Further rumours point to Magnussen replacing Maldonado

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Further reports claim Pastor Maldonado is about to lose his place at Renault to Kevin Magnussen, as was first reported two weeks ago.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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88 comments on “Further rumours point to Magnussen replacing Maldonado”

  1. Very good news!
    Top driver. One of my favorites!

    1. Mag had his chance, he’ll be a privileged boy to get another shot. The hat can’t be official as that f1logo design is post 98, maybe inaccuracy is less relevant than counterfeit.

        1. @beejis60 You are correct Duke’s tapes do present this logo as early as for the 96 review, I still wonder though if the tape is period and if the logo was official.

      1. The hat can’t be official as that f1logo design is post 98

        So what is this then? Time travel?


    2. Very bad news about Kevin (down to totally selfish reasons on my part) Living in Denmark the hype is quite painful to witness, especially from many in the Danish press who know nothing about F1… :-(

      1. I know what you’re talking about. It’s the same reason why I wish that Verstappen hadn’t been Dutch. Great racing driver, a future champ.. But Dutch media prioritises the kid above the sport itself. As a F1 fan, that bothers me.

        1. To be fair, its not only the Dutch media whos quilty of that though…

      2. As an American, I’m glad to not have that problem :) I think we learned our lesson with Scott Speed and Michael Andretti!

        1. @tim-m How is it with Rossi in the media/press?

          1. @huncosi In the broader public, fairly nonexistent. Most racing besides NASCAR isn’t capturing the public’s attention, at least where I’ve been living and traveling. I haven’t been to Austin or Indianapolis, though.

  2. I never take any rumor seriously until it’s in Autosport. Next week’s Renault event will be very interesting…

    1. But the first link is from Autosport, isn’t it?

      1. Yes, but the rumours started a couple of weeks ago, hearing/reading it from Autosport gives it a lot more credibility

  3. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    29th January 2016, 0:14

    About that cap, I wonder how many 2008 Ferrari caps with “Massa World Champion” must have been destroyed. On the other hand, when Vettel and Hamilton started to build their points advantage in 2011, 2013 and 2015 (2014 had that double-points farce), I guess thir teams had the caps and t-shirts already printed long before!!

    1. @omarr-pepper
      At least the V3ttel shirts didn’t have to be destroyed!

    2. The following is probably heavily influenced by my location, but: I´m not really sure how much merchandise is still sold overall… It´s years since I saw anyone with an wearable F1-merch outside of a motorsport-event, and most of those were still just old Schumi-caps and jackets from the 90ies. Whereas middle of the 90ies, there was F1-merch and people wearing it everywhere.
      I do expect wearable F1-merch to still sell well in Japan, but apart from that, I´m not so sure…

      1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        29th January 2016, 1:41

        @crammond even worse here. You can only find old fakey merchandise resembling 2000-2002 season!!!: McL-Mercedes with Mika’s name, BMW-Wiliams t-shirts and the always-popular Schum’s red caps and t-shirts. But I had to order my 2015 Ferrari t-shirt from the U.S as it was impossible to buy or order at the local Puma stores, which surprises me, cause they don’t even have Alonso’s Ferrari t-shirts from any year.

    3. @omarr-pepper You mean sent to africa…

    4. Very few unless they printed a load in the last few laps of the championship! Massa hadn’t led since round 8..

  4. Re: Keith’s Tweet

    It makes sense for Ferrari hold their ground as manufacturer of pure sports cars/cruising cars rather than water down their offering with a possible SUV or smaller variants. They have Alfa to fit that purpose while leaving Ferraris legacy untouched. They are already putting a Ferrari V6 in the new Alfa four door Guilia? (Correct me if I’m wrong).

    The decision though gives (from my point of view) the insight that Ferrari are beginning to settle, stop the knee jerk approach to business & could quite possibly mean they’re taking a strategic and long term approach to business in general, all good signs for Seb et al. Lungo Ferrari dal vivo.

