Button ‘to leave Formula One for WEC in 2016’

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Jenson Button will announce his retirement from Formula One later this week according to multiple reports.


Comment of the day

Is Haas the wrong career move for Grosjean?
@Fer-no65 is not optimistic about Romain Grosjean’s rumoured move to Haas:

It’d be the end of his career if he decides to move to Haas. No offence to the American team but the chances of them coming to the sport and doing well in the short term are low to say the least.

Romain going there would be like Timo Glock switching to Virgin. He’s still in the sweet spot of his career, way too early to go down the order and endure years of development work. Gutierrez and Vergne should go to Haas, Grosjean should stay at Renault if they decide to buy Lotus.

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On this day in F1

Ex-F1 racers Derek Bell and Hans-Joachim Stuck shared victory for Porsche in the World Sportscar Championship round at Brands Hatch on this day 30 years ago.

Two years ago today Max Verstappen won the CIK-FIA KZ world championship karting event at Varennes in France. Charles Leclerc finish second and former F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari – one of Verstappen’s predecessors at Toro Rosso – took ninth:

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121 comments on “Button ‘to leave Formula One for WEC in 2016’”

  1. Noooooooo not Button… He still has 1 or 2 years left…

    1. He is not retiring, just switching championships. There is life out there besides F1 you know :P

      1. Right, of course.

        1. Absolutely…and Webber cautioned that more drivers could be leaving F1 for WEC. Hope he secures championships there. As things stand, it seems Alonso would also follow suit because there seems to be no guarantee the Honda powerplant would improve. It could well be another season at the back of the grid in 2016 with the odd visit to the point-scoring positions.

          Would love to see how Button performs as co-host in Top Gear. The show needs someone like him to make up for the loss of Jeremy Clarkson, though I am disappointed that he is retiring from F1, if the rumours are true.

          1. and Webber cautioned that more drivers could be leaving F1 for WEC

            The only drivers leaving F1 for WEC are drivers that has no seat in F1 or doesn’t have a competitive team to go.

        2. No offence to WEC, but drivers such as Verstappen are not dreaming of a career there. F1 is still the place to be if you’re 100% driven and not 34 years old. Sounds harsh, but I think its true.

      2. not fr me… i cant/dont follow other champ’ships :(
        Maybe this is a good thing. Now I get to follow other series as well.

    2. The Blade Runner (@)
      22nd September 2015, 9:23

      My hunch is that McLaren told Jenson that they would not be taking up the option of a 2nd year but have agreed that he can announce that he is choosing to retire from F1.

    3. Wish him the best. WEC could be great for him and he would be great for the series. His vacant seat will be thee for either Kevin Magnussen or Stoffel Vandoorne, both very talented young drivers.

    4. Disappointing for F1 but absolutely massive for WEC. This will encourage ALOT more people give WEC a chance!

      Mark Webber joining made a huge impact but his popularity is not even in the same league as Button.

      1. I think you should not underestimate the popularity of Webber, or perhaps overestimate the popularity of Button outside of England…

        1. Can’t really think of a Webber fan base outside of Australia. With the immediate rise of Ricciardo he’s not even our most popular F1 driver of late, I’d say.

          Button obviously has English fans then also a fan base from where they like him because of his looks.

  2. Button Audi re: F1 & WEC is such a weird flipflop.

    WEC over the last few years has gotten to be really interesting. Huge technological leaps forward, interesting competitors (I still think the NISMO GTR-LM’s existence proves the WEC formula is more interesting than F1), and really solid arguments that the technology is much more relevant to road-going cars. Oh, and the racers can actually *race*. I genuinely hope Button finds success there, and I’m curious to see if his driving style is well-suited to endurance racing. It seems like it ought to be.

    Audi coming to F1 can really only be a disaster. If they dominate, then they get sort of a net neutral effect, mimicking their dominance of LMP1 over the last decade or so, but if they lose, then it’ll do a fantastic job of wiping away the cachet they’ve built up in WEC. And coming into a formula that’s incredibly restrictive, driven not by pure technological innovation, etc. If Audi’s motto is “Truth in Engineering”, it’ll now have to be something like Audi: “In concert with a chassis that maximizes tire durability”. Not as good a slogan. :\

    1. And if it sounds like what I’m saying is that F1 has lost its edge and turned into a mostly BS racing formula… uh, yeah. That’s what I’m saying. Get rid of paper tires, get rid of DRS activation zones & sensors (but you can keep movable aero!). Figure out how to get people racing again, instead of managing their tires better.

      If “dirty air” is such a hugely insurmountable problem due to the reliance on aero grip, then take an axe to the aero rules. Or require that an airflow sensor behind the car register “clean air” or something, and then open up the regulations to allow for a dozen completely different approaches to how to actually tackle that problem. Let’s see some engineering challenges that aren’t just “spend $$$ to make a tiny change to the miniscule areas that are unregulated and hope that they don’t change the rules to make your tiny change illegal!”

      1. @helava, Well said Mr. Tank.

      2. I find WEC a bit confusing, probably I should dedicate more time to the series. To me, WEC is overrated. It’s great for constructors as a lab but for fans… I don’t think it’s more fun than GP2 or Formula E. How many here watch WEC races regularly?

        Maybe the wecfanatic.co.uk can help me love more the series…

        1. There’s more than just the P1 hybrids; there’s a bunch of P2s and a whole flock of GTE cars too :)

      3. Let’s see some engineering challenges

        Actually, that’s an area I believe F1 is missing, when it comes to fixing it’s problems.

