Formula 1 Fridays – Austin GP, Constructors ..

Oh hey hello! I am back and it’s #Formula1Fridays !!! This might be my favourite thing to post/write about. It’s Austin weekend, which is both good and bad. Good because this is the time the championship gets exciting, which leads to bad – the season is ending and I go back to doing things on weekends for the next 4 months. I am one of those fans that puts everything on hold/cancels lunch/dinner/stops doing whatever I’m doing just to watch the race/qualifying/practise. So yes, if you can’t already tell, I am excited. My aunt is sick of me giving reminders all week that it’s Austin weekend, so finally, I can relax after this is going up! So here we go:

Constructor’s Championship

Yep, if you’ve watched the last race, you would know that Mercedes have retained their championship title, third time in a row. Of course, I did expect it after putting a strong consistent performance throughout the year. They have been, exceeding expectations for the past 3 years, though they did start slow when Mercedes bought over Brawn in 2010. Now that that’s done, I’ll be interested to watch the other teams that will fill 2nd, 3rd, 4th. We all know Ferrari has been slipping, it breaks my heart, makes me cringe and curl up in a ball and tear. But can they actually drop further? Unlikely, but at the rate they are going, they should be worried. Worried because, if they don’t figure out the problem now, they’re going to do worse than 3rd place next year. Force India (SFI) and Williams seem to be very promising teams that are doing well now, and getting better and better as the weekends go. They remind me of Red Bull when they shot up from struggling with their engines to being one of the best teams on the current paddock, and who’s to disagree, SFI and Williams might be on that route right now, and there’s nothing stopping them! Gone were the days where Ferrari and McLaren (with a wild Williams once in a while) dominated our screens, and (I’m late to the party, again) it’s now a dawn of a new era!

Mercedes Rivalry

Going in deeper now, it’s going to be Lewis (Hamilton) vs. Nico (Rosberg). I doubt Daniel (Riccardo) would outshine at the last minute and sweep away the championship (though it would be lovely to watch – like mirroring Seb’s 2010 championship win, except it’ll be much more intense), so for now, I’ll leave him out of it. Reading Thursday’s Press Conference which Lewis attended, and of course, they couldn’t leave out the fact that he is 33 points behind Nico and it seems like his title chances are slipping away from him and how’s he going to cope if he loses. [Referring to the latter] Oh come on, did you really expect him to cry and mope in a corner if he does? No, I don’t. I don’t expect anything dramatic and over-the-top reactions. Like any other champion worthy of his talent, I expect him to lose graciously and take it in his stride. I hate to say it, and admit, that he is a very talented driver and with a good car, he will do well wherever he is. It’s not been going well for him (though he did catch up and overtake Nico in points many races ago), like his engine burning up in Malaysia, to name one incident of the many this year. No doubt, it’s going to be an interesting race, to see if Nico can extend his lead, or if Lewis can close the gap to keep that championship spark alive.

The Hulk goes to Renault

Aye, it was announced sometime this past week that Nico (Hulkenburg) is moving to Renault for 2017. A quick rundown, the Hulk has been with Force India for 5 years, with a drive for Sauber in 2013 (I think – correct me if I’m wrong) and has been driving in F1 since 2010. I feel that his experience could bring Renault to a better position for the 2017 season. He’s definitely got more experience than the current 2 drivers (Jolyon Palmer + K-Mag) and it could be refreshing for the team, to have someone like the Hulk who brings in lessons learnt (definitely) within the team. Obviously, I don’t expect him to share information that SFI classes as top secret, but his own personal experience could be an eye-opener for a relatively new team like Renault. When I mean relatively new, I don’t mean a team fresh off the boat like Virgin Racing or Brawn GP. I mean a team that has returned after a buyer had bought over (and made it Lotus F1) and changed the dynamics of the team with new bosses/team owners/engineers. So it’ll be interesting to see their development over weekend.

Uncertain Futures

The 2017 Drivers Market is starting to shape up with only 4 races to go, and I suspect I will be talking about this for the next few Fridays as there are still lots of uncertainty and quiet coffee table talk. So far, only 3 teams have confirmed both seats for the new season – Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes (no surprises), with the latest addition, Mclaren after confirmation that Stoffel Vandoorne will take Jenson’s seat. With the Hulk gone, only one seat is available at SFI, which many suspect either Pascal Wehrlein or Daniil Kvyat will take the seat. Carlos Sainz is to stay at Toro Rosso, which I was relieved to hear, because he is a talented driver, but knowing Red Bull’s junior team record, they don’t seem to keep the same driver for more than 2 seasons, either moving them to senior team or booting them out completely (Remember Alguersuari and JEV?). I think overall, it’s going to be a mixed of experienced and fresh-faced drivers, out of GP2 and F3. We’ll see.

Anyway, I better wrap up now and let you get on with the rest of the weekend. For my friends who get frustrated over me for going MIA on race weekends, well it’s going to be at night so you might be able to get a reply from me in the afternoon. Until Sunday, have a good day/afternoon/night, wherever you are in the world! Thank you for reading, and a shoutout to the non-F1 people who continue to read this and managed to read all the way down to the bottom. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Hang tight, stay safe, and see you Sunday!

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