Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2016

Why Rosberg’s good fortune is great news for F1

2016 F1 season

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Nico Rosberg could not have done any more to ensure his 2016 campaign got off to a better start. But after taking his fourth win in as many races on Sunday he made it clear he expects to face a renewed threat from team mate Lewis Hamilton in the remaining races.

“It’s four races from 21,” said Rosberg. “Lewis is going to come back of course.”

With a 43-point lead in hand but a maximum of 425 points, it’s far too soon for Rosberg to think about where he’s going to put the drivers’ championship trophy. He is realistic enough to appreciate the size of his lead is partly down to some good fortune on his part.

And he knows he can’t take it for granted that he will continue to avoid the same setbacks Hamilton has suffered.

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“It’s been a couple of races and yes, it’s been consistently working well for me and I’m happy about that,” Rosberg said on Saturday after another power unit problem for Hamilton left him virtually unopposed in the contest for pole position.

“But normally over a season – and especially over 21 races – in F1 things have always evened-out at the end of the year.”

As many will appreciate, this isn’t true. Chance has no memory: the fact Hamilton has had two power unit problems in the last two race weekends does not make him less likely to experience any further ones, nor does it make it more likely Rosberg will have them too.

Did Niki Lauda’s luck even out compared to Alain Prost’s over the course of 1985? Did Nigel Mansell’s against his team mate two years later? Or Ayrton Senna two years after that? No, no and no.

This is also another rebuke to the lunatic fringe tinfoil-hat wearers. Don’t go looking for signs of luck not ‘evening out over the course of the year’ as proof of the ridiculous contention that Mercedes are rigging the championship against their multi-million pound star driver.

Last year Carlos Sainz Jnr had far worse mechanical reliability than Max Verstappen yet no one suggested Toro Rosso were nobbling one of their drivers. It’s sad to say that probably wouldn’t have been the case had Hamilton been driving that car.

Rosberg knows part of his 43-point lead is owed to good fortune. Not all of it: He beat Hamilton to turn one in Australia and Bahrain and converted both those strong starts into wins. Only in the last two races have Hamilton’s mechanical misfortunes made life easier for Rosberg.

And the full impact of Hamilton’s recent setbacks may not have been felt yet. He’s had to use more engines than Rosberg which could come back to haunt him at the end of the season.

It may take until then for Hamilton to overcome the sizeable early advantage Rosberg has amassed for himself. But few doubt he will be able to and the graph below shows why: over the course of their last two championship contests Hamilton has dependably accumulated points at a quicker rate than his team mate:

What makes Rosberg’s head start good news for F1 this year is it’s likely to prolong the title fight until the closing stages of this year’s epic 21-race season.

There are two keys to the state of play between Hamilton and Rosberg over the coming races: whether Rosberg can beat Hamilton in Q3 – something he still hasn’t proved he can do this year. And whether Hamilton can get the car off the line well, something he has failed to do in three of the four races so far.

What will unfold over the remaining 17 races is the story of whether a three-times world champion can give his team mate a four-win head-start at the beginning of the season and still take the title. A championship which will likely be another Mercedes silver-wash at least has a compelling narrative this time.

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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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77 comments on “Why Rosberg’s good fortune is great news for F1”

  1. It may prolong the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, but it’s a bit sad that it still is a 2-horse race.

    1. I wouldn’t count out Ferrari just yet. They cant match Mercedes in qualifying, but in race pace they are practically on par. (they were faster in Australia, and would have won on pure pace without the red flag. And they were quite evenly matched with the Mercs in China and Bahrain on race pace). The exception being Russia, but i think things will be more even in the next races.

      Both teams are having reliability issues, and it looks like this might be the deciding factor this year. For this reason i wouldn’t call it a 2-horse race at this point.

      Have to say though, I’m liking F1 at the moment. This season is shaping up to be great. And despite all the doom and gloom about 2017, i cant wait to see the cars hit the track with those huge tyres and low wings.

