F1 look to World Endurance Championship

The vacancy void created by Rosberg has presented an intriguing change of direction for F1.

Fans of Sportscars and one of their better known broadcasters (Graham Goodwin) have rather ironically called F1 ‘their feeder series’ over the years but Mark Webber tweeted a valid possibility for Williams should Bottas leave for Mercedes.

Although Mercedes won’t make any announcement until after the New Year, Williams has reportedly offered £5 million to Massa to return and replace Bottas should the move occur.

Massa announced his retirement from the sport last September and made what should have been his 250th and final start in Abu Dhabi three weeks ago.

WEC’s LMP1 – the premier category of the World Endurance Championship, is in reality not too far different to F1 in terms of technology. Indeed it could be argued that their hybrids are actually rather more advanced than the F1 power units, particularly when considering the open nature of the rule book for engine design. Drivers are required to be incredibly busy managing their systems during the 6 hour races, with a quadrupled workload at the WEC blue ribband event – the 24 hours of Le Mans.

So lets look at those listed by Webber candidates:

Sebastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi have both raced in F1, the former as part of Red Bull junior squad Toro Rosso, and have been racking up open-wheeler miles battling each other for victory in the FIA Formula E series. The Frenchman got the nod at the final round, but only after a controversial collision between the two title rivals.

Brendon Hartley, too, was a Red Bull Junior Team member at the same time Daniel Ricciardo was making his way up the ladder. The New Zealander is now a core member of Porsche’s LMP1 squad, winning the world championship with Webber in 2015, but prior to that he was a Mercedes F1 test driver in 2012-2013, and had previously been a test and reserve driver for Red Bull and Toro Rosso.

So I put it to you, the jury, should F1 be looking elsewhere for drivers or are Williams / Mercedes right to keep it within the F1 bubble? Please comment your reasons for voting below.

21 responses to “F1 look to World Endurance Championship

  1. Does anyone really care?

    F1 is vanishing up it’s own orifices at the moment and pretty much all of my mates who watched F1 since the early 90’s have ditched it and are happily watching WEC racing (and paying to do so), as it’s better racing all round.

    No “saving tyres”, every lap is a quali lap, better fan interaction, massively cheaper to watch at the track-side, better sound, more power, higher top speeds, arguably more technical innovation… the list goes on.

  2. Btw, I think its hard to make a fair comparison between LMP1 and F1, but here goes; Rosberg pole at Spa 2016; 1:46.744, Porsche pole wec 6 hours of Spa; 1:55.793 so difference of 9.049 sec. An F1 cars minimum weight is 702 kg with the driver, lets say the drivers weigh about 72kg.(that gives a nice round number) So the car is 630kg. Meanwhile the Porsche weighs 875kg. So thats 245 kg more (because of the rules). I dont know if that weight is a difference of 9 sec? But its definitely a big part of it, thats for sure. Conditions were roughly the same for both races (Belgian heatwave, remember?) Meanwhile the Porsche does have Michelin’s, and they’re (naturally) a lot better as the Pirelli’s…

    • An average lap time throughout both races might be more interesting a comparison, after 6 hours are they still doing a decent speed? F1 naturally go quicker the further into the race they go, WEC retain their average pace? Also – F1 might be faster overall but they’re certainly not built to do their pace continually for as long as 6 hours!

      • This year’s race was a slaughter (wec) so it might be harder to do. But it was an absolute brilliant race, no less. Anyway that comparison isn’t one I’ll be making as quickly as this one (secretly at work) but anyone is allowed to try it 😂

    • On average 10 Kg more weight equals to about 0,4 sec slower lap in F1. This is circuit dependent, of course, but the longer the lap, the bigger the difference..
      If this is correct (although in Spa 10 Kg could be more than 0,4 sec), 0,4 sec x 24,5 = 9,8 sec, which gives WEC car slightly faster than F1 over one lap.

      • Hmm. Very interesting. I thank you very much! Of course same tires would have a big impact too. So it’s all just guessing but I didn’t knew the kilo to time rate!

        • F1 tires are softer, hence faster. On the other hand, WEC cars have bigger brakes (because they have bigger whees), so this have to be factored in as well.
          It is really hard to say for sure, who was faster in last few years, since we all know F1 cars are constantlly crippled by the regulations aiming to slow them down. Next year they are expected to make a leap, and finnaly start to break the circuit records set in 2003-2005.
          I certainly hope so we’ll for once will have forward motion in that dirrection.

          • I’d still prefer those Michelins 😎 but I agree with you. Anyway trackside they’re both blistering fast. That’s good enough I guess. TV slows anything down

          • I still contend, that faster cars don’t always equal better racing.
            Sure it’s always exciting when a record is broken, but that wouldn’t impress me if it resulted in a line astern procession.

  3. Well from the first moment forward I said they should pick Robin Frijns!

    Currently the best thing outside F1…

    Beated the crap out of Kvyat, Sainz and Bianchi and cliched three consequtive junior series titles.

  4. The medieval conservatism of Formula 1 is appalling: they will never hire a driver from outside; big teams don’t hire young drivers -the exception was Max-; third drivers don’t drive; exciting prospects are seen as “too risky”; Europeans are preferred for no other reason; slow drivers are preferred because of their experience being slow; even the cars are painted as boring as possible to get a neutral attention from the most people possible.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. Who wouldn’t once again claim F1 was the pinnacle of motorsport when the grid featured the likes of Yuji Ide, Taki Inoue, Takuma Sato, Sakon Yamamoto, Esteban Tuero, Narain Karthikeyan, Alex Yoong………………….

  5. Williams are admitting defeat before even starting a race with a line-up of Massa (retired) and Stroll (pay driver) I am a Massa fan but he should retire and stay retired and however you package it, Stroll might be a good driver, but if it wasn’t for his bank account, he wouldn’t be in F1.
    I don’t understand why they don’t take the Mercedes payout for Bottas (there has to be some compensation there) and the money they will pay Massa, and invest in another young prospect. Don’t they have Alex Lynn on the books? If they had faith in him, they’d promote him, if not why bother having him on the books?
    It seems everyone forgets the days of Hill and Coulthard getting the call up from being test drivers, and Williams were the number one team back then!

  6. “Stroll might be a good driver, but if it wasn’t for his bank account, he wouldn’t be in F1.”

    You could say that for nearly every driver in F1 today.

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