        Most will agree that one of F1’s biggest issues is the loss of downforce when following closely. Some of the most intelligent engineers in the world work in F1. So, interesting thought, why not get them to work on a solution. Open up the rules in some areas, add some new ones (maybe even just a restriction to the turbulence from the back of the car, measured in a wind tunnel) and let them come up with a solution.

        It always irritates me when F1 forces a solution on to the teams, when they could probably produce a better solution, given the right rules and motivation.

      4. Formula one has no soul anymore. If i want to watch authentic racing i look elsewhere (thankfully there are plenty of options). In my view 2010 was the last year of Formula one racing and everything since then has been complete and utter BS.

    2. Wec is marketing. Do you know that f1 has much more advanced and comprehensive hybrid systems. 8 megajoules the norm now in wec is nothing compared to f1. Apart from the 24h races f1 do more mileage and deliver more power for cubic litre. F1 does 300km on one fuell tank. Wec does 30 minutes at lemans. In the end f1 cars are subjected to higher standards of endurance even though f1 is sprint racing. The big difference between wec and f1 remains the same for the last 30 years, level. In the past 20 lemans is just a show with locked rules and artificial competition, what i would give to get pescarolo back.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        22nd September 2015, 7:24

        @peartree, I have found no MJ numbers to compare F1 and WEC. How many MJ does an F1 hybrid unit have? It’s probably undisclosed because of the culture of secrecy. I’m ready to believe that F1’s hybrid units are more potent though.
        In terms of the endurance of car parts, I think WEC has the advantage. While the WEC only has 8 rounds, each is at least 6 hours long and the cars easily cover 3 times a GP distance in 6 hours (even 4 at LM due to the fast nature of the circuit), so, putting it all together, I reckon the WEC has the equivalent of 37 Grands Prix to cover, racing alone. And like F1, P1 are only allowed 5 engines a year (7 for newcomers, because, unlike the Strategy Group, the ACO aren’t trying to deter new entrants).
        Talking tyres would be a fallacy, and your fuel argument is also incorrect IMO. F1 cars cover 300 km on a single tank because they have to. If refuelling was allowed, the teams would use it and tanks would be smaller. We know this because this was the case not so long ago… In terms of actual fuel economy performance, it’s close. F1 cars have to do 33 kg/100 km, and P1s have an allowance of around 35 L/100 km (variable according to subclass).

        1. 1000 km races in the late 2000s were generally completed in around 5 hours and 15-20 minutes. With the pace difference between then and now, a 1000 km race would take about 5 hours, so therefore a regular 6hr race would be around 1200 km give or take, so a normal WEC race would be 4 times the length of a GP already.

          Just to prove how durable the LMP1 cars are compared to F1, this year at Le Mans the winning Porsche covered 5383 km in 24 hours, and the servicing it needed was fuel, tires, driver changes, minor oil top-ups and a single rear bodywork change. That’s over 17 Grand Prix distances in one go.

        2. @FlyingLobster27, there is a difference in the way that the WEC and F1 regulates the hybrid recovery systems.

          In F1, the energy that can be recovered from the kinetic energy recovery systems is limited to 2MJ per lap. However, the regulations in F1 theoretically allow for unlimited transfer of energy from the thermal energy recovery systems, generating a considerable incentive to maximise the efficiency of the thermal energy recovery systems.
          Therefore, on paper at least, there is technically no regulatory limit on the total amount of energy that can actually be stored, which is why you won’t find a limit being mentioned.

          In the WEC, the energy recovery classes for the manufacturers varies from 2MJ to 8MJ, with a slight reduction in maximum fuel flow rate and fuel load as the amount of energy recovery is increased, although the system is still quite obviously biased towards the 8MJ category.

          Those limits of 2-8MJ cover all forms of energy recovery systems that are fitted to the car – so although F1 has a lower limit on the kinetic energy recovery systems, only the ACO imposes a hard cap on the total amount of energy which can be recovered per lap.

          There is the caveat that the ACO determined those values of 2-8 MJ based on a lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe. There is therefore some debate over whether the figures can be directly compared – the regulations for F1 would have been drawn up around circuit typically around 2.4-4 miles in length (Spa being the longest circuit in use at the moment, at 4.3 miles), whereas the ACO was using an 8.5 mile long circuit as its benchmark.

          The ACO has also imposed restrictions on how the hybrid systems can be used. Although teams can use the hybrid energy systems to drive the front wheels, this is only above 120kph, though it is not limited via the rear wheels.

          More notably, though, the ACO has also imposed limitations at certain circuits on where the hybrid systems can actually be used. At the Circuit de la Sarthe, teams are only permitted to recharge and deploy the hybrid energy recovery systems in designated zones around the circuit, with the ACO monitoring the hybrid systems in real time to ensure that the manufacturers stick to those designated zones.

          There is also the fact that, although teams can in principle are not restricted on development between seasons, development work on the powertrain during a season is banned. The Balance of Performance regulations are actually fairly inflexible because they have to assume that the performance of the diesel and petrol powered cars over a season is fixed for the entire season.

          That ban on development is why Nissan withdrew from the WEC this season – once homologated, you are forced to run the same components for the rest of the season, even if, as in the case of Nissan, those components are clearly malfunctioning.

          It is also why Toyota also announced that they are not going to try to compete with Porsche or Audi this season – due to the development restrictions the ACO imposes, Porsche and Audi have a locked in performance advantage that Toyota can do nothing about.