      1. When Lewis pass Kimi he opened a 13 sec gap and your still saying Ferrari are close?

  2. Maybe good for the drivers championship, but terrible for my score in the predictions championship.

    1. Ah ah ah, my thoughts exactly! @berndmaylander

  3. It’s true enough. Wish it was Alonso vs Hamilton though.

    1. Right now, I’d rather see Hamilton vs Vettel.

      1. I’m really hoping that Hamilton wins 2016, and both he and Vettel fight it out for their 5th WDC next year.

        1. Nice, that would made for a thrilling season.

      2. Hamilton vs Vettel would be awesome indeed @toiago @altitude2k, but Alonso needs rescuing and Toto could just possibly be up for it, whereas nobody in the pitlane would put Lewis and Seb alongside each other I don’t think. I can’t imagine what Bernie would have to offer them!

        1. I’d just as soon see a Nico who has turned a corner and will indeed take it to LH when they do get into hand to hand combat. The problem is still going to be dirty air though. Nico’s best bet is to get more poles and solid starts. Easier said than done.

  4. Looking at the points gaps for 2014 and 2015 you could see Hamilton coming back from this if he matches his form in those years, and Rosberg gets a couple of reliability issues of his own, but I’m thinking the repeat engine failures and early reprimands guarantee Hamilton more grid drops later in the year, and those will prove too costly to come back from.

    1. In 2014, Hamilton effectively came back from a 79 point deficit– 25, 29 and 29 points for each of the three peaks Rosberg hit, and still won by 42 points (not counting the double points fiasco).

      However, given that Rosberg apparently had MGU-K problems in Russia, and Hamilton’s engine may be damaged from the water pressure issue he had, this may be a season where the most unreliable Mercedes loses, rather than the best driver wins.

  5. ColdFly F1 (@)
    3rd May 2016, 12:47

    In previous years Hamilton gained an average 39 (32, 46) points over Rosberg after round 4. And with 2 extra races this year, that should do it for Hamilton.
    Also in 1-2 finishes Hamilton fares a lot better than Rosberg (even after the Rosberg 7-race itch, it’s still 15:10 in Hamilton’s favour)
    But form and engine usage are stacked against Hamilton; I also expect this year to be very closer.

    And let’s not forget the special strategy options Rosberg has like he used in Monaco and Spa in the past. I can’t wait to open that Pandora’s box again.

    1. @coldfly A respectable comment right up to your last sentence.

      1. Sweetly euphemistic @xtwl.

        I have an instinct that Toto is going to hang on while the championship is decided this time, before he gives Nico another contract.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        3rd May 2016, 16:51

        Sarcasm, @xtwl (maybe misguided or poorly executed)

      3. Quite the plot twist wasn’t it… A shame. Looked so promising.

  6. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    3rd May 2016, 12:53

    We should have a fantastic four-way duel for the title in store, but even if Ferrari can start winning regularly, you wouldn’t expect to see Kimi Raikkonen finish this season in anything other than fourth in the standings.

    A poor Q3 in Sochi and being completely outmaneuvered by Hamilton having been caught behind Bottas; even the resurgent Kimi of 2016 is completely outclassed by his peers at the top of the timesheets. I find it a bit hypocritical that Ferrari profess to being to committed to winning a championship, but demonstrably are not fielding the two best drivers available. Why not have the almighty talent that is Sebastian Vettel backed up by a Ricciardo, or a Verstappen, or a Grosjean?

    Having two immensely competitive and talented drivers is certainly a model that has worked for Mercedes. You can sense that the intensity of their one-on-one duel has only improved their abilities, and has forced them to extract every last scrap of performance from themselves given the promise of almost certain victory. Indeed, I would argue that on balance, Hamilton and Rosberg are probably the two best performers on the grid at the moment. They are drivers that have been finessed, honed and perfected by Mercedes’ confidence in fielding two premium-class drivers.

