Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Interlagos, 2016

Only Verstappen could threaten Hamilton – Ecclestone

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says Max Verstappen is the only driver who could challenge Lewis Hamilton in the same team.

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Dmitry wants F1 to think more radically:

I really think it’s the time to rethink the whole concept of a formula car, because let’s face it – it’s a disaster and anachronism. It was common in the first half of the 20th century only because engineers were looking for a way to make cars lighter and didn’t care about aerodynamics or safety. But come on, it’t 2016 now. Time to scrap that idea.

If you’ve got wheels closed, you don’t have to develop all these complicated front wings. Cars are much less susceptible to the dirty air, performance returns on aerodynamic investment are diminished, closer grid, better racing.More straight line speed, longer braking distances, better racing. Less tiny and fragile parts – less damage prone cars and guess what? Yes, better racing. Also there is much more room for design and the cars would look much more diverse than they do now.

The only argument I’ve heard for the open wheels is “They’ve always been like that, it’s tradition and blah blah blah…” but come on, it’s not even a real argument, it’s just a typical unwillingness to accept changes.
Dmitry (@Albedo)

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On this day in F1

Fernando Alonso had his first test as a McLaren driver ten years ago today, wearing plain overalls due to his ongoing commitments to Renault.

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  • 144 comments on “Only Verstappen could threaten Hamilton – Ecclestone”

    1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      15th December 2016, 0:20

      But Bernie, Lewis got beaten by Nico.

      1. @come-on-kubica

        Very true but if you believe Nico was the better driver this season you may need your eyes then head tested.

        1. @9chris9
          Reliability or not, Rosberg challenged or even beat Hamilton plenty of times when they were teammates over the past 4 years.

          It wouldn’t surprise me if Verstappen – at the age of 19 – is already likely better than Rosberg ever was (and that is quite the compliment since Rosbeg was very good), plus his ceiling is likely much higher.

          1. @kingshark

            I won’t argue against Max being a challenger, just Nico was better on points but actually was no where near as good when it came to anything else, emphasised by Lewis’s bad luck. Just Malaysian win would have won him the WDC / WCC

            1. What about all the terrible starts that Lewis had this year? You can say all you want about his poor reliability this season, but you can’t deny the fact that Lewis hasn’t been flawless this season and that it wasn’t just down to Mercedes that he lost the title… Ultimately, Nico did exactly what he needed to do to win the title and no more. Heck, even the fact that he needed to finish in 2nd in the last 4 races to clinch the title showcases just how dominant he was this season. He made the most out of his chances and didn’t put a foot wrong in doing so. He deserves the title no matter if he was the fastest or not…

            2. but actually was no where near as good when it came to anything else

              His better starts at Australia, Bahrain, Italy? Him taking the lead down into T1 at Spain? Him being error free in Baku? He managed to overtake Verstappen (Oh hello, Mr moving under braking) not once but twice in GB and Abu Dhabi. He dominated Singapore and Japan. He did what he needed to do in the last 4 races. He resisted immense pressure in the last race and that was nothing short of a champion’s drive, most would agree. I’ll just put this here as well: “Champion’s move, wasn’t it?” – Martin Brundle, commentary during the 2014 Belgian GP when Rosberg overtook Bottas on the inside of Blanchimont.

            3. Panos & Svaran….

              You can pick the same flaws in Rosberg’s season as well (Germany, Monaco, Canada, Austria etc) & also find the same flawless performances that you’ve highlighted in Hamilton’s season just the same (Canada, Silverstone, Malaysia etc). But the one fact no one change or deny (though many will try & do) is that Malaysia was the biggest differentiate between them both.

              It was recently pointed out, that in races where neither driver had any form of technical issues & they were able to go head to head, it was 11-6 to Hamilton.

              And as for the Brundle reference, really? The discussion relates to 2016, Rosberg lost the 2014 championship, so it’s a rather pointless reference.


              “Heck, even the fact that he needed to finish in 2nd in the last 4 races to clinch the title showcases just how dominant he was this season.”

              Dominante….. really? Have you actually looked at the stats?

              He finished 20/21 races, took part in every Q3 session, started no lower than 6th (Austria), but yet (let’s take the final points position out of this for now) he only had:

              – 9 wins
              – 8 poles
              – 16 podiums

              You call that dominate? Compared to his teammate who didn’t take part in 3 Q3 sessions & finished 19/21 races, had only led 1 lap until he took the lead in Monaco, but yet ended up with the better stats in the 3 categories above?

            4. @roadkillergr

              No one’s denying that Hamilton made mistakes this year. He was definitely not flawless and could have improved on certain aspects such as his race starts.

              The point is that despite not being at his best he would have still beaten Rosberg. Even Rosberg, who ‘didn’t put a foot wrong all year’ wouldn’t have beaten a mediocre Hamilton if it wasn’t for Lewis’ mechanical failures.

              That says a lot about the gulf in class between the 2 drivers. Hats off to Rosberg for doing what he had to do, but to suggest that he was the more deserving of the 2 Merc drivers is just ridiculous.

            5. “He managed to overtake Verstappen (Oh hello, Mr moving under braking) not once but twice in GB and Abu Dhabi.”

              Ehm since when is overtaking with a Mercedes car an achivement at all… Verstappen was making Rosberg look like a rookie driver in GB beying much faster and overtaking him in the wet. It was not until the track was dry Mercedes power made Rosberg lose the gap again.

            6. @Matn When Hamilton fails to pass someone, it’s because his Mercedes car is useless in turbulent air. When Rosberg passes someone, the same car becomes the fastest on the grid and unaffected by turbulence. Great logic.

            7. Hamilton did plenty overtaking as well. Both did. In reality it’s quite easy in a Mercedes. The only time it’s not is when they are driving each other or the tyres are done.

              Rosberg was overtaken by Verstappen. That shows more about Rosberg’s skill than Rosberg using the power advantage of his car to drive past Verstappen.