        3. Flyinglobster I was slightly sarcastic. I’m always wondering why on earth do Endurance cars pit every 30 min, that said my numbers on fuel are absolutely correct. Don’t forget F1 engines are just 1.6 litre, much more efficient per litre than P1 engines which are much larger. The electrical business is a matter of some maths. The P1 are now on the 8 mj class. F1 cars have limited to 160kw for 30 seconds, per lap. I’m not one for maths but 8mj I know is very little power. At La Sartre Wec cars cover 5000 km on 24 hours on a very fast track, F1 engines are covering 3000km per unit, why are F1 cars made for such endurance? I love these engines but F1 should be aware of costs the hardware is generally the bit that costs more. F1 should indeed force the manufacturers to give back to the teams by forcing them to readily supply at least 2 teams if teams are indeed interested in them and also make the manufacturers cover 50-60% of the cost of the units.

      2. The big difference between WEC and F1 isn’t simply level – there is another big difference….

        WEC wants you to be a fan of it. It wants you to come to a race, have a good time, get excited by the racing, go and tell all of your friends and come back again next year.

        F1 wants you to buy a Rolex.

        1. I read all this talk about how great WEC is, but do people actually watch WEC races?

          I sort of follow Le Mans and that’s that I:
          – check the leaderboard perhaps twice during those 24 hours
          – usually see some footage of a big crash
          – a confusing clip of a herd of people on a podium leaving me to wonder which of all those people actually won.

          1. @patrickl Honestly I don’t think many people do. Those that do actually watch the full races are just very vocal about it. WEC is probably helped by the fact that there’s so little negativity around it, so much so that the commentary team just spends its time F1 bashing instead of talking about the racing whenever it actually happens.

          2. @ciaran, Lol, I noticed that too. When I watched bits of Le Mans coverage they were usually more busy explaining how WEC was better than F1 instead of actually commenting on the race :)

            I guess it’s difficult to fill 24 hours with commentary though. There are usually no on track battles to speak of, because the cars tend to be miles apart. You can follow the race on a ticker tape just fine. Just to see who crashed or had technical difficulties and then the final result.

        2. +1.
          There is indeed a change in approach towards fans between WEC and F1.

          Went to see WEC at Spa this year.
          Cost me 35€ entry fee to get All Areas access. (which was the only access level that existed)
          That means I could sit at all stands whenever I wanted, I could have a drink in the Pit Brasserie whenever I wanted or I could stroll through the paddock whenever I wanted during the race.
          As the race takes 6 hours, there is plenty of time to do all that.

          F1 was a bit different:
          The cheapest ticket, “Bronze”, costs 125€.
          Tickets for the stands at start/finish, Source or Eau Rouge cost 500€.
          The Brasserie is renamed “Paddock Club” and because of that, I would need to pay a ticket of over 3000€ to be able to have a drink there. On a plus side, that drink would be free.
          And the paddock… does any normal fan ever get access to that?

        3. great comment!!

        4. @petebaldwin You are right but that you said is exactly why the difference between F1 and WEC is level and just that. f1 is a such level it demands ridiculous entry fees, expensive tv rights and expensive merchandise. Wec isn’t at a high level, if they had the demand F1 commands, WEC which is still a new championship, could eventually ended up doing roughly the same prices as F1 does today.

      3. Apart from the 24h races f1 do more mileage

        The shortest WEC race is three to four times longer than the average F1 race.

        In the end f1 cars are subjected to higher standards of endurance

        TIL 6 hours is less of an endurance test than 1.5 hours.

        lemans is just a show with locked rules and artificial competition

        This year’s Le Mans featured 4l V6 diesel hybrids, 3.7l NA petrol hybrids, 2l V4 petrol turbo hybrids, 3l turbo petrol V6 hybrids, 2.4l turbo petrol V6s, 4.5l NA petrol V8s, 3.8l petrol flat-sixes, 4.3l petrol V8s, and a 5.5l petrol V8. So I can see how it’s easy to think it’s more locked down than a series featuring a choice between 1.6l V6 turbo petrol hybrids, 1.6l V6 turbo petrol hybrids, 1.6l V6 turbo petrol hybrids, and 1.6l V6 turbo petrol hybrids. And not forgetting the 1.6l V6 turbo petrol hybrids; I’d hate to leave out the 1.6l V6 turbo petrol hybrids as well.

        1. Should also add that the WEC regs limit the P1 cars to a lower fuel use rate than F1.

        2. @raceprouk Do you really think Porsche Toyota Audi etc, used the same unit at LeMans than that they used at circuit of texas. No they didn’t. The unit covered 5000km in 24h straight, which is remarkable but for an endurance series, it isn’t impressive if you see what F1 is doing with as you stated less than half the engine capacity. F1 is doing 1500km of race running plus practice and qualifying, not to mention that some teams have told their PU’s have reached far higher km count than that. To what reason? I don’t know, F1 is sprint racing, cost cutting that end inflating costs. LeMans rules Dave have been made via ACO by Audi for Audi with the support of their partners in marketing Porsche and the gullible Toyota.

          1. You mean the regs that were so well designed to favour Audi they were complaining they were being artificially slowed down? And are you talking about the same Toyota that are the reigning drivers’ and manufacturers’ champions? And do you have proof an F1 powertrain has run continuously for over six hours?

            Want to know what I think? I think you’re just taking any opportunity you can to hate on a series you know very little about. You’re so obsessed with F1 being ‘teh bestest’ that you cannot accept that there’s a series that has more variety, more genuine action, and is more welcoming, which also sells tickets for a fraction of the cost of an F1 ticket.

    3. “Auto Bild claims Audi will enter F1 in 2018 with Red Bull as a sponsor and is likely to end its DTM and WEC programmes when it does.”

      I would believe them if they didn’t also add that they would drop WEC and DTM.

    4. I don’t believe Audi will enter F1. According to RaceTech (an issue a few months ago when the Audi rumours were rife), Audi tried the F1 style engine Energy recovery system on their LMP engine a few years ago, and discarded it as a dead end. I can’t see any reason for them going back on that!

