Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Qualifying performance holding Sauber back – Ericsson

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Marcus Ericsson says Sauber hasn’t got to grips with F1’s softest tyres so far this year.

What they say

Ericsson says the Sauber is more competitive in races than in qualifying:

It’s clear we are struggling more over one lap than on race pace. Charles [Leclerc] did a very good job in qualifying but still I think we are stronger for sure in the race.

We are still struggling with the softer compounds. I have a feeling that for some reason we haven’t found a way to optimise them yet. That’s for me the main priority now that we need to find an extra bit of performance on Saturday because I really feel on Sundays we have a good car to fight the midfield.

Charles’ pace was really strong compared to the cars around him. I really feel confident that if we have good track position for the race, starting in the mix, we can have strong races. But obviously these days you need a good starting position. We need to analyse, work hard and analyse how we can take a step on Saturdays.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Toyota, Spa-Francorchamps, WEC, 2018
Toyota, Spa-Francorchamps, WEC, 2018

Toyota pole-axed the field in the season-opening World Endurance Championship round at Spa yesterday, winning by two laps.

Comment of the day

Was Pastor Maldonado an unpolished gem?

I think it’s a bit sad how Maldonado’s F1 career ended up… with a bit more polish, he’d have been a hell of a driver. I still mantain that the guy was incredibly talented, but too stubborn to learn from his mistakes.

With some slight changes, that 2012 season would’ve been incredibly successful, and not just because of Spain.

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

  • Carlos Reutemann put his Ferrari on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix on this day 40 years ago

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 41 comments on “Qualifying performance holding Sauber back – Ericsson”

    1. Chase Carey has no idea how repulsive words like “NFL draft” sound.

      1. I dunno, I’m just bothered by the fact that fan engagement and entertainment seems to be all this idea is about.
        As for introducing a draft system for driver-team combinations that could end up shaking the grid regularly, I’m all for it!
        I simply cannot stand the current situation where two of the 4 most competitive cockpits are occupied by drivers who wouldn’t be anyone’s first (or second or …) pick, and the midfield is a career dead-end that keeps a lot of great drivers trapped, waiting in some sort of limbo, just to be disappointed again and again.
        I want permeability! I want great drivers to rise through the ranks from bottom to top in five seasons, not going mouldy because the top teams want an old fart next to their number one drivers to make them comfortable.
        I say bring it on!

        1. But wouldn’t that just turn the entire championship into a lottery, at least to a degree? I couldn’t see any team agreeing to that. Some of the midfield and backmarker drivers would love the chance to race in a competitive car, but the reason many of them don’t have a seat at Mercedes, Ferrari, or Red Bull is because their current drivers are better. I could break it down driver by driver, but I don’t think anyone wants to read a comment that long.

          A spec series would be much more reasonable than this. Capping contract lengths at 3 years or less would also help. This looks like an idea straight out of Bernie Ecclestone’s diary.

          I want great drivers to rise through the ranks from bottom to top in five seasons, not going mouldy because the top teams want an old fart next to their number one drivers to make them comfortable.

          I also don’t see much evidence of this happening, unless you count Kimi Raikkonen getting the shaft from Ferrari every race. And even then, he’s still been fast this year.

        2. I’d love to see points for every place except last, then the bottom 2 drivers get relegated to f2. Lowest team gets 1st pick of f2, indy, wec etc grads and drivers all move up one place by team performance if anyone retires.
          Prize or signage money follows top drivers from f3, f2 and f1… And a budget cap.
          No more pay drivers, no more debate over who deserves what.

          1. ColdFly (@)
            6th May 2018, 12:56

            bottom 2 drivers get relegated

            F1 is a team championship first and foremost, @webbo82.
            You don’t see the least scoring football players being relegated from the Premier League; then the EFL would be full of goalkeepers :p

      2. @crammond, it is perhaps not surprising that a lot of people have reacted to that comment first, but it seems that what Carey was referring to was the idea of a big event in the off season to keep people interested at a time when most teams are usually just working on their cars for the following year. To that end, he referred to the “NFL Draft” as a comparable event in the US, since that is designed to provide a focal point for NFL during their off season.

        In that sense, what Carey was saying is probably more palatable to fans, though it seems that it is perhaps not universally welcome as the idea of making F1 into a constant 24/7 blitz of marketing may just turn people off from what is already getting to be a rather long season. As others have noted, what would probably get more support would be something like making the pre-season tests more easily watchable and with wider coverage.

        1. I don’t know about making the pre-season tests more watchable. It sounds great on the surface, but how many would actually watch it? Certainly not casual viewers.

          I know it would never happen for a variety of reasons but I’d love to see a non-championship race run on ice or snow with modified cars

          1. @strontium Yeah I think the pre-season tests might not be very enthralling to watch, as there is such variance amongst teams as to what they are working on, and we constantly remind ourselves that it is ‘just testing.’

            Although Carey has said it doesn’t have to be a competition on the track, I’d like to see the drivers do something like a race for fundraising where they’re all in, let’s say, identical Mercedes Amg pace cars. Something in January and/or February after they’ve had a chance to recover from the long F1 season, and as a fun little ‘tune-up’ for the coming season.

