Ferrari, Interlagos, 2017

Ferrari: Quit threat is “serious” despite Sauber deal

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In the round-up: Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne says Ferrari’s threat to quit Formula One is not affected by sister brand Alfa Romeo’s tie-up with Sauber.

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Despite not scoring a point for more than two years, Marcus Ericsson has been given another year at Sauber. But does he deserve a break?

Ericsson is party there for his money.

But if you look at his performances over the past two years, he’s missed out on several points finishes that were unlucky. And his team mates in the last two years have only got points down to others’ misfortune.

If you looked closely enough this year, Wehrlein and Ericsson on the whole have been very evenly matched and both have had up and down performances. Ericsson however does make more mistakes which overall makes Wehrlein better. But pace wise, the difference is tiny as the average qualifying difference shows.

Ericsson was running in the points in Baku and would have got tenth if the team gave him the place back. They did say they would do this but couldn’t as Vandoorne was too close to Ericsson. Then he was running in ninth in Mexico when his engine blew up. Even last year, he finished 11th in Mexico and that was when just a Manor retired. If there had been the average amount of retirements we often have, he could well have got a point or two.

So the fact Ericsson hasn’t managed points in the past two years does not reflect on his ability. He isn’t a bad driver and his money is a bonus. Out of him and Wehrlein, If Sauber had to go for one of them, I can understand why they would go for Ericsson, but I think they should have kept Wehrlein as he is likely to be better then a new driver.
Ben Rowe (@Thegianthogweed)

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  • 64 comments on “Ferrari: Quit threat is “serious” despite Sauber deal”

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      3rd December 2017, 0:19

      All these teams threatening to quit are exactly the reason the sport never progresses in the right direction. At the end of the day, if your future in the sport was that finely balanced you wouldn’t be funding such ridiculous budgets towards achieving success in the sport. Teams that actually quit do it unannounced and usually rather reluctantly. Now stop throwing your toys out of the pram and join the solution not the problem. This is why competitors shouldn’t dictate rules.

      1. Ferrari needs F1, not otherwise

        1. +1 and they cannot win the game rigged for them, so its better for F1 that they pack their bags and leave.

          1. Yep…’C’ and others, if ever there was a time to call the Ferrari
            bluff, it’s right now. Yes, the big red team, with all it’s arrogance
            and bluffery has always been good entertainment but the current
            criminally lop-sided F1 funding has to stop right here.

            At almost every race the Ferrari badge gets a week of free advertising
            and publicity for the huge commercial corporation that owns it.

            Time to quit threatening and sulking. There’s the door. It’s
            being opened just for you.

            1. Exactly, what an opportunity it will be for Liberty to set the record straight in terms of budget distribution. Liberty would love to solve that issue. Ideally with Ferrari staying on, but if that doesn’t work… leaving solves it too

            2. Every time FERRARI threatened to leave the other side backed off, if the new owners press on they will be running the series with formula 2 cars for lack of formula 1 cars/teams on the grid.

        2. What makes you say that? Ferrari’s largest market is the US, where F1 is barely a blip on the radar so it’s clear that Ferrari can sell cars without F1. If the development of technology that’s relevant to Ferrari selling cars is also negligible then they really don’t need F1.
          On the other hand, Ferrari being in F1 could be one of the things that keeps teams and sponsors in the sport. F1’s marketability will take a hit if Ferrari were to leave and those in the sport know it and that’s why Ferrari use the threat of leaving.

          1. The number of people who buy Ferrari’s are also a blip on the radar…

            It doesn’t cross your mind that those blips audiences intersect?

          2. Nobody in his right mind will contemplate investing in formula 1 without FERRARI.

        3. Exactly. Ferrari needs F1, not the other way around. BUT… I’ve seen my share of shortsighted executives and money grabbing shareholders. And people at Ferrari tend to be a bit self distructive. So wouldn’t be surprised if they actually left.

          1. The formula 1 power unit without the MGU-H is not enough to quit for any of the present four engine manufacturers, because the combustion experience gained makes it near impossible for newcomers to trouble them, and I am not talking about Andy Palmer’s sudden rush of blood to the head, nor about the nowadays no use for F1 Cosworth, and neither about Illmor who had declared that the new engine rules pushed by LM makes it still impossible for people like him to catch up to the manufacturers.