    1. @ross-willow

      Lungo Ferrari dal vivo.

      What does this mean, I’m asking because it makes no sense in italian. :) Was it a google translate of “Long live Ferrari”? In italian it should translate “Lunga vita a Ferrari”

      1. Haha, well if Google translate can’t even do that properly, what’s the point! Apologies for the murdering of the language!

    2. @ross-willow, the upcoming Alfa Romeo Giulia will have a high performance version with a V6 engine, but the indication is that the engine will be an Alfa unit that is then tuned by Ferrari.

      As for the business approach, Marchionne has been accused of making short term decisions instead of taking a more considered long term approach. The decision to float Ferrari on the stock exchange, for example, has only one function – to provide the Fiat Chrysler group with a short term cash injection – because, from a fiscal point of view, the decision is a poor one from Fiat’s long term perspective (Ferrari was providing a small cross subsidy to Fiat, in much the same way that Porsche is being used to cross subsidise the VW Group).

    3. Not that I like it, but Porsche makes a pile of money on SUV. Even if they are based on VW and Audi parts, people buy them.

      You also have to consider the US is a giant market for Ferrari and Porsche, and wagons have regulatory and cultural hurdles.

  5. As I’ve said on here before, Maldonado is just an unfortunate symptom of the financial structure of Formula 1. What we have in Maldonado is a driver who has climbed into an F1 car every other week for the past 5 years, knowing that whatever he does, he’ll be driving again at the next race. Which is why he often does whatever he does. So in that sense, I was quite looking forward to see what he could do in 2016, with him knowing he had to actually perform to keep his seat.

    Having said that though, Magnussen is almost certainly a better option for Renault, and he deserves it. He would’ve kept his seat if Alonso hadn’t fallen out with Ferrari when he did, then he gave up an IndyCar opportunity so he could substitute for Alonso (only to break down before the start of his only race) and then get he got dumped by McLaren on his birthday. It’s been a rough 12 months for Kevin and I’d be delighted to see something go his way for once.

    1. COTD for me.

      I’d not considered that “sod it, I’m here next weekend whatever I do” mentality of Maldonado.

      I hope KMag gets a second chance at an F1 race seat. The question is, assuming Maldonado’s money does turn up even when Renault have dropped him, where does he end up? Manor?

      1. If by ‘he’ you meant Maldonado then I hope he ends up in Nascar. Then the ‘has Maldonado crashed today’ website will keep going.

      2. If this story in the Washington Post is correct then Venezuela doesn’t have any money to pay the bills.


        The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first.

        The key word there is “completely.” Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela’s ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it’s hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever.

        1. @w-k Very insightful read, thanks for sharing.

  6. F1 might get even more boring next week. As much as I like the idea of Magnussen back in F1, I’ll be sad to see the Maldonado jokes on twitter during every GP.

    1. Yeah, this is pretty sad. But I hope that Pastor at least will be able to get Manor’s seat. Maybe Haryanto/Maldonado?

    2. They’ll be replaced with Palmer and Goofierrez jokes, no worries on that front.

  7. Bernie is annoyed that he has lost absolute power over F1 but the genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to get it back in. With the advances in aerodynamic design and engine technologies it is no longer possible to restrict a development series to a safe (for humans) speed other than to reduce the size of the engine to such a degree that they would need to reduce aerodynamic drag until such time as they managed at great expense to develop more and more power from every cc of displacement, the alternative is bigger simpler engines limited to a designated hp just like formula 5000, cheap, fast but technically boring and not F1. F1 needs the manufacturers and their huge R&D budgets more than the manufacturers need F1.

    1. These engines are expensive and technically boring and regulated and stifled to death.

      1. Expensive? yes, regulated to death ? yes, technically boring ? youve got to be kidding ! @apexassassin.

  8. Oh man, if Magnussen gets the seat it might bring a tear to my eye. There might yet be justice in this world.

    1. Justice, for what? What has Magnussen ever shown? As long as Robin Frijns is still not driving F1, there won’t be any justice.