          2. People also forget about Rosberg moving aside in Monaco or being hit on the 1st lap in Malaysia for instance.
            What if Nico didn’t have that advantage for the last 4 races ? He wouldn’t have played it safe and could have won more races and clinch the championship.
            Fact is he won the championship and deserves it.

            1. airtone…..

              ‘He won the championship’ – Yes, fact. Cannot be changed.

              ‘and deserves it’ – Not fact. Totally YOUR opinion.

            2. Has the most points = deserved it.

            3. @todfod

              I never said that Rosberg is the better driver of the two and I certainly don’t believe so either… All I was trying to say is that despite NOT being as good as Hamilton, he played his cards really well this season and made the most out of his chances. Such as Hamilton’s poor reliability and poor starts… That’s why I believe that Rosberg was the more deserving of the two… If it was just Hamilton’s unreliability that cost him the title than I would admit to the fact he simply got unlucky, but, he lost a lot of points purely by making driver errors and Rosberg reveled in that…

            4. @stubbornswiss Totally deserves it. Every single WDC is deserved. No exception. More points, snatches it, deserves it. Is Hamilton better? Most likely. Does Rosberg deserve his championship? Totally.

            5. @spoutnik It is your opinion he deserves it, and it is my opinion he does not.

              Why do you have a problem with that? Ridiculous to try and impose or force your opinion on others. Best one can do is agree to disagree.

            6. @stubbornswiss it’s not an opinion as whoever has the most points deserves the crown. What you imply is that somehow Rosberg stole the trophy to Hamilton or got his points in an unsporting manner which is not true. He collected points one after another and having the biggest tally was awarded a WDC. Saying he does not deserves it means that the next step is to trial and appeal the decision on legal grounds.
              That you’d have preferred that Hamilton wins is a thing. That Rosberg deserves it is another. But don’t get me wrong: I like Hamilton as much as Rosberg and loved the rivalry without which we’d have had a quite bland season. I respect each ones opinion but implying it should be trialled is wrong.
              In 1997 Schumacher didn’t deserve the championship. You can’t say it’s the same for Rosberg.

            7. @spoutnik Ok… I’m not going to be drawn into a lengthy argument, but the fact is whoever has the most points at seasons end WINS the championship, regardless of whether they deserved it or not. That is a FACT.

              Whether they deserved to win is relative, and based on ones opinion.

              Also, please don’t tell me what I am trying to say or what I am implying. That is just as wrong as trying to force your opinion on others. I know exactly what I AM saying, and that is “in my opinion, Rosberg did not deserve to win”.

              I will let you have the last word, as you come across as that kind of person.


            8. @roadkillergr

              If it was just Hamilton’s unreliability that cost him the title than I would admit to the fact he simply got unlucky

              But IT IS just the unreliability that gave Rosberg the title. That is exactly what the facts point to.

            9. @stubbornswiss I’m not any kind of person in particular. We clearly don’t put the same meaning in the principle of deserving, fine. I didn’t want to be rude or ‘force’ anything either it’s a debate so If you felt offended then excuse me it was certainly not intended.

          3. Kovalainen occasionally beat Hamilton too, no one is unbeatable.

            Michael van Gerwen sometimes loses a darts match as well, i know, its shocking, sometimes the best do lose now and again.

            The point is Hamilton was better over the long run, as the better ones usually are.

            1. Well, Kovalainen is the perfect example of what can happen if you place a second-tier driver alongside Hamilton: complete domination, with very occasional exceptions. Lewis had a past or future WDC as a team-mate during 8 seasons and only got beaten twice – Button 2011 and Rosberg 2016.

              I think recognition to Rosberg is long overdue. He’s certainly an all-time top 20 Formula 1 driver to me. It just happen that Hamilton is a top 10, perhaps top 5…

            2. Kgn11

              Most of the “Stats” turned to Hamilton’s favor after Japan… You know, that point in the year in which Rosberg needed to only finish in 2nd and so not win any more races? And yes mate, I do think that if you don’t have to win anymore races to win a championship and just casually cruise in 2nd in the final 4 races the season, it’s more likely than not that you were pretty dominant for the rest of it to get yourself to this point…

          4. Wait, what? shark I thought you were a die hearted Rosberg fan?

        2. Just think….if it hadnt been for that Group 2 rally in Italia, Kubica could have been a 7 time champion by now!

        3. …………….so next year make sure its Alonso, Verslappin, Danny Ric or Vettel in the other seat if we want to see a REAL challenge for next years drivers chumpionship!!!!! (or maybe Nico H or Carlos or Sergio to put a laxative in his Sunday morning McDonalds milkshake!

        4. But Chris, Lewis got beaten by Nico.

          1. Jorge Olivier

            yes Nico got more points, I mentioned that.
            Lewis won more races this season.
            Nico didn’t bother going for the win in any of the last 4 races. He was petrified in Abu Dhabi of having to actually overtake especially Max. A great driver would have gone for the win & wouldn’t have quit days after securing the WDC. Nico did the bare minimum he needed to do, and only just got away with it. Had his engine blown up in Abu Dhabi like in the previous year or even like Lewis’s in Malaysia then he’d had needed those other 3 wins.

            He’s not a convincing WDC.

            1. in one year everyone has fotgotten. ROS WDC 2016 will go in the books for eternity.
              All the number two drivers are only a sidenote ..

        5. He may not have been quicker, but he was better – hence the championship. To finish first, first you have to finish. Lewis sometimes did not do all he could to ensure he finished.

      2. Exactly.

        I’d say Riccardo would have done exactly the same. Less flair but more points.

      3. Another great “F1 marketing” line from Bernie..Dani ric is the most complete driver in F1 currently… ‘as the driver ratings will soon show’, Dan could beat LH consistantly and would do it without clumsy ragged edge moves!!

      4. No, he got beaten by reliability

      5. “Beaten”? It’s a great example that not everything is what it looks like.

    2. So what CotD is basically saying is…make F1 LMP1?

      I suppose it boils down to “what is Formula 1?”, is the basic car design an integral part of it’s identity? Or is it just that it has the best teams, the fastest cars and the most money? When I think about it like that, it’s amazing it’s lasted this long. It certainly brings FOTA’s breakaway threats back to mind.