      2. I just wonder if this isn’t mostly just Ferrari using threats to try to hang on to all they have gotten through BE as much as possible, knowing they will likely have to accept less. And I don’t think it will be that much less anyway.

        It seems to be about the new engine regs, and I don’t really see the big issue or the big change other than without the MGU-H teams will have less creative freedom, and it might appear a bit more spec. Is that really enough to quit over?

        I’m sure many good compromises can be made for all the teams over the coming years as Liberty moulds F1 as they deem necessary. But if this is about Ferrari needing to maintain some advantages that other teams simply are not privy to, then perhaps Ferrari have been too spoiled and will be stuck in an old school past that won’t fit in with the new F1. Or as @rdotquestionmark has said, they could be part of the solution, and I think they know that would be far less expensive than leaving and trying to get the same marketing impact elsewhere, when competition for their type of product has never been stiffer.

        Let’s not forget…if success from being in F1 only depended upon winning, many teams would have come and gone far more frequently than they have throughout he years. It is far from being about what prize money they earn from winning and placing in the WCC. It is about a global marketing impact they glean from their brands being globally exposed.

    2. COTD: Ericsson retired in Mexico from 13th, not ninth. He emerged from the early craziness in ninth, and held a load of people up like a boss for a long time because passing was nearly impossible. He rose to eighth when someone else retired, then pitted and dropped back outside the points. The only way he was getting back into the top 10 from then on was via an act of God, and even the Tetrapak guy can’t afford to make those happen.

      I agree about Baku, though. He should have got a point there… although, the short-lived ‘Lance Stroll Proving Everyone Wrong’ party after that race should serve to caution us all about using Baku as a measure of anything other than the ability to get in and out of an F1 car inside the required time limit.

      1. Ericsson is 10kg heavier than Pascal. The Sauber was overweight, supposedly they only went under weight right at the end of the season therefore Pascal should’ve beaten Ericsson by some margin. 10kg can be .4 of a second, it varies with tracks, anyway that’s a lot of time, I’m sure the team wouldn’t have kept Ericsson if he was too slow.

      2. I was corrected about Mexico earlier. But one reason he was down that low was because he pitted before the safety car and most others behind him benefited and some jumped him dues to this. It is very likely that he will have had a similar finishing position to last year if it wasn’t for this. Even so, if he finished 13th, that is not bad at all for Sauber. And I think he will have managed 11th or 12th if he’d benefited slightly like most did by pitting during the safety car.

        1. @thegianthogweed
          Thanks for acknowledging that, but I’m afraid there are still several points left unaddressed.
          – The VSC:
          The VSC was indeed deployed at the wrong time, from Ericsson’s perspective, but how many places did he really lose? He pitted from 8th, emerging 12th after the VSC, losing places to Vettel, Alonso, Massa, and Vandoorne. Two of those drivers (Vettel, Massa) were going to emerge ahead of Ericsson anyway, as they had pitted early in the race and were going to finish the race without another pit stop (Vettel did seize the opportunity to get rid of the Soft tyres, which didn’t really work for anyone). Consequently, Alonso and Vandoorne were the only drivers who really benefitted from the VSC, and for Alonso’s, that might not even have been the case. Alonso had been withing DRS range (+0,7 seconds) before Ericsson’s pit stop, and he immediately went 1.2 seconds quicker once Ericsson was out of the way, increasing the gap to 22 seconds (pit stop window_ 23-24 seconds) before the VSC arrived. The chance for an overcut was definitely there, as Alonso was clearly faster whenever he was in clear air, taking into consideration that Hermanos Rodríguez is a circuit is not the best place for an undercut, as the tyres need several laps before they reach their optimum temperature.
          But let’s just keep it at that and say that the VSC effectively cost him two places.

          – How many places would he have lost?
          While it doesn’t seem unlikely that he might have been able to hold both McLarens at bay, despite lapping 0.5-1 seconds slower than their potential pace, the same cannot really be said for Hamilton, who, in addition to a healthy pace advantage, also had the top speed needed to make short work of Ericsson’s Sauber. So, even if we assume that Ericsson would’ve been able to keep both McLarens behind him for the rest of the race, he wouldn’t have been able to finish higher than 11th, (8th before his pit stop, but Vettel, Massa, Hamilton still temporarily behind him).

