Helmut Marko threatens to leave Formula 1…again

Ever since he realised that Red Bull were going to struggle for years to compete with Mercedes, Helmut Marko has been threatening to leave Formula 1. Another year, another threat, because although the Red Bull chassis is excellent the customer Renault engine is crap.

It all started to go wrong in 2013 when a dominant Mercedes  was leaving the Red Bull well behind. Ever since, Dr Marko has done nothing but whinge and whine and makes threats to leave the sport.

The effect on Red Bull if Marko leaves

So what would the effect on the Red Bull F1 team be is Marko was to leave the sport?

Actually, not much.  Christian Horner would still remember how to manage a team, Adrian Newey would still remember how to draw, the engineers would still remember how to be engineers and the mechanics would still be mechanics. The tyre man would still know about tyres. The drivers would still be excellent drivers.

What about money to fund the team?

Anyone who follows Formula 1 closely knows that the real money behind the Red Bull Racing team is billionaire and co-founder of the Red Bull drinks company, Dietrich Mateschitz. With an estimated net worth of over $18billion, and the tax incentives from the British government to hosting his team in the UK, there’s still a bit of pocket money left to help the team along and a lot of reasons to stay in the sport.

Power unit problems

With Mercedes refusing to supply Red Bull with a customer engine, and Ferarri much the same, Red Bull have one major problem on their hands; an under-performing power unit. Whilst the chassis is quick in the twisty sections, it’s overall power is lacking which saw the car fall miles behind Ferrari and Mercedes in the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix.

The problem for Red Bull is that no matter how much they complain in the press, Renault are never going to give the team their upgrades before their own manufacturer team, which would make no sense as Renault try and drag their car near to the front of the grid. Unless a new engine manufacturer enters the sport Red Bull will struggle to find a different supplier.

Ecclestone to make F1 team return?

Meanwhile, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is making noises about starting his own team an recently made a suggestion that he would be willing to take over Force India with a “new Brabham team”. If Red Bull were to suddenly find itself in need of a new investor, Bernie might just be the man.

Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes GP?

Pascal Wehrlein

As Nico Rosberg departs Formula One, millions of Formula One fans have been left asking who will take Nico Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes GP?

Pascal Wehrlein

Pascal Wehrlein wins the 2015 DTM season at Hockenheimring in 2015
Pascal Wehrlein is the likely Rosberg replacement

Back in February, I predicted that Toto Wolff was lining up Pascal Wehrlein to eventually driver for Mercedes, and I also predicted that he would eventually take Rosberg’s seat. What I didn’t know at the time is that Rosberg would retire so soon.

Sadly, Wehrlein’s first year driving for Manor Racing hasn’t been as great as it could have, and I expected that Wehrlein would have got at least another year racing for Manor before making the move to Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel

Despite struggling to secure podiums with Ferrari, Vettel appears to be at home with the Italian team for now. Vettel has always wanted to follow in the steps of his idol Michael Schumacher, and a Championship win with Ferrari is Vettel’s ultimate dream. Plus, with new regulations coming into place for 2017, Vettel is surely going to give the team at least one more year to give him the car he needs.

Max Verstappen

For some, the idea of Max Verstappen driving a Mercedes is a dream come true, but for others, it’s a nightmare. There’s absolutely no doubt that Max Verstappen will be World Champion sometime soon but at the moment he’s considerably tied into Red Bull. He also owes Red Bull a considerable amount of loyalty for having the faith to swap him with Kyvat mid season.

However, Max Verstappen also has another powerful tool at hand in his father, Jos. Jos Verstappen is a tour de force when it comes to getting what he wants and this might just be the opportunity to get Max into the top car in Formula One.

Pressure and loyalties aside, Max Verstappen has taken some risky moves this year and it would be a brave decisions for Toto Wolff and Niki Lauder to try to steel him from Red Bull. It could also be contractually very expensive.

Fernando Alonso

It’s no secret that Alonso has been unhappy with McLaren’s progress this season, openly referring to to car as having a “GP 2 engine”. Alonso also has past links with Mercedes as an engine manufacturer. However, he is getting towards the latter years of his career.