    1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      3rd May 2016, 13:36

      @william-brierty Mercedes can get the two best horses available because they have a car which, no matter how bad they start, it will always achieve first and second, so the leftovers are always picked by the other drivers (unless an accident like Bottas vs Hamilton, or unreliability as Hamilton in China, prevent that). What else do you expect Kimi to do? I see his current form is the most respectable after a while. If you give that Mercedes to Paul DiResta and Johnny Herbert, they almost surely be leading the championship too. Why not pairing Hamilton with Alonso then? Too disruptive? Rosberg is a second ladder driver, together with Button, Kimi and maybe Ricciardo. It’s the car, plus Lewis’s bad luck and his mistake against Bottas in Barhain, what let Nico enjoy this current advantage. Of course the guy is doing his homework and that’s why he has grabbed every chance he has got, but not doing that in that rocketshsip would put him into Webber’s level of unability to do something decent in the 2013 rocketshsip that was the Redbull.

    2. @william-brierty Good comment, albeit slightly off-topic.

    3. @william-brierty Ferrari are hanging onto Kimi because it works out better on the balance sheet. He’s already been paid off once and Sergio Marchionne is not going to have the ignominy of having to pay the guy off again and then also have to buy someone else out.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        4th May 2016, 10:30

        @optimaximal – So why did they sign a new contract with Kimi last year? One that, according to Kimi at the weekend, is valid until the end of next year? I find it almost remarkable that, on the basis of his performances last year, Ferrari seemingly took the decision to retain for a further two seasons. Considering the plethora of “plug ‘n’ play” drivers that could take his place, that is a strategy that can only be read as Ferrari wanting to evaluate Max Verstappen…or conceding that they do operate a #2 policy.

        1. Really? I thought it was a one-year extension designed to sync the decision with the number of out-of-contract drivers.

  7. Why is every body on Rosbergs back
    If this was Lewis winning 7 in a row with gremlins hitting Nico every body would be singing Hamiltons praises and saying what a crap driver Nico is
    Nico has had enough of playing second fiddle to Lewis and is giving back as much
    The car is the real star as weve seen with Red Bull and Vettel of seasons past
    and if I remember rightly Nico had a lot of issues breaking on hois car in 2015 but no one complained then so the now.
    Oh because its Hamilton

    1. The only way I read it at this stage is Rosberg is getting the same schtick as Button in early ’09 or MAL/PAL in their GP2 winning years – the lack of perceived competition down the field because of accidents/car advantage/general mediocrity of driving standards (every first corner this year has been a shambles)… It’s not Rosberg’s fault (in fact, fair play to him for capitalising) but as it stands, apart from Australia, all of Rosberg’s wins have basically been him running a one-horse-race.

      If Hamilton/Vettel had actually had the chance to fight and push Rosberg in China & Russia (and if Rosberg ever came out on top in wheel-to-wheel combat without hitting Hamilton) then the championship battle would already be viewed more favourably.

  8. “Chance has no memory” – I like that, @keithcollantine. Is it a British saying?

    On topic, I hope Rosberg gains enough confidence out of all of this to 1) keep his two feet on the ground and 2) his head down. Give it your all and I believe he could win it at the end of the year, regardless of what happened in the last two seasons. Statistics say he has already lost yet he won the first four races of a season and those who did that won the title that year. Formula One has its ways, Sochi might not have been a cracker but the stage is set for a great season.

    1. Nope the stage has been set for the worst season ever. In each of the 4 races either or both of Lewis and/or Vettel have being removed from the fight through no fault of their own. Rosberg has had no competition, how is this good for F1

    2. @xtwl I don’t know – I seem to remember picking it up from a book I read about probability a long time ago!

      1. @keithcollantine, @xtwl

        Chance has no memory is definitely from a text book on probability. It is also called the Gambler’s fallacy.

        BTW: Absolutely excellent article!