          – How did he get there in the first place?
          He qualified 16th, beating both Haases (?), his team mate, and Gasly, whose engine failure prevented him from taking the track. Then came the engine penalties for both McLarens, Hartley, and Ricciardo, promoting Ericsson to 12th on the grid. Then came the race start, which saw Vettel and Hamilton drop to the back of the field. Then Massa’s and Sainz’s punctures, as well as Ricciardo’s and Hülkenberg’s engine-related retirements. That’s 4 places gained by default before the start of the race, and 5 more places gained by default over the first 25 laps (Ricciardo started from 16th and got past Ericsson before his Renault engine blew up, so he can only be counted once). Consequently, Ericsson could’ve even run as high as 7th by converting all those lucky circumstances into track position. He didn’t, as he lost two places at the start (to Magnussen and Ricciardo).

          – So, whom did he really outperform that day?
          Excluding the VSC:
          – Both McLarens, who started 6 and 7 places further back due to engine penalties and were 0.5 and 1 seconds quicker whenever they weren’t held up.

          Up until his engine failure:
          – Gasly (+0.7), who had started 8 places behind Ericsson but ran him close for the last 10 laps
          – Wehrlein (+7), who found himself on the losing end of a strategy gamble, having to complete (almost) the entire race on a compound which didn’t really work for anyone that day, no matter how long the stint
          – Grosjean (+10.7), whose race went about as well as Lance Stroll’s races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, including a penalty and a second pit stop later on
          – Sainz (+13.7), whose race was ruined by an early spin and switch to Soft tyres, which worked so badly for him that he switched to Ultrasoft under the VSC.

          In other words, there’s nothing in that race to suggest that Ericsson punched above Sauber’s weight. His highlight was in qualifying, when he managed to outqualify his team mate by 0.157 seconds, as well as both Haas cars. The first few laps went unbelievably well for Ericsson, as grid penalties and all sorts of misfortunes allowed him to gain 9 places without having to fight for them. From then on, there was hardly anything remarkable about his race. He held up a bunch of recovering drivers for the duration of his first stint, but his tyres started fading early, and an ill-timed VSC cost him two positions he might have defended otherwise. His pace was similarly unremarkable, his fastest lap slower than anyone else’s (with the exception of Ricciardo, Hülkenberg, and Hartley, whose races had ended 50, 31, and 25 laps earlier), and not even faster than that of Wehrlein, despite the German’s extreme strategy. In fact, Wehrlein pace was even slightly better in the first stint, before he started losing time in chunks of several seconds per lap when he was lapped by the front-runners (the timing of Ericsson’s pit stop enabled him to emerge in the large gap between Bottas and Räikkönen, without having to move out of Verstappens and Bottas’s way). Wehrlein also spent most of the second stint slowly gaining on Ericsson, despite the fact that he was running on tyres that were 24 laps older and a step harder than his team mate’s.

          Long story short:
          A detailed look at that race clearly shows that, aisde from a very decent qualifying, nothing really stood out about Ericsson’s performance.
          In fact, the only reason why we’re talking about that race is the fact that he spent roughly a third of the race running in the points. But as I explained, his track position was just borrowed and pretty much only reflected how strongly the course of the race was affected by engine penalties all sorts of incidents.

          1. Fair enough. I personally thought it was better than he usually does though. He did do some very good defending with several drivers which I think you should agree on even if it is tricky to overtake here. He managed to keep Hamilton behind him while he was very close for over a lap. Not bad really. His performance maybe wasn’t as good as I thought it looked. But I still think he was one of the better drivers on the grid that day.

    3. Let Ferrari quit.

      They get 6mil per win when everyone else gets 2. They get 70 mil just for being them, and other teams manage on only 70 mil.

      Frankly, if they can’t dominate with all that extra money, then they’re only competitive because of wealth, not skill.

      1. You buy skill with wealth.

        1. @rethla – Then they aren’t buying skill, they’re buying con artists. The money is just being burned rather than being efficiently used to produce a dominant car.

          @ Duncan – I get the whole thing about how F1 is their only real advertising strategy, but honestly I’m not sure how well that’s working. I mean, nearly anyone can aspire to buy a Hoinda, Renault or Mercedes, but very few can afford a Ferrari, and those that can know the car by reputation alone anyway.

