Monday, April 10, 2017

10 F1 Drivers you completely forgot about

Believe it or not, all these drivers are from the past decade. Admittedly, wikipedia was consulted in the writing of this article.

1. Sakon Yamamoto

  • I put him first cause he's Sakon to none

2. Anthony Davidson

  • He drove for Mercedes...' development department

3. Kazuki Nakajima

  • Probably Rosberg's worst teammate

4. Jaime Alguersuari

  • On in a flash, gone in a flash

5. Christian Klien

  • The less famous Klien brother

6. Karun Chanduk

  • Say what you will, he's not Karun about this list

7. Paul Di Resta

  • Resta in peace Paul, resta in peace. 

8. Jerome d'Ambrosio

  • If only he'd scored as many points as there were letters in his name

9. Charles Pic

  • Gotta say he was a hard one to Pic out

10. Will Stevens

  • Will stevens do what? WILL HE DO WHAT?

Forgettable Mentions

Max "Slower than a stationary building" Chilton
Giedo "Let me race or I'll sue you" der Garde
Adrian "Still here?" Sutil
Roberto "What does this pedal do?" Merhi

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Alternate Names for the New McLaren Car

Recently, McLaren announced the name of their new car, the one and only: MCL34... Well I think we can all agree that name is boring. So I took the liberty of drafting a few other names they could use.

Here's how I'd roll them out:

Introducing the all new: "F*ck Ron Denn15"

The all new, "HONDAAAAAA 34"

Or maybe, "This is the amount of points we predict for next season: 0"

Alternatively: "The McLaren Years since we won a title: 2 million"

Otherwise: "FERRARYSUX42"

Based on their actual one: "NaCl43"

Occasionally relevant:  "Please please please please please let the engine make it to the end 99"

Always Tasteful: "Alonso basically runs this team 72"

Words are overrated: "MCL42538276819692697469820"

Finally: MRT06 (Rest in Peace)

Either way, McLaren have a cornucopia of excellent choices for their 2017 outfit name. It would be a downright shame if they resorted to plain old MCL32. Let me know which name you would want McLaren to take for 2017.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Rosberg v. Bottas

Mercedes had the whole field and then some to choose from. Last week, they settled on Valterri Bottas. How do they stack up at the time they joined Mercedes?

Nico Rosberg
Seasons in F1*: 4 
Previous team: Williams-Cosworth/Williams-Toyota
Debut result: 7th
% of teams points**: 72.2 
Highest Finish: 2nd
DNFs: 16
Highest av. start position: 8.1
Best season standing: 7

Valterri Bottas
Seasons in F1: 4
Previous Team: Williams-Mercedes
Debut result: 14th
% of team's points: 57.3
Highest Finish 2nd (2x)
DNFs: 7
Highest average start position:  6.2
Best season standing: 4th

  • Rosberg scored the highest ever points tally on Williams' Engineering aptitude test, administered to all new drivers at the time
  • Rosberg also raced in Finland, Bottas' home country, in his early karting days
  • Bottas' longest streak of podium finishes included Rosberg's home country of Germany in 2014. (A race which Rosberg won)
  • Bottas' all time points tally (411) is just 26 points less than what Rosberg achieved last season (385)
  • Both drivers live in Monaco because they "love the culture"***

* Pre-Mercedes

**Used to compare performance vs. teammates since total points fluctuates with the teams' performance. 

*** Did I say culture? I meant tax breaks...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Who is Valterri Bottas?

Nation: Finland (Kimiland)
Age: 27
Rookie year: 2013
Car number: 77

We all know him as the (2nd) fastest fin on the grid. His first break came in 2014's Australian grand prix as he coasted home in 5th after courting a podium finish for much of the race. That season he climbed to an unprecedented 4th for the newly-rejuvinated Williams Martini Racing. Since then he's slowly declined in position along with Williams, leading many to question his talents. However Valterri is someone who knows a thing or two about comebacks.

GP3 2011. I would bet only 1 in 1,000 people who read this will remember that series, yet I have no doubt Valterri has a photo of that year's car on his mantle. A quarter of the way into the season, Valterri hasn't even stood on the podium. He's only scored points once in that span, despite finishing all 4 races. In that time, championship leader Nigel Melker has finished on the podium 75% of the time. Out of the 35 drivers in that year's GP3 season, only two made it to F1, and only one would complete a season in the highest level of open-wheel racing.

On the coastal waters of Valencia, Valterri earns his big break. After a 7th place finish in the first race, Bottas charges to 3rd in the second round of the Spanish GP. Only one problem, his teammate, James Calado, stands two places higher, taking the race. These two battle it out Hunt-Lauda style until Monza. Voter wins three races, but Calado podiums 4 times in a row going into the final showdown at Monza.

At the fastest track on the calendar, Valterri has climbed all the way up to 1st, besting 6 other contenders on the way up. Calado is the only man standing in the way of Valterri and a major step on his way to Formula 1. 10 points for 1st, 8 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd.  As luck would have it, Valterri needed 2  more points than Calado to clinch the championship at the last circuit of the season. With confidence, and drive, Valterri brought his ART to the finishline one place above Calado, who finished a step behind him in second.