        1. @skylien I’m not English so I hadn’t heard of it, I somehow like the ring of it. Funny enough I know what the gambler’s fallacy is. In my probability textbooks I’ve never read a translated version of it, then again it has been some years since…

  9. It’s great news for F1, which is partly a reason for the tinfoil hat brigade to be frothing at the mouth. Bernie and his pals will be mightily relieved that Hamilton hasn’t streaked off into the distance, which prompts some to wonder if a deal has not been done within Mercedes for Rosberg to benefit from Buggins’ turn for the drivers’ championship. The theory being that it will stop Ecclestone from doing something drastic to ensure that the Merc run of success comes to an end and another team, hopefully Ferrari but anyone but Mercedes, can have a spell in the limelight. I don’t personally believe it, but there have been times when F1 bears a closer resemblance to WWE than a proper sport.

    1. Whilst I think it’s most likely just a co-incidence that things are working out for BE, I do agree that F1 is closer to “sports entertainment” than “sports.”

      I’ll let you read the following 2 definitions. Tell me which one fits with f1.

      ….. is a type of spectacle which presents an ostensibly competitive event using a high level of theatrical flourish and extravagant presentation, with the purpose of entertaining an audience. Unlike typical athletics and games, which are conducted for competition, sportsmanship, exercise or personal recreation, the primary product is performance for an audience’s benefit.

      … are all forms of usually competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Usually the contest or game is between two or more sides, each attempting to exceed the other(s).

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        3rd May 2016, 17:14

        @petebaldwin, to me it is still clearly the 2nd. But BE clearly acts according to the 1st definition.
        And that’s exactly the problem with F1; the fans want Olympic wrestling, but the rulers want WWE. We want Basketball, but get the Harlem Globe Trotters. After buying a ticket to the Simon & Garfunkel you see a show of Milli Vanilli.

  10. Lewis has to win 7 races straight, with Nico finishing 2nd just to equal in points…this means that Nico will lead the scoreboard well beyond seasons mid point.

    I bet Mercedes will finalize title race in German GP…

    1. If he wins 7 straight with ROS 2nd in all those races, he’d lead the championship by 6pts.

      1st = 25
      2nd = 18

      He’s 43pts behind

    2. “this means that Nico will lead the scoreboard well beyond seasons mid point.”

      Assuming that he finishes 2nd at worst.

  11. Rosbergs good luck is good news for F1? I fail to comprehend how it is when we have yet to have a true fight for 1st place in any of the 4 races so far.
    Both Lewis and Vettel have hit issues, I don’t mind Rosberg winning but he should atleast do it on talent and not misfortune from others.

    This isn’t good for F1, its the worst that could have happened as at the moment it appears to have handed the WDC to one driver already.

    1. Omg it’s been 4 races so far. Do you think they are about to hand NR the trophy or something? Or would you prefer it just be an LH runaway? Would that be better? It’s likely going to be a silver car in reality. The chips have fallen where they have so far. Let’s see all the remaining races to see where it ends up before anyone gets handed a trophy.

  12. “It’s sad to say that [last year’s Torro Rosso experience] probably wouldn’t have been the case had Hamilton been driving that car.”

    This has more to do with the respective number of people watching the situation up front, and with what’s at stake. Also – pretty sure I did see some posts saying the wonder-biy was getting favoured last year – not a lot, but some.

    The crazy theories are just what happens. Granted a lot of the people involved are the more loony Hamilton fans – but these situations naturally counjure up such theories (like how for years FIA was seen as Ferrari International Assistance – while now people think Merc are getting favoured).

    Lastly – it’s not *just* Hamilton fans. I’m a massive Hamilton fan, always have been – I don’t believe in any conspiracy whatsoever. My father-in-law can’t stand Hamilton (really can’t stand him) but in insistent there is a secret deal that means Hamilton won last year so Nico does this year.

    1. The thing about conspiracy theories its strange how many actually are correct.

      FIA was seen as Ferrari International Assistance
      You saying that Ferrari don’t gain actual advantage in the past from FIA in the Bernie and Mosely era? The things that went on were most suspect.

      Piquet crashing was a conspiracy at the time aswell.

