Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Manor believes Wehrlein has the ingredients to be a star

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In the round-up: Manor racing director Dave Ryan believes the team’s rookie driver Pascal Wehrlein could become one of the sport’s elite.

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Are Mercedes only opposing a downforce increase for next year because it threatens their competitiveness?

The argument that ‘Mercedes chassis is not that special’ and that this is an engine formula just isn’t supported by the facts. Mercedes engined teams are firts, fourth, seventh and eleventh in the constructors’ championship. If Mercedes’ chassis is not that special it suggests that somehow their customer teams have all managed to develop exceptionally poor cars.

A change to cut downforce wouldn’t necessarily even give Mercedes any advantage, after a cut in downforce it’s the clever aero guys who find ways to claw back most of the lost downforce who will find success. A huge cut in downforce through regulation could actually lead to greater differentiation in aero giving everyone a chance to find the best solutions and steal a march on their rivals.
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Future F1 drivers Alessandro Zanardi won the opening round of the 1991 F3000 championship on this day 25 years ago at Vallelunga.

Meanwhile ex-F1 racers Mauro Baldi and Philippe Alliot won the World Sports-Prototype Championship round at Suzuka for Peugeot:

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  • 53 comments on “Manor believes Wehrlein has the ingredients to be a star”

    1. It would be great to see F1 return to the continent of Africa again via Kyalami (version 3.0). But as the article says, it’s not on the cards at all. Shame.

      I guess it would need some well-funded South African drivers, as we saw recently at in Mexico City (but with Mexican drivers obviously!)

      1. As a (former I guess) South African I just don’t see an F1 race or any other major sport event happening in the country anymore. SA is not what it used to be. Currently less than 10% of the population pays taxes, corruption is rampant, highest HIV prevalence in the world, Johannesburg is known as the rape capital of the world and the homicide rate is quickly surging beyond even african levels. I do not wish to see any western folk getting robbed and killed by those we just simply call as “ghouls”. The amount of protection the teams would need is crazy and it would be impossible to monitor the tourists. The police and army can’t even control the constant turmoil and riots plaguing the country (most recently the destruction of universities), no way they could organize the protection of a high profile event like an F1 race. A street race in Cape Town would be much safer, but that would bring its own set of complicated issues making me seriously doubt the city would agree hosting it.

        Sadly, I just don’t see an african race anytime soon, especially with all the ongoing terrorism in North Africa. Unless of course Malta or the Seychelles suddenly start to show interest but I doubt these countries could pay the exorbitant prices Bernie asks for.

        1. Add to what you said @Pieter, Durban won the Commonwealth games to be in 2022 and now they have said they can’t afford it. Couldn’t they work that out before applying?

    2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      14th April 2016, 0:15

      Slow clap for that Tweet Nico. Good to see the drivers aren’t taking the insults lying down!

      1. Buy why is nobody eating that last slice of pizza?

        1. @scalextric

          Sir, you and I have the same eye

        2. That isn’t the last slice of pizza from a plate full, it’s the only slice of pizza brought to the table! They are about to cut it into tiny pieces and have a piece each. If they had any more they would be putting on far to much weight…..

        3. Oh no, they’ve saved that last special piece for BE…but no worries, they have THEIR best intentions in mind.

      2. Nice to see a spirit of camaraderie among the drivers in light of how little regard, it seems, Bernie has for them.

      3. @offdutyrockstar The question is, who’s paying for the dinner?

      4. I’m just having a look around, the top drivers are there, who’s not in the photo? Kimi, Haryanto?

        1. RL, neither of those drivers appear to be in the photo, and I can’t see Grosjean either.

        2. Magnussen, Grosjean, Rio and Kimi are not in the pic…I cannot tell who is the one between Palmer and Verstappen though…

        3. Gonna play “guess the driver”. From left to right:

          Rosberg, Ricciardo, Alonso, Hülkenberg, Bottas, Verstappen, Mr X, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Pérez, Massa, Ericsson, Wehrlein, Nasr, Sainz Jr, Vettel, Button, Hamilton.