          All my friends know what a Ferarri is, but very few are aware of F1 (I live in the States, it’s not popular here). So I think that to the non-Motorsport enthusiasts F1 is meaningless, but they still know that if they ever win the lottery that they could go and get a Ferrari without knowing anything else about them.

          They’re kind of the Kleenex or Xerox of sports cars – they’ve become synonymous for anyone aspiring to something fast. No need to advertise at all, really.

          1. @zapski exactly right. The US is Ferrari’s largest market and as you said that’s done largely without F1. If we can see it, then the Ferrari board can see it and I’d imagine there are people on the board questioning the time and money spent on F1.

          2. @zapski But it needs to be fed constantly.. you’re talking about the effect of past spend marketing. If you stop, it’ll dry out

            1. Exactly so.
              There was a research about Coca Cola advertising investments a few time back pointing out exactly the same.
              Once they quit investing in advertising (or cut the investments) their revenues almost proportionally dried too.

      2. Duncan Snowden
        3rd December 2017, 2:58

        Totally. Back during their 21-year WDC dry spell, the joke went that they weren’t even the best team in Italy. Minardi weren’t winning either, but they weren’t completely disgracing themselves on a budget that wouldn’t have covered the Ferrari drivers’ salaries.

        But honestly, I don’t believe it for a second. Have you ever seen a Ferrari advert? Ever? Their entire marketing strategy is F1. And that ludicrous theme park in Abu Dhabi, but how many cars does that sell in North America or China? Sure, they could open more, and if Marchionne thinks that turning the fabled Scuderia into the Harlem Globetrotters of world motorsport is the way to go, I say he’s welcome to try. It’s long past time for Liberty to call their bluff.

      3. @zapski There’s over a 1000 people working for the Mercedes F1 team in the UK. The Daimler group doesn’t care if they brake even as long as they meet their marketing/exposure quotes. RB is in a similar position, though I believe there’s some love for racing in RB. We can’t compare the mammoth scale of such companies as RB, Mercedes and Renault to Ferrari even considering the FIAT-Chrysler group, as they don’t see any sense in having an f1 outfit that does not sustain itself, it’s not like selling 10 thousand cars a year is going to fund it. Renault doesn’t invest nearly as much as RB and Merc so we can excuse them for this conversation but still they can burn money. Merc and RB, on a percentage basis are spending, investing far more than they get back on prize money, then you have Ferrari and only then you have most of the rest of the field, there’s a chasm between the big 3 and the rest.

      4. @zapski, I presume that you have lifted that figure of $6 million from the article that Joe Saward wrote about the income division in the sport – a figure that even Joe admitted was in reality meaningless (since the prize money was in fact dictated by WCC finishing position, and therefore the “payment per victory” figure had no basis in reality) and only seemed to have been thrown in as click bait?

        After all, by that logic people could complain about Williams getting paid even more disproportionately than all other teams given that, after their success in 2014 and 2015, they were getting bonus payments for finishing in the top 3 despite not winning a race in either of those seasons.

        Duncan Snowden, in the case of Ferrari during that period, it turns out that, in some ways, things weren’t quite so clear cut. Whilst their budgets were large, it is worth noting that their budget also included the cost of developing their engines in house, whilst teams such as Williams or McLaren, being the works teams of third party manufacturers such as Renault or Honda, did not have to bear any of the costs of engine development as those costs were offloaded onto the likes of Renault and Honda.

        I can’t find the link, unfortunately, but I read an article that analysed the spending by the teams and by their engine partners that argued that, in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, once you take into account the amount of money that Honda and Renault were spending on developing their engines, McLaren and Williams were effectively wealthier teams than Ferrari was.

        That same issue does still partially apply these days as well. Ferrari still integrates their engine development team into the overall structure of the race team, whereas in the case of outfits like Renault or Mercedes the engine development division is a separate organisation (Renault Sport and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains respectively), in part because of the history of those divisions developed.

        Red Bull, meanwhile, has a rather confusing management structure in their own right, since there is the racing team itself (Red Bull Racing), and then there is Red Bull Technologies, the design centre that carries out design work for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso (which was originally set up so Red Bull could circumvent the rules on customer cars in the late 2000’s).

        Adding together the spending of those companies is not straightforward either, since often all of those companies are carrying out spending for other areas of motorsport (Mercedes produces engines for Formula 3, for example, out of the same HPP division, Renault runs their own single make series and I think that the engines for Ferrari’s GTE customers are also developed in the same sub-division that develops their engines for F1).