  9. Dang there goes the excitement on seeing what Crash Donaldo had in store for us in 2016.

    Numbs you somewhat to miss the piece of stupidity and stewards will be sorely missing him not to say the number of hits on http://hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com/ will go down.

    I am cringing with disappointment. Boo Hoo.

    1. I’m sure he’ll end up in WEC or IndyCar, with a slightly smaller budget.

  10. Just weighing up the pros and cons of Maldonado being replaced by Magnussen at Renault –

    1) More deserving driver on the grid. One who I consider needs another season to prove himself in the sport
    2) Renault will see more finishes this season, fewer Q1 exits, get more track time in moving machinery
    3) Renault mechanics will be spending less time fixing cars, so they will not be as burnt out in a potential 21 race season. Renault should save a few million dollars in carrying less spare parts every race weekend.
    4) Stewards can relax and sip on some tea during races
    5) Marshals on track will feel safer. So will other drivers, spectators, safety car drivers, pit crews, TV audiences, etc.
    6) PDVSA’s brand image will improve gradually

    1) There will be fewer safety car periods resulting in less ‘luck’ factor in races.
    2) Lesser humour in the F1 paddock, and interviewers will find chuckles elsewhere. F1 stewards might need to find someone new to pick on as well
    3) Maldonado’s teammate will be upset, as he might have to race to beat his teammate.
    4) As Sridhar mentioned, http://hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com/ might go out of business UNLESS he manages to buy his way in to another series

    1. @todfod He should be really ashamed if there can be found any statistical evidence that Maldonado his presence in F1 raised the amount of SC/yellow flags over a season. Like there are now stewards burning their yellow flags everywhere.

    2. Your comment reminded me of this

      They might be out of business too ;)

      1. Doubt it. They should be around for a while ;)

  11. Don’t worry just yet at the there being less excitement without Pastor…

    Manor haven’t announced their drivers yet!!!

    1. Problem is that the Manor’s can’t mix it up with other racers due to their lack of pace. In 2016 though, we could have some good battles at the back of the pack between the Manors, Haas and Mclarens.

    2. And it isn’t as if Sauber haven’t signed three drivers before…

  12. Bernie Ecclestone warns teams on engines

    The problem with engines is more money often equates to better performance. Yes, F1 teams have to pay more for the new hybrid package, but the question is if a supposedly cheaper engine format was chosen, e.g. V8, would the teams with less money be able to perform better than Mercedes and Ferrari? I’m sorry, but if a financially constrained team was able to beat a team like Mercedes or Ferrari then it would be just a short term measure, in the long term the teams with more money would end up copying and then outspending the financially constrained team.
    If you take the 2009 season as an example, Brawn GP won 6 of the first 7 races, they got 11 podiums out of the first 8 races, but they were very financially constrained, and so they weren’t able to spend as much as their competitors, so the second half of that season wasn’t as successful as the first half. They got 4 of the remaining 9 races. Other teams with better financial resources were able to catch them.

    1. … They got 4 podiums out of the remaining 9 races…

    2. I don’t even think these engines are that expensive @drycrust. It’s development they’re spending the money on, and as you say that would just kick off all over again with a new spec of engine. It’s all about Red Bull and how they promote F1 for Bernie, and how he can’t bear for them to be left out of the top tier, depending on another team for an engine.

    3. @drycrust, spot on, we know how to make these cars go 300mph if we want to, any new format that doesn’t have a restriction on either fuel or hp will end up being either too powerful or too expensive, Bernie wants a single 1000 hp engine or 3-4 virtually identical 1000 hp engines that are relatively cheap and very noisy for the show, with a 1000 hp the aerodynamics can have huge drag and still be winners, Formula Winglet will replace F1.