  3. I’m happy to see Button switching to WEC. As a WEC follower, I think getting more F1 drivers shows the Championship is growing in the right direction.
    Still unsure about all this Audi talking, we’ll see….

    Speaking of Suzuka, fingers crossed for another bad weekend for Mercedes. They obviously have done a better job than everyone else and deserve their success, but fans sure would welcome a tighter fight until the end.

    1. @jon If we want a better fight maybe we should be wishing Renault could find those missing horses.

      1. @HoHum Do you think Ricciardo has a better chance than Vettel at the WDC if Merc struggles persist?

        1. @jons No, seeing how he’s 179 points behind with 150 points left to win.

        2. No, but he could challenge Vettel for wins if the Renault PU was as good as the Ferrari PU.

  4. Button is a much better driver than hamilton and much more friendly down to earth fan favourite. I think it’s unfair he is ending his amazing career this way and I hope both the fans and he will look back at races like Canada 2011 and Brazil 2009 with great fondness. I hope he proves how great he is in WEC as well.

    1. What’s Hamilton got to do with this?!?

    2. Lewis has more wins in the past 31 races than Jenson has in a 16 year career. CASE NEVER OPENED.

      1. 31 races in the car with the biggest advantage ever seen. And only team-mate to beat him.

    3. C’mon man!

  5. I’ve been saying for a while that Button would be a good choice for the Top Gear reboot here in the UK. He can leave F1 knowing he did well, and had some solid years at McLaren after his championship year with Brawn.

    Audi joining F1 in 2018 seems more and more likely. Wha surprises me is that they would pull WEC and DTM. Audi stayed with those disciplines through the financial crisis, and they’re still going reasonably well in both of them. To throw all their weight behind F1 is a very risky strategy, even if they would be taking over a team with strong foundations. For cost reasons, I wouldn’t have been too surprised if they dropped WEC for F1 (Though obviously I’d miss them in WEC), but a DTM programme could surely be run alongside F1.

    1. This move by Audi reminds me of Toyota back in the 2000s, when they threw away their experience at WRC (they had won multiple titles during the 90s, including the one during their final year at ’99), only to perform mediocrily at Formula 1 and leave again – they are coming back to WRC in 2017, which makes me wonder if Audi maybe goes on to do something similar if their F1 plan doesn’t work out…

  6. I guess he’s been practising not driving two thirds of the time by being a McLaren driver this year.

    1. Haaa funny

  7. I wouldn’t mind seeing Button, Webber and Hulkenberg (and possibly Alonso and Montoya) duke it out at Le Mans in 2016…

    1. And as for the COTD: Grosjean is rumoured to use the Haas seat to then slingshot himself into a vacant Ferrari seat from 2017 on once Kimi announces his retirement. That would make sense also considering Ferrari can keep a close eye on him at Haas.

      1. That would be wise choice for Ferrari. Grosjean would be reasonably quick and safe pair of hands. I think he would do better than Kimi now. Grosjean would be like Barichello was to M. Schumacher.

      2. No one goes to a back of the grid team to jump to a top team. Or at least, it’s never that easy. People are saying: “nah, but he wants to go to Ferrari next”, as if it was a given.

        There are plenty of drivers that could well fill that place at Ferrari, Grosjean is far from the only one. I see it as a major step back.

        1. I disagree @fer-no65 . I believe Ferrari thinks that way. For example when they wanted a junior driver like Bianchi to mature in Marussia. Maybe they don’t just go with the best options in other teams. Why in the world would they not pick Hulkenberg then ? Why Bottas ahead of Hulkenberg ?

          But then, even if all this happens, Grosjean will not be a no 2 driver . He has the hunger and the potential to be better.

          1. @hamilfan totally different situations with Bianchi. They wanted Jules to gain experience, they didn’t want to pick a driver that was once competitive and went back to the lower end of the grid.

            Same with Ricciardo at HRT. Red Bull wanted him to gain track time.

            They don’t pick Hulkenberg god knows why. They did try to lure Bottas, but Williams asked too much money. But nothing says they can try again to get him. Plus who knows, maybe Red Bull quites and surprise, surprise, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Sainz and Verstappen are all available. The chances of the driver market changing in a year is huge. Grosjean would take a massive, MASSIVE gamble going backwards. And it’d not work out, I’m 100% sure of it.

            Only Heidfeld had the luck to fall back to Jordan (when Jordan was just a tad better than Minardi) and came back to Williams and then BMW. I cannot think of another recent example of a driver going backwards to move forward.

  8. The WEC is the right move for Button I think. Yes, he could easily do a few more years in F1, but realistically, what more can he accomplish? It’ll take another year or two for McLaren to get near the front again, and he’s unlikely to find a seat elsewhere. In the WEC though, he can compete in a more varied championship, with more interesting (and better sounding (except for the Audi)) cars, and he’ll have more fun and more freedom than he will in F1.

    It’s a no-brainer :)

    1. Oh, almost forgot: he’ll be able to extend his career several years too :)

    2. No brainer exactly!… I wonder why doesnt Alonso do exactly the same thing? Maybe Alonso gets paid 3-4x what Button was getting and 5-10x what he was offered for continuing.

      Button seems to be making a good Career move here… just gotta win Le Mans, and then Indy… and viola! A legend is made.

      1. + I reckon WEC cars are faster than this years McLaren in actual race pace.

        1. Jure – I would argue that the information available shows that a factory LMP1 car would still be slower than the MP4/30 in race trim. In the 6 Hours of Spa, for example, the LMP1 teams were typically running closer to the 2 minute mark for their lap times, although in that series factors such as traffic play a much more significant role.