        Since those engine divisions are privately registered, it’s not easy to get a clear breakdown on what their spending on F1 is – a picture that only gets muddier when you consider that those companies are also sub-contracting work out to other entities, either within the larger parent company (such as Mercedes using the expertise of the wider Daimler corporation to develop their turbocharger units), or specialist third parties (such as Renault drawing on the expertise of Magnetti Marelli or Illien, whilst Ferrari have drawn on AVL and Mercedes on Zytek).

        It also gets a bit more difficult to tell what spending is going on specifically for the main works team and how much spending is being spent on supporting their customers, especially now that, with the cost cap on the power units being set artificially low, taking on more customers is potentially a loss making activity. We also don’t know the details of the relationships between the engine manufacturers and their customers, such as whether they are providing financial support or what spending goes on in joint technical partnerships (I recall that, in the past at least, Mercedes had a joint research and development agreement with Force India), where we have no details of the relative spending by either side in those agreements.

        All in all, the effective budget of the teams in F1 is not as straightforward a topic as some suggest it is, since several other teams have development costs spread out over multiple entities instead of houses in a single team. There have been times when some have argued that Red Bull effectively had the largest budget, having received free engines from Renault in the past and trying to account for spending by both Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Technologies, whilst some others have argued that, in more recent times, Mercedes have effectively had a larger budget when taking into account spending within their HPP division.

        Is Ferrari a wealthy team? Yes, that much is at least clear. Are they the wealthiest team in the sport? I would say that is not clear and there are other teams that potentially could be wealthier if you account for spending in divisions that aren’t explicitly part of the team, but do carry out work that does benefit the works team.

        1. anon – Your post would be a great future reference when people suggest how easy it would be to just set up a budget cap and apply it to all teams equally. This clearly demonstrates how complex the inequities and differences between the teams actually are in regard to costs, expenses, the various types of entities themselves and accounting methods, etc. It would be an absolute nightmare to analyze, regulate, enforce and penalize those who will attempt to get around any such scheme. And even though budgets can be a factor in racing success, policing them has zero to do with racing and would put the focus off of racing.

          Apologies for co-opting this thread and your excellent response. Just this thought immediately came to mind on reading it.

        2. Concerning the ‘6 million dollars per win’ myth:
          @ anon:
          Thumbs up for clarifying that!

          @zapski
          I wrote my own scathing analysis of Saward’s deliberately misleading claim.

          In summary, the ‘6 million per win’ figure was calculated by dividing the prize money by the number of victories, which is nonsensical. The prize money for 3rd place in the ranking of the teams with the most race wins over the past 4 seasons is invariably 30 million squid. It doesn’t matter if you scored a single win or 25 (highest theoretically possible number for that result), your prize money is 30 million. Not 30 million per win or 1.2 million per win. Just 30 million, period.
          The same goes for the team with the most wins. Their prize money is 37 million, and it doesn’t matter if they won all 79 races or just 9 (lowest theoretically possible number with 10 teams). Not 468.000 or 4.111 million per win, just 37 million, period.
          The only way for Ferrari to gain more prize money in that category would be winning more races than Mercedes. If that doesn’t happen, they get their prize money according to their position in that ranking.

    4. If they leave they lose E70 mil, no chance will they do that. I would be really pleased if they did. They are so disrespectful of the other teams, seemming to think they have a god (aka Ecclestone) given right to be there. The winging and bs they talk is years out of date. The king seriously has no clothes.

    5. Perhaps Ferrari will pull out of F1 and just become an engine supplier. We may see Alfa Corsa be the flag carrier for Italian motor sport.

    6. Fiat supply F1 engines + hybrid systems to Scuderia Ferrari, Haas, and Alfa Romeo – Sauber; supposedly leaving those teams to build the chassis, design the suspension, do the aerodynamics, etc, so the question would be what does “leave” mean? For example, if “leaving” means Scuderia Ferrari was sold to a compliant corporation, then Fiat would still be making the engines and hybrid systems for 3 teams, unless the buyer of Scuderia Ferrari managed to outbid Williams or Force India for Mercedes power units. That team, then, may be interested in buying F1 engines from Fiat. So, from the point of view making power units, leaving could make between no difference and some difference. The main difference between the two would be if Fiat supplied two teams then they’d earn less from the sale of F1 engines, so the cost of Research and Development would be spread across two teams instead of three.
      Another possibility is “leaving” means actually ceasing making the engines and hybrid systems, in which case Alfa Romeo – Sauber would have to buy engines from a competitor of Fiat, e.g. Honda or Renault, and which of the Board of Directors of Fiat would allow that?

