. Sebastian Vettel improves to a 1:39:491 and takes his 49th career pole position. Nico Hulkenberg ends up best of the rest, beating both McLarens.

Qualifying Result

1.Vettel  2.Verstappen  3.Ricciardo  4.Raikkonen  5.Hamilton  6.Bottas  7.Hulkenberg  8.Alonso  9.Vandoorne  10.Sainz  11.Palmer  12.Perez  13.Kvyat  14.Ocon  15.Grosjean  16.Magnussen  17.Massa  18.Stroll  19.Wehrlein  20.Ericsson

 

 

The McLaren-Honda saga finally ends

The long running and majorly disappointing partnership between McLaren and Honda has come to a bitter end in which the French squad Renault, has agreed to supply the British team from 2018 onwards.

16/09/17

The team has filed for divorce from the Japanese company after three disappointing years into a partnership that had been intended to last a decade or more and dominate F1.

Failure from the start?

When the iconic partnership reunited in 2015 under the watchful eye of long-serving McLaren principal, Ron Dennis, many hoped that McLaren would be finally back to winning ways. The historic red and white livery driven by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s led to such dominance and glory, many great things were expected early on for the reforged reunion.

Honda initially found the new generation of power unit a tough nut to crack and despite having two former world champions, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, only managed 27 points between them. McLaren finished 9th out of the 10 teams in the championship and recorded McLaren’s worst points finish since 1980.

A statistic that McLaren wouldn’t want to have would be just one of the many engine penalties they would have to bear through-out the partnership. At the Belgian GP, McLaren was given a record 105 grid penalty places for changing power unit components.

2016 was far more promising with retaining Alonso and Button, McLaren progressed from backmarkers to competitive mid-field warriors. Alonso’s near death crash in Australia prompted Stoffel Vandoorne to drive at Bahrain and scored the first points for the team. An important result for him and for his future at the team. Improved results and reliability, albeit from Alonso’s constant radio rants pointing the blame directly in Honda’s direction for so little power. McLaren finished 6th with a more respectable 76 points but still there was work to be done.

Button retired from F1 and took on the reserve role. McLaren launched the MCL32 in a new colour scheme, orange and black. Vandoorne was promoted alongside Alonso who was given the chance to miss the Monaco GP to race in IndyCar. Alonso did extremely well in the Honda powered McLaren Andretti car and was awarded rookie of the year despite an engine failure which limited him to 179 laps. Taking the team’s first points in 9th at the crazy Azerbaijan GP, Alonso lifted the team just above Sauber.

The attempts

McLaren’s idea of giving Alonso the chance to miss the most challenging and rewarding race on the calendar, was risky. Typically, for many teams and drivers, it would be the best chance to score points. But to try to keep Alonso interested for 2018, it seems to have paid off. Alonso’s private test performance, which was broadcast as a live stream through IndyCar’s social media channels, with combined live viewership of the test was estimated to be in excess of 2 million in which both fans of F1 and IndyCar thoroughly enjoyed.

The blame has been very directly pointed at Honda. Out of the 3 years, Honda has proven to be the worst engine manufacturer with the most failures and penalties by far. McLaren are known to have one of the best chassis on the grid behind, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and this was proven at the Hungarian GP where both Alonso and Vandoorne scored points. So where does the blame point now? The drivers? Alonso has driven to an exceptional standard as always and for Vandoorne, it’s been a slow learning curve but the Belgian does well and truly have a place in the sport. So it’s back to Honda.

Honda’s own attempt to gain more reliability looked to be a very good shout with signing a technical agreement with Sauber for next season. But after management change, the Swiss team reversed the decision and fallen back to Ferrari. The benefits would have been very significant, Honda would double their data pool and increase their presence in F1. A possible sensible decision by Sauber but then again time will time if it was a poor one.

The Future with Renault

Since its first competitive season in F1 back in 1966, McLaren have had several engine partners. Renault now add to the list which includes: Ford-Cosworth, TAG-Porsche, Lamborghini, Peugeot and Mercedes engines over the course of their history.

Although attempts with Mercedes and Ferrari fell flat, Renault looked to be the only option left. McLaren believe it is a significant step forward over the Honda engine with estimations around of somewhere in the region of 45-60bhp. The next few years up until the end of 2020 will be for McLaren to solidify their place and show everyone that they still can be competitive.

The new engine formula comes in for 2021. Then, all sorts of possibilities could open up, including perhaps even making their own engine or sticking with Renault.

Overall Review

Did McLaren act too quick bringing Honda in so early? If Honda was given a year of practise and to gain knowledge before entering, would it have helped? If so, why are McLaren now not in a winning position? Was too much of the blame pointed at Honda? McLaren needed to change. Having a Mercedes engine in the back competing alongside the dominant factory team, they could see that the only change would be to change engine supplier.

Looking back now, things have definitely changed when Honda came into the sport. Fernando Alonso’s goal and ambition to win a 3rd championship crown with McLaren combined with Honda was shattered before it was even started. Formula One in general mocked Honda and McLaren for its never-ending failures, prompting people to engage with the sport. Ultimately the blame will always be pointed at Honda.

Honda’s overview and reputation will have suffered a bit. Keeping Honda in the sport was and still is a priority for everyone including both governing body the FIA and the new owners of the commercial arm Formula 1 Management, and for the sport to have a variety of engine manufacturers to choose from.

I genuinely thought 2017 was going to be a more successful year for McLaren, writing down predictions for constant top-10 finishes and podium results. Many thought and hoped for the same result but again they were let down.

Maybe the reunion of McLaren and Honda was just simply “too good to be true” and at least we won’t have to listen to any F1 commentators say “another McLaren Honda engine failure.”

 

 

F1 New Round-up #7

Here is some F1 News from over the past month including Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas staying at Ferrari and Mercedes for 2018.

16/09/17

Kimi Raikkonen stays with Ferrari for 2018

Ferrari have confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen will race in 2018, with the Finnish driver agreeing a one-year contract extension. The 2007 champion and ironically Ferrari’s last world champion with stay with Ferrari for the 3rd year in succession since rejoining the Scuderia in 2014.

Stoffel Vandoorne to stay with McLaren for 2018

Stoffel Vandoorne will remain a McLaren driver in 2018, McLaren have confirmed. After a poor start to his rookie season, Vandoorne has improved and scored his first points of the season in Hungary in 10th. McLaren said they regard Vandoorne as a future world champion, and therefore see him as part of their long-term plans in F1.

Valtteri Bottas extends Mercedes contract

Former Williams driver, Valterri Bottas has extended his Mercedes contract for just one year. The Finn joined Mercedes after replacing departing champion Nico Rosberg and has impressed, taking his maiden win in Russia and then his 2nd in Austria. Bottas currently lies 3rd in the Driver’s Championship with 197 points.

Singapore extend F1 deal until 2021

A new deal between Formula One and Singapore GP Pte Ltd and Singapore Tourism Board that Singapore will continue to host and be part of the championship for four more years. Since its debut in 2008, the first ever night Grand Prix ever hosted, it’s one of the most attractive and spectacular races on the calendar.