It could be a dream come true for Alonso fans to see him in a truly competitive car.

Nico Hulkenburg

Just like Rosberg, The Hulk has shown he has a lot of ability. However, he has already signed up to Renault for 2017 so a move to Mercedes looks very unlikely.

It’s got to be Wehrlein, surely?

At the moment, no one knows who will take Nico Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes GP, but whoever it is there’s going to have a lot to live up to.

My money’s on Wehrlein…it makes perfect sense for Mercedes, even if it’s a little earlier than they may have expected.

 

Vote!

Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes GP?

Why this Hamilton fan is sad to see Nico Rosberg retire from Formula One

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg

As Nico Rosberg announced his retirement form Formula One, it left this Lewis Hamilton supporter sad to see Rosberg leave the sport. Frankly, it should leave all F1 fans slightly depressed to see a talented World Champion retire from the sport while still relatively young; especially as there appears to be no other available driver experienced enough to take his seat at the moment.

Forgetting the ridiculous rumours from Hamilton fanboys that Mercedes GP deliberately sabotaged engines to give Rosberg the lead, and removing the British Press’ constant criticism of the German driver, Nico Rosberg has been a constantly good racing driver. He’s also been a very good ambassador for the sport, despite what some within the anti-Rosberg campaign may like to believe.

 

Rosberg made Hamilton a better driver

If you constantly compete against people who are way below your own level of performance, you simply don’t try as hard, because you don’t have to. You can become complacent and lazy. If you’re in a race car that is miles ahead of the competition you need something to keep you on your toes and keep pushing you to be the best.

Lewis Hamilton has benefited from a rival in Rosbeg who is arguably as good as he is. This has forced Hamilton to up his game in a team where the German driver was almost definitely the preferred driver for the German owned team. Competing against Rosberg has meant that Hamilton (and at times the Mercedes management) needed to consistently out qualify and outscore Rosberg if he wanted to be the best.

Of course, it could be argued that other drivers such as Vettel could have done the same if they had been in the same team. They weren’t.

Rosberg is extremely intelligent

Off the track, Nico Rosberg was well respected within the paddock for his technical ability. He speaks German, English, Italian, Spanish and French fluently which makes him able to converse with team bosses and engineers from all over the F1 world.

 

But Rosberg has made some very poor calls on track

Name me an F1 driver who hasn’t. There’s no such thing as a fair fight in a sport where the prizes are so high.

 

Rosberg is more reserved than other drivers

It’s a German thing. If Hamilton is cheese, Rosberg is chalk. Hamilton is quite happy jetting off around the world, enjoying his fame and money (and why not!)

Meanwhile, the German prefers to spend him with his family, wife and new child. As a father of two and someone who considered family to be the centre of my life, I think that’s equally as cool.

So good luck Nico Rosberg. Hopefully we’ll see you in the F1 paddock again soon in a different role.

The British Press should stop trying to discredit Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg

As the 2016 F1 season rapidly draws to an end, there’s suddenly an air of superiority from biased British fans of Lewis Hamilton. It’s been suggested that Nico Rosberg isn’t worth of being World Champion because Hamilton has suffered reliability issues, and I say the British Press should stop trying to discredit Nico Rosberg immediately.

Watching Sky Sports F1 and reading other news outlets, the Press were quickly trying to come up with every possible reason to suggest that Nico Rosberg wouldn’t be a worthy World Champion. They were pointing our how unlucky Hamilton has been in terms of reliability, but failed to mention that Nico Rosberg has scored more points than Hamilton to date and started the 2016 season supremely.

The British Press should stop trying to discredit Nico Rosberg

The Hamilton Fanboys of Sky Sports were unashamedly discussing the possibility of Rosberg being ‘lucky’ to be ahead of Hamilton. However, they failed to recall races where Rosberg also suffered reliability issues – such as engine failure at Monza 2015, brake failure in Bahrain and a sticky throttle in Russia: all of which arguably cost Rosberg the title in 2015. Where were the calls from the British Press discrediting Hamilton’s World Championship win then?