          Now, I can’t really tell who Mr X is, but I found this other photo in the comments of Rosberg’s twitter (photoshopped, can’t find the original): https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cf7fWj_W8AApBCa.jpg

          Now, it’s hard to tell because he’s again at the very back, but he looks nothing like Palmer. He looks a bit more like Haryanto, but I can’t tell for sure. My guess is it’s Räikkönen in disguise.

          1. @casjo Mr. X is Esteban Ocon, Renault’s reserve driver for this year.

          2. @casjo your ‘left to right’ skills are awful! how did you come up with that order? haha. Kvyat before your mr x? Riccardo before alonso? lol

        4. No Grosjean or Palmer or K-Mag but maybe that’s a test driver sitting down to the left of Sainz because I don’t recognize him.

      5. Absolutely classy the way he’s cut off half of Lewis’ face. Unintentionally of course 😜

        1. That’s half his face? Guess he must be two-faced then.

      6. wait, why would it deserve a slow clap?

    3. Kyalami brings back terrible memories of the crash with the marshal. Thank God F1 is much safer nowadays.

    4. Hamilton appears to have revealed via a typical “#TeamLH’ Instragram photo that he’ll be taking a 5-place grid drop this weekend due to a gearbox change. Strange…

      1. Anthony Blears
        14th April 2016, 1:32

        Oh yeah! Nice find.

      2. Confirmed by Mercedes

      3. 2016 is proving to be a difficult year for Hamilton. If Nico wins this one, that will be three straight wins in one season, something he has done before. Can he make it 4 or even 5 this year?

    5. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      14th April 2016, 1:35

      Second poster to Massa hahahaha… 11 years Felipe Massa go!

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        14th April 2016, 1:48

        They could have used his 11 wins instead. @omarr-pepper
        maybe you can snapchat that to those kids.

    6. ColdFly F1 (@)
      14th April 2016, 1:42

      I don’t (want to) know who Steve Fowler is, but the guy might have a point. He did not see any ‘overtaking’ during the Bahrain race, because overtaking with DRS is not overtaking in his book (fair point).
      But to him nor does overtaking with fresher tyres qualify. And I’m sure that he would not approve of overtaking due to a stronger engine; taking the shorter inside line; the other driver making a mistake; etc.

      Maybe he can start worshipping drag racers now ;^)

      1. @coldfly I don’t know who he is either but to me it’s clear what he is: a massive idiot. There was plenty of overtaking in the Bahrain GP not aided(at least directly) by DRS and not fresher tires neither, like a couple of Kimi’s overtakes for example. That he missed those suggests to me that he might have been watching but he wasn’t really looking . He clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding other matters too. The CHARMING Michael Schumacher? hh Was this Steve ever a real fan,or just a shallow channel zapper?

        One sentence he got 100% spot on though: “It comes across as amateurish and unprofessional, and takes us F1 fans across the world for granted”. Bingo

      2. I think that when he told about these kinds of overtakes, it’s that the driver being overtook was a sitting duck, unable to fight for position, due to the tyres having very different performances, not like with what we had in the 80’s for example, with a more predictable degradation and fall off from the tyres. He had a point, this is no real racing

      3. Steve Fowler needs to watch more closely @coldfly.

        There were a number of overtakes which had nothing to do with tyres or DRS.

        Plenty happened at the start, with Bottas, Massa, Button, Guttierez overtaking cars before the first corner.

        Raikkonen put a great move around the outside of Ricciardo at turn 4 in the first few laps, not a DRS zone and they were on the same tyres.

        Hamilton passed a number of cars quickly to recover from his disasterous start, without using DRS or any early tyre advantage.

        And speaking of tyres and DRS, Erricson put in some impressive defensive driving to keep Wehrlein behind him towards the end of the race, despite the latter enjoying those advantages. Which shows that neither factor leads to automatic passing in this era.

