Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Sepang International Circuit, 2017

Vandoorne says he can lead McLaren if Alonso leaves

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Stoffel Vandoorne says he feels ready to lead McLaren.

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Should F1 make its gearbox and power unit rules consistent with each other?

I have always wondered why the rules are different for gearboxes than for engines.

When the limitations were introduced, the rules were that an engine must last x number of races in a row, unless the car was retired. Which is exactly as it is for the gearboxes still. Why not allow a certain number of gearboxes for the entire season as well?

Otherwise a top team outside the points will basically always retire a couple of laps before the finish, just to get a fresh gearbox in the car. This skews the results for the small teams. Back in the days of Caterham and Marussia when none of them scored points, their relative position in the constructors championship could be decided by top teams struggling for a particular race and wanting a new gearbox for the next race.

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  • 37 comments on “Vandoorne says he can lead McLaren if Alonso leaves”

    1. Honda upgrade dilemma – I suppose there could be a bloody minded approach from McLaren whereby they decide only to take the new engines as needed rather than helping Honda develop and test any more upgrades that will potentially help out next years customers – just a thought.

      1. McLaren is 14 points behind Haas in the WCC, but while McLaren has gotten 21 points in the last five races, Haas has only managed to get 8. One could argue that McLaren might consider what their best options (engine wise) are for this year to try and surpass Haas.

    2. On the many tweets about F1’s move from NBC to ESPN, Few early details about the ESPN coverage.

      It appears as if it’s going to be pretty barebones as in they won’t be producing anything themselves (Outside of Maybe the USGP) & will be taking the world feed with Sky’s commentary. It’s unlikely there will be any additional programming although it is likely that they will use side by side coverage for ad breaks.

      I also know that a lot of people at NBC are furious as they have done a lot for F1 in the US & have been a big part of F1’s growth in the US the past few years. They have put a lot of Time, Effort & resources into promoting it & had big plans going forward to continue that trend.

      One of NBC’s complaints about a new deal was the prospect of an OTT platform as that would have potentially taken viewers, sponsors & revenue away from them.
      However another equally big issue they had was that Liberty were only willing to offer a short term deal while NBC wanted a long term one. As I said NBC had plans to continue growing F1 going forward but in order to put those plans into motion they needed a long term commitment from F1. The short term deal & lack of commitment beyond 2019 that Liberty offered them was an issue in terms of NBC’s plans to promote F1 & continue growing it.

      Eventually NBC felt they had no choice but to withdraw from negotiations & Liberty almost immediately gave the F1 rights to ESPN basically free of charge (Which I gather some teams have concerns about).

      1. That’s actually appalling.

      2. Yes, it’s very disappointing that NBC will no longer cover F1. I really enjoy their race day broadcast with pre and post race coverage, in addition to FP and qualifying. Do we know yet if the espn cover all of thesevas well? I don’t understand what Liberty is thinking here. ESPN is a declining network. With terrible programming (I remember when espn only showed sporting events) and high subscription fees (I understand their fees are about $7 per subscriber- the next highest network fee is < $1), they are losing viewers at an alarming rate. Are there other online options for viewers in the states? I'd be willing to pay for coverage since I'm assuming espn coverage will be barebones considering they are getting it for free.

        1. More than 125 hours of Formula 1 programming, including all practice sessions, qualifying and races, will be shown live and in replay across ESPN platforms.

          1. I wonder how many of those platforms will simply be the Internet. That happened with F1 Extra occasionally on NBC, which meant it couldn’t be recorded (at least not by someone with my limited expertise), so I would just have to miss it.

          2. A race weekend has 7 hours of on-track time – 4 hours of FP, 1 of qualifying and 2 of race.

            125 hours of programming equates to 18 such weekends, which ties in with the fact that 2018 has 21 races, of which 3 will be telecast in the US by ABC (ESPN’s parent) and the rest by ESPN itself.

            So, the bottom line is there doesn’t seem to be any pre or post race coverage on the cards.