            I just can’t think of an off-season event that I’d be that enthralled with that didn’t involve racing.

    2. I wouldn’t mind seeing F1 do a few events during the offseason in order to generate some interest and excitement, but at the same time that’s not a great idea for the teams, who need everyone in on developing and testing for next year. Obviously events like those would just increase the crunch that’s put on the teams from November-Februrary. Just because it’s the offseason doesn’t mean everyone is just hanging out at home.

      Besides that, the NFL Draft has always been a hype-generator for the NFL, and really the only one outside the season. Seeing Liberty and Chase Carey makes statements like this really do make me a bit nervous that they’re going to sell out the sport to make it more attractive to Americans.

    3. Events during the off season isn’t something i’m that interested in myself as when the season ends I like to just switch off F1 & take a break from it for a few months.

      Reason been that I find that especially with the longer seasons/more races we have now I tend to be getting a bit burnt out on F1 by the end of the season & just want a break from it (Hence why I don’t like the idea of adding more races).

      In the past i’d spend the off-season watching older stuff which i’d found online but now I just want to get away from it until it’s time to start getting amped up for the next season just before the car launches start happening.

      1. +1 @stefmeister

        The winter break is one that forces us away from F1, and them gradually lets the suspense build up again towards the tests and season opener. Likewise, the summer break does so on a smaller scale.

        And in it’s own way, that cyclic aspect of F1 makes it better for fans, and gives some members of the teams much needed downtime.

    4. I agree with the CotD. Maldonado has shown many great performances, including but not limited to his race win in Barcelona in 2012. You can’t simply luck into a win in a race like that. Granted, Hamilton had to start from the back of the grid, and Alonso’s Ferrari was still limping a bit after a terrible start to the season, but Maldonado didn’t accidentally win that day. And there were many races where he showed incredible pace without ruining his tyres. But yeah, he crashed too often and made too many mistakes in general. Not all of those crashes, I’d even say less than half of them, were really his fault, but F1 is a shark tank, and quite a few drivers didn’t respect him on the track, possibly banking on the fact that Maldonado was going to be blamed no matter who caused the accident. His character definitely contributed enormously to this vicious circle, but I do think he was one of the most promising drivers of his generation (the generation of drivers whose second season was 2012, all of whom would later end up in the mediocrity of the midfield), and with a few tweaks here and there, he might’ve won quite a few races more than just that one.

      1. It was Maldonado who didn’t respect other drivers. Looking for a crash when he already lost the place or when his attack was blocked. He caused those crashes too. He kept claiming that people should leave him space, when that’s nonsense when you are in the middle of a chicane or fast corner. It’s very rare that they can leave ech other space on the racing line and that’s why the driver behind will have to yield at some point. Maldonado pretty much never did.

        It was shocking that he was even allowed to stay in F1 after he ran into Hamilton on purpose in Spa.

      2. I agree, he was a very good driver, but it seemed to me he lacked the discipline necessary to get a job as a paid driver. Of course, you can get away with ignoring discipline when you’re paying for a seat, but when the money runs out so does the seat.

      3. I disagree with the COTD. Pastor was smashed by Barichello on pace in his rookie season, he then lucked in to a very quick Williams in 2012 where he performed well in a few races against a very poor teammate. In 2013, he got smashed by Bottas and 2014 and 2015 he get smashed by Grosjean.

        Highly the definition of a quick driver. He had a few flash in the pan races where he did well… but on average he was slow and error prone. Hardly a driver with any more potential that a lower midfield driver.

    5. In reality how long is the off season now anyway.

      With the exception of a couple of weeks, there was plenty news wise to keep us interested last off season and testing comes up so fast now it’s barely noticeable that there’s been a break.

      I get concerned that all Liberty seem to think about is “engagement” which sounds to me so “false” and meaningless but I guess I’m just an old fart.

      1. @dbradock To answer your first paragraph (which is a question): Technically, it’s four months. From the Abu Dhabi GP of season x in late-November to the Australian GP of the following campaign in late-March, so that’s four months precisely.

        1. @jere so you ignore launches and testing then.

          I was factoring in the actual amount of time where there is essentially nothing of major interest which is far less that 3.5 – 4 months. Pre season testing starts in February , post season testing happens after Abu Ahabi, normally then there’s driver movement during the pre-Christmas period and car launches prior to testing all of which generate interest from most F1 followers.

          So again – IMO there’s not much that Liberty should be concerned about.

          1. @dbradock Yes. A season technically starts when the lights go out for race 1, and ends when the last race finishes, so everything that happens between the end of a season and the start of the following one is considered to have occurred during the ‘off-season’ period.

      2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        7th May 2018, 18:01

        yeah, just compare F1’s off season to indycar’s and it all falls into persepctive.
        And the testing already gets the fans warmed up a bit even before the first race

    6. God this makes Carey sound like an absolute buffoon. They already have the perfect events that don’t take attention away from the main calendar and build interest in the off-season: Winter testing!!!