      1. …………….I think that is F1 summed up very concisely for the last 7 years at least! Left me with a good couple of hours retrospection about the way F1 has gone recently. #:/

      2. @george
        I’ve been saying for years that they should bring the rules of F1 and LMP closer together, with F1 cars becoming more like a sprint version of an LMP car without the lights and other parts needed for endurance racing.
        If WEC ran a two hour sprint series I’d probably give up on F1 altogether.

      3. BTW, LMP1 is overrated.

    3. I really think it’s the time to rethink the whole concept of a sport, because let’s face it – it’s a disaster and anachronism. It was common in the Ancient Greece only because people were looking for a way to determine who is the fastest and the strongest and didn’t care about health or safety. But come on, it’s 2016 now. Time to scrap that idea.

      Ruining your body with trainings and drugs just for running faster or lifting a heavier weight? Come on, it’s too dangerous and inhumanely. We’ve got gyroscooters and tower cranes for this kind of things. And this boxing and martial arts, OH MY GOD! Fencing and archery in the 21st century? Really!?

      The only argument I’ve heard for this “It’s always been like that, it’s tradition and blah blah blah…” but come on, it’s not even a real argument, it’s just a typical unwillingness to accept changes.

      1. I have to say I absolutely agree with everything you said, but then I wondered if I thought whilst I was agreeing with all of your comments that I actually found all of them not really stating the facts or the data related to real-life statistics and the situations we have found over the 2016 season. but on the hole, I had a good time reading your comment,. #:)

      2. The need to look safe with sarcasm has blinded you. All sports have evolved for the better, even fencing and archery with lighter equipment etc. Formula cars will potentially be the fastest ever in 2017 and where will regulations go from here 10-20 years down the road?

        Red bull fan car prototype – if an analogous car to this is made to go racing, it won’t matter that the wheels are covered.

      3. While I can see your point, I disagree with what you are saying and agree with the COTD.

        There is so much involved in F1 which is only done because it’s always been like that. Open wheels is one of them. Open cockpits is another. While I don’t think we should rush to change them, I don’t think “that’s how it’s always been” is a good reason to do something. All elements should be evaluated without nostalgia to come up with the best possible regulations.

        For the wheels, personally, I’d love to see Formula E style “fairings”. They would increase aerodynamic efficiency, reduce spray in the wet and be safer in accidents.

    4. So what’s a Red Bull driver doing at Toro Rosso then?

      1. Beeing loned out at STR. It’s kinda been like that since a decade now….

    5. Bernie isn’t far off. Although i think unless its Alonso in the next car, no-one will get near Lewis

      1. @johns23 Not even Alonso. Alonso couldn’t beat Hamilton as rookie let alone now as a pro, forget Alonso coming even close to Hamilton.

        1. I still think Lewis was having his best year in 2007. In their 1st year together at McLaren Button beat Alonso on points not count back.

          As for 2008 Massa deserved the title if we are going on about reliability costing titles. This year Hamilton drive better than Rosberg but lost on reliability, he benefited from this in 2008 so seems fair.

          1. @Markp Couldn’t agree less. 2008 was fully deserved by Lewis. Firstly, Ferrari was a superior car overall. The he was robbed of the Spa win (which was shamefully handed to Massa) plus he got penalised 5 times during the year by the stewards for completely ridiculous reasons.

          2. If Massa had scored just one point at Silverstone in 2008, he’d have won the championship. Instead he spun what, 5 times?

            Again– Yes, Hamilton got lucky in 2008, but like Rosberg in 2016, he drove well enough to be in a position to take advantage of that luck when it arrived.

            Championship requires a good driver, a good car, a good team, and a bit of luck– and sometimes, it comes down to just the luck. That’s racing.

        2. I think there were quite a few people saying that there was no chance for Rosberg to beat Hamilton either. He did, and I would think it’s safe to think that there are plenty more who could.

          1. Yeah good point. I reckon 99% of people wouldn’t think Rosberg could beat lewis, so he finally did it. But even for Rosberg, he knew the opportunity to beat Lewis again was going to be pretty hard. I rate Rosberg very highly but still stand my ground on Alonso being the only driver to challenge Lewis

    6. Fully agree with Bernie there.
      Lewis and Max in the same car, even if it was bottom of the pack would be a spectacle to behold.

      No other virtual or perspective pairing on the grid comes close to that pairing.

      1. ……..get up to speed. Think OUTSIDE the box. bye bye Bernie….Liberty have your Caribbean heaven ready Bernie…plus free injectiojns.

      2. Didn’t Arrows & McLaren used to have 2 seater F1 cars, some years ago?

        1. Yes, and Ferrari drew up a side-by-side concept.

        2. @inkpen99
          It’s time to make F1 a real team sport: One driver controls the throttle and gears, the other handles the steering. Genius!

        3. @inkpen99 McLaren and Minardi made 2 seaters. Not to be outdone, Arrows made a 3 seater. :)

    7. COTD is wrong.

      Part of the skill in racing F1 cars at close quarters is the fact the a driver cannot really lean on another car that hard as it leads to a big accident, if wheels get covered, then rubbing becomes racing like in sports car racing, F1 is not sports cars, it’s extreme cars with drivers with skills beyond mere mortals. We all know what racing drivers a like, if they can find an advantage they will, so if there is less chance of easily causing big damage because of covered wheels, the drivers WILL exploit it.

      F1 is open wheel, open cockpit, extreme machines, let’s not add any more weight to current cars either as they look fat less nimble on track already at around 800kg when full of race fuel. They don’t need to be heavier, it’s lighter and heavier that F1 needs to go.

      Covered wheels = Not F1 any more!

      Plus look what they did to Indy cars……………need I say more?

