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f1since08
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I understand the hype around Ocon, he's definitely one to watch for the future and he deserves a seat on the grid, but I really do think Wehrlein should be the one going to Force India, if Mercedes are the ones who get the final decision.

Yes, Ocon has only had 7 races or so compared to Wehrlein who's done 19, so you could argue there is inexperience to take into account, but I don't think that should be as much of an issue now, because he's had a lot of time to get used to the car. (And look at Verstappen when he jumped into the Red Bull, it didn't exactly take him 7 races to get up to speed with Ricciardo. He won at the first attempt) And Ocon has had plenty of F1 testing experience too, with Mercedes and Renault giving him plenty of mileage over the last year or so.

But anyway, Pascal Wehrlein is convincingly beating Esteban Ocon, and he is doing it in qualifying and races, look at the results below.

Qualifying battles: WEH 4 / 2 OCO
Race battles: WEH 3 / 1 OCO

Also, look at the gaps between them in qualifying. Wehrlein has qualified ahead of Ocon by 0.5, 0.6, 0.3 and 0.5 on those 4 occasions. Meanwhile, when Ocon has been ahead, it's been by 0.1 and 0.2. So Wehrlein is currently out-qualifying Ocon by about half a second on average.

I don't know, but I think all the evidence points to Wehrlein being the stronger driver, and I really believe he should be the one being promoted. He's had a cracking debut season, when you consider the team he is at right now.
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I might be wrong when I say this, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that Ocon would be the preferred choice for Force India, because apparently Wehrlein wasn't great with the engineers when he tested for them a few times back in 2014 / 2015? Not sure how much substance there is to that statement, but it's kinda interesting if that is a key reason for not choosing Wehrlein.

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@MBKF1 Apparently it's the attitude problem that's cost him a chance of moving up. He's a very good driver but attidude can make or break a team, look at McLaren with Senna and Prost. Ocon is clearly talented, he won the GP3 championship with incredible consistency, but he hasn't quite shown it in F1 yet.
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Wehrlein has an attitude problem? That's news to me tbh, what did he do?

Also, about Ocon vs. Wehrlein, I do agree that Pascal has by far been the more impressive one. However, when comparing him to Verstappen, it must be noted that Max was already in F1 when he joined Red Bull. It's probably easier to step into a new team with F1-experience under your belt (more so the jump from Toro Rosso to Red Bull compared to any other jump you could make in F1) compared to stepping into a racing seat in F1 mid-season as a whole to make your debut. Ocon's form is basically what you'd expect from anyone jumping in a new team. Still, Wehrlein should be the first to get the move to a faster team, especially when Renault are looking to loan Ocon for their squad as well.
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fIsince08 said:
@MBKF1 Apparently it's the attitude problem that's cost him a chance of moving up. He's a very good driver but attidude can make or break a team, look at McLaren with Senna and Prost. Ocon is clearly talented, he won the GP3 championship with incredible consistency, but he hasn't quite shown it in F1 yet.
You're absolutely right. And yeah, his GP3 season was about as consistent as you can get in motorsport: 2nd place 9 times in a row! He's also the only man (apart from Hamilton) to have beaten Verstappen to a championship of some kind, which clearly says something haha.

Something that's just dawned on me is that I actually have seen Ocon, Verstappen, Giovinazzi (plus some others) racing. When I went to Silverstone for the WEC in 2014, the Euro F3 series was supporting, and at the time I didn't really have any idea who these guys were. It's amazing to see how they've just shot to success in the last 2 years. Ocon, an F3 and GP3 champion and now F1 driver. Verstappen, we all know about him, and Giovinazzi who will hopefully take the GP2 title this year.

It's odd when you think back, you have no idea who is gonna make it.
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Fantastic news, glad he's sticking on the grid. However, I can't help but feel he's gonna be out of a drive again at the end of 2017, because I am pretty sure Leclerc will be knocking on the door.

