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Thread: Formula 1: Into The Future

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    Formula 1: Into The Future

    Hi all – alongside my WWE 2003 BTB in the main section, I’m also hoping to play around a little with a Formula 1 themed one too. There will be less detail and less formatting than you might be used to in this (after this first post, at least), but I hope this appeals to someone out there and you enjoy what I do with it.

    The idea is I’ll start from next season, and give a preview of the season and the changes from 2018. Then I’ll do one post per race, summarising the action, giving the results and showing the championship standings.









    January 2019

    With just two years until new regulations shake up the future of Formula One, a sense of chaos has begun to descent on the F1 paddock. Teams have begun to scramble to pull together their ideal driver combinations with a view on the future, leading to a young but exciting driver line-up for 2019.

    In this season preview, we run down the driver changes, what to expect from the year ahead, and our predictions for where everyone will fall.



    Team changes from 2018


    As rumoured for much of the season, Kimi Raikkonen’s contract at Ferrari was not renewed, allowing the promotion of the exciting but hugely inexperienced Charles Leclerc. Rather than join a team lower down the order, Raikkonen decided to retire from the sport altogether.

    Kimi wasn’t the only former World Champion to leave, however. With McLaren’s chronic lack of competitiveness, Fernando Alonso took the decision to switch full time to IndyCar. Luckily for McLaren, they have someone many are touting as a future world champion waiting in the wings, with the call up of 19-year-old Brit Lando Norris.

    A team changing both their name and driver line-up is Force India. Following investment last season, they have now changed their name to Rich Energy Racing. Their hopes of this propelling them up the order looked in danger when Sergio Perez left to join Haas F1, replacing the disappointing Romain Grosjean, who was left without a seat for the new season. Rich Energy filled Perez’s seat by offering an opportunity to Mercedes Junior Driver George Russell, who is on loan from his senior team.

    Following one of the worst seasons in William’s recent history, the team was in desperate need of a morale boost. That came in the form of releasing Sergey Sirotkin and replacing him with Robert Kubica, who was famously touted as a future star when he suffered a life-threatening crash in 2011, where part of his right arm was severed. Some claim Kubica has failed to prove that he’s ready for the big leagues again, but given the magic he was so clearly capable of pre-injury, Williams are hoping this will be the good news story that will light a fire under the once great team.

    2018 was a difficult season to for Toro Rosso. Despite Pierre Gasly impressing, Brendan Hartley struggled to the extent that it became untenable to keep him on. Unfortunately for them, the once revered Red Bull Junior Driver Programme has no-one of a suitable age and experience to step up. A mad scramble for drivers resulted in them taking Mercedes Test Driver Pascal Wehrelin on a season-loan.

    And finally, with Charles Leclerc joining Ferrari, that left Sauber with an empty seat. As many expected, they turned to Ferrari Junior Driver Antonio Giovinazzi, of whom many think has the potentially make a serious mark on F1.



    Team & Driver Preview






    Last Season: 1st
    Engine Supplier: Mercedes (works team)

    Drivers


    Lewis Hamilton
    Nationality: British – Age: 32 – Last Season: 1st

    After another titanic battle with rival Sebastian Vettel last season, Lewis Hamilton took his fifth world title, pulling him one ahead of the German. Considered one of the greatest of all time with good reason, Hamilton has the luxury of a settled team and a team-mate he likes and rarely challenges him. But pre-season testing indicated that Ferrari may have improved even further, meaning the battle to retain his title for a third successive year may be tougher than ever. But would you bet against him?
    Prediction: 1st


    Valtteri Bottas
    Nationality: Finnish – Age: 29 – Last Season: 3rd

    Bottas overcame some of his critics last year in providing more than capable support of Hamilton in his pursuit of the title, and was rewarded with another one year contract extension. However, with each contract only lasting a year, the pressure is always on the Finn to perform, and with Ferrari and Red Bull both showing signs of improvement, it could be a difficult year ahead.
    Prediction: 5th



    Last Season: 2nd
    Engine Supplier: Ferrari (works team)