    8. I could name a few Bernie. Vettel 4x world champ Alonso 2x world champ Button beat him at McLaren Kimi 1x world champ

      1. Alonso, yes. Button and Kimi a la 2017 not so much. Vettel? I don’t think he’s a great driver. He’s just really quick over one lap and flawless when controlling from the front. As far as I’m concerned all we really know is that Vettel is better than Webber.

    9. Only Verstappen could threaten Hamilton – Ecclestone.

      Rosberg “just a champion” – Ecclestone.


      1. yeah, I tought pretty much the same @sravan-pe. Rosberg gave Hamilton quite a fight for the title in 2014 and 2016 and even in 2015 without dropping out in Russia he put up a fight for it.

        So either Rosberg is better than given credit for, or Hamilton is not as unbeatable. Personally I think it’s possibly a bit of both. And Mercedes want to have someone pushing him in the other car, they know it spurred him on too. But on the other hand I am not as pessimistic about either Bottas nor about Wehrlein. I think that both will do at least a better job than Heikki did next to him at McLaren (for whatever reason, he always seemed to slump into that no. 2 role.)

    10. Also we are in an age where you can make any driver look amazing in a car. You could put Maldonado in the Merc and he will win and put Vettel and Hamilton in a manor and they will come near last. The engineers deserve more credit for championships that. The drivers now adays

      1. @jamiejay995

        its the media the pays no attention to the others that make up the rest of the team

      2. I guess that’s why their is a Constructor’s Championship and a Driver’s Championship. I’ve been following F1 for over 30 years, and the longer I watch, the more attention I pay to the team designers and directors. What other team sport has 300+ players on a team? It is truly awesome!

      3. @jamiejay995

        Also we are in an age where you can make any driver look amazing in a car.

        We have been for a century.

    11. Keith Crossley
      15th December 2016, 3:41

      Didn’t the Lotus 72 establish the basic architecture of an F1 car in 1970? The Lotus 79 added the aero bit. Since then hasn’t it been a case of refinement, regulation, more refinement, more regulation, on and on?

      The current regs practically define the car; then millions are spent to capture miraculous bits of improvement.

      As an F1 fan since 1957 (and not “always that way, blah, blah”) I think regs should be something like:
      – 4 or more wheels
      – nnn units of energy for fuel – the rest of the engine is up to you
      – some chassis regs to avoid some of the sillier things done in the past (ride height, no suspension etc)
      – maybe something to stop wheel-to-wheel launches, and other safety stuff
      – perhaps a standard tire spec; max dimensions.
      – I don’t like this, but something to reduce aero wake

      What more do we need? Cleverness & innovation should rule!

      I’m sure I will be told how silly and impractical this is; but the spirit should be on these lines!

      1. You should know the Cooper Jack Brabham built defined the modern F1 design more than any other!!!

        1. alex w, it really depends on what you define as being “the basic architecture of an F1 car”, since you could have quite a few different answers otherwise.

          If you refer to the use of the engine as a load bearing member, you could argue for either the Lancia D50 or the Lotus 43 (the front engined D50 was the first to use the engine as a load bearing member, whilst the Lotus 43 was the first mid engined vehicle to use the engine as a fully load bearing element).

          If you want to refer to the use of aerodynamic wind tunnel testing, then you could point to the streamlined versions of the Mercedes W196 and Maserati 250F; the first evidence I can find for wings being fitted to a car would be Ferrari’s 156 (in testing, towards the end of the 1.5L formula) or the Lotus 49 (first time in a race). If it is a monocoque chassis, then you could cite the Lotus 25 (although Connaught had a prototype in the works just before they pulled out).

          1. And Project 4 McLaren introduced the Carbonfibre chassis.

      2. Unfortunately, unchecked innovation in this era would result in a sport that very few could participate in. The Big Three teams would outspend and out-develop everyone, and run the sport into the ground. The Formula has had to change in order to make sure that participation is possible for more than billionaires.

    12. Short man syndrome. Bern is the John McCain of F1. Just go away..please. Go play with a toy toy.

      1. Anywho..It was great hearing from Bernie after he was lifted from his chair by his loving wife(aha) and wheeled in front of a microphone.

    13. Maybe let sainz go because he deserves better?! Of course rb doesn’t think that way but sainz has far more potential in a better car and there won’t be a change in the “senior” – team for the foreseeable future, I would be really frustrated being kept just so no one else gets an advantage

      1. They have to keep Sainz at home, because once RIC or VES contracts run out (and if they decide to move on like VET did), they’ll need the best possible driver from THEIR own academy, and that’s Sainz at the moment.

    14. I wonder how motivated Bottas will feel towards Williams if they lock him out of a (potential) race winning car?

      1. Yeah, that is the thing, isn’t it @selbbin. Sure, Williams really needs Bottas. But they need a motivated Bottas wanting to prove himself. Not a Bottas who feels frustrated by missing out on a winning car because he was not freed by Williams.

        I guess the negotiations might take a while before it gets sorted one way or the other.

        1. No doubt a dream situation for Bottas: stay at Williams he’s a number 1 driver, or go to merc and he is well placed to win a drivers championship. The thing is with Pat Symmonds advocating to keep him and also quoted as saying he is “a bloody good driver” in years gone by, there’s surely only one outcome even if the price is pushed to the max.

        2. @bascb It’s true, teams need drivers who want to be there (hence why Merc wouldn’t stand in Rosberg’s way when he decided to retire despite having a contract). But at the same time I’m certain nobody forced Bottas to sign the contract but rather it was lucrative for him to do so at the time.

          Williams perhaps need to take the gamble that while he’d rather not be there it’s still in Bottas’ interest to perform as well as possible in order to keep himself on the radar of the big teams in future (Wehrlein might not work out so well, Alonso and Raikkonen’s days are numbered etc). I guess there’s a price for everything, but it might not be at a sensible level for Mercedes as Williams having an elevated development budget for one year but with limited ability to get the feedback required to develop the car doesn’t really move them forward.

