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the silly season IRL F1 - how does this all make sense?


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So, let me get this straight:

Sure, George Russell has been a strong performer lately, and I guess he perfectly deserves a Mercedes F1 cockpit for 2022. He also is the future for years to come, once Hamilton decides that he wants to focus more on his family (Roscoe). Additionally, Kimi has answered the press questions for 3 finnish lifetimes, kudos he took it for so long, his retirement is well deserved.

But beyond this, all kind of strange things seem to happen, dont you think, or is it just me thinking this cant be my reality what happens with F1 driver moves at the moment:

First, 2 days after announcing his retirement decision, Kimi suddenly is corona positive and Robert Kubica takes over his Alfa Romeo Sauber - what a coincidence?!? Then there are rumors of Bottas joining with Sauber, and I thought "suuure, the Mercedes driver going to a Ferrari based / sponsored team, never ever" but a few days after that becomes reality. Now how does this make sense at all? As Mercedes, you would not want Valtteri to take all your secrets to Ferrari, unless you would fit Sauber with Mercedes engines as well (they had a strong past with that combination, in endurance sports cars at least). But then they are saying that engine deals are not involved. If so, why not find any other Mercedes seat for Bottas? Being Valtteri, why would you leave Mercedes for a team that will struggle to get a handful of points during any season, i mean its not like Bottas was that bad of a driver and he would not have found a better seat? Bottom line, I dont see the benefit of Bottas joining Sauber, other than Ferrari paying a lot to get any information Valtteri might have to sell. Schumacher Mick seems on the rise, but his conflict with Mazepin will slow down his career - he is a Ferrari driver, why not let him make the move to Sauber instead? Or - is that the master plan, pairing young Schumacher with Bottas for learning from one of the best (wingmen)?

Second, Williams is announcing to pick up a RedBull / Honda driver. Really, what for? It is not to me that Albon is that much of a talent, that you would not find anywhere else (in Formula E champions, say). Or does he bring so much money, that Williams could not resist hence they continue with Latifi as well. They way I understood it, Williams became properly funded lately, in a way that they would not be forced to have pay drivers any more. Seems to me they got 2 of those now. As for Albon, does it really make sense to leave all RedBull support to join a Mercedes powered franchise, especially now when RedBull is taking over Honda engines to develop those furhter by themselves? Since Honda did quit already, there is zero chance to reincarnate Williams-Honda, so why? Why did they not sign up a new, hot talent and take Bottas to have a strong, consistent driver to be paired up with a rookie? A paydriver and a comeback driver of the RedBull academy, why would you do this?

Third, one might even question Mercedes decision to sign Russell - if you are super critical, he hardly delivered but for a few awesome qualifying performances. When points were on the table, Latifi scored higher, when Russell could have taken them alone, he crashed behind the safety car (Imola). He is young, he is fast, but even if he has all that it takes, you might run into a weird situation with Lewis, similar to former Alonso vs Hamilton times at McLaren.

Overall, exciting times, but they feel a bit like exaggerated driver transfers in my team mode - what do you guys think?

And what will happen next - can Giovinazzi hold on to an F1 seat, will something strange happen to Vettel though we all thought he had a contract for more than one year, but lately it seems there could be some kind of escape clause (but if there was, why park Valtteri at Sauber, and if you did, who could replace Vettel at Aston in 2022)? What will happen to Mick Schumacher, I dont see another Haas "Hass" (hatred) season for him, either?

Edited by Schneehase
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1 hour ago, Schneehase said:

So, let me get this straight:

Sure, George Russell has been a strong performer lately, and I guess he perfectly deserves a Mercedes F1 cockpit for 2022. He also is the future for years to come, once Hamilton decides that he wants to focus more on his family (Roscoe). Additionally, Kimi has answered the press questions for 3 finnish lifetimes, kudos he took it for so long, his retirement is well deserved.