      1. @hohum Unfortunately “cheap” just doesn’t cut the mustard. Cheap and Formula 1 are mutually exclusive. If there was a $50,000 engine that any team could build that was also good enough for F1, then teams would add bits to it to make it better, so then it’d be a $100,000 engine, and then, before long, they’d have upgraded it again so it was a $200,000 engine, and then, a few upgrades later, it’d be a $500,000 engine. Then some teams would see their own engine supplier was sort of lost or not upgrading fast enough, or the upgrades were downgrades, or whatever, so they’d be looking around and buying from another team, so they’d be customer teams, and then the manufacturing team would want the customer teams to contribute to the cost of research to make the “cheap engine” more powerful. Before you know it, we’d end up with the current situation. Every way you turn you end up with expensive engines and expensive research to build better engines and customer teams being asked to contribute to the cost of the research.
        If you want to win then you have to have the best engine, you cannot win with a cheap engine, especially if your competitors have expensive engines.

        1. @drycrust, maybe I should have been more explicit, we are both making the same point here.

      2. I know that this is most likely hyperbole, but until F1 cars become closed-wheel and/or get 3000bhp engines, 300mph couldn’t happen.

        1. @matt90, I guess you did the math so I’m not going to argue, but what sort of Hp do you think a twin turbo 3.5 L V10 would put out at 20,000 rpm ?

          1. @hohum I don’t know, but I image it would be far too highly stressed to last a single race.

            For reference, BAR used their 2005 BAR 007 with a 900+bhp V10 to average 247mph when specially adapted for a speed record attempt. Consider that much more streamlined hypercars with greater power ‘only’ get to around 270mph.


        2. @matt90 I wonder how powerful a modern car could get under the old Grand Prix formula – 750 kg maximum car weight, minus fuel, oil and driver. In 1938, Caracciola set the still standing road speed record of 268 mph, on the Autobahn. That’s faster than Button at Bonneville 10 years ago! Surely 300 mph could be cracked, with 80 years worth of F1 development?

          1. @fastiesty Was that car not a streamliner? The difference in drag between closed- and open-wheel cars is huge. Also, even if a car could reach that speed in a record environment, achieving it on track is not realistic- LMP cars are far more slippery than F1, have huge amounts of power at the moment, yet don’t see speeds anywhere near 300mph. Not only do they need some downforce for track racing, straights simply aren’t long enough.

          2. @matt90 True, and it also had a V12 instead of an inline-8. Indeed, to be equivalent nowadays for example, Le Mans would have to run the full Mulsanne straight, without chicanes. Given that 250mph/400kph was cracked in 1988, I wonder what they would get now, 30 years on, and what they could get in the next ten years..

  13. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    29th January 2016, 8:18

    Hold your horses – there is still a window in which the talks with PDVSA can succeed, and Kevin could yet lose a seat he, as he did at McLaren, fully deserves.

    AND YET, with oil prices in free-fall and Nicolás Maduro overseeing an increased level of tolerance regarding the Venezuelan free market and political opposition, things are conspiring against Maldonado. The level of state-sponsorship Pastor receives is a relic of Venezuela’s centralized past, of Chavez socialism. Those at Enstone working to secure that PDVSA money might also start to debate the value of that sponsorship in the context of a) Renault backing and b) the prospect of a much more competitive driver.

    If we do see the end of Maldonado’s career, I won’t miss him from a sporting perspective – accept from the comedy appeal – but, whenever I have spoken to him I have always noted what a friendly and ironically gentle man he is. “Crashtor” may be a punchline, but you can only commend him on the way in which that has never dulled his belief in his own abilities.

    1. @william-brierty One man’s self-belief is another’s over-confidence.

      1. @optimaximal I think over-confidence is a given if you want to race in F1…

    2. There’s certainly an argument to be made in the midfield team case that a decent driver is the cheapest means of gaining championship points. Of course Lotus needed all the financial help they could get, but I can only imagine how many constructors points they would have gained by having two consistently competitive drivers.

      1. @vettel1 It’s certainly a strategy Force India has cultivated to great effect.