          1. I am sure that Williams will tell Bottas that @jerseyf1, and it is quite possible that they convince him too.

    15. Daniel would/should be WDC next year but Helmut Marko’s probably gonna pull off a Helmut Marko next year and give the title to Max. #WebberWDC2010

      1. Daniel would win the WCD only IF he can get the upperhand on Max in 2017…and exactly THAT..won’t happen. Verstappen got the upperhand on DannyRic the last few races and as we have allready seen in the Carlos days, Max will only improve to demolish Ricciardo in 2017.

        Next year will be the year Ricci will be known as Webber v2.0

      2. I fear for Riccardo next year. Max i think will be hard to beat. But I’m hoping my Aussie mate comes out on top

    16. I think a car as dominant as the Mercedes makes it easy to think of their lead driver as an unbeatable racing God.

      I often find myself thinking the same as bernie said about Hamilton, but then I remind myself how he drove when he was in lesser cars and he actually looks quite human, and perhaps even a little scrappy at times.

      I think the fact that in terms of pace he was so often matched by Rosberg says it all.

      Put any of the top drivers in that car and they will deliver similar performances to Hamilton’s.

      1. Reliability woes aside, Hamilton beat rosberg something like 10-5 in quali. Speculating that *any* top driver could do that is irrelevant because we will never know now.

    17. I was wondering, as per the regulations, if it’s absolutely compulsory for Honda to supply another team. I don’t think any team in their right mind would give up a Mercedes, Ferrari or even a Renault power unit for Honda. The only way Honda could get a team to take their power unit is if they gave a cash strapped team a massive discount or some monetary incentive to use their Power unit.

      It’s funny how no team would want to be at a disadvantage by working with Honda… except for Mclaren of course.

      1. I’m actually Way more worried about mclaren than Honda. Ever since ron Left there was no reassuring News about them being the best at everything :-(

        1. @mrboerns Not quite true, see article from Round Up a couple of days ago: http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/10693373/mclaren-bullish-about-2017-prospects-says-zak-brown

          Although I admit, Brown’s hint that a major title sponsor might not be on-board until 2018 is a little different from Ron’s approach in which such an announcement would be described as “imminent”.

      2. @todfod realistically I can only see Sauber making a deal with them. The Mercedes teams are out of the equation. Ferrari and Haas have a partnership that goes deeper than simply supplying engines, so they won’t go anywhere. RedBull and Toro-Roso would be blocked by McLaren in the eventuality of Honda’s PU “magically” becomes competitive and they gain interest.

        Sauber are already in the back-foot by using the 2016 engine next season, so a change wouldn’t affect them as much, with in-season development, probably nothing. And McLaren don’t think they can be a threat. They are also strugling financially, so if they can have a good deal on those engines, I am sure they will get it

        Other possibility would be to supply a new team, but don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.

        1. Agree. I’m sure there wouldn’t be a large gap between the performance of a year old Ferrari PU as compared to new and fully upgraded version of the Honda… although I’m sure Honda will still have to sweeten the deal for Sauber to get them to move away from Ferrari.

          Another team that has a shot is Manor as they are constantly cash strapped. A massive discount on engines along with a technology partnership with Mclaren (similar to Ferrari-Haas) could lure them as well.

          1. Didn’t Mercedes wanted to do that with Manor? I remember some rumours about it when the Ferrari-Hass partnership came about.

            They already have a cooperation that allows Mercedes to put their drivers there. It would have to be a very good offer.

    18. HAM’s already proved himself, ROS did everything he needed to, to win the WDC. In some circumstances HAM was at fault (noone’s perfect) and he was also unlucky. ROS did everything he needed to… the end.

      With ROS gone, i personally think a few drivers will give HAM a run for his money in almost equal equipment, RBR, FERR, TOR [drivers], what’s given HAM and ROS a massive advantage has been the car, it’s almost like they don’t have to try as hard, only with each other, so to me it’s almost pointless debating.

      With (hopefully) better car parity next year, will be the only way to have healthy debates about this, although I personally think HAM is the best driver on the grid, nothing he hasn’t done, come from the back and end up on the podium, quick in qualifying, hardcore racer, but like all the other drivers on the grid he can (and will) make mistakes and history shows us this over and over…

      1. I have read u and almost everyone but I honestly think that everyone seems to forget about one major and that is when Lewis is concentrate on his racing like others. He will be scary.

        1. Problem is the mental approach.. HAM is very vulnerable and if there’s a lot of tension he will break.
          ( look at his outburst after Baku)

    19. Yes, MotoGP is more exciting to watch & simple enough for most people to get a grasp of.

      F1 keeps getting really tiresome at some points, with these ever-changing regulations & fluctuating stewards decisions. F1 & everyone involved in it takes it a little too seriously & can be quite precious about it. This is a sport(at least in principles) after all.

      Also, it is way too complicated. No, not the complications with the technology or the innovation, even if I may not understand a lot of it; it is interesting & can be awe-inspiring at times. Couple that with the constant criticisms from everyone, way too much negativity all around. Sometimes it feels like everybody involved in or following this sport only wants to have something to constantly moan about. If F1Fanatic does a survey or traffic analysis for this year, the peaks will mostly be for some scandals, some mess-ups or something negative(apart from some flashes of brilliance like Max’s driving in Brazil). It is tiring…

      F1 still has the most media & followers’ attention among any Motorsports, but not for the right reasons.

      1. @praxis, you should have seen how MotoGP was riven by extremely bitter political fighting in 2015, to the point where the head of Dorna (the motocycle equivalent of FOM) called all of the riders and teams into a meeting to demand that they stopped dragging the sport into disrepute.

        You had riders publicly abusing the governing body and frequently accusing other riders of dangerous racing and dirty tricks, along with Honda and Yamaha trading accusations and counter accusations.
        FIM and Dorna were publicly accused by media organisations of deliberately stirring up the conflict between Lorenzo, Rossi and Márquez to boost the profile of the sport, whilst some former champions publicly called FIM a disgrace for the way that they mishandled the riders and accused them of manipulating the title battle to generate artificial excitement by closing up the gaps between riders.