      Its not helped by Totos complete fabrications again and again

      1. Well you know what they say about broken clocks…

      2. Neil, which conspiracy theories have turned out to be correct?

        1. Ah, sorry, I see what you are saying with those examples.

      3. Toto can act like a fool, just like the FIA can play people for fools because there is no system (competition) of checks and balances to keep them honest. Food for thought…

        2014, After recovering from missing out on round 1, Lewis streaks ahead in to the championship, only to be reigned in mid season by a spat of qualifying mishaps, directly attributed to reliability/mechanics/etc…

        2015, After running away in the championship, Vettel’s tire explodes in Spa, People go crazy (right), demand ‘safety’/security (sound familiar?) and not too soon after, the FIA is checking tire pressures of the Mercs at Monza, guess what, Merc have been under pressuring their tires (even though they didn’t have any issues with them) … Later, it’s found out that Merc (by way of a comment from Lewis Hamilton) Mercedes had ‘changed the balance’ of the car following mid season. He states that he was slower, and that his teammate wasn’t, and that was the key difference in performances following mid season, when his teammate managed to get many poles and wins.

        2016. Hamilton’s luck in qualifying returns, his car keeps breaking down. It matters not which mechanics are in his garage, because he had the same problem in 2014.

        I was pretty sure Lewis would have a lot of bad luck early on this year, around the beginning of March. I know Nico has had some break downs, but the way Lewis has issues, it’s frequency, and timing seem to be much more severe with respect to his championship hopes. All while Nico has great reliability and is able to win race after race, and never really has the same kind of frequency of qualifying (affects race) issues.

        Nobody has Toto on tape, but we can all see how he tries to present the notion that ‘equality’ exists with in the garage. But if that were true, Lewis probably would have had the chance to win 6 or more wins in a row, instead of having to suffer “car issues”. Lewis only competition in the last 2+ years has been his own team, not his teammate, reliability is the only thing slowing Lewis down. Despite the car change last year, mid season, which Toto got mad at Lewis for talking about.

        1. Tinfoil hat award right here!

  13. This is also another rebuke to the lunatic fringe tinfoil-hat wearers. Don’t go looking for signs of luck not ‘evening out over the course of the year’ as proof of the ridiculous contention that Mercedes are rigging the championship against their multi-million pound star driver.

    A few things on this.
    1. it would help if Toto didn’t micromanage every little thing in a race
    2. If their had being no mechanic swap, in Lewis words for no reason
    3. Making out a Rosberg engine issue who had no idea about it
    4. A suspect water pressure issues

    If Toto doesn’t want the tin foil brigade then he should stop with the dishonesty and Whitmarsh equality crap

    Why is it in McLaren and now Mercedes they are more concerned between leveling both their drivers then actually just allowing them to race.

    1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      3rd May 2016, 13:48

      So if you think that saying the mechanics swap is damaging Lewis, you are indirectly giving me a reason to believe the following:
      A. Nico has had mediocre mechanics the 2 years he was beaten by Lewis. Unlikely, I guess every guy hired by Mercedes is a top-notch specialist in what they do.
      B. That if Nico had mediocre mechanics last 2 years, Lewis only won his titles because he had a car advantage even before starting the engines.
      C. That Nico has won 3 victories last year with his original mechanics, so maybe that’s why the team tried to favor Lewis by giving him the “winner” mechanics to start 2016, but oh surprise! Nico kept winning.

      I can’t believe some people really believe what I have just ridiculously stated.

      1. Did I say that? I don’t think I did, so why make out that I did?

        I don’t think its a good idea to break up a good working team. Nothing to do with a A or B team. Why disrupt something that is working, this is true for any business.

        That okay for you?

        1. That’s the whole point. There should only be Team Mercedes. The team A and Team B is what Mercedes trying to avoid.

          Having 2 teams in a team is ok for you?

      2. There is that old football saying, that is also valid for other team sport? Never change a winning team.
        I suspect the Leicester City manager (formerly known as the Tinkerman) took that to heart, and pretty much kept his side the same as best he could.