        I can’t be bothered reviewing the whole race to every example which demonstrates how wrong Mr Fowler. Suffice to say, saying as he did that every pass resulted from fresher tyres or DRS is unadulterated garbage.

        Does F1 have problems? Sure. Is everything lost, to the point where we should give up on the sport? Absolutely not, and there are plenty of great things about it that will keep me watching.

        Frankly, if Mr Fowler, who I’ve never heard of either, wants to stop watching the sport then good luck to him, I couldn’t care less. It certainly won’t be a loss to F1 journalism, given that he doesn’t seem able to comprehend what’s happening on track.

        1. @tdog You nailed it.

          I guess journalism isn’t what it used to be…

        2. I was going to post some remarks about the Fowler’s article but you said it all, @tdog

          Clearly he is just one of the guys that follows the trend and most likely watched an highlights or it is writing based on what other people said.

          There are plenty of things wrong with F1 but people just make it even worse than it is with stupid remarks like those…

      4. Auto Express is a terrible magazine written by pompous old grandpas. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that he’s come out with an uninformed opinion. I don’t know why I keep reading it (someone else’s sub), it’s rage inducing.

    7. I would love F1 to be a World Championship that races on all inhabited continents again. And I would especially love if it can be accomplished by racing at Kyalami. Not only it’s a track rich in F1 history but also the modern version of Kyalami is fantastic. It’s relatively short but flowing with many different types of corners and elevation changes

      It would be sensible from both the government and Bernie to help this vision to become a reality. Which in turn means that it most probably won’t ever happen

      1. True, Kyalami is one of the greatest revamped tracks, even more fun to drive that the historic version. I would love to see F1 back there. But it is short in overtaking places, and if they have to reinstate the slow chicane at the hair-rising turn 12 in order to be safe enough for F1, then maybe it is better to leave it as it is and use it instead for cars that can follow each other.

    8. I hope that the drivers sent the dinner bill to Bernie.

      1. @tdog Given that they all shared 7/8th of a pizza, Bernie should just be able to pay.

    9. Fowler isn’t a sports reporter, he’s a car reporter. I still find F1 exciting because I follow a team – see if you can guess which. Imagine following the football without a team to barrack for.

      1. @selbbin I just assumed you smoked Marlboro :P

      2. @selbbin I have no problem imagining that. I watch a lot of “neutral” football games just because they’re high level and I enjoy high level football. Also from Jerez 1997 to Interlagos 2001 I didn’t have a team to follow in F1 and that was fine too.

        There will always be true fans and on the other hand there always will be”bandwagon” fans who nevertheless like this Steve claim to be true fans. But the evidence proves that they’re not. Not really

    10. i actually surprised Sette Câmara is a red bull junior driver.

      1. @thetick Me too but he’s got potential so he was noticed. We’ll see what comes out of that

    11. nice throwback video, but those cars looked achingly slow through the corners. it’s like watching the safety car go round today.

    12. Was just looking at the driver’s pic from Shanghai dinner. The Renault drivers are missing and so is Rio. Obviously Kimi wasn’t going to show up. That boy is just too cool for school ;)

      1. Oh Kimi’s under the table by then.

    13. That Auto Express article highlights one of the real problems of F1 at the moment – the fans. It really bugs me how determined some people are to not enjoy what they’re watching. The races so far this year have been great – action all the way through both races. The only thing that could have made them better would have been a battle for the lead.

      There’s the attitude, this hipster-esque attitude, of claiming a lack of a certain authenticity to what they’re watching. You can tell that’s this guy’s angle with his whistful talk of watching Nigel Mansel as a kid. But those spectacles are possessed of a rosen-hue. Oh sure, we can all quote the time that Pierre Grosballons won a race from the back of the grid, two laps back, in a car he built in a shed, with no wheels or tyres, and did a backflip while crossing the line, and smoked twenty fags on the podium while sticking up his finger to the cameras. But that’s a big load of nonsense, because in the past there really was never a golden age where things were exciting and cool for every single race in a season. Most of ‘the greats’ of the sport won their championships thanks to simple car superiority. If you don’t believe that you need to have a car capable of going faster than the guy in front in order to overtake him, you’ve misunderstood how motorsport works.