But beyond this, all kind of strange things seem to happen, dont you think, or is it just me thinking this cant be my reality what happens with F1 driver moves at the moment:

First, 2 days after announcing his retirement decision, Kimi suddenly is corona positive and Robert Kubica takes over his Alfa Romeo Sauber - what a coincidence?!? Then there are rumors of Bottas joining with Sauber, and I thought "suuure, the Mercedes driver going to a Ferrari based / sponsored team, never ever" but a few days after that becomes reality. Now how does this make sense at all? As Mercedes, you would not want Valtteri to take all your secrets to Ferrari, unless you would fit Sauber with Mercedes engines as well (they had a strong past with that combination, in endurance sports cars at least). But then they are saying that engine deals are not involved. If so, why not find any other Mercedes seat for Bottas? Being Valtteri, why would you leave Mercedes for a team that will struggle to get a handful of points during any season, i mean its not like Bottas was that bad of a driver and he would not have found a better seat? Bottom line, I dont see the benefit of Bottas joining Sauber, other than Ferrari paying a lot to get any information Valtteri might have to sell. Schumacher Mick seems on the rise, but his conflict with Mazepin will slow down his career - he is a Ferrari driver, why not let him make the move to Sauber instead? Or - is that the master plan, pairing young Schumacher with Bottas for learning from one of the best (wingmen)?

Second, Williams is announcing to pick up a RedBull / Honda driver. Really, what for? It is not to me that Albon is that much of a talent, that you would not find anywhere else (in Formula E champions, say). Or does he bring so much money, that Williams could not resist hence they continue with Latifi as well. They way I understood it, Williams became properly funded lately, in a way that they would not be forced to have pay drivers any more. Seems to me they got 2 of those now. As for Albon, does it really make sense to leave all RedBull support to join a Mercedes powered franchise, especially now when RedBull is taking over Honda engines to develop those furhter by themselves? Since Honda did quit already, there is zero chance to reincarnate Williams-Honda, so why? Why did they not sign up a new, hot talent and take Bottas to have a strong, consistent driver to be paired up with a rookie? A paydriver and a comeback driver of the RedBull academy, why would you do this?

Third, one might even question Mercedes decision to sign Russell - if you are super critical, he hardly delivered but for a few awesome qualifying performances. When points were on the table, Latifi scored higher, when Russell could have taken them alone, he crashed behind the safety car (Imola). He is young, he is fast, but even if he has all that it takes, you might run into a weird situation with Lewis, similar to former Alonso vs Hamilton times at McLaren.

Overall, exciting times, but they feel a bit like exaggerated driver transfers in my team mode - what do you guys think?

And what will happen next - can Giovinazzi hold on to an F1 seat, will something strange happen to Vettel though we all thought he had a contract for more than one year, but lately it seems there could be some kind of escape clause (but if there was, why park Valtteri at Sauber, and if you did, who could replace Vettel at Aston in 2022)? What will happen to Mick Schumacher, I dont see another Haas "Hass" (hatred) season for him, either?

I'm not sure of the point here? Are we trying to justify the mess that driver transfers are in the game because of some of these moves?  These moves have logic to them; the game's quite simply do not.  It simply makes the decision based on the games team and driver acclaim system. Theres a thread around here that illustrates that as a workaround for the messy transfer system.  There's no variability to it either it seems it's simply slotting the drivers with the highest acclaim, to the team acclaims.   Anyways, on to the real moves in the real world...

Russel is more than deserving of a seat at Mercedes.  He's the heir apparent to Hamilton and IMO if Merc continues to have a dominant car after the regulation changes he'll dominate the series just like Hamilton has.  Not sure how we can question the Merc decision there.  He's more than delivered.  His accomplishments alone in that Williams car in qualify make him deserving of the seat.  What did you really expect in a race?  Him to compete for podiums?  Driver can only do so much with such a limited car that the Williams is.  I reckon Hamilton, or Verstappen in that car would be mid to rear of the field as well.