    Drivers


    Sebastian Vettel
    Nationality: British – Age: 32 – Last Season: 2nd

    Last year was an immensely frustrating one for the 4-time champion. It’s now been 5 seasons since he topped the driver’s charts, and last year was as close as he has got. Now arguably in the strongest car on the grid, he will be hoping to pick up a championship before the regulations change in 2021. But will the emergence of a prodigious young driver alongside him prove too much of a distraction?
    Prediction: 2nd


    Charles Leclerc
    Nationality: Monegasque – Age: 21 – Last season: 15th

    It’s been a meteoric rise for the youngster. Having only debuted last year for the Ferrari-supported Sauber team, Leclerc far outstripped expectations in a year that Raikkonen again struggled to impress. Now in the big leagues, expectations will be far higher than before, but with many likening him to Max Verstappen, it’s possible this promotion will only show how much he’s capable of.
    Prediction: 6th






    Last Season: 3rd
    Engine Supplier: Honda (works team)

    Drivers


    Daniel Ricciardo
    Nationality: Australian – Age: 30 – Last season: 5th

    Last year’s will-he-won’t-he story ended with Riccardo signing a contract extension at Red Bull, committing his future the team for the immediate future. He clearly has the talent, but Red Bull have been yet to provide him with a car that can match his obvious quality. Pre-season indicated improvements have been made, but can they rely on their new Honda engine?
    Prediction: 4th


    Max Verstappen
    Nationality: Dutch – Age: 21 – Last season: 6th

    The big hope for the future of Formula 1. Verstappen already has legions of fans and is a multi-race winner. Like Ricciardo, he’s failed to truly challenge the teams at the top due to the performance of his car, but early indications show that things might be slightly better than in recent years…
    Prediction: 3rd




    Last Season: 4th
    Engine Supplier: Renault (works team)

    Drivers


    Niko Hulkenberg
    Nationality: German – Age: 31 – Last season: 7th

    ”The Hulk” started 2018 as he has so many, being a solid, reliable driver with potential for greatness that he never quite taps in to. Holder of the record of longest race-streak without a podium finish, the end of the season saw him fall away at the same time his team-mate Sainz Jr finally picked it up. With the car ever-improving, the pressure is on to gain serious points this season.
    Prediction: 7th


    Carlos Sainz Jr
    Nationality: Spanish – Age: 24 – Last season: 10th

    After a shaky start to the season, Sainz Jr. finally picked up his form until rumours of him leaving disappeared, and he was signed on a permanent basis (having been on loan from Red Bull before this). Seeing options at his parent team disappearing, he signed his future to the French-based team in the hope they can provide a race-winning car. But even if they can, has he got what it takes to take advantage of it?
    Prediction: 9th





    Last Season: 5th (as Force India)
    Engine Supplier: Mercedes (customer team)

    Drivers


    Esteban Ocon
    Nationality: German – Age: 22 – Last season: 11th

    Along with Verstappen and Gasly, Ocon is seen as part of the future of Formula 1. Last season showed signs of greatness that was sometimes ruined due to a fractious relationship with team-mate Perez, but with the Mexican leaving Ocon is now the clear number one for this season. Can he live up to those expectations?
    Prediction: 11th


    George Russell
    Nationality: British – Age: 21 – Last season: N/A

    An exciting young talent in his first season in F1, Russell will hope to match the career trajectory of his team-mate Ocon, and will be looking to ultimately challenge when one of the two Mercedes seats eventually comes available.
    Prediction: 15th






    Last Season: 6th
    Engine Supplier: Ferrari (customer team)

    Drivers


    Kevin Magnussen
    Nationality: Danish – Age: 26 – Last season: 9th

    With Perez struggling for consistency last season, it was left to Magnussen to lead the team to an impressive 6th place finish. Showing a reliability he has sometimes lacked, and with a powerful Ferrari engine backing him, the Dane will be hoping to take a podium or two this year.
    Prediction: 9th


    Sergio Perez
    Nationality: Mexican – Age: 29 – Last season: 12th

    A sometimes tumultuous relationship with his former team ended once he signed for Haas, taking his enormous sponsorship money with him. The Ferrari engine looks strong, and with his financial backing, Haas can surely build on last year and turn some heads this.
    Prediction: 8th