      F1 has problems. Big ones. Governance issue, inequitable revenue distribusion issues, promotion issues, lack of public visibility issues, brand image issues. I’d love to see more teams able to develop competitive cars, perhaps by chucking these expensive white elephant power units in the bin and making sure each team gets a fair share of the sport’s takings rather than making sure that those with the most money, get the biggest slice of the pie. I’d love to see a strategy group which actually decides something other than the date of the next meeting, who look positively at the future of the sport rather than squabbling over who gets to lick the crumbs off of Bernie’s chin. I’d like to see lots and lots of things about F1 change. But to sit here and try to say that the last couple of races haven’t been great, that would be a lie. A deliberate malicious lie. And if it wasn’t a lie, and I genuinely didn’t enjoy the races, then I may as well find something else to do with my Sundays because clearly I’m no fan of motorsport.

      1. @mazdachris Really enjoyed reading your commentary, enough that I re-read it twice. But I do think there is a little more to it.

        I just wonder if it is not that it has become hipster-esque to claim a lack of a certain authenticity, but indeed there is now permission from F1 itself to do so. We’ve been told by BE it sucks, now publicly by the drivers, by key team principals and Sky commentators during and immediately after the first two race’s Saturday sessions, and now by Lowe via the OWG’s findings and how F1 remarkably may still miss the mark with their opportunity for change for 2017.

        You are absolutely right that virtually always the WCC car is what is needed to win. I think we can all wrap our heads around that as it is a plain and simple fact blatantly visible in the record books. And yes the first two races have been enjoyable and entertaining, but to me only to a certain degree or in a certain way, that could ‘easily,’ frustratingly, be improved upon.

        We saw action, but where did the action come from? Non-apples-to-apples racing due to big tire variances car to car and DRS, while we know the drivers are not enjoying it nor are taxed. That to me is a biggy vs the past that you rightly claim is looked upon with rose-tinted specs.

        Even when the racing wasn’t perfect in the past, they were on more reasonable tires (even the grooved ones), didn’t have unacceptable-for-F1 DRS, and they could push themselves and their cars to their limits, so there was more opportunity to feel that great feats were being achieved. Even in past processional years imho.

        I absolutely get your frustration, so F1 needs to fix what they themselves are shouting from the highest mountain are the problems, rather than hoping we can at least hear a little music while ignoring all the noise.

        1. @robbie

          See, I see things a little differently. I don’t really mind DRS. I know lots of people don’t agree and I’m the first to admit that it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it’s overpowered and there’s no defending against it. But they’ve refined it and I would say more often than not it delivers exactly what it’s meant to and without it the races would be a lot less exciting. Plenty of times it leads to cars going into corners side by side, generating excellent battles which continue back and forth.

          Ok, I get some people feel it’s artificial. But how is it really different to a car which has been set up for low drag overtaking one running a high downforce configuration? Either way, the following car has a speed advantage down a straight which allows the driver to overtake. Or when we had refuelling and one car has a full tank and the other is coming to the end of a stint? Or when a car was running Bridgestone tyres on a track which suited the Michellins? If you want to start breaking it down into what constitutes a ‘proper’ overtake and what doesn’t, you end up in a position where you’ll sit there on a Sunday making a conscious effort not to enjoy it.

          Sure, F1 has problems, more than those I’ve listed above. I don’t like that the characteristics of the tyres demand that at no point should a driver actually push hard. I think it would be more interesting if there was a balance where a driver could choose to push or choose to eke out a stint by driving conservatively. But even saying that, I think we’re in a better situation with every driver having access to the same tyres compared to when Ferrari had magic Bridgestones that nobody else could obtain. Similar I suppose to how currently only one team has the top spec power unit at the moment.