Bottas has former experience with Vasseur at Alfa Romeo.  Their veteran driver is retiring and they're surely in search of someone with experience to fill that seat with what I assume will be a young up and coming driver.  The only question here for me is the engines in those cars.  Will they stay with Ferrari?  They're saying yes for now, but I'm sure we've all heard rumors that Williams may lose the support of Mercedes, there were rumors they were considering being a Renault/Alpine customer.   If that change does happen; then look for Devries at Alfa with Bottas IMO.  I'll also say; if we see Devries going to Alfa Romeo it's only a matter of time before they announce an engine switch.  Meaning Williams likely does make a change; but with Wollf getting his way and Albon being released from his Red Bull contract (although they have an option to bring him back) its possible Williams remains a Merc customer, and Alfa remains with Ferrari.  That's the only mystery here to me.

Kubica was destined to replace either Raikkonen or Gio if they had issues.  He's the Alfa reserve driver; so it makes total sense what happened there.

As for Albon; he's got talent.  Not sure why were slamming him for that.  I wasn't aware he was coming with sponsor cash though?  Now what's interesting here is maybe Williams will be considering becoming a RedBull engine customer when they're up and running.  That can make that seem like a logical place for Albon then. 

It's no secret to me that the top 3 F1 teams are looking for junior teams within the F1 framework.  Heck, we've seen both Horner and Wollf sayign this week there needs to be at least 2 more teams or 4 more cars and even mentioning that each team should be allowed a third car if they can make it work to fill the seats with young drivers.  Essentially Mercedes has been treating Williams as a junior team.  McLaren and Aston are their own entities and just customers of Merc.  Ferrari essentially has Haas and Alfa as junior teams.  Red Bull obviously has Alpha Tauri.  Renault/Alpine is the odd man out here in the current format; it's no secret they're looking for another customer of their engine.  Bottom line is the top teams have been using the lower teams for years as a place to stash drivers to gain experience.  IMO; it kills the grid but that's another issue for another day.  Hopefully the new cost cap system eliminates some of the unevenness of all of this.

So; bottom line for me this "silly season" really isn't very surprising to me.  The surprising one to me was Devries being mentioned.  I figured Gio would be out; but I thought we'd see Ferrari push for Illot, or even Schumacher to get into that seat away from the mess of Haas.  Sure Bottas has been "released" from Mercedes (his contract is up anyways) but it just feels odd to me he's going to a Ferrari based team, so it makes me wonder if there's a change coming there which is why there's no news of another Ferrari academy driver coming up. 

Either way though, things make sense here.  It's a natural progression based on real life.  The game itself; there's no logic to it.  It's simply dictated by the games acclaim system or doing swaps one for one with the guy you replace.  For example you'll never see Russel join Merc like he should. Unless you're driving for Merc, and move to Williams then maybe, but unlikely because another driver with a higher acclaim rating than George will be placed into that seat by the game.  It just demonstrates the need to overhaul it and give the player the ability to over ride it if wanted. If we have to play a 10 year career mode that's usually over by year 4 or 5 based on R&D and cash spending (everything will be maxed out by then usually) why not give the player control to at least give life to the mode the way we see fit.

 

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5 hours ago, petro1319 said:

Are we trying to justify the mess that driver transfers are in the game because of some of these moves?

No that was not my point at all, I was only refering to real life news the last days - but nice spot there, anyway 😄

5 hours ago, petro1319 said:

What did you really expect in a race?  Him to compete for podiums? 

More consistency. I am a big Russell fan, not to make the wrong impression here. He is still very young, and when he had a single chance in the Mercedes seat, he did not waste it, the team did. By the way, for an F1 driver Russell is immensly tall with 1,85 m, they will have their troubles to fit him into a car that was planned for Hamilton / Bottas.