    Last Season: 7th
    Engine Supplier: Renault (customer team)

    Drivers


    Stoffel Vandoorne
    Nationality: Belgian – Age: 27 – Last season: 16th

    Once seen as a bright prospect, Vandoorne has struggled to emerge from the shadow of former team-mate Fernando Alonso since his debut. With the legendary Spaniard having left Formula One, the opportunity is there for Vandoorne to finally show what he’s made of, but with possibly the most exciting youngster on the grid as his new team-mate, is he swapping the shadow of one for another?
    Prediction: 13th


    Lando Norris
    Nationality: British – Age: 19 – Last season: N/A

    Being labelled as “the next Lewis Hamilton” would throw many as young as Norris, but the teenager has so far seemed unfazed and was deserved his call up to the main team. Pre-season hints that the car may have improved since last year, but without Alonso to keep the points ticking over, things could get ugly if Norris can’t turn potential in to performances.
    Prediction: 12th






    Last Season: 8th
    Engine Supplier: Honda (customer team)

    Drivers


    Pierre Gasly
    Nationality: French – Age: 23 – Last season: 13th

    Seen as the inevitable replacement once either Ricciardo or Verstappen grow tired of waiting for Red Bull to provide a championship-winning car, he impressed many in 2018, and will be looking to continue where he left off this year.
    Prediction: 14th


    Pascal Wehrlein
    Nationality: German – Age: 24 – Last season: N/A

    Brendan Hartley’s struggles last year were well publicised, and left Red Bull’s sister team with a mad rush to find a replacement. After struggling to find the right man and the with the season approaching, they ultimately plumped to take young Mercedes driver Wehrlein on loan for a season. It’s a huge second chance for the German, but can he take it?
    Prediction: 16th




    Last Season: 9th
    Engine Supplier: Ferrari (customer team)

    Drivers


    Marcus Ericsson
    Nationality: Swedish – Age: 28 – Last season: 18th

    Quiet and unassuming, the Swede was often left in the shadow of his team-mate Leclerc last year despite some decent drives. As the more experienced driver in a team powered by Ferrari, he’ll hope to show what he can do this year, but a poor season could easily see him lose his seat, especially with the emergence of the Ferrari Young Driver Programme.
    Prediction: 19th


    Antonio Giovinazzi
    Nationality: Italian – Age: 25 – Last season: N/A

    The highly-touted graduate of the Ferrari Young Driver Programme has been seen as someone with the potential to one day drive for the Prancing Horses, and he’ll be keeping an eye on Vettel’s motivation levels with a keen eye. But first, he’ll need to demonstrate exactly why Ferrari have been so high on him for so long.
    Prediction: 17th




    Last Season: 10th
    Engine Supplier: Mercedes (customer team)

    Drivers


    Lance Stroll
    Nationality: Canadian – Age: 20 – Last season: 17th

    With so much money behind him, he has often been labelled as a spoiled pay driver. He has occasionally silenced those critics with some incredible drives, but has also confirmed them with some terrible ones as well. He’ll be hoping he can have a more consistent year to put him in the sights of one of the bigger teams.
    Prediction: 20th


    Robert Kubica
    Nationality: Polish – Age: 34 – Last season: N/A

    It’s the comeback story everyone was hoping for. Eight years after having part of his arm severed in a crash, Kubica is back in F1 and with a point to prove. Unluckily for him, he is stuck with possibly the slowest car on the grid, but if he can show anything like the levels he had before the injury they’ll be making movies about his personal story.
    Prediction: 18th



    Up next... Race 1: Australia


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    Re: Formula 1: Into The Future




    Race One 2019: Australia

    Qualifying

    The new season brought an early surprise, with Red Bull showing far more speed than expected. They took a shocking pole with home country hero Daniel Ricciardo, will Max Verstappen taking third on the grid. The Red Bulls were split by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, with Leclerc taking fifth.

    The real story, however, was the surprising lack of pace from Mercedes. Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton had to rely on a brilliant individual effort to even take sixth, while his team-mate Valtteri Bottas failed to make Q3.