        Frankly, that entire year was an extraordinarily bitter and nasty affair that made the goings on in F1 look distinctly tame by comparison – and that’s just one of the more recent years. It’s got to the point where FIM have now introduced its own “bringing the sport into disrepute” clause which is extremely extensive – any criticism of FIM can be construed as “harming the public image of the sport” and subject to a penalty.

        Equally, was the MotoGP series really that simple? I note that the Motorsport article doesn’t mention that, until quite recently, you had the situation of the “Open” class riders and the “Factory” class riders in MotoGP, and before that you had the “Claiming Rule Teams” and “Factory” teams.

        Essentially, imagine if privateer teams like, say, Sauber or Williams essentially ran to a different regulatory rule package to the manufacturer teams – that was what the “Open/Claiming Rule Team” and “Factory” regulations sets were set up for.
        Then, just to make things more confusing, FIM then decided that they had to further split the “Open” class regulations into “Open” and “Open 2”, with the latter then being opened up to certain manufacturer teams running to a modified version of the “Open” class regulations in an effort to boost their competitiveness. How is having three different subsets of regulations supposed to be a simpler approach?

        1. Yes, @anon. I followed that extreme situation last year quite keenly. What happened between Rossi & Marquez…and the subsequent aftermath wasn’t pretty. No matter how much media attention & eyeballs MotoGP gathered, and made DORNA millions….isn’t enough to make up for the bitter spats & general absence of decency & sportsmanship. Their former champs are no saint or heroes, each & every time they open their mouth…

          I’m relatively new to following MotoGP. And stated why I enjoy that more than F1 as of now.

          Modern F1 is stylish, sleek, polished & selfish. Modern MotoGP is almost the opposite of it. Its rough, that gives me a sense of ingenuity. I am not old enough to have followed F1 in the 80s or the magical 70s. F1 heroes aren’t gladiators for me, the drivers I watched were Mika, Schumacher, Villeneuve, Hill, Kimi. Great drivers, but not my heroes.

          About simplicity or sporting regulations, watch GT, WEC, IMSA? F1 makes all of them look a kindergarten science project. The ever lasting aim of achieving BoP & ever-changing regulations? Every major championship goes for that. Only F1 makes it an absolute mess for all involved. FIM at least tries to balance it out genuinely, the stock ECU for traction control & new Michelins gave us 9 winners in a single season. If that’s not balancing things successfully, then I don’t know what is. Did you read up on the latest update on F1? Strategy group declined Manor to run 50% model instead or 60%… with an increase of 10% more time. They also rejected the FI proposal to prioritise CFD if some team wishes to. Now why is that?

          This year’s MotoGP headlines were 9 different winners, Marquez’s brilliance. When the new tyres kept failing MotoGP didn’t go shoot itself in the foot like F1 did with Pirelli(with those failures). In the end, it’s not even the complexity of regulations or the constant negativity for me….

          Watching Marquez riding the bike the way he does is amazing. it’s awe-inspiring. No F1 drivers made me feel that in years. Yes, Max’s driving was awesome in Brazil, but that’s not at the same level for me.

          MotoGP excites me more than F1 these days, that’s all.

          1. I for one am rather exited by both MotoGP and Formula 1. There is room for both in my calendar!

    20. I’m wondering what it would be like for Mercedes to hire a former F1 driver. Somebody who lost their seat because of a lack of funding, not talent, who has competed within the past few years, some experience, and is still racing at a relatively high level, so they haven’t “lost it”, so to speak.

      Advantages include not having to buy another driver, as well as already having experience.

      It would take a bit of time to get up to speed, but likewise it would for anyone making the transition to Mercedes. There are plenty of former drivers out there who would run at the opportunity.

      1. Buemi, Vergne, Di Grassi, Glock, Heidfeld (39 years is too old probably) and Yamamoto

        Thank me later Toto

        1. Kobayashi as well

      2. Or Simon Pagenaud from Indy?

      3. If Merc wanted someone from outside F1 who would score points consistently and maybe even win a few races after he got use to the Pirelli tires, they should see how much Ganassi wants to release Scott Dixon from his contract. He’s been the best Indycar driver of the last 15 years without a doubt. He’s old enough and experienced enough that Hamilton’s mind games won’t affect him, and he’s still really fast. I wouldn’t I expect him to beat Hamilton over the course of a season, but Dixon would score a bunch of points and podiums for Merc.

        1. Montoya! ;)

          1. …And I bet he’d pay to do it!

    21. … Should we mention that both of them got beaten by their team mates this season?

      1. @mike You just had to lift that lid!

      2. @mike At least one of them still managed to beat one teammate this season.

    22. It’s a little off topic, but I was just reflecting on the news articles over the last few months about the teams outside the top 3. In general, I was reflecting on the positivity for the 2nd and 3rd tier teams. It is a massive difference from the news in the last few years, where we have speculated about which teams might fold or drop to the back of the grid. Right now, I am wondering which of the lower teams will rise higher next year. In general, I expect them all to progress well next year. Which makes me think that F1 has taken a turn for the positive for the backmarkers.

      My opinion is that the bare knuckles kind of “hang on and hope we survive” mentality seems to have gone and that can only be a good thing for F1. You may disagree, but here is what I have seen. Starting at the back of the grid.