      For how many years I’ve been sitting in the comments here I’ve seen people wishing for more official coverage during testing to help them get more invested and involved in the action. A few camera’s (don’t even have to be manned) and a couple commentary teams to rotate through due to the hours. Move it to a weekend and done. There’s the “festival like event to engage fans in other aspects of the sport besides competition”… That he follows up “doesn’t need to be competition” with they’re “investigating other forms of competition” is astonishing.

      He sounds like he’s searching for the TV remote or car keys while it’s already in his pocket…

      1. +1 skipgamer

        Combine winter testing with car launches on the weekend prior to testing, as Keith had covered in an article earlier this year, and that’s all that we fans need.

    7. Casey seems to be a few headlines from suggesting sprinklers onthe track.

      1. At least he still has a ways to go before he suggests unleashing robot dogs on track…

    8. 2 years max contract length cap. Last team on constructors picks first. That would be a great draft!

      1. Who is gonna pay Hamiltons red Jet?

      2. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        7th May 2018, 18:03

        yeah, until the backmarkers start hanging back deliberately to get a better pick of drivers, that’s be hardly beneficial to the sport.

    9. The season is way too long now as it is in my opinion. This is one of the reasons I don’t watch the NFL now. There are games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday now and when I feel like I can watch things at any time I sort of don’t watch them at all. It’s nice to have some time to miss F1. Now there seems to just be a few weeks where there is nothing going on and I barely get the desire to watch it and it is already back.

      1. @darryn Personally, I don’t find it too long. Furthermore, the difference between F1 and NFL concerning the scheduling (or NHL, NBA, or any other national of any given country) is that in F1 the races only take place on Sundays while in the leagues mentioned above each day of the week can be a game-day, not just one.

    10. I agree with the COTD: He’s a good driver, and could’ve had an even more successful career in F1 had he not been so crash/error-prone, and he never seemed to get rid of that. Perez was similarly crash-prone during the early seasons of his F1 career but hasn’t been that way anymore more or less since moving to his current team.

    11. Driver Draft? No I see this as a thought bubble by Carey nothing more. It will be interesting to see if Ferrari, Merc and Red Bull have to say on such an idea.

      1. Except that he’s not suggesting a drivers draft. Just an off-season big event that draws some attention.

        1. @robbie – Draw some attention? Or draw some revenue? Liberty’s share price is at an 18 month low. And billions to go on their used car payments.

    12. We already have some events for the off-season, like the FIA Gala. It requires only a bit more marketing and opening them for everyone (live stream of the event? Twitter questions from everyone?). Then a joint launch event at the end of January (or a bit later, if we actually want to see new cars instead of rough templates).

      Personally, I don’t want to live F1 for 24/7, so the off-season is perfect to stay away for a bit.

    13. Why so negative?

      Lets say each F1 team gets affiliate teams in F2 F3 and F4. Young drivers can then enter the draft straight out of karting or choose to do a year or two in other Jr series before entering, like formula Renault 2.0 or Formula Abarth or if in the US they can do a year of Skip Barber for example.

      Teams then get 3 rounds to pick 3 drivers, the draft order is the reverse of the CWC (worst team picks first). After the draft they can choose to let their prospect start in either F4, F3 or F2 (and choose which prospect they have to let go of course).

      This way you create great naratives all through the Jr series and we as fans can see which teams has the best talent in their farm system. Plus, undrafted drivers or drivers who were drafted but let go after a year or two can still make it to the top if they perform well. It’s also a perfect training ground for mechanichs, engineers and management personel within the farm system of a team.

      An idea like this, to me, could be create fascinating story lines that would be flatout fun to follow!

    14. Motor Legend Festival two weeks ago at Imola gathered more than 10,000 fans in its first edition and to be honest I’m not surprised since the guest list included the likes Ricardo Patrese, Giacomo Agostini, Jacky Ickx, Mauro Forghieri, René Arnoux… and many historic racing cars were displayed.
      Minardi days this weekend at Imola is also a great opportunity for fans to see 28 historic F1 cars with a proper noise and without Halo :)
      I think that these events should have been more covered at RaceFans. Keith your thoughts ?

      1. Motor Legend Festival? That’s all old news. Pretty sure the internet demands new news, even if it has to be faked.

    15. Just rip off Race of Champions and make it bigger and with more (all?) active F1 drivers.

    16. I’d love to see a documentary on what all goes in to this quali optimisation Ericsson speaks off.

      Off the top of my head they can play with tire pressures front wing and brake ducts. Then there are some incar settings, probably setting up rear brake heat, to get tires warmer and finally preparation on the outlap, scrubing them a little, heating them up, then getting heat in to the core of each tire, and doing the math, how much will tires diverge from ideal temperature on a quali lap.

      Then there is the actual driving the hot lap aswell. Then there is not sacrificing race pace to much.

      If teams were not so secretive and spill the beans a bit more I would love that.

      1. @jureo How much will tires diverge from ideal temperature on a quali lap? Too much, it seems, as this years some teams complained already that they were optimal in two of three sectors, and overheating in the last sector

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