        2. F1 cars are lighter and produce more downforce; also, the Pirellis are stickier than the Michelins run in the WEC.

  9. So Sad to read the news about Button. I must admit , F1 will miss his humor and the some of the brilliant racing abilities. When he was moving to McLaren I predicted that Lewis will eat him for breakfast , lunch and dinner. I was SO SO SO wrong about it.

    In fact if he had not made the move to McLaren in 2010 who knows he would have had another championship in his bag today. But then world is not made of IFs and Buts. It is about being at the right place at the right time. I am thinking where does that leave Alonso.

    I heard rumors that Alonso is getting thoughts about RedBull Ferrari !!!! if that happens then McLaren will have space for both Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne. Good for everyone !!!

    1. I must admit that for many years Button has been my favourite driver on the grid. He has always overachieved in what have been some pretty poor cars. I was delighted when he won his WDC which at least means he will always be remembered. I think he has been consistently under-rated. He is the only one of Lewis’s team mates to get anywhere near him and actually come out best purely in statistical terms.

      I hope Alonso has a get out clause for 2017 onwards. I doubt Honda will improve that much next year so I really think he should be looking around. Raikkonen won’t last more than another year at Ferrari so after that there is scope for someone to move there which might free up a decent seat. Red Bull seems the obvious place for him or possibly Mercedes? You never know he might end up back at the new works Renault team. It cannot be any worse than McLaren.

    2. Ironically, I think Jenson benefited much more in terms of legacy by not staying at Brackley and winning another championship in 2014 or whatever. Taking on Hamilton and beating him I think meant people gave him the respect he deserved from 2009.

  10. In response to COTD I don’t think it would be the end of his career if Grosjean was to move to Haas because I think Haas are going to be way more competitive than people are expecting them to be. I would not be at all surprised if they score points next year & are solidly in the mid-field battle regularly.

    The reasons are simple, They have a larger budget than other mid-field teams, Have put together a very good technical department, Have some top class facilities, Are working closely with Dallara & giving them a big enough budget that they will actually be able to put together a decent car & will have a very close technical partnership with Ferrari who i’ve heard have sent some people to Dallara to help with the car design.

    1. Agree with CoTD – but such is the lure of Ferrari for Grosjean apparently to consider Haas. Much like when Alesi went to Ferrari rather than Williams. That worked out really well too. Haas may completely surprise everyone though and not be like USF1 all over again. I remain doubtful.

    2. @gt-racer I’d be majorly surprised if they were in the mid-field next year. They have a massive amount to learn with the new car and seeing how teams struggled when the new engines first came in with cooling etc, I can’t see them being reliable or competitive.

      Good luck to them but I can’t see them being stronger than Sauber, Toro Rosso, Force India etc.

    3. I think someone ‘close to’ Alonso or called Fernando (@Fer-no65) disapproving Grosjean’s decision on moving to another team can only be positive for RoGro.

    4. I think Grosjean is replacing Raikkonen in Ferrari. Imo, it makes so much sense. And fits the pattern.
      Ferrari never prefer to take unknown quantities into their team. They took Irvine, then took his old teammate Barrichello. They took Raikkonen and Massa who had driven for Sauber. They even took Raikkonen back. Now their pet team Haas is taking in RoGro who was also Raikkonen’s teammate while James Allison and other engineers from Ferrari were together with them in Lotus. He must be one of the best known drivers on the grid for Ferrari.

    5. @GT Racer It would be massively interesting if they find themselves doing better than McLaren Honda next year !!!!

  11. Re: COTD

    Have to disagree entirely that career suicide is a foregone conclusion. Is it guaranteed to succeed? Absolutely not. Do I think they are doing everything they possibly can to make their entrance as good as possible? Yes. Reasons below:

    – They have painstakingly observed the fates of the 2010 new teams to avoid repeating them.
    – They are taking as much as they possibly can as customers from Ferrari and other teams. i.e. proven, race tested components. Taking development out of the budget as much as possible means the budget can be spent most effectively on the things they do need to get right.
    – The budget itself will be substantially higher and more consistent than some other existing teams. It’s been repeatedly shown that success in modern F1 is almost entirely down to investment.
    – Not attempting anything unusual, cheap, or different. The F1 team will be based in europe like all the others. Using pre-existing facilities and not building their own from scratch.
    – Preparation, preparation, preparation. They delayed the entrance by an entire year to be sure of getting it right.
    – Realistic expectations.
    – Massive depth of experience in motor racing. This is an independent racing team not the branding arm of some other corporation.
    – Understanding the importance of experience vs. making a statement when picking drivers. Already said that picking an american ‘just because’ etc is out of the question right now. They want drivers with experience driving 2014+ turbo cars.

    Basically with the amount of risk Haas are eliminating or reducing from their entrance, if it turns out they can’t do it, then I’d say probably no-one can. The only way to do better would be to buy a team outright.

    1. Exactly. As I said last night, they look more likely to be the next Stewart Grand Prix than the next Virgin Racing.

    2. @newdecade – I honestly think they are going to really struggle. For me, I think their goal next year will be simply to beat Manor and see if they can progress from there.

      Currently, I think that no-one can enter a brand new F1 team and be successful (let’s call success regularly getting out of Q1) within 3 years. As you say, time will tell but I think Grosjean is going to regret this call.

      1. maarten.f1 (@maarten-f1) (@)
        22nd September 2015, 20:48

        @petebaldwin That’ll all depend on what happens to Lotus, doesn’t it? If the team goes into administration, what will happen from there? The Renault takeover isn’t a sure thing, and there aren’t that many days left to get it sorted out.