      Manor : Firstly, they are still here which is massive on it’s own. Toward the end of the year, they ran 2 very strong drivers in Wherlien and Ocon. I still expect them to struggle next year, but not like in the past. They do seem like a viable team now, but not a strong one.
      Sauber: I see big things for Sauber next year. They signed a new financial backer. As a result of that, they have had some really big signings of staff in the technical and management side. They stopped development of the 2016 car early on to focus on the 2017 car.
      Renault: Enstone are a very good team that lacked a budget. Not so long ago, they were fighting for victories. The money problem has been rectified and there have been some good staff added. Big money, good team. They also stopped development early on to focus on the 2017 car. They could rocket up the grid next year.
      HAAS: I am not sure about them next year. 2016 was a massive learning year for them and they will be better in 2017, but I am not sure that it will be enough. However, they have Ferrari help and as a new team, if they get on top of it, they could do well. I have a gut feeling that they will struggle again next year when the previously poor teams (with more F1 experience to lean on) overtake them. Equally, they could excel.
      Torro Rosso: I actually expect these guys to go backwards next year or hold station at best. However, better times are in front of them. They are allowed to use RB expertise next year, but it will come too late for them to truly capitalise on it. They also have the current spec Renault engine next year. Expect them to come on strong late in the year.
      McLaren: I expect McLaren to start challenging at the top again next year. They have the money and the people. The Honda engine will be miles better straight out of the box next year (although still 3rd/4th best). I feel that the chassis will struggle at the start because they haven’t been used to having the extra power. By the end of the year, they will come on strong.
      Williams: They might sign Paddy Lowe! That is huge and not just because of his expertise, but because of the fact that he sees them as worth going to. Anyone remember questioning Hamilton’s move to Merc. Smart people see more than we see and Paddy Lowe to Williams is a big statement. They dropped back this year, but from what I am seeing, they aren’t prepared to accept that and seem prepared to take some big risks. With risk comes reward (or failure).
      Force India: These guys are the masters of maximising a small budget right now. I personally think that they maxed out this year and will be overtaken by McLaren and possibly Williams again. But it will be close and these guys are very good.
      Big 3: Outside that, you go to the untouchables at the top. (Merc, RB and Ferrari) I won’t discuss them beyond saying that is is possible that McLaren may make it into the top tier by the end of the year.

      You might disagree with my thoughts above about each teams prospects. However that isn’t the point of my rant. I wanted to point out the positivity that is coming out of all the lower teams. Every single team has a glass half full look in the future. No longer are we hearing denials from teams about their financial stability. Instead, we are hearing about increased staff levels and big signing and so on. As a result, I am also positive about the future of the F1 teams. I know there is a lot of other things to fix, but it is just nice to see some positivity somewhere.

      1. Excellent points on something off topic. One I disagree with is Renault F1 or “Enstone”. While Groupe Renault SE “Renault” bought the F1 team at Enstone, Renault is not and has no plans to aggressively fund Enstone with new equity capital.

      2. Good post! I am heartened by the competitiveness in the midfield, and hope that the new formula in 2017 maintains this direction. Renault, Williams and Haas are all going to be very interesting this spring.

    23. What about the guy who outscored Max over seventeen races, Bernie? Could he not challenge Hamilton?

      1. Same guy who beat a 4 time WDC in his first season in Red Bull?

      2. counting is not your forte it seems ;)
        As i recall the quali was somewhat different.
        and you missed 2x DNF

    24. Er, no Horner, Sainz is a Torro Rosso driver. There is a difference, hence Max in a Red Bull.

      1. Nope, they are all contracted to RBR, and leant out to TR. Helps with the tax returns.

    25. He is saying this to fill seats. It’s exactly like Rossi in moto gp. They are trying to make a god like figure, though the guys are good let them develop naturally instead of this.

      It makes real fan dislike these guys because you see them getting away with things others don’t(this always happened with Rossi and is now happening with Max).

      Let the sport run it’s self and heroes will be created in their own time.

      1. He is saying this to fill seats.

        Absolutely right. Bernie is promoting the business, that’s his job. If Rosberg had stayed, Bernie would be eulogising him and looking forward to titanic struggle next season. Instead, Rosberg is ‘just a champion’. Gone like yesterdays newspaper. And so instead Max is being promoted as the Next Big Thing.
        Unfortunately it’s not so much a sport as a business.

    26. Whatever driver moves to Mercedes, he will lose out to Hamilton as he is at his all time best right now. However I do think some drivers (Vettel, Ricciardo, Alonso, Verstappen) have the potential to overcome the deficit and go beyond. As I said before a driver is always being pushed to a new level by a good teammate, a level he alone cannot achieve. That’s what Rosberg did to Hamilton and the other way around, that is what Alonso and Vettel are missing right now. For me there is no doubt Alonso would’ve performed even better during his Ferrari days had he had a young gun next to him threatening his position in the team. Webber pushed Vettel too, unlike some continue believing. Both have been lacking that and that would cost them against Hamilton, but I also believe both are very talented and would level with Hamilton, and have the potential to surpass him in his current form. Then again Hamilton will be pushed by either of them too. For me Vettel/Hamilton would be the most interesting pair since Senna/Prost.

      1. I think Hamilton was better in 07/08 then he is now, but how can you really compare with such a dominant car? I compare performance vs teammate, Hamilton only did what people predicted, they predicted he is .2 or .3 seconds faster then Rosberg which he was, but he did not dominate Rosberg… Rosberg kept him honest, unlike how Vettel dominated Webber. Vettel got 4 championships out of 4 vs Webber. Hamilton 2 out of 3 vs Rosberg, and at one stage go beaten 7 races in a row, and also 4 races in a row (to race wins)

        1. I think it’s unreal that you could claim a driver was better in his first two seasons than now, after 50 off wins, three world championships and fights with teammates like Alonso, Button and Rosberg. Hamilton of today would destroy Hamilton of any year before that.

      2. For me Vettel/Hamilton would be the most interesting pair since Senna/Prost.

        This is the pairing I want to see, as the 2 big names of the last 10 years I’d love to see them go head to head.

      3. as he is at his all time best right now

        Yep, but next year that’s the question.

      4. “Whatever driver moves to Mercedes, he will lose out to Hamilton as he is at his all time best right now.” True that, and this is why I think Wehrlein will their eventual choice. He will be an exciting German prospect for the future, and the sooner he is given a top drive, the sooner they can judge his potential against a known quantity in Hamilton.

    27. Re Bernie’s comment about Max, what about Daniel Riccardo. If he was in the other Mercedes i think he’d give Lewis something serious to worry about. (I know it will never happen).