5 hours ago, petro1319 said:

The only question here for me is the engines in those cars

For 2022, engines swaps are already too late, the effort for (small!) teams is too great if they started now. Besides, 2022 has all these changes already so all funds go into aerodynamics and chassis. That said, I also do not see engine swaps one year after, unless you are looking for a way to "bypass" rules similar to McLaren changing more of their car in the engine manufacturer swap lately, than they had been allowed without.

5 hours ago, petro1319 said:

As for Albon; he's got talent. 

Agreed. But there are so many talented drivers out there, why do Williams go fishing in RedBull lakes, why particularly him? Williams has a record for introducing new drivers, dont they.

5 hours ago, petro1319 said:

no secret they're looking for another customer of their engine

I d bet. But it does not seem to work at the moment, unless there was a new team, or FIA made rules with a minimum equipment for 2 teams for engine manufacturers.

Intersting points to discuss, thank you!

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1 hour ago, Schneehase said:

 

Agreed. But there are so many talented drivers out there, why do Williams go fishing in RedBull lakes, why particularly him? Williams has a record for introducing new drivers, dont they.

 

Because George Russell asked for it and highly recommended it to Jost and the team at Williams. It's quite obvious to me that they take George's words very seriously and have full trust in his judgement. 

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Quick thought: I wonder if the major regulation changes for next season mean that there is less of a concern about information transfer between rival teams than there might normally be?

As a fan I'm pleased to see that there is freedom for drivers to move like this. I'm also very glad that everything is now publically confirmed rather than the 'everybody knows but can't say' farce we've had recently.

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3 hours ago, Patteyh99 said:

Because George Russell asked for it and highly recommended it to Jost and the team at Williams. It's quite obvious to me that they take George's words very seriously and have full trust in his judgement. 

Oh really - i did not know that one, tbh, if anything I speculated they were happy with Albons ability to adopt to new circumstances (DTM) which no doubt will be one of the key driver assets for 2022, since changes will be so extreme. And yes Albon has a certain amount of F1 experience, even if he was "away" recently.

3 hours ago, Ultra3142 said:

Quick thought: I wonder if the major regulation changes for next season mean that there is less of a concern about information transfer between rival teams than there might normally be?

Interesting, that might well be, especially since the power unit regulations have been consistent for quite a while now and it seems all units are in the same ballpark. I guess available tokens count more here than innovations, at least for the moment.

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9 hours ago, Schneehase said:

No that was not my point at all, I was only refering to real life news the last days - but nice spot there, anyway 😄

More consistency. I am a big Russell fan, not to make the wrong impression here. He is still very young, and when he had a single chance in the Mercedes seat, he did not waste it, the team did. By the way, for an F1 driver Russell is immensly tall with 1,85 m, they will have their troubles to fit him into a car that was planned for Hamilton / Bottas.

For 2022, engines swaps are already too late, the effort for (small!) teams is too great if they started now. Besides, 2022 has all these changes already so all funds go into aerodynamics and chassis. That said, I also do not see engine swaps one year after, unless you are looking for a way to "bypass" rules similar to McLaren changing more of their car in the engine manufacturer swap lately, than they had been allowed without.

Agreed. But there are so many talented drivers out there, why do Williams go fishing in RedBull lakes, why particularly him? Williams has a record for introducing new drivers, dont they.

I d bet. But it does not seem to work at the moment, unless there was a new team, or FIA made rules with a minimum equipment for 2 teams for engine manufacturers.

Intersting points to discuss, thank you!

I'm not sure how much more consistent he could be.  I think the issue here is you're looking at his qualifying pace, compared to race pace.   Obviously his race results were never matching his qualifying results, but that's more reflective of the car's pace over long duration being awful, and George just getting the max out of it on Saturdays on a single flying lap.  Williams just doesn't have the pace, or durability to keep up with the pack over distance.  George just pushed and drove the wheels off that car on Saturdays.