  14. I don’t understand why people are getting worked up about a 43 point lead with 17 races to go. I would be surprised if Lewis hasn’t gotten this 43 point deficit down to under 25 points by Race 8.

    In 2014, Lewis has gained 96 points from race 8 till the end of race 19, that’s an average of 8 points per race. I know this number is slightly flattered by the Abu Dhabi double points sham, nonetheless, he has shown that he can still make up a huge deficit and never look back once in the lead.

    In 2015, he increased his championship lead from 10 points from Race 8 to 59 points in Race 19. That’s 49 points in 12 races, an average of 4 points per race on Nico Rosberg.

    I don’t see why people are getting all worked up about this. I would be shocked if Nico still leads the championship going in to the last 4 races of the season, and I would be equally shocked if Nico takes the championship battle to the last race. If I had to predict, Lewis will wrap up the title in Brazil.

  15. “He is realistic enough to appreciate the size of his lead is partly down to some good fortune on his part.”

    And doesn’t everyone take every opportunity to remind him of this fact! That is not a slight at you @keithcollantine, practically everyone in the F1 world does. The sad thing for Nico is that, no matter how good he has been during this run of 7 straight wins, every single person in the F1 universe has found reasons to undermine the achievement. Last season it was put down to Hamilton taking his foot off the gas once the title was won, this year it is a combination of strategic errors and bad luck. Rosberg has done a very good job, has the best car and he has driven it very well and his lead in the WDC is now looking very scary for the rest of the field. But still everyone has the feeling that, in a straight fight with Hamilton and/or Vettel, Rosberg will come off second best. Hamilton has a massive mountain to climb but the feeling seems to be that it is inevitable that he will start to climb that mountain eventually, all things being equal.

    It probably says quite a lot about how we all view Rosberg. Talented, undoubtedly. But a special driver worthy of a place in F1’s pantheon of greats? Probably not. I can’t think of anything he does particularly well, the way you can with the other leading drivers. Is he relentless like Alonso? Does he have the raw pace or passing ability of Hamilton? Does he have the deft touch in changeable conditions that Button has? He does everything really well but there is no one defining feature about his driving, which ultimately means that he may well be a WDC, but he won’t be considered a great.

    1. @geemac Last season it was put down to Hamilton taking his foot off the gas once the title was won

      I still don’t agree with this, even if Hamilton said it himself (did he?). He is just to competitive to take his foot off the gas.

      And if you are looking for one defining ability, it has to be raw qualifying pace. Consistently as fast (sometimes a little bit slower, sometimes a little bit faster) than Hamilton, which we all know is a raw pace qualifier.

    2. @geemac You seem to bemoan the unfair rap Rosberg gets, yet your post is really to belittle him as well.

      Rosberg got the pole trophy against Hamilton in the same car. If that’s not demonstrating raw pace, what is?

      1. @gdewilde I don’t buy the argument either, but it is regularly used as a defence to explain his dip in form.

        @balue I did say everyone belittled his achievements. I wasn’t leaping to his defence, just making an observation. Re the pole position trophy, I suppose it is a fair measure in which case it is 1-1 in that little battle.

      2. @balue He got the pole position trophy in 2014, where Hamilton had a prolonged period of bad luck, engine fire, brake failure etc… Looks at 2015 where their reliability in qually equalised and Hamilton put Rosberg away. Rosberg is very quick driver both in qually and the race but when all thing are equal more often than not Hamilton comes out on top. This history books show this again and again.

        1. Ah yes of course, pace had nothing to do with it. Just a matter of luck. Should have known.

          1. @balue it’s hard to admit it, but unfortunately, with regards to qualifying in 2014, it is true. I don’t buy the ‘bad luck’ rubbish – those cases are ‘they are what they are’ – but Hamilton did have his engine fire in Hungary and brake failure in Germany that gifted Rosberg pole. If those had been straight fights, the trophy *might* have been Hamilton’s (nb – not ‘would have’. It was not a foregone conclusion)

            re: 2015 – when Rosberg out-qualified Hamilton, it was often on merit.