    Carlos Sainz Jr demonstrated a surprising amount of speed by taking his Renault in to fourth, but the real success story was Lando Norris getting his still-mid-pack McLaren in to Q3 in his first ever race.

    Elsewhere, signs are Haas have retained much of their pace from last year, and Williams continue to struggle. So too are Sauber, who, without Leclerc to work miracles, were left in 18th and 20th.


    Qualifying Results

    1. Ricciardo (Red Bull Honda)
    2. Vettel (Ferrari)
    3. Verstappen (Red Bull Honda)
    4. Sainz Jr (Renault)
    5. Leclerc (Ferrari)
    6. Hamilton (Mercedes)
    7. Perez (Haas Ferrari)
    8. Ocon (Rich Energy Mercedes)
    9. Magnussen (Haas Ferrari)
    10. Norris (McLaren Renault)
    -------------------------------------------
    11. Hulkenberg (Renault)
    12. Gasly (Toro Rosso Honda)
    13. Bottas (Mercedes)
    14. Vandoorne (McLaren Renault)
    15. Russell (Rich Energy Mercedes)
    -------------------------------------------
    16. Wehrlein (Toro Rosso Honda)
    17. Kubica (Williams Mercedes)
    18. Ericsson (Sauber Ferrari)
    19. Stroll (Williams Mercedes)
    20. Giovinazzi (Sauber Ferrari)



    Race Day

    A lightning start from Max Verstappen saw Red Bull finish the first lap in first and second, with Vettel falling back until he was left in a battle against Carlos Sainz Jr. Fearing that the race would get away from him, Vettel threw his car down the inside of the Spaniard, only to careen off his tyre and in to the gravel, ending his race before the first lap had even ended.

    That left Red Bull looking comfortable with an unlikely 1-2 to start the season, until the brand new Honda engine of Ricciardo’s blew out in spectacular fashion, forcing him to the side of the road in to the retirement. That opened the door wide open for Verstappen to race off in to the distance and take a win in the first weekend of the season.

    With the front row of the grid now gone, that opened the opportunities for the podium. The lack of race pace in the Renault ultimately cost Sainz Jr, leaving him open to overtakes from both Leclerc and Hamilton. The world champion knocked on the door of the young Monegasque, but Leclerc stood firm to take second place in his first race for Ferrari.

    Elsewhere, Renault and Haas confirmed their strong performance with two points finishes each, and Norris hung on to tenth for an impressive debut. It was also an impressive return from Kubica in a struggling car, but ultimately not quite enough to take any points.



    Race Results

    1. Verstappen (Red Bull Honda) – 25 Points
    2. Leclerc (Ferrari) – 18 Points
    3. Hamilton (Mercedes) – 15 Points
    4. Sainz Jr (Renault) – 12 Points
    5. Perez (Haas Ferrari) – 10 Points
    6. Ocon (Rich Energy Mercedes) – 8 Points
    7. Hulkenberg (Renault) – 6 Points
    8. Bottas (Mercedes) – 4 Points
    9. Magnussen (Haas Ferrari) – 2 Points
    10. Norris (McLaren Renault) – 1 Point
    -------------------------------------------
    11. Russell (Rich Energy Mercedes)
    12. Kubica (Williams Mercedes)
    13. Wehrlein (Toro Rosso Honda)
    14. Giovinazzi (Sauber Ferrari)
    15. Stroll (Williams Mercedes)
    16. Ericsson (Sauber Ferrari)
    -------------------------------------------
    R. Ricciardo (Red Bull Honda)
    R. Vettel (Ferrari)
    R. Gasly (Toro Rosso Honda)
    R. Vandoorne (McLaren)


    Constructor Championship Standings

    1. Red Bull Honda – 25 points
    2. Mercedes – 19 points
    3. Ferrari – 18 points
    3. Renault – 18 points
    5. Haas Ferrari – 12 points
    6. Rich Energy Mercedes – 9 points
    7. McLaren Renault – 1 point
    8. Toro Rosso Honda – 0 points
    8. Sauber Ferrari – 0 points
    8. Williams Mercedes – 0 points


    Up next… Race Two: Bahrain!


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