          I also strongly agree with you that one of the worst things about F1 is all the moaning, about the racing, the noise, the tyres, the tracks. How are we meant to find the races exciting when drivers hop out of the cars having hardly broken a sweat and tell us all how boring it was? The cars do need to be more physically demanding, and they should be exciting to drive.

          But us viewers need to stop being so cynical and stop looking to the past. Cars can be all the things I mentioned above without having to revert to the glory days of yesteryear which exist only in our imagination. F1 needs to overcome this crisis of confidence. Teams need to be put in their place and told how it’s going to be, rather than allow them to block any positive change lest it knock one of them off of the top step. And people in the sport need to stop telling us how bad it is compared to the past, and start telling us how excited they are about how good it’ll be in the future.

          I’m finding it really hard to keep up my enthusiasm despite the good races we’ve had so far. This weekend will be the first in a long time where I haven’t bothered watching the race live and will just catch the highlights. In the near future I may not even bother doing that. Not because the races aren’t good but simply because I’m getting sick of millionaires complaining about being in one of the most privileged positions in the world. Thankfully I’ve got six hours of brilliant sports car racing to look forward to instead.

          1. @mazdachris Very good commentary again. Really nothing to disagree with there. I think that perhaps we all need a little more perspective in that I don’t really envision the drivers for example, actually stressed and losing sleep over this. I think that through the text of news articles and forum responders it can all sound like nothing but moaning and complaining, and it does seem like an apex or perfect storm is occurring when in reality for those within the sport it is probably a much more calm and reasonable and professional atmosphere. I believe the millionaires are complaining for the right reasons and not selfish ones other than they want to enjoy their craft more and I can’t really knock them for that. I suggest you do try and make the time to watch what for you is an enjoyable F1 season so far. I am still finding enough enjoyment in it myself because it simply has had a strong and irresistible draw for me since 78, I can’t seem to let go, and ultimately I’m enthusiastic that improvement will come…cooler heads will prevail if you will.

    14. I disagree with the cotd. One of the reasons the merc powered teams are not being competitive is because of many reasons and not one of them actually has to do with the engine itself. First is the way mercedes has chosen who to sell their engines. Marussia will never be competitive so in that they are a safe choise. Merc doesn’t have to be worried about competing against marussia ever. Williams switched to merc for 2014 and I’m sure they are doing their best keep that engine. But even back then it could be seen as similar move from merc as with marussia. Mclaren were a flailing top team back then. Williams was back of the pack team. At that time williams were the safe choise. Force india has long contract with merc and are not a threat. I’m sure merc would rather sell their engines for free to force india compared to having to sell their engines for billion dollars to red bull.

      If mercedes decided to sell its engines to red bull for example then of course red bull would become competitive and could race against mercedes. While the merc chassis is very good it is very likely red bull could also design competitive chassis around the merc engine even if merc could decide to deliver 2nd rate engines to red bull. Like they are doing with force india, williams and marussia.

      The main issue however is that with current engine regulations only manufacturers can compete. When mclaren switched to honda they knew they could not compete against mercedes with the same engine – because mclaren would not be getting the same engine. Nobody else will never win the championship with ferrari or merc engine than the factory teams. Priod. The engines may look the same, smell the same but when you measure the manufacturer spec on the track the manufacturer spec is always faster and better than the engines sold to customers.

      The easiest way to see how it is engine manufacturer’s sport now is to look at the top teams. You have ferrari and merc. That’s it. The rest are doomed to be also ran no matter what they do. In few seasons maybe renault can develop themselves out of the hole, maybe honda can do. I doubt it. The sport is very much rigged against that kind of thing.

      The fact still is that the merc engine is still bit magical device. It is far beyond anything else on the grid. Only if you have the merc engine in the merc chassis though. Doesn’t have the same capabilities if you are not the manufacturer team. Same with ferrari engine. And for some reason it is these two teams that can race for the wins. It is classical situation when a team has too much power. They can make themselves faster by making everyone else slower. They have done it so well that some people seriously think the engine is not actually a very good. Hah!

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