Saying that, Magnussen could come into the team and whoop Grosjean's ass, and then Grosjean will be the one under pressure to stay. Only time will tell.
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fIsince08 said:
So the latest in the transfer market according to Ben at Read Motorsport.
  • Renault: Hulkenberg and Nasr
Spot on. 

MBKF1 said:
Yes, Ocon has only had 7 races or so compared to Wehrlein who's done 19, so you could argue there is inexperience to take into account, but I don't think that should be as much of an issue now, because he's had a lot of time to get used to the car. (And look at Verstappen when he jumped into the Red Bull, it didn't exactly take him 7 races to get up to speed with Ricciardo. He won at the first attempt) And Ocon has had plenty of F1 testing experience too, with Mercedes and Renault giving him plenty of mileage over the last year or so.

This is kind of on a separate tangent to everything else here but under the radar Verstappen has actually been getting pretty comprehensively beat by Ricciardo, especially in qualifying. He's still young and will only get better but if you put those two in a Mercedes situation now, it would be Ricciardo winning the titles. 

Btw for anyone who doesn't normally watch the Thursday press conferences (no-one would blame you), tomorrow might be quite a fun one. It's going to include:

Hamilton
Rosberg
Vettel
Ricciardo
Verstappen
Massa
AND... Charlie Whiting (I'm not joking). 
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VetteIfan said:
MBKF1 said:
Yes, Ocon has only had 7 races or so compared to Wehrlein who's done 19, so you could argue there is inexperience to take into account, but I don't think that should be as much of an issue now, because he's had a lot of time to get used to the car. (And look at Verstappen when he jumped into the Red Bull, it didn't exactly take him 7 races to get up to speed with Ricciardo. He won at the first attempt) And Ocon has had plenty of F1 testing experience too, with Mercedes and Renault giving him plenty of mileage over the last year or so.

This is kind of on a separate tangent to everything else here but under the radar Verstappen has actually been getting pretty comprehensively beat by Ricciardo, especially in qualifying. He's still young and will only get better but if you put those two in a Mercedes situation now, it would be Ricciardo winning the titles. 
You're correct, absolutely. It was a poor example looking back and I think I could have worded it better.

Actually, looking at the results, Ricciardo is really comfortably beating Verstappen, I never realised by how much so. In the last 9 races, Verstappen has only finished ahead of Ricciardo once!

I think Ricciardo has been the star of the season, and I think he's driven better than Hamilton and Rosberg. Never getting into mishaps with other drivers, he's ultra fast and just gets the job done, and the string of podiums in recent races really proves that.

I just hope and pray Red Bull give him a car next year to really give him a shot at the title, because he completely deserves one. 2014 and 2016 have been masterful seasons from him.
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Hughesy said:
Palmer is a legend!       

People rate K Mag, yet he hasn't exactly blown Palmer away...                  
No, but Magnussen is definitely better and the Renault might actually have a good package next season, so you'd want someone in there who is actually worth something.

Doesn't even have to be Magnussen, was hoping for Ocon, so that Wehrlein could join Force India.
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In my opinion they have both had very average years (but it is hard to judge clearly when they are so low down the grid), but for me, undoubtedly, Magnussen's 7th place in Sochi is the highlight for Renault, and is one of the reasons why I think he should've been the one that stayed over Palmer. Jolyon has been very quiet all year, just getting on with the job, and he has been a match for Magnussen but he did definitely luck into that points finish in Malaysia with Hamilton's DNF. I hope he has a stronger year next year, but he's got one hell of a team mate to beat in Hulkenberg.

While I'm at it, I'm gonna try and predict (and probably fail massively) the rest of the grid for 2017.

Haas | Grosjean and Magnussen
Apparently the Magnussen / Haas deal is all done, so with Grosjean still there that puts Gutierrez out. To be honest, I'm quite happy about that because he's just not been on it this year, always finding excuses as to why he's never in the points, when the simple matter is he's not been fast enough most of the time.