    7. The BBC article by Benson on Williams’ choices for next season is a really good thoughtful piece. Also, for me, highlights the problem with limited testing.

      1. Interesting, ‘Benson’ and ‘thoughtful piece’ is not something you tend to see in one sentence.
        I’ll have a read.

        1. +1 lol

          According to the snarky git, McLaren and Alonso’s 2nd relationship was untenable before their first season even started (due to differences in opinion over ‘that testing crash’)

      2. Exactly @maciek. It really shows how ideally they would put in more miles to both feel more secure for their choice and give drivers more experience with the car.

    8. That is probably one of the worst COTD.
      An argument defending Ericsson to stay in F1, while saying his teammate was better, but between them Ericsson is a better choice, what the?

      And ending saying that Wherlein is likely to be better than a new guy? What facts are there to prove that.

      Isn’t enough that we have drivers paying for their seats, now we have it as an argument to retain said drivers?

      How was this sorted? Out of a hat?

      The thing is, in any other team Ericsson would be gone by now, and whoever goes against him and doesn’t manage to beat convincingly should join him on their way out.

      It is now 4 years of that one race in Mexico

      1. @johnmilk Well, we all agree Leclerc is a class driver. In the case Ericsson doesn’t get thrashed by him, can we say Leclerc is slow? Same for Wehrlein, he didn’t destroy Ericsson but he’s regarded as a talent, at least by Mercedes. Ericsson held his own against teammates in 2014, 2016 and 2017. Only in 2015 was he terrible. He was a rookie in 2014, and compared well to Kobayashi. He was arguably the better driver in 2016. In 2017, points were on the cards in Baku and Mexico. The average qualifying gap between Ericsson and Wehrlein was the lowest between teammates this year. He’s a decent driver, faster than Palmer and Stroll, one of which has a seat next year. He is on par with Wehrlein as well.

        1. The answer to your first question is yes.

          The rest is the usual Ericsson is not that bad type of argument.

          You don’t really now if he is faster than Palmer and Stroll, but if that is the best comparison you can make for a driver that has been there for plenty of type, I don’t understand why people defend the waste of that seat.

          He is yet to finish ahead of teammates in the standings.

          1. @johnmilk, well, given that there are those who love to paint him as if he were barely able to sit in the cockpit the right way, it inevitably leads people to use that phrase as part of their counter arguments. It could also be pointed out that you are wrong about him not beating a team mate given that he finished ahead of Kobayashi in 2014.

        2. The answer to your first question is yes.

          The rest is the usual Ericsson is not that bad type of argument.

          You don’t really now if he is faster than Palmer and Stroll, but if that is the best comparison you can make for a driver that has been there for plenty of type, I don’t understand why people defend the waste of that seat.

          He is yet to finish ahead of teammates in the standings.

        3. Four years in F1 and still being compared to Stroll and Palmer!
          And after being one of the worst in 2014/2015 he slowly improved towards the end of 2016. It does not seem that he has continued that upward movement.

          1. @johnmilk I enjoy defending Ericsson but I understand what you mean. He has had his chance. I like the guy a lot but, even I’d say a Wehrlein-Leclerc or Giovinazzi-Leclerc would be better.

      2. @johnmilk
        I know you may get fed up with me going on about Ericsson, but it really does seem you are missing the point of my post. I think he should be their choice based on his income and experience. You never know, maybe his feedback to the team is much better than Wehrlein’s? Wehrlein has been known in the past to not be the most easy driver to work with. There was a time where he refused to turn the engine off when he spun and was asked over 5 times. He eventually did so but it could have been critical to do so earlier. Sauber could well value Ericsson for other things that we just don’t know about when compared to Wehrlein. So even without the money, they could value him more. We just do not know.