            Maybe that’s something Liberty plans to bring in via the internet/OTT?

            1. I sincerely hope that Will Buxton will be involved in a Liberty OTT initiative. I generally enjoy his independent coverage more then the coloured SKY ‘pundits’ coverage. Even though his program is a lot shorter, his analysis often covers many more viewpoints.

      3. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        5th October 2017, 5:49

        I actually feel slightly hopeful because of this. As a European without access to sky or channel 4 I have been desperate to find decent coverage of F1 ever since BBC’s coverage ended.
        Since I could get access to ESPN to watch the Indy 500 this year, I now have a small bit of hope that I can also watch F1 on ESPN next year – and effectively get the Sky coverage.

        1. Expect it to be geo-blocked!

          But most VPN services will help you to get around that ;)

      4. Which races did NBC produce? I thought they were getting world feed video and the broadcasters are in studio in the US commentating on the feed, with Will Buxton being on track at each event giving commentary and interviews.

        I’m not sure how this is different from what you describe for ESPN.

    3. RogerRichards
      5th October 2017, 0:54

      I’m absolutely fuming over F1 moving to espn as the coverage we have had on nbc the past 5 years has been the best i’ve ever experienced here by a long way.

      The coverage when F1 was last on the espn network was rubbish, espn’s coverage of indycar is rubbish (especially when compared to coverage of the races shown on nbc) and espn’s whole approach to motorsports coverage has been outdated for 20 years now & the stuff coming out of espn about there f1 coverage doesn’t seem to be changing that.

      this is the 1st big mistake the new owners have made and if the espn coverage is a step down from what we have had i’ll be off to the world of less than legal streams in search of coverage as in depth & informative as we have had thanks to nbc.

      1. I’m also very disappointed. I have loved the NBC announcing team. Matchett and Hobbs brought both expertise and personality to the broadcast, and Will Buxton is a great on the scenes guy. Leigh Diffey is a real pro. It won’t be the same without them.

        1. Yep, for me, that also sounds like an opportunity – I think I have ESPN here, would give me an alternative to German RTL. Sky have their issues, but their quality is a lot better than what the Germans offer.

          1. @bosyber if You can try and get the austrian broadcast. There’s not an awful lot of additional programming but wurz & hausleitner are a really fun and competent pair of commentators. Also no Ads.

            1. @mrboerns that sounds great! Unfortunately my cable company turns out to neither have ESPN, nor ORF, so I’ll have to go with RTL Germany for now (well, and, eh, streams that fell onto my screen from the internet ;)

    4. Danny Ric is on the market? I wonder what that means. Has he signed a pre-contract with Ferrari?

      It seems like a logical choice for Ferrari to plonk Dan into the second car. Yes, wouldn’t Seb’s veto clause come into play?

      Sergio Marchionne has made quite clear that there will be no more excuses, he wants to win. Lets not underestimate his power. Kimi has been poor, but it didnt surprise me that he’s stayed for 18, all the more reason to believe Dan is headed to Maranello for 19.

      If Ferrari want to win both championships, or either one for that matter, they need both cars fighting at the front. Now, you have Kimi only showing flashes of speed, and he isn’t consistent and certainly isnt taking points of the Mercs, let alone RBs. Dan will be quick off the blocks, perhaps even quicker than Vettel, and he’ll be at the front putting the pressure on the other front runners and will looking to mount a championship bid.

      Marchionne want’s Ferrari to win for obvious reasons , and I don’t think he really cares who wins as long as the team win, which means an up-trending stock price!

    5. I’d love to see Ricciardo with Hamilton in Merc in ’19. When all is said and done he may be the best of all after Hamilton and Vettel leave the sport. Just a hunch.

      Sad to lose the passionate crew at NBC. I can’t imagine who ESPN would use. Not optimistic.

    6. Since moving to the US from the UK last year, I’ve found NBC coverage to be a major let-down. Certainly not a patch on Sky or C4 (or BBC previous). Banal, dumbed-down commentary, Hobbs is regularly cringeworthy (come back J Legard, all is forgiven!), frequent ad breaks at all the wrong moments and then returning from the adds with wide-shots of the venue or local gilteratti rather than getting back to the action… surely it can’t get worse on ESPN???