    3. Wouldn’t Renault more than likely have ELF on board anyway as thier oil / fuel partner / sponsor rather than PDVSA, as they’ve always done ??

      1. That might be the real reason.

        If Renault were forced to put PDVSA on the car, they would likely lose a large amount of sponsor money from Total. So my guess is that Renault actually welcomes the fact that PDVSA has been late on payments and given Renault an opportunity to get out of the contract. As this would save Renault from the headache of having two clashing oil company sponsorships.

  14. Excellent, he’ll absolutely cream Palmer so hopefully Palmer will be gone within a year too

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      29th January 2016, 9:23

      How can you have partisan objections to a driver that hasn’t even raced yet?

      1. How can you assume it is a partisan objection?
        And even if it is, it is a partisan objection to all paydrivers who got to F1 over far more talented drivers through money and connections. Yeah, I can easily have an objection against them before they’ve raced F1, especially when I’ve seen them race 60+ GP2 races.

      2. that hasn’t even raced yet

        Except he has:

        T Cars (2005–2007)
        Formula Palmer Audi (2007–2008)
        FIA Formula Two (2009–2010)
        GP2 Series (2011–2014)

        Unless you are suggesting that you can only form opinions of drivers once they have raced in F1, which just seems odd.

      3. @hahostolze Junior categories cannot synthesize the pressure-cooker of highly specific challenges that is F1: Q.E.D. drivers should not be fully judged until they are given the opportunity to prove themselves.

        In 2008, Renault said goodbye to a useful midfield performer in the shape of Giancarlo Fisichella in the hope that British F3 champion and Hamilton’s only challenger in GP2, Nelson Piquet Jr, would be faster: he wasn’t. The same year Gerhard Berger assumed F3000 champion and quadruple Champ car champion Bourdais had what it took to perform in F1: he didn’t.

        On the other hand, in 2011, many fans and pundits decried Sauber’s decision to promote Perez over Heidfeld. Since then Checo has taken five podiums and last year outscored the acclaimed Nico Hulkenberg – having scored less than a quarter of Nico’s points when they both raced in GP2 in 2009.

        Past form is no guarantee of future success. For Palmer, a pointless first season in GP2 and other episodes of mediocrity, will not guarantee an uninspiring performance come Melbourne either. Yes, there is probably no less than ten alternative drivers I would rather see in that seat (Vandoorne, Ocon, Rowland, Lynn, JEV, Gasly…Kovalainen even…), but I will reserve my full judgement until I see Jolyon race an F1 car.

    2. I wonder if Renault will move to get Esteban Ocon back on their young driver program.. @william-brierty

      1. Good luck getting Mercedes’ hands off him @fastiesty

        1. @william-brierty Haha true, it appears that their plan is for Wehrlein to replace Rosberg in 2019, and maybe Ocon for Hamilton after that..

  15. The Baku street circuit looks quite interesting to drive.

    1. I disagree. I realize how rudimentary that ‘simulation’ is. But if the real track is anything like that, chuck it on the bonfire with India, Korea, Valencia, and Sochi (imo).

      If that elevation jump at the end of the pit straight is accurate, the cars might be a little unsettled into T1 on flying laps. Not good or bad, just noting.

      1. Agree, the Baku street track looks awful. Very bland, I think the only overtakes we’ll see will be DRS jobs and therefore, on the whole very unsatisfactory. Qualifying will probably be the best entertainment as the barriers are ever-present throughout the lap. Plus, due to the lack of expected overtakes, qually will be even more important. It could spice things up on Sunday a bit, as to set the cars up to perform better in qualifying you give up some race performance and vice versa. Especially when it comes to tyre usage.
        On the whole though, I’m expecting it to be a classic track which produces hard and intense wheel to wheel racing.

        1. *NOT* expecting it to be……..