  16. There are 425 points on the table.

    There is an incredibly long way to go this season. As we have seen in the past, a gap of 17 points with 20 on the table can be closed, so a gap of 43 (or 67 in Vettel’s case) with 425 on the table means that this is far from over.

    Sure Rosberg is the man on form right now, but I would be more than surprised if he is able to sustain this form for a 21-round campaign.

  17. You have to wonder, if Hamilton did overtake Rosberg from here to win the title for a fourth time, what that would do mentally to the German driver.

    1. @tdog Which German? The one who was part of Red Bull’s programme or the son of a Finnish world champion?

      1. Hamilton’s teammate, the one whose mother is German and races under the German flag :-)

    2. @tdog

      It would break him. He wouldn’t race another season alongside Lewis if you ask me

  18. I have no issues with a battle being good for F1 but I really find the focus on the Mercedes conspiracy and the few mechanics and engineers a huge own goal that detracts.

    Frankly I find the most offensive aspect of the ‘mechanic swap’ debacle is the ridiculous lengths Toto is going to justify something he has clearly picked up from a ‘Management for Dummies’ book. Silo management as it’s known is an early 90’s American concept affecting large organisations with huge numbers of people. It’s largely discredited in any smaller team based management and almost certainly has zero place for the dynamic, highly skilled and trained trackside mechanics and engineers working in a incredibly stressful environment. And that is without the individuals being considered likely consciously or not to do such and then being told they were! Rotation is all well and good in different roles and silo management might have implications in Brackley factory assuming the whole place is Nico vs Lewis but has no place in a amongst a few mechanics all of whom wish for both the cars to be on the grid. I find it incredibly sad and a real picture of where his management skills are so lacking in comparison to say, Brawn who without any formal management training would have sailed right past this without it becoming some huge ridiculous conspiracy he needs to defend that simply affects all involved including the drivers!

    This is the kind of unnecessary destabilisation that bring about failures. The application of poorly defined or proven theories into teams or organisations by exponents that simply do not know or understand what they are doing but like all good ‘Generals’ had a good last battle and therefore have credibility.

    Toto would be best served by remembering the one simple rule in the art of leadership and management (and yes I am qualified to suggest such before the comments start) and putting all the silly books and ideas down.

    ‘Managers do things right’
    ‘Leaders do the right thing’

    It always defines who and what an individual is and usually is the best tool for determining future performance by such.

    So far my ‘do the right thing’ is severely in the debit as far as Toto is concerned

    1. I think you and many others are making way too much of this without knowing any of the facts as to what personnel were moved and why, and how the team works as a whole, which I have no doubt is for the betterment of both drivers and the continued effort to dominate and win another WDC and WCC if at all possible. Setting aside the mechanical woes by assuming they are not conspiracy-based, they are currently dominating yet again, looking like a handy amount faster over a race distance than anyone else so far, and they are in a 1-2 situation. Exactly how is this bad management? A failing of some sort? A disruption of a winning formula? They only look unbeatable again to me. NR and LH are both lucky men still. I think even LH would agree if he’s going to have a few nagging glitches this year, at least it is in a WDC capable car. And NR will have some too.

      How unfortunate we had to hear LH’s unfortunate choice of words. Do we really believe Merc changed whatever personnel they did ‘for no apparent reason?’ That they do anything for no apparent reason? And given that there was reason, LH would know that reason. He has only fed the tinfoil hat crowd to the point where TW has had to speak out against the very tinfoil wearers LH just spurred on. It’s all become a ridiculous soap opera where none belongs.

  19. that points graph shows how skewed double points made the final standings in 2014 as looking just at the points difference (67) it makes it look like lewis destroyed nico & walked to the title when the story of that season was in fact much more interesting & the title fight far closer.

  20. Rosberg has won seven straight grands prix, and although only four wins count towards this championship, that is still some achievement. In recent years Nico has had to watch Lewis win two world championships in the same car, a car that has dominated the field. That must rankle!
    Mark Webber had to play second fiddle at Red Bull whilst his team mate won four titles in as many years, only to retire never having won the championship himself. I don’t think that is lost on Rosberg. In this game you have to take your chance as one chance is all you may get. Good luck to Rosberg I say.