I don't believe it's too late for a team to swap engine suppliers.  I don't believe there is anything preventing them from doing so.  The engines themselves are frozen from further development if I'm not mistaken, but a team can certainly swap suppliers still.  Although maybe what you mean here is it's too late in the development of the new cars to do that switch; then yes you may be right.  Who knows how long a potential swap could have been in the works though for a team like Alfa or Williams though. Obviously lots of pure speculation here though on all our parts.  lol

As someone else pointed out, if George suggested that Williams go Albon then it makes sense.  They obviously had alot of trust and faith in him under new management, same as old.  That makes sense.   Also though; I think if we look at the logical side of it Albon has experience.   Latifi still isn't up to speed with the rest of the grid (aside from Mazepin lol) so they need someone with some experience and pace there.  Only one full season; in two teams but it's experience at least.  Who knows, with his knowledge from his Red Bull days maybe he can help the team too.

As for the new Red Bull engine; I suspect they'll limit themselves to just them, and Alpha Tauri at this time while they take over the program and get it running. 

I know there's alot of speculation out there too that Alfa Romeo may switch to Mercedes, but I dont know about that. Would Alfa and Mercedes really want to partner like that? It makes more sense with Alfa's brand on the team with a Ferrari engine and support.   Interestingly enough I also read last night that Alfa Romeo has said that Ferrari no longer has control over one of their seats come 2022.  So that seems to be adding fuel to the fire of a potential engine supplier swap.   Also helps make more sense now to understand why Shumacher maybe ended up at Haas because by way of Ferrari being a supplier to Haas; they had control of one of their seats also apparently. 

At the end of the day; who really knows.  It's all speculation at this point.  What I've learned in my time being a fan of F1 theres alot of secret deals and things going on behind the scenes that we simply don't know.  Just seems odd to me that Toto was apparently helping Bottas get to Alfa; a Ferrari powered team; yet trying to block Albon to Williams because of the Red Bull/Mercedes issue there.  Kind of seems a bit hypocritical; no?  Of course, the whole thing with Bottas though is they're technically releasing him, but not really since his contract is up anyways so it's basically Bottas leaving the team and joining another.  Not much anyone can do about the Merc/Ferrari issue there.  Kind of like Ricciardo leaving Renault for McLaren.  There's a contract termination there making it a non-issue; similar with Bottas here.  I've just always been a believe of where there's smoke, there's fire.  There seems to be alot of smoke around Alfa Romeo right now especially knowing that Toto wants Devries to have a seat.  Williams is gone now and they'd be a good fit seeing as they're a Merc customer; so the only option left for Devries is with Alfa.  Now; wouldn't it also make sense that if Toto helped Bottas get to Alfa that he'd want Devries there now too?  Bottas would be a good guy to learn from for a youngster like Devries.   To me though; if that happens then it's only a matter of time before Alfa goes to Merc engines; but Toto has said they don't want to expand beyond supplying 4 teams; so someone has to go.  It wont be McLaren (too new of a deal) or Aston (Toto's got an interest there) so to me that leaves Williams; and since we've heard Williams was considering a deal with Renault in the past... maybe we're seeing that slowly unfolding.   Speculation to the maximum!  😄

Top all of that off with the rumors out there for the last two years of the potential of Audi or VW possibly looking to join the F1 ranks as well and things get even more interesting.  

I don't like the idea of teams having 3 cars each.  We already see the impact 2 cars can have on race strategy, 3 just makes more of a mess of that and I feel it would be a negative thing for the racing itself.  Imagine a podium of 3 Merc's or 3 Red Bulls each weekend?  No thanks...     I'd much rather see one or two new teams join that are competitive and I'd much rather see the competitive balance of the field level itself off so there is less of a gap between the top and bottom.  More competitive racing between teams is what we need; not more cars per team to keep that balance out of whack more.

Anyways, good fun chatter anyways!  Time will tell how it all plays out.