  16. I’ve been a quiet supporter of Kevin Magnussen; he’s a dead ringer of one of my old college mates.

  17. Obviously it would be absolutely fantastic to see Magnussen back in a F1 race seat, especially after the way McLaren treated him. However I’m probably in the minority who felt that Maldonado was not the worst driver on the grid last year. A lot of the incidents he got involved in was not his fault, and by the end of the year he was picking up consistent points. His biggest problem was Romain Grosjean’s intense form (especially on a Saturday) over anything else.

    It’s looking pretty bleak for Maldonado given the situation PDVSA and Venezuela are in as a whole, but even if his backing is halved, he would still surely be in the running for a Manor seat or one of the few remaining IndyCar seats.

    1. If you don’t mind me asking, who was your worst driver last season if not Pastor?

  18. Hmmmm not one comment about Claire feeling like a little girl.

    Here’s one: Since I was a kid I loved Williams. No matter who was driving, who built the engines, etc. They were always the “little team that could”. And by that I mean, a privateer that could and would fight with the big factory teams. This to me, was one of the things that made F1 exceptional and special. Now we’ve seen the baton passed from father to daughter – something I thought was going to be awesome and have the effect of ushering in a new, modern version of my beloved Williams team. Instead what I see is a team that isn’t sure of itself, that makes avoidable mistakes on a weekly basis – even when going for the conservative decisions and strategies.

    Fortunately those are mistakes that can be rectified. What truly bothers me is that at every turn Williams is outspoken against (or for) every rule, regulation, directive, that makes me want to puke about F1 and where F1 is headed. Williams, like Ferrari or McLaren, have been around long enough to know what has made F1 great – fast cars, drivers pushing themselves and their machines, and most of all technical innovation! That last one in particular should Williams be a top advocate for. Instead they have chosen to be blaise, to go with the flow, right down the toilet. This is a team that needs to focus on finding itself more than finding a woman to drive the car.

  19. I agree with your first paragraph. For all the improvements that Williams have made over the last two years, they are still behind the curve when it comes to things like pit stops and strategy and there were still races last year when they were tooling around with the Saubers near the back of the grid. They make silly mistakes that none of the other teams do (like putting a mixture of tyre compounds on at a pit stops) – they’re experienced people and whilst they may not have as much money as the big teams, they’ve got more than enough to fix things like pit stops. Silverstone last year was a good example – any other team would have told Massa to let Bottas past, but Williams dithered and faffed about and by the time they decided to switch them over, it was too late.

    I wonder if Claire Williams is just too nice for F1. She always comes across as exceptionally warm, grounded, level-headed and polite; I can’t think of many other personalities in the sport you could say are genuinely likeable as she is. A number of them are quite unpleasant. Unfortunately F1 has been called the “piranha club” for a reason – you don’t get ahead by being selfless and altruistic.

    1. Sorry, that was supposed to be a reply to “Apex Assassin”.

      1. Don’t worry Jules, AA hasn’t signed up for a pen-name so you cant be sure he will even know about replies people take the effort to write. @jules-winnfield

  20. Two things to say about todays roundup.

    Claire Williams is wonderful, she’d make a fine professor of arts, or English, or history… I am sure within her there is a Williams gene and she gets the job done behind the scenes. But from outside looking in… it seems like she is exactly like Williams strategies this year. “To nice.”

    But i bet she must be wonderful to work for.

    Speaking of Williams winners.. Maldonado. 50 million was reported budget he brought?

    PDVSA his main sponsor mostly sells oil and derivatives. Their revenue is tanking. When he won that Williams victory, price of oil was around 100$ now its falling down to 33$, their revenue is drooping like a rock. How long can they pay 50m$ for his European adventures while his country is imploding?

    It seems madness. Countries pay 30-50M to host a GP… and these guys invest in to just one guy. GP would bring Venezuela epic publicity, or maybe they dont want that. I dont know, for me no single driver in F1 today deserves 50M per year. Maybe Lewis Hamilton the Brand, is worth 50 per year.

    But I guess I am not president of PDVSA, so I dont get to choose where to place company 50M.

  21. Good idea.

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