 

This attitude against Nico Rosberg discredits good journalists

As soon as you hear journalists and commentators looking for poor quality reasons for Hamilton falling behind, it seriously begins to discredit them. Sour grapes do nothing to make them sound experienced and everything to make them sound childish. Just like when Hamilton suggested Mercedes were trying to sabotage his cars.

 

Whomever scores the most points this year would deserve to win the world championship

And that’s it. End of argument. The biggest point scorer wins and reliability is just bad luck. Nothing more, nothing less. Whichever driver wins they’ll be a very worthy winner.

Lewis Hamilton accuses Mercedes of sabotage as another engine fails

Lewis Hamilton looked set to win the 2016 Malaysia Grand Prix, until yet another engine failed on the World Champion, leaving the driver’s chance of clinching another world championship looking even more distant.

Hamilton, who has had more than his fair share of engine reliability issues this season, was clearly despondent about the failure of an engine which was less than two races old, but went one step further with comments which left the bosses at Mercedes GP fuming.

In an interview for Sky Sports F1, Hamilton implied that there may be some sabotage afoot, saying “something doesn’t feel right”. When asked to explain what he meant, Hamilton went on to say “there’s been 43 engines from Mercedes and only mine have gone – it’s odd.”

However, management of Mercedes were quick to reassure Hamilton that he was simply the victim of bad luck. Team boss Toto Wolff said that there was “no such thing as anybody having his fingers on any bits.”

Hamilton’s engine failure left teammate Nico Rosberg in the points as he finished 3rd, after spinning at the beginning of the race due to contact by Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton was visibly disappointed, holding his head in his hand whilst still in the car and shouting “No! No! No!” over the team radio.

London Grand Prix could see circuit pass Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace

London Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone’s recent announcement that a London Grand Prix street race could take place as early as 2017 has got British F1 fans in a bit of a flap, and although the glass half empty brigade are saying it’s impossible, many others are already starting to predict were the circuit could be placed. Including me and my excellent Photoshop skills [irony].

Formula One Management have a good record of putting on street-circuit races in other cities where people once said it would be impossible to hold them, including Singapore, Montjuïc circuit and Detroit street circuit.

London is one of the most historical cities in the world and a London Grand Prix would be great for the British economy. Imagine a British-built McLaren Honda flying past Big Ben, a Red Bull turning into the hard right-hander at St. Paul’s just before crossing Blackfriars Bridge, or a Mercedes breaking heavily outside Buckingham Palace as it proceeds to make its way around Green Park. And for those with more money than sense, a seat on the London Eye would give superb overhead views as cars make their way over Westminster Bridge.

And while we’re dreaming, how about some floating grand stands places near to the waters edge?

Here’s my proposed route:

My proposed 2017 London GP route
2017 London Grand Prix could see circuit pass Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace

Kvyat out, Max Verstappen in and even Jenson Button is skeptical

Max Verstappen Daniil Kyvat

Despite getting on the podium in 2016 Chinese Grand Prix, Red Bull racing have announced today that Daniil ‘The Destroyer’ Kvyat has been relocated back to his old spot at Toro Rosso to be replaced by Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen. Former World Champion Jenson Button accused Red Bull of having ‘short memories’ as he took to Twitter saying: “Really? one bad race and Kyvat’s dropped, what about the podium in the previous race?”

Anyone would think Sebastian Vettel was still pulling the strings behind the scenes at Red Bull, masterminding a punishment for Kyvat’s silly driving in the Russian Grand Prix, which saw Kyvat drive into the rear of Vettel’s Ferrari not once, but twice, within the opening minute of the race.

Of course that’s not true. The decision to dump Kvyat is all about Red Bull retaining Verstappen for 2017 with the fear that Ferrari might try and snatch him with the attraction of a manufacturers seat – and loads of wonger. Oh, and don’t forget that team boss Helmut Marko always gets what he wants – and he’s wanted Verstappen with Red Bull Racing for a while.

It’s fair to say that the Chinese Grand Prix isn’t the first time Kvyat has smashed up his car. It’s also fair to say that Team Max Verstappen have been very aggressive in pushing Verstappen up the F1 ranks as quickly as possible. Perhaps daddy is trying to make up for his mediocre 9 year F1 career, which only saw him on the podium twice and a maximum points tally of 17. Verstappen has already tripled that in less than 2.