        I agree with @newdecade. It isn’t necessarily career suicide, though it is a gamble on his part. But if he fancies his chances better with going for a seat at Haas instead of waiting for a Renault takeover to materialize (or something to happen at Lotus), it says a lot about the latter.

  12. I would like to be as objective as possible.
    The biggest BUT accomplishment is, without a doubt, 2009 championship. Everybody that is serious knows BUT took advantage of a first part of the season, which was unmatched. Not even this Mercedes are as good as those white Browns were. Truth to be told, he was above Barrichello.
    What did he do in his 9 previous seasons to earn that seat? Basically nothing. The only big season was 2004 with 10 podiums and beating Sato. But in the meantime he managed to lose to Ralf, Fisico and even Barrichello in 2008 season. He got lucky Brawn took over Honda. After the championship, his only accomplishment is 2011 season with 12 podiums beating HAM.
    Summing up, he had 3 great seasons out of 16. He took good teams such as BAR and Mc Laren and turn them into a laughing stock.
    Good driver on wet, but way overrated. He pick up british HAM detractors.
    Nor Ron or me will miss him. Have a good life Jenson…you are just a lucky Gutierrez.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I remember when he crashed out after the field was bunched up, right before the safety car release. Seeing that THAT is my clearest memory of him before 2009, I can hardly rate him at the same level as HAM, VET, ALO or Verstappen for that matter. Great guy, not one of the greats.

    2. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
      22nd September 2015, 8:32

      The biggest BUT accomplishment is, without a doubt, 2009 championship.

      Actually, I think it was more a Brawn than Button achievement.
      IMHO Button’s best accomplishment came later when he beat Hamilton. And even though Hamilton was still a bit up and down those years, Button did well in McLaren.

    3. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      22nd September 2015, 8:40

      So you don’t remember 2003 & especially 2004 for Jenson as well as I do…. Schumacher called him out as his biggest threat after the imola race that year. 2nd in the championship in a BAR..! At the Renault team, Flavio did what he did to heikki, which was free him bs about training and have no support so he could have Alonso in the car. So the doesn’t count at all in your trashing of Jenson.

    4. @mumito – Please elaborate on how Button has made McLaren into a laughing stock!? My understanding is that he competed very well against Hamilton and is doing his best to keep a brave face considering their currently situation.

      There are plenty of people you could blame for how McLaren are struggling now but Button!? Really??

    5. @mumito I think you are too young to have followed these years.

      The only year that Button had a championship winning car was 2009 and he nailed it. He was so dominant at the first races that he managed to keep the lead even when the lack of founds meant that Brawn was not improving. In the years before, he never had a championship capable car. Honda and BAR were never near the leaders, and of the two drivers, it was always Button who was driving the car close to the leaders.

      Calling a WDC “a lucky Gutierrez” is at least ridiculous. And as I always say, any driver can win a GP if he has a car good enough, but not any driver can win the World title. Button did, and that’s why he is one of the greats of his generation.

      1. Whats the problem with my age? Have you read my post? I think you have problems reading. Let me argue that Mc Laren car from 2010 to 2012 was also a championship capable car. Lewis could have won in 2010. And that Mc Laren was really fast. It has its reliability problems but still a fast car. 3 great seasons out of 16. He is far away of being beside HAM ALO and RAI.

      2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        22nd September 2015, 20:06

        Yep, and, Jenson utterly destroyed Rubens in exactly the same way Schumacher used to – especially @ Barcelona on 2009. That was absolutely Jenson’s best F1 race to date. He did something he HAD to on the day : he adjusted his driving style to suit the car, even though he said it was very difficult to do. If he drove like that every single race (being more open to adapting his style) he would be totally on Schumacher’s level. He is ultimately the quickest driver out there today (has been since Michael retired) – it is just more difficult to access his speed due to a very specific way of driving. I believe he doesn’t have access to the 98th & 99th percentile of his speed, 100% of the time.

    6. He took good teams such as BAR and Mc Laren and turn them into a laughing stock.

      Funny, I remember BAR being a joke from day 1. They claimed they’d win their first season, then turned up with a dog of a car that JV couldn’t even get to the finish in 11 consecutive rounds of the championship.
      McLaren hadn’t won a WCC for 12 years when Jenson joined the team, and contrary to most predictions (including my own) Jensen performed well against Lewis, and has been driving well for them, he’s certainly performed better than the team – who have yet to build him a car fast & reliable enough to win a championship.
      Button may not be as good as the greats, but he’s certainly a very good driver.

      1. The original post is the biggest load of rubbish I have ever read on here. Button over-achieved in the BAR (2nd place in the WDC!) and he had the same equipment as Barrichello in 2009 but won all of the first six races. OK he got lucky with the car but it was not a foregone conclusion he was going to WDC.

        Like I siad above he is the only one of Hamilton’s team mates to get anywhere near him. Definitely not as fast over a single lap but over a full distance the statistics indicate he came out on top…just. His drive at Canada in 2011 is one of the greatest in wet conditions ever seen.

        1. Like I siad above he is the only one of Hamilton’s team mates to get anywhere near him.

          Alonso fans shaking are their heads righf now.

          1. *are shaking

        2. 2nd place in the WDC!

          He was third in the WDC in 2004. The Ferrari drivers were 1-2.

  13. Not sure how to feel about Button leaving. On one hand he’s still more than quick enough to remain in F1 – that’s been proved this year and I can’t see his performance dipping significantly over the next year or two. He’s the sort of driver we need around and he’d be good for McLaren too.

