Previously on TJ13 – Where does Werhlein go next?
Brought to you by TJ13 contributor R Lucke
I am a big fan of the silly season. Love the gossip. Whom with what and why. It keeps F1 alive during the winter season.
This actually the 4th time I have rewritten this item. I must admit I felt bad this season: silly season went from bad to boring to dead. But it is back alive!! From 4 open seats to 3 to 0, back to 1, or maybe even 2!!
Rosberg’s stopping will send a shockwave through the field! Rosberg dropped this bomb on December 3, at 14:45. He will not defend his title. He achieved what he wanted to achieve. Perhaps we’ll see another young German Mercedes driver in Rosberg’s vacated seat?
Let the speculation begin.
Silly season: engine deals have long been decided. F1 personnel seems to have made all their switches. No tire war. Apart from the open seats coming months will be hard…
Next season’s regulation changes are a nice subject to talk about, but I feel this is more a “constructor thing”: nothing gossipy about it. The subject isn’t particularly alive to me. Will it shake up the field: not sure. Budgets haven’t changed, so I can only presume the big money-spenders will again be on top. But let me keep my rant about budgets bottled up for the moment.
Brawn’s new role? nah.. not today.
Today’s “pen wonder” will be about driver choices. Specifically rookies. Rookies are interesting: you never know what to expect. The downside is that of course we will lose one of our heroes. (Yep, still miss Barrichello)
What makes a more likely candidate? For what I have seen drivers that make it to F1 have a combination of
1) talent to go fast
2) have an interesting nationality for sponsors to push their products into a particular market (connects to point 3)
3) bring in their sponsor money directly
4) be in the development program of …
5) whatever Ecclestone finds interesting
This does not have to be in that particular order, not all factors weigh the same, and interpretations are flexible.
Haryanto was a paydriver, that much was clear. However he did surprise me in terms of speed. Not that he ever (correct me if I am wrong) finished races before Wehrlein, but in terms of qualifying, he wasn’t the debacle I assumed he would be. The money ran out.
Enter Ocon: when he whooped Wehrlein’s butt the first qualifying, I through to myself: “force to be reckoned with” but in later races he did nothing to really impress me. He did not pull an “Alonso”.
Wehrlein or Ocon? Either of the 2 would do: the deciding factor for me would be his nationality, and I would go for Ocon. Allthough Grosjean is pretty good, we have been lacking a great french star for years.
Good Germans: we have too many of them. I don’t want to look at a bunch of Germans battling it out. Wasn’t that what killed DTM internationally? WTC deserves some more tv time, but there again: a discussion for later.
Back to the point I wanted to make: IMHO Haryanto would have been a great option. Not in the Manor though: they advanced well this year, but still to far from the points. A country like Indonesia would like to see some points to really get hooked on F1.
Ocon to Force India: this must feel like a defeat to Wehrlein. Wehrlein taking a seat at Sauber: I can imagine why, but really.. Ferrari engine for 2016, new owners.. not a jump to envie. And not the ideal recipe for succes.
Will Haryanto make it? No. The Hellmund deal seems to have crossed that out. Next year with a bigger check? No, can’t remember a paydriver to come back after a year’s absence.
Mercedes “paying” to get Ocon a seat in the Force India makes sense. He is in their development program. I must admit that I don’t know what that means “development program”: a long term contract? A stamp on a piece of paper saying “we like you”? Or is it simply “we need to get to him before anyone else can”? As spectator I would like to suggest: out with the development programs! Of no extra entertainment value to me. I would like to see a maximum of 3 drivers under contract in a team.
Development programs strike me as utterly boring and predictable: sign of the time that everything needs to be measured 10 times before it can race. It would be more exciting if a team would have to take a chance. Nowadays is it bad: no backing, no chance to get a seat. We, as spectators, would surely like to be the judge of talent (and separate the gods from the lesser ones)?? F1 is a spectator sport, and we like ballsy stuff.
Verstappen is a good example: where the hell did he come from? How did he get his seat? Big balls on the part of Red Bull. Then promoting him into their main team in the middle of a season: wooowww!! We F1 fans loved it, and spoke about it for weeks. This is the sort of spectacle viewers want and need. Not some over-analysed decision.
Palmer: only at the end of the season he seems to be picking up steam. The “early” confirmation at Renault surprised me. Do they really need this type of “stability”? The Hulk will bring all stability and experience they need.
Stroll in the Williams, Van Doorne in the McLaren for 2017: interesting but no surprises. The Stroll/Williams combination: I am secretly expecting that this is where the 2017 sparks will be flying.
Sainz to stay at Torro Rosso: I don’t see any need for Red Bull to keep him there. The golden duo for the next years has been decided Ricciardo and Verstappen, so no chance for an upgrade. He was unlucky with Verstappen as team-mate. Kind of a “Jos Verstappen next to Michael Schumacher”situation if you care to remember.. This gentleman is better than the Torro Rosso allows to show. I would have liked to see Sainz at Renault. Kyvat: definitively a guy I feel deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Ocon has been confirmed (and did it play a role that he battled Verstappen before?) at Force India. Ericsson has been confirmed to take the first seat in the Sauber, but only after sniffing the Force India seat. Can anyone blame him? I must admit Ericsson developped better than I expected. IMHO he deserves a better seat.
Kaltenborn had been contemplating whether to give Nasr his seat back. Banco do Brasil stops sponsoring: Kalteborn cannot withdraw her paws fast enough to drop Nasr. The second seat will likely go to Wehrlein. But since Rosberg just retired, Mercedes might want to reverse this. In which case Wehrlein could go to Mercedes, opening up a last seat at Sauber.
It may be a side-subject, but what strikes me is the nonchalance with which Kaltenborn hires and dumps drivers that save their financial butts: Nasr gives them 10th place, which will pay millions, and remember the Giedo van de Garde debacle? Giedo paid millions in advance to have a race seat, only to be dumped after the money was spent. Not really a confirmation of the “Sauber is a sympathetic team” image.
Once more, back to the subject, ticking of my list: F1 needs a Brazilian. (And an American, but that is a different story) If it weren’t for the abysmal financial situation of Manor, this would be the only team were we could see some interesting silly season maneuvering. Nasr: not the exciting option, and for him it must feel a step back, but he scores on point 2 (and don’t forget 5 ;-)) of my list.. But the Hellmund deal seems to have already materialized that seat. Together with Gutierrez? A surprise maybe (and a real step back from Haas) but not an exciting choice from my perspective.
I would have liked silly season to last longer.. I can’t remember a year when teams made their choices this timely. Gosh.. the winter of 2016-2017 will be long and dark.. But a glimmer of hope: Mercedes’ open seat might have a domino effect!