    28. Bernie, you’ve just started an argument between the two most fanatical and vocal groups of fans on the internet.

      1. I can’t wait until this all dies down.

    29. Pat Symonds is confused: he’s under the impression that Williams is a racing team focused on winning races and world championships, as opposed to what it is, which is a midfield corporate entity who’s role is to help fill the F1 grid with the contractually obligated number of race cars. Williams will accept a deal to release Bottas in return for sufficient revenue (compensation for releasing Bottas) or cost reduction (engine lease price subvention) from Daimler Benz A.G. Williams is a supplier to Formula One Management, a media and entertainment company headquartered in Denver Colorado.

    30. when Hamilton hasn’t had the fastest car in F1, he has been beaten – also when he had the fastest car -in 2007, 2012 and 2016 he had the best car and failed to win the championship. also to all the Rosberg haters… when was the last world chamipion beaten 7 times in a row to 7 wins in a row by their teammate? only Hamilton has that special record which shows he is not the be all driver you all think he is. Hamilton’s quickest teammate in his career was Fernando Alonso in 2007, and he only managed to tie on points. versus Jenson Button as teammates- Button scored more points then Hamilton. hardly the dominant force. Vettel in the Mercedes after his 4 championships would probably have done a better job against Rosberg then Hamilton, as would have Alonso, Ricciardo and possibly Verstappen. Ecclestone’s words are only spoken on the assumption that Mercedes has the dominant car again, and that Mercedes are likely to pick a cheaper, and likely slower team mate.

      1. Disagree with reference to Vettel, why? Vettel has struggled since the start of the hybrid era, he’s been getting better, but i doubt he would’ve done a better job than HAM with reference to performances versus ROS, i’d say ROS vs VET would’ve been closer. Plus the situation at RBR when WEB was there was a blatant “1, 2” driver scenario. HAM isn’t invincible, does make mistakes, but generally when he’s on point, not many will be able to match him and this is the same case when he isn’t in the best car.

      2. No Matter what car Hamilton raced in in all his F1 years there is not a single year he did not manage to win at least one race. A feat unequalled by any other F1 driver from 2007 to this date.

        IMHO, Ham should have been COTD since his rookie year in F1. Were it not for his team’s “mistake” in China, keeping him too long on shot tires when he was in the lead, he would have been. So he would have beaten Alonso no sweat were it not for what was maybe not a mistake, but a way of keeping Alonso happy.

        As far as Button is concerned, in 2010, Ham was 4th with 240 points, and But 5th with 214. In 2011 But was 2nd with 270 points, Ham 5th with 227 (DNF at Spa when But sent him off track on the staight). Then in 2012, Ham was 4th with 190 points and But 5th with 188 points. So Ham was the better one during two years out of three in a team where Martin Whitmarsh seemed to have a marked fixation for Jenson Button.

        So all in all his merits are more than what you are willing to admit.

        I wish there were a way to extract candid answers from Hamilton’s fellow pilots to the question: Would you dig being Hamilton’s team mate? and why.

    31. I guess the point of open wheel is that it sets its own specific challenges. I just still don’t get why the new regs completely missed the boat on reducing the size and complexity of front wings – hasn’t it been clear for years now that those are among the biggest yet most easily fixable impediments to closer racing?

    32. Hamilton’s got 42 pole positions ’13-’16 vs. Rosberg’s 36. If that’s not threatening, I don’t know what is and I don’t think many drivers who raced during those years could’ve done the same, except for the WDC usual suspects. I guess this current anti-Rosberg campaign of Bernies is a result of his philosphy that F1 always should have a charismatic super-duper-duper-star that has the potential to allure and attracts youngsters to the Sport, something Hamilton does way better than Rosberg. Rosberg happened to interfere with those plans and on top of that – drop out of the sport. And after reading Bernies autobiography by Susan Watkins, I’d say that Rosberg’s winning-then-dropping out, is a direct offence to Bernie personally.

    33. When did the season finished? Almost 3 weeks ago?
      And people still arguing about “deserving champion” and bla bla bla!

      It´s so tiring because I usually enjoy reading comments on F1Fanatic… :/

    34. I think the last 4 guys in the ranking are pretty much on equal footing. Alonso and Hamilton already went head to head and they came out sort of equal (even though Hamilton was a rookie at the time). Same with Ricciardo and Verstappen. I’d say they were also pretty evenly matched.

      Hamilton, Alonso, Ricciardo and Verstappen all could make each other lives difficult as team mates.

    35. Love bike racing. I have watched Motogp for a long time. I must stress that these articles comparing f1 and motogp are written by somebody that does not watch motogp. Motogp has it’s troubles, it’s hardly the best biker racing series around. It has the scale and it’s a worthy world event and where only the best wins but it has problems as well. Money was the name of the game for the 90’s and it was Rossi who saved Motogp in the early 2000’s, reliable fan base kept motogp from collapse during the late 2000’s early 2010’s. New rules made it cheaper but the sport is now incredibly bias as it is largely supported by Spain’s economics. Motogp is as political as ever and despite the new rules it’s still quite bipolar, Honda vs the rest. Historically it’s not the one who wins more races that is champion in motogp, because of the perils of racing it generally is decided by who crashes the least, a tendency that has decreased but is the nonetheless more prevalent than in f1 which has been much better on that department for the last 25 years and particularly the last 15.

    36. Gosh heres the daily Motogp comment on an f1 blog and I claim my £5.

      One word: traction control

      another word: laptimes padre laptimes

    37. No one likes upsetting people like Bernie! Everyone assumes that Mercedes will be the dominant car in 2017, and as always, the dominant team most likely will end up with both championships. Lets not forget that the new rule changes were made partly to break the dominance Mercedes have enjoyed since 2014. Personally, I am hoping for another team to come to prominance such as Ferrari or Williams. Its what the sport needs, some variety, mixed with tradition which is what this sport was based on.
      If anyone disappointed in 2016 it was the Scuderia, a real anti climax. Vettel’s outburst in Mexico was one of pure frustration I think, not just at the Verstappen incident, but at the fact that it was everything boiling over. You don’t expect, especially a four time world champion, to drive for Ferrari a whole season and not win a race.

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