Edited by petro1319
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Some good questions being asked.

In terms of Bottas, I can understand his need to get away from a team where he's been consistently the clear #2 for five years and outperformed by his team mate. He never got a long-term contract so he had to fear for his seat every single year. It gets exhausting. All that for what? To be told to move aside the one time you have a good race, to let Lewis take the lead for the championship? Merc did him dirty too many times IMO, but also his performance has not helped. Going to Alfa means driving for a team that struggles to fight for points, yes, but it also provides a chance for him to be the #1 in the team and drive the changes needed to improve the team. In other words, his purpose becomes more than just facilitating wins for his team mate. I get that. It was also one of the only seats available in F1 for next year, so with Merc unwilling to offer him a longer contract he may simply have said "screw it. I'm done with this"... going to a worse team may be worth it in the long run.

Russell, I think he deserves the Merc seat. He has been extremely impressive and I really think he'll make Lewis sweat next year, it's gonna get very interesting.

 

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Russell future world champion managed by toto.  Where else would he go.

But for me... everything depends on what McLaren delivers next season... if the have a competitive car Lando is running away with it... love that boy🤘

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  • 2 months later...
On 9/9/2021 at 12:29 AM, Schneehase said:

Bottom line, I dont see the benefit of Bottas joining Sauber, other than Ferrari paying a lot to get any information Valtteri might have to sell. Schumacher Mick seems on the rise, but his conflict with Mazepin will slow down his career - he is a Ferrari driver, why not let him make the move to Sauber instead? Or - is that the master plan, pairing young Schumacher with Bottas for learning from one of the best (wingmen)?

Reading todays F1 news, I am coming back to my own questions from 2 months ago. See above. Today the Sauber / Alfa principal said in an interview with a french TV broadcaster "we have already decided about our 2nd driver, its only a matter of revealing things" and "we will reveal this after the Brazilian GP" and further "it could also be a Ferrari Junior driver, it could also be we keep Giovinazzi".

No, I dont believe the latter, simply because of the fact how blunt and direct Giovinazzi critizised his team after the strategic letdown during the Mexican GP. Such reaction is typical for a driver, who already knows he has to leave, and so he has put all his heart into this current race, to advertise himself as a worthy F1 driver, and then things happen. So no, I dont count on Giovinazzi keeping his cockpit. I would rather think Ferrari will find a spot for him elsewhere, probably as a 3rd driver for the time being, etc..

Reading the words of Frederic Vasseur, i still think Sauber / Alfa will sign Mick Schumacher for 2022. They wanted to do that a year ago, and for whatever strange reason we all do not know, somehow it did not work either for Ferrari, for Schumacher or for Sauber back then. Schumacher, clearly more talented than Mazepin, is in a bad spot at the moment, he is well versed handling the media and everyone seems to like him and wants see him make his way. If he stayed with Haas, he couldnt gain anything but overall experience. Neither would Haas, an american team driving in Russin colors at the moment (which feels kinda weird). From the Ferrari point of view I doubt this is the plan they have for Mick for another full season.

Why not pair the young Mick with the experienced Valtteri instead, bring the Schumacher name closer to a company brand (Alfa), and find out if he is fast enough to compete in that situation? Why not let Schumacher learn the rest he still has to learn from the Fin for 2 years - and suddenly Bottas 2 year contract would make sense? The only thing that might speak against it imho is the fact, that in 2022 Sauber is entiteled to choose the drivers themselves, they are not bound to get any Ferrari junior. However, one can imagine that the engine discount if you do sign Mick, might be just as valuable as if you signed any other pay driver (Zhou and his millions). Might not be the worst idea for a smaller, private team like Sauber, plus you avoid the risk of having a freshman in your team just when all technical rules are about to change. All seems to point into the same direction here...

What do you think - will we see this happen in Brazil: Alfa announcing Mick Schumacher as the 2nd driver for 2022?

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