Vulture's story is one of triumph in the face of seemingly unbeatable odds. As he prepares to duel a triple world champion for a place in the history books, the lesson we can learn from history is: never count Valterri out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This Haas to be our Year: F1's Little Chasis that Could

It started in 2012 with the first race at the Circuit of the Americas out in Austin, Texas. It (almost) continued with a second race planned on the horizon of New York City in New Jersey. Now, in 2016 America has hopped the pond to oficially join the fray that is the F1 calendar. As a pie-eating, freedom-loving, and occasionally blog-writing American myself, I've come to ask myself how might it all end?

Besides the obviously pessimistic nature of the question, there seems to be some merit to asking it. In 2010, in what was meant to be a breakthrough year to define the future of F1, we added 3(!) new teams to the grid (and one rebranded team). One and a half election cycles later, we're down to just one of those teams, with seemingly permanent fixtures such as Sauber teetering in dangerous financial territory.

Of course, it's too soon to speculate. A lot can happen in 10 years, heck, a lot can happen tomorrow, but the reality is, nothing last forever, (Except Ferrari, Ferrari's never going away). Over the past 67 years since F1 began in 1950, there have been 171 different constructors on the grid. Take away the current 11, and each team is expected to last a whopping: 4/10 of a season... This number is naturally thrown off by outliers such as Sherman F1 who only raced twice (1951&1952 Indy 500s), but it shows just how brutal it can be to get from green flag to checkered flag 19 times a year.

In 2016 its unlikely we'll see them bow out before 2020, but the real test of longevity will come after the impending rule changes. They currently sit 8th in the championship which might be tenable for teams like McLaren with its established fanbase and historical success, or Toro Rosso with direct funding from another team on the grid, but for the little American that could, 8th just plain isn't good enough. It'd really be a shame for Haas to leave F1 as abruptly as they arrived, and after all they are a NASCAR team first and foremost.

But what's inspiring about the Haas story, regardless of nationality, is they have what I like to call the 'Sauber charm'. While you won't see their PR people actively interacting with readers on sites like G+, they are the small team who loves to be right up there with the big teams. In time, they could contest for podiums and consistent results, disrupting F1's Big Three every now and then. Don't believe me? Consider this, Haas' 29 points is the same as Red Bull had at this point in its inaugural season in 2005. It's also better than Toyota's first season, better than all 3 new teams in 2010 combined, and even beats out Mclaren's first two years in the sport combined. Overall, if you ask me, Haas is here to stay.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Title Predictions

Constructors Championship:

1. Mercedes
2. Red Bull
3. Ferrari
4. McLaren
5. Force India
6. Williams
7. Haas
8. Toro Rosso
9. Sauber
10. Manor

Drivers Championship:

1. Hamilton
2. Bottas
3. Ricciardo
4. Vettel
5. Verstappen
6. Raikkonen
7. Vandoorne
8. Perez
9. Alonso
10. Stroll
11. Con
12. Massa
13. Grosjean
14. Sainz
15. Magnussen
16. Kyvat
17. Nasr
18. Ericsson
19. (Manor #1)
20. (Manor #2)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Toro Rosso Recovery

These aren't your 95-96 Bulls.

Okay, you may or may not get that reference, but it's no secret that when people say Red Bull in F1, very few of us would think 'Toro Rosso!'

Yet 2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of both Red Bull teams in Formula 1 and lasting for a decade is no laughing matter in the high-speed carrousel that is F1. What's mildly ironic is that the (other) Scuderia beat it's benefactor to the top step of the podium. It took 6 more grand prix over 2 seasons before RBR put a race winner's trophy in their cabinet. (Which was also won by Seb)

It wasn't that long ago that the words 'Toro' and 'Rosso' placed subsequent to one was synonymous with 'Back' and 'Marker'. The miniature bulls began life 1 point above last in 2006. The United States Grand Prix that year eliminated 13 cars before it was over, handing all but one finisher a share of the points. In total, both Red Bull teams brought home 16 points that year, which combined would have earned them 7th.

2007 brought more of the same for Tost and company. Before China, the 2nd-to-last race of the season, they hadn't put up a single point. In a race that only retired a reasonable 5 cars, Toro Rosso struck gold with a double points finish, just enough to complete the season in 7th place.

2008 was the season no Toro Rosso fan will ever forget. At the 14th race of the season, located at a little known circuit called Monza, a 21-year old Sebastian Vettel drove what would become a signature of her career by commanding the race from first lap to last.

The year after claiming that race win and 6th place overall, the Bull's second team dropped to 10th, dead last in the championship. In that whole season, they scored less points than they did at Monza in 2008.

In 2014, they've found a way back.

2010 brought them up to 9th, and since 2014, they've taken home 8th place. Toro Rosso is a story of unexpected triumph as well as predictable mediocrity.

So what does the future hold for the mini-bulls? Well, their survival is guaranteed, but their success is not. Injecting Haas into the midfield of F1 squeezes the same amount of points into a higher number of teams. With Sauber on the rise and Manor likely to fold, Toro Rosso will want to avoid returning to the back marker status they once monopolized.