      1. Commercial breaks are a pain, no doubt about it, but we love Hobbs in our house. My fear if we get the Sky announcers, based on what I read on this site, is that it will be 90 percent boosting Hamilton. Any truth to this?

        1. Yes. 90% is a vast exaggeration, but their rationale seems to be in dubio pro Hamilton. He’s pivotal in their assessment of a lot of things, which can become irritating at times.
          But on the whole, they offer the best package I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried a lot of different broadcasters in different languages over the past 21 years.

          1. had the opportunity to watch 2 of the last races with C4 commentary and i think they’re better.

            David Croft’s commentary is just unbearable.

            1. I completely agree with you there, sean.

              With regard to the NBC coverage, I’ve watched it on some rare occasions, possibly once a year, and while it is, to me, nowhere near as good as that which we have in Britain, the one thing I do like is the enthusiasm the commentators have. Classic races with Murray Walker or James Allen commentating have this element too, and even Jonathan Legard (even though his commentary wasn’t brilliant), whereas C4 and Sky both severely lack this, in fact I have occasionally fallen asleep because they’re so boring. I used to think David Croft was very good when he did Radio 5 commentary, but his commentary changed a lot when he went to sky, it became rubbish

    7. Very disappointed to lose NBC for coverage here in the States. The frequent commercials are maddening, but I’ve always enjoyed the passion and presentation of the coverage. Seemed like they were just getting started, and US viewing has steadily gone up so the approach was working.

      When NBC took over from Speed a few yrs ago they wisely decided to bring the whole Speed team along with them (and they’re still there). I doubt we’ll be lucky enough for ESPN to do that again (I hope they’ll at least consider keeping Buxton). So…fingers crossed they don’t hose this up!

      1. Yup Will Buxton’s contributions are worthwhile for sure…

    8. Thinking Danny Ric will be heading to Ferrari or Mercs? Difficult to say… But neither Lewis or Seb will want him as a team mate. The only guy who I think fancies his chances against him is his current team mate!

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        5th October 2017, 6:19

        Why wouldn’t Lewis want Danny as his team mate?

        1. Because he is very good, but I’m not sure that would worry Hamilton so much. He would enjoy the challenge.

        2. Be honest, Hamilton did not enjoy having Rosberg as a team mate, even though he was faster 2/3s of the time.
          He made that clear this season.
          Same as with Button too.

      2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        5th October 2017, 7:38

        As it is Bottas’s first season, he may not be at his best performance yet with this team. That said, Ricciardo was very good when he first came to Red Bull. There could well still be a possibility that Bottas improves enough next year for them to extend his contract. We just don’t know.

      3. I think Lewis and Danny Ric would be great teammates, fiercely competitive but there wouldn’t be the complete clash of lifestyle and personality that he had with old man Britney.

    9. Also on this day in F1: The 2014 edition of the Japanese GP took place.

    10. Any Canadians reading? I guess this means TSN won’t air Sky’s coverage anymore and we’re going to get the ESPN feed. I feel like we’re going to get the equivalent of being explained icing and offside every game.

    11. ESPN F1 USA. Give ESPN a chance, it may be very good. Their UK F1 website is not bad. Try this when watching a race with bad commentary: Turn off the sound to the TV and play the V12 F1 soundtracks from Youtube or records you must have.

    12. @oel-f1 I’ve long thought the same about gearboxes, it would make a lot more sense to allow teams to use a fixed number of gearboxes per season.

      Furthermore, since the start of the V6 engines, teams have not been allowed to change gear ratios once they start the season, whereas they used to set them up every weekend. Perhaps they could allow each separate gearbox to use different ratios, similar to how engines can be updated

      1. That’s an interesting proposition @strontium. With great reliability they might go for one-off gearboxes for special tracks such as Monza and Monaco.

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