    But at the same time, I absolutely loathe the way the two McLaren youngsters (Vandoorne and Magnussen) are being held back. Magnussen is 23 soon and Vandoorne is 23 already… neither of them, especially Vandoorne, can afford more seasons sat around wasting their time. If they were with Red Bull or Ferrari they’d both be in their second season of F1 by now. I don’t necessarily think Magnussen is a future great (future Rosberg/Webber, maybe) but the potential is there with Vandoorne.

    So if losing Button is the price for those two getting some kind of career progression… I think it’s one worth (reluctantly) paying.

    1. I am still not convinced he will leave. Because what would be the reason to put this out to the media now? What if instead this is meant to make it clear to McLaren that he insists on them upping their offer or he will decline @neilosjames

  14. Unfortunately, NSX-GTE is still a rumour & ARX-04a was scrapped..

  15. FlyingLobster27
    22nd September 2015, 5:57

    The VW emissions scandal reminds me of Toyota’s variable geometry turbo restrictor from 1995. Engines that behave well only when inspected are back in fashion, and that’s an example of road-relevance of the motor racing spirit, right there! XD
    Audi to F1 would be disappointing for me, but hey, I’m rather philosophical about it now. They are in the DTM and FE after all, so F1 wouldn’t be a step back away from the overly gimmicky, and they have nothing more to prove in the WEC. They can leave knowing that Porsche is there to represent the VW stable… if VW doesn’t crumble before then.

    1. That $18 bi bill will kill any F1 project if they have it…

      1. Or it will make them feel they now need F1. Who knows?
        Is kind of ironic though. with 18 billion they could have been racing in F1 with high budget from decades and get so much advertising and heritage etc.
        And yet they think over it so much and never dare and then they have to throw 18 billion like that because they were being stupid.

  16. Hm, if Audi would start developing now to get a car on track for 2018 they would have had about the same amount of time Honda had …

    And even if the board had decided to take this step, I think that losing over 20% of its market value, having a fine up to 18 billion USD and possible recall of almost half a million cars hanging over their heads (and a possible change of command if the Piech cohort take the opportunity to oust Winterkorn) might change their minds.

    But its certainly nice for them to see some positive speculation with all that, and the memories of blatantly unsporting behaviour in DTM, out in the media.

  17. Interesting article about Michelin tyres (BBC). They say they would gain 2-3 seconds per lap on tyres alone. I just wonder, why then make those drastic changes for 2017 to make F1 faster. Slashing 3 seconds from laptimes would be enough for F1 to make it real men’s sport. You can also add wider rear wing and that’d be enough. So why make teams spend millions on new changes to make F1 cars faster? It doesn’t sound wise. It just shows there are clever and cheap ways to make F1 cars faster. Bernie should think about this if he still sometimes use his brain.

    1. Why think, when signing Pirelli gets him 50M £ each year… Regardless of performance… Same as two GP races in Europe.

    2. @Osvaldas31, given that it would form a cornerstone of Michelin’s advertising strategy (a plan to push larger diameter tyres, because those are far more profitable for Michelin), it is therefore in their best interests to claim that there will be massive increases in performance from changing the tyre configuration.

      In reality, as Michelin themselves note in their bid proposal that their proposal would be integrated with changes to the chassis design itself, it would be difficult to quantify what effects were down to the tyres alone and what came down to the changes in chassis design. For example, take the claim by Michelin about being able to run the cars closer to the ground – given that the FIA is planning to reintroduce active suspension in 2017, which would automatically maintain a constant ride height, the sidewall stiffness of the tyres would become a minor factor in that situation.

      1. Even with everything as it is in 2 years they would be that much faster anyway just from natural development. The people yelling about cars being slow are mοrοns who do not understand the game of tail chasing played by the FIA. The FIA slows the cars down and engineers get back to speed after a few years etc and the the game continues.
        Now if they make the cars faster in 2017 by rules then the cars will become dangerously fast after a few years of development and people we will start talking about the cars being too much for a human driver(we had this talks in 2004 but very few remember) and the FIA will have to slow them down again etc.

        People never got that it didn’t matter if they weren’t very fast in 2014 because the engineers will find seconds every year.

  18. There goes the chance of VAG entering F1 in the near future. Volkswagen will soon bankrupt after dealing with legal cost, fine, and buy back nearly half million units of Beetle, Jetta, Golf and Passat sold in 2009-2015.

    1. Not sure if they will go bankrupt but a fine of several billion dollars is definitely on the cards. And now Asian and European authorities are investigating if they’ve cheated emission tests in their regions too.

      As you say, rather unlikely they’d invest in a vanity programme like an F1 team when their bottom line, cash reserves and reputation are going to take such a monumental hit.

      1. US EPA’s fine alone might exceed 18 billions and they already lost 20 billions on stock in just two days. VW already had stop diesel car selling in the US. VW owner had start contacting law firm that filing a federal lawsuit against Volkswagen asking for buy back.
        Yes. It is a monumental hit.

    2. I also think the RBR deal is likely dead, due to financial and possibly reputational issues. But primarily it will be due to litigation costs and related uncertainty in its financial situation.

      Costs. VW has a lot of money (it won’t go bankrupt, not with a German Land owning a major share of it) but not infinite money. The EPA fine is going to be significant. At least 1B is my guess based on USEPA precedents. There will be additional fines, no doubt, from CARB and other US state regulators. That’s not even mentioning other countries where the other ~11 million cars implicated were sold. I’m guessing a couple billion in the U.S.

      Additionally, VW made the mistake of doing this in the land of the lawsuit. Apart from defending the official investigations , private cases are already filed in the U.S. and VW will be hiring probably a couple hundred outside lawyers to defend state and federal suits, including class actions, all over the United States. And this is a very expensive legal market. As a comparison, Toyota spent several hundred million in legal fees alone in the U.S. in UA cases (and they were never even proved to have a defect in software or otherwise!). That is apart from the 1.1B settlement they paid out in the major multi-district class action case alone. That’s not counting the various state level cases. VW may also have to pay plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fees. You also have to consider the massive additional internal costs from managing outside counsel and the litigation in general, not to mention the consequences of having major execs tied up with lawyers in meetings, depositions, hearings, etc., for years and years.