  21. I can’t agree. The end of last season was peculiar and the start of this season as well. Such long stretches of form are unpredictable. I think the title race is going to end earlier than in the past 2 seasons. I reckon having ferrari and Rbr getting more points and even more than merc from this point onwards and the fact Lewis PU pool is shallow is going to render his task impossible.

  22. I am scratching my head to find out if Keith has a similarly titled article such as this in 2015 when Hamilton was on a winning spree.
    Nico is going to win this championship and he will probably do it quite early. Even Keith agrees that the chances of misfortune befalling Nico to “even out” that of Hamilton is not guaranteed. He also has pointed out that Lewis having used more engines already is on the back-foot and may be handicapped as a result of this in the later stages of the season as engines become over used and weaker or gets relegated to the back due to an engine change.
    So concluding that Nico’s run of successes is somehow good for the sport having pointed out all of these hurdles and glitches seems contradictory. No matter how good Hamilton might be, there just are mountains that are too high to climb unless of course the fun/”great news” he refers to is watching Hamilton try to do the impossible.

    1. Lewis’ post race interview on C4 suggests he more or less agrees (no doubt he’ll be a bit more bullish when he’s recovered though). He realised 3 things:
      1. Nico stretched his lead towards 2 full race wins
      2. He’ll probably get a grid drop and lose a chunk of points for a 3rd reprimand (I’d suggest being really careful at Monaco)
      3. He’s rapidly running out of engine components. Penalties are probably not quite certain yet, but close if not.

      Something he didn’t say and may have been in the back of the mind – Nico wasvery quick in Q2 and might have taken pole regardless (in any case, he made a rather better start and would probably have made off with the lead in the race anyway).

      Unless Nico gets nervous, he’s in a very good position now.

  23. “…we can now expect a title fight which lasts until the closing stages of this year’s epic 21-race season.”

    This is beyond cynical, F1 Derider.

  24. Unless Rosberg suffers some reliability problems of his own we must be nearing the point when the points gap in the championship is just too big for Hamilton to overhaul.

    Rosberg was better than Hamilton at the next race in Spain last year and if that happens again that would give him a lead of two race wins on Hamilton.

    Then with Hamilton’s engine problems so far it is likely come the end of the season he will receive some grid penalties for going over the engine parts limit.

    Also Hamilton picked up his second reprimand of the season, I wasn’t aware of it until it was mentioned on the TV highlight but three reprimands result in a grid penalty and I can easily see Hamilton picking up another reprimand before the end of the season.

    If you add those things together with how competitive you would expect both drivers to be over the course of the rest of the season without encountering any problems, then I think Rosberg is the clear favourite for the title.

    1. “Rosberg was better than Hamilton at the next race in Spain last year”

      Was he? I seem to remember Hamilton beating him in qualifying, then getting away from the line poorly in the race due to an updated clutch system because Rosberg had been suffering terrible starts in all of the previous races. Hamilton fell behind a quick Ferrari on a track notoriously difficult to overtake, Rosberg cruised in clean air.

  25. “But few doubt he will be able to and the graph below shows why: over the course of their last two championship contests Hamilton has dependably accumulated points at a quicker rate than his team mate:…”

    @keithcollantine – I think I get your general point, which seems to be that Lewis has been able to overcome points deficits and open points gaps in the past two years, but the chart doesn’t really bear out the statement above. The 2014 line shows a pretty dead even season until the very end; the last 3 races maybe. And the 2015 line shows a fairly level season until at least halfway. Now one can argue that issues befell Lewis in 14, but gremlins befell Nico in the second half of 15.

    I neither love Nico nor hate Lewis, I respect them both. I also easily concede that Lewis has had the upper hand the past two years. I just think it is a lot closer than that statement makes it seem, and I think your figure bears that out.

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