Manor | Wehrlein and Giovinazzi
I know I've said it before, but I really do think it should have been Wehrlein going to Force India, but it is what it is. Wehrlein will definitely be staying (Mercedes have put so much time and money into him, it would be stupid to get rid of him now, and Manor would still probably get their reduced engine deal too). But that leaves a seat open. There's a lot of people saying Jordan King could get the place, but in my opinion he hasn't done enough in GP2 the last couple of years to warrant that drive yet.

Therefore, I'm gonna say Antonio Giovinazzi. I've read that Mercedes are interested in getting him into their young driver programme, and I think they'd be silly to let him slip into someone else's hands. So I hope that will happen, and in that case, it makes a lot of sense for Manor to put him with Wehrlein, again to potentially get more discounts on the engines.

Sauber | Nasr and Ericsson
These two don't really have anywhere else to go, and both of them bring enough money to keep them on the grid, so it'll be their 3rd year as team mates. To be honest, I don't see either of them progressing up the field any time soon, maybe Nasr, but I don't think Ericsson has done enough. I'd rather see someone else take Ericsson's seat, but who would bring enough cash? Sean Galael maybe? (I believe his father is the owner of the Indonesian division of KFC (called Jagonya Ayam over there), so he might have the cash. However, he's not had a massive year in GP2 so I doubt it).


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Actually, I'm gonna continue on Giovinazzi for a bit. His rise over the last two years has been phenomenal, he's gone from being nearly unheard of to the latest hot property. In 2013 he was 2nd in British F3 (although had a very average season in Euro F3), and then in 2014 he climbed to 6th, and 2nd for 2015, finishing behind Rosenqvist.

But then GP2 this year, he just came out of nowhere. A very slow start to the year, and then just came alive in Baku, winning both races (including a last lap pass on Gasly). Then he was just scoring consistent points, and then more wins in Spa, Monza (including another last lap pass) and Sepang means he's ahead of Gasly into the final round of the year.

I don't think anyone would have thought Giovinazzi would be a contender for the championship, let alone leading it and beating hot shot Gasly. Before the season started, all the talk was of a great battle between Gasly and Sirotkin. I never saw Giovinazzi mentioned anywhere. If Giovinazzi does manage to win the title, he'll be the first debut season winner since Hulkenberg in 2009.

That means Gasly is in a bit of a sticky situation. If he does win GP2 this year, then he can't go back and do it again next year, he has to do something else. What can he do though? Super Formula maybe, like Vandoorne? Or have a year out but doing lots of testing?

Then he has the issue of not winning GP2 this year. It means he can do it again next year, but I would say he has to win it, quite comprehensively, to have any change of getting a Toro Rosso drive. Also, he'll have to look out for the other Red Bull young drivers. Lets say Sergio Sette Camara has a stellar year in F3 or GP3, then Red Bull may just promote him over Gasly (a bit like they did with Kvyat, when he bypassed Antonio Felix da Costa to get that Toro Rosso seat).
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Hughesy said:
How is he better, what exactly has he done in his time? Palmer is a rookie remember. I don't think Palmer is great, but K Mag is extremely overrated.
By being faster and being the driver most likely to score unlikely points for Renault this season. Palmer might be a rookie, but Palmer also is a guy who tested with Renault for a full season, where as Magnussen was a last-minute addition to the team in February. Magnussen might be overrated, but he is also better than Palmer.


----

I also want to point again that I never rated Gasly and that losing the GP2-title to Giovinazzi would probably mean he'll never get into F1.
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Really happy GUT is out at Haas. So much whining and deflecting blame this year. I hope MAG can excel at Haas and as a teammate of GRO. Should be interesting to see what improvements the team has made for 2017.

I also hope this is a solid year for Alonso and that the 2017 cars are more fun, for everyone; drivers and fans. Alonso has made it very clear that right now he just wants to enjoy racing. Doesn't care about the money (to a degree I'm sure), just wants to be competitive. Here's hoping.
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