      And at the end, VW will pay out ridiculous settlement figures in these cases just to stop the litigation, once they have beaten back plaintiffs’ claims of damages from patently ludicrous to merely outrageous proportions.

      Apart from legal matters, VW is going to have to fix the issue, somehow. The initial secret reflash in 2014 didn’t work. Even if there were a fix, good luck getting a car back for a performance-damaging fix. VW is going to have to offer a large bounty for returned TDIs and then crush them. (Go buy a 2009 TDI Golf right now. It will be a good investment.) 11 million times say 20K is a lot of coin. And going forward, VW is going to figure out how to make the cars with similar performance but legally-compliant. This will mean more cost going into cars in a market where they are already struggling badly.

      When you add it up VAG is going to be spending several billion over several years, with total amounts and time period unknown, to deal with this mess. They person who walks into the CFO’s office talking about a $300m/year racing project is not going to be well-received.

      Reputation. The damage is already significant. And it doesn’t look good to be engaged in auto-racing when you are trying to shake a reputation as a criminal polluter. That said, I think 99% of people, at least in the US, have no idea that VW and Audi are related and even use the same engines. So they may get away with running as Audi or, better yet, Lamborghini in F1 and the general public won’t catch on. On balance, though, the reputation issue added to the issues of cost and uncertainty say pull out of the deal.

      1. The guy getting into the board meeting talking about starting with 300million F1 adventure will certainly be looked with doubtful eyes right now in the VW group BUT if he is a good salesman he can easily claim that at this moment and after the huge image hit they took, they need more than ever the marketing that the top motor racing series in the world brings.

  19. A thoroughly good day for news I would say, since…

    a) Jenson may get the chance of driving something competitive in 2016 (Graham Goodwin of Daily Sportscar believes Romain Dumas will be making way for Jenson).

    b) The finest junior single seater career since Nico Hulkenberg may finally get the seat he has earned so emphatically in GP2 this year.

    c) The careers of Ricciardo, Kvyat, Verstappen, Sainz and the hundreds of employees across RBR and STR may yet be assured by Audi.

    d) The manufacterer with perhaps the most invariably excellent record in all forms of motorsport may at last make its debut at the pinnacle of motorsport.

    e) Our favourite non-racing, Sunday evening entertainment may yet be revived…

    1. …all of this assuming the parent company doesn’t bottle such a monumental investment on the eve of revelations about massive corruption and law breaking in the name of profit and market share?

  20. Disagree with the COTD. Haas will be a midfield team from the off, potentially ahead of some of the more established midfield even and there will be some strong indication from Ferrari that this could put him in prime position to replace Kimi given their relative performances at the end of the iceman’s tenure at Lotus.

    That said, the competition for that second Ferrari seat will be fierce come 2017, Grosjean, possibly Verstappen, possibly Perez if he continues his current upward trajectory over Hulkenberg, Bottas…

    A tragedy Jules Bianchi isn’t in that mix also.

  21. “Slick inters”? That certainly is revolutionary technology. I fully agree with Michelin’s points. Larger and fatter tyres would significantly enhance the looks along with the performance gains Michelin claims.

  22. You could see and hear something different in Buttons demeanour at Singapore. He had a confidence and comfort of someone who has been unburdened. Watching him bantering with the Sky screw I figured he was auditioning for a role as a presenter.

  23. It is a pretty sad way for Jenson to end his F1 career but it is probably for the best. It’s a shame that his last 3 years he has had (varying degrees of) uncompetitive cars which haven’t allowed him to achieve much, depsite performing quite well. I’m sure endurance racing will suit him well though so hopefully he can have a chance to win races and championship very soon.

    Have to say though, if this was his choice then it does not inspire confidence in any short term improvements at McLaren Honda – i’m sure given the choice Jenson would have stayed if he thought he could be back near the front of the grid next year. It makes you wonder how long Alonso will stick around if next year isn’t a massive step forward.

  24. Audi to F1?

    VAG is barely gonna have money to pay their lawyers after the Diesel debacle is over.

  25. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    22nd September 2015, 15:13

    If he gets in WEC, I absolutely need him for Porsche and will want him to be Webber’s teammate.

  26. Would be great to see Button in WEC – it is the most developing series at the moment, and close to f1 pace even if it is not open-wheel and 200kg heavier. Juan Montoya is looking likely to get a Porsche test – could we see an all ex “great” F1 driver line up win lemans in one instance? (Webber, Montoya, Button or with current great f1 driver Hulkenburg). Would love to see

  27. It’s pretty disappointing that if the reports are true, then Jenson is indeed leaving F1. Leaving all other debates aside, F1 is losing a great guy, a gentleman and a solid driver. His drive in Canada will be impossible to forget.

    It would be interesting to see if Button decided to leave or if Mclaren pushed the issue. It seems that after the poor showing in Singapore with shambolic pit issues and reliability problems, Jenson has had enough and has decided to spend his few precious years of racing left in WEC. It’s food for thought and another reminder to see if f1 is indeed in the right direction. But, like always, the FIA and CVC will forget and let things be.

  28. I think for Buttons sake its the right decision to leave. What a fantastic transition it would be. WEC and maybe a host roll on Top Gear, it would be too good to pass up at this stage of his life. I say go for it mate as Mclaren are more than a few years away from any sort of success. I would apply this to Alonso as well

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