Is this the right move for Max?

For now, sure. At least until the end of the season. But if I were Max Verstappen I’d be keeping my options very open. There aren’t many manufacturer seats available, at least not in competitive cars, and a seat at Ferrari could seriously put him in a World Championship winning position in 2017.

What next for Kvyat

Well, the future’s looking a tad bleak for the Russian. First of all he better hope that he consistently out-qualifies his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr, who has been somewhat overshadowed by the hype of Verstappen but is no less talented. Toro Rosso is the lead in to the Red Bull F1 program and there are lots of people queuing up to take that seat. Unless Kvyat can show some real talent for the rest of the season (and keep his nose clean) it’s possible this could be the final year for Daniil Kvyat in Formula One, at least for the foreseeable.

Fernando Alonso reacts angrily to Johnny Herbert retirement plan

Fernando Alonso reacts in anger at Johnny Herbert

Fernando Alonso told Johnny Herbert exactly what he though of Herbert’s suggestion that the former World Champion should retire prior to the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix.

During a live interview prior to FP3, Cheeky-nando Fernando Alonso approached Herbert, muttering something off microphone before saying “you ended up as a commentator because you don’t know how to be a World Champion”.

Well, that was awkward. I don’t think Herbert will be getting any exclusive interviews with Fernando anytime soon. Rachel Brookes was also clearly feeling the tension. Watch the clip below:

Watch: Fernando Alonso rips Johnny Herbert live at Bahrain GP

F1 will move exclusively to Sky Sports F1 in 2019 so what are the options?

Sky Sports F1

Sky Sports F1 announced on 23rd March 2016 that they will own the exclusive rights to broadcast Formula One in the UK as of 2019. That’s a bit of tough luck for fans who only receive terrestrial TV.

The news has resulted in much whinging from those who can’t afford – or are too tight – to pay for Sky Sports F1. Some of the so-called “dedicated” fans of F1 have said that they’ll “be looking for another sport to follow” and blame Bernie Ecclestone for the deal. But is that fair?

Most sports in the UK have moved to pay TV. The majority of football, rugby union, MotoGP, UFC, NBA is broadcast on the pay TV channels of BT Sport and various other sports, including Golf, have moved to Sky TV. Why? Well the answer is simple: terrestrial channel providers such as the BBC and Channel 4 simply can’t justify the cost from their ever dwindling budgets.

There are deals to be had

Sky are forever advertising offers for Sky packages in various forms. Whether it’s with a free TV or additional Sports channels inclusive. Last year I managed to get Sky TV, Sky Sports F1 and Sky movies for £46 per month including Unlimited broadband using a voucher on the MoneySavingExpert.com website. That’s a great price even if you hate the Murdoch empire. Of course there are genuinely people who can’t afford to pay for Sky and they’ll have to resort to alternative methods such as finding a local pub which broadcasts races, going to a friends house or using one of the numerous (technically illegal) online streaming website out there.

Don’t forget about NOW TV

Now TV, a division of Sky, offer day passes for £6.99 a day. That means you could watch the entire race weekend (including Qualifying) for £14.98 which is an average cost when compared to some of the pay-to-view sports broadcast such as boxing. At times, Now TV offer a 20% discount on Sports which can bring the cost down even more.

Watching Sky Sports F1: the current options

Method Equipment Cost Notes
Sky Sports F1 subscription Sky box/subscription From £45 HD option available plus additional options such as Sky Go
Now TV Internet connection and compatible computer/TV £6.99 No HD. Only a 24 hour pass. Requires internet
Local pub None The price of a drink Could be noisy. Pubs showing the races will be in short supply
Streaming Computer or Smart TV Free Infringes copyright, poor image quality, tends to buffer, potential malware from various “adverts”
Go to a race Loads of money From £150 Direct action, could be expensive, requires travel, only one race
RTL Satillite equipment Free (after around £79 outlay for equipment) Will be in German. Equipment needs to be pointed at Astra satellite at 19° East, and can be received with a 60cm dish