        I also said that Sauber would have probably been better off keeping Wehrlein. Keeping the current line up as it is more experience and will very likely be better than a new driver joining in. Someone mentioned on another forum that the only time recently a rookie has beaten a team mate with more than one season’s experience was Bottas against Maldonado in 2013. This doesn’t happen often at all. I think it is very unlikely that Leclerc will outperform Ericsson in his rookie season as rookies pretty much never outperform experienced drivers. He may possibly get more points in a similar way that Wehrlein did this year which was basically down to the strategy being very optimistic and workign out and having retirements help out. But I very much doubt Ericsson will get out performed by Leclarc since Ericsson will be in his 5th season and Leclerc in is 1st. If they both remain in 2019, that may be different.

        If Sauber had to loose one, I explained my reasons why Ericsson may be the better to keep, even if Wehrlein is the better driver overall.

        I know you are making a point about Ericsson not getting any points this year. But if you think about it, if Verstappen, Kimi and Bottas hadn’t retired in Spain and the team orders in Baku had gone to plan, Ericsson would have one point and Wehrlein would have 0. I’m steering the luck towards Ericsson here but my main point is the difference in points doesn’t reflect their driving performances and ability. Those races basically had a fair bit of luck go towards Wehrlein which makes him look far better to many just because of the standings. There isn’t a big difference between them at all.

      3. Leclerc secure Alfa Romeo seat because FIAT-Chrysler endorse him. Ericsson had Longbow Finance that once help Sauber from collapse.
        Wehrlein didn’t manage to destroyed Ocon, Ericsson even Harianto. It obvious that even Mercedes didn’t see Wehrlein as a great driver that deserved full backing otherwise Toto will be giving irresistible sweetener to any Mercedes customer teams already.
        So while its true that Wehrlein slightly better driver there is no significant advantage to keep him.

        1. I’m not saying they should heep him, am I? There are other options, but Ericsson again? What is the point? What was the point after his first full season really?

          Surely you are not comparing the endorsement made by the Ferrari driver’s academy to the Longbow one, are you? One is based on talent, the other I’m not quite sure. If I follow that line of thought Ericsson is on Verstappen’s level, since he was endorsed by RedBull.

          1. Yes, Verstappen are endorsed by RedBull because they gain significant advantage because he was so talented. Money well spend. It just how the F1 is. If you happen to be ‘only’ good driver you not gonna make it. It’s expensive sport.
            Maybe what’s wrong is that Longbow Finance supported the wrong Swiss, it should be Felix Rosenqvist in the first place. Ericsson was lucky that he already in Sauber back then.

    9. I’d love to see Ferrari leave F1. It’d be one of the highlights of modern F1 history and we’ll be able to tell our grand-kids years from now about it.

      1. @praxis, if, by “highlights of modern F1 history”, you mean a move that would destroy a sizeable chunk of the fan base (fan surveys showing that they have consistently remained the most popular team and the one whose fans are arguably most loyal to them) and probably lead to the sport being forever diminished? You might love to see it, but it sounds as if you wish for an act that in many ways would be the most pyrrhic of victories and probably help destroy the thing that you profess to love.

        1. Well, I’m well aware of Ferrari’s place in this sport and the probable doom that awaits it if they do leave.

          Time and again we have seen the team making threats to depart if something isn’t to their liking and ruthlessly so. Now the news owners are trying to get new regulations to solve issues with cost, complexity, manufacturer engagement which have blighted this sport for too long.

          It’s Black and White. The sport is bigger than a team, and I personally associate Ferrari with F1, not the other way around. Take Ferrari out of F1 and this sport will suffer, then it’ll recover and grow back. F1 hasn’t reached it’s fullest potential yet. And if you ask me what’s F1, I wouldn’t reply with names of the teams, the great drivers, the history or the money involved in it.

          F1 is the fastest prototypes racing on a racetrack, it has been for a long time now.

        2. Ferrari’s fan base are as just as crooked as the team (well online at least) good riddance to them too :))

        3. “forever diminished”
          I don’t know what makes you think that. Pretty sure F1 will be healthy after a few years. More prize equalization, more teams, closer competition, cheaper tickets, all good!
          Then the next big story will be Ferrari coming back in 2029 :)

    10. Threat is real, but in reality they are working on staying in F1.

      At some point Ferrari might quit F1, it would be a brave new world for both of them. Ferrari does just fine without F1.

      Most people do not know Ferrari have not won a championship in 10 years. I bet if they left now most people would still think Ferrari is in F1…

      It could be argued Ferrari get very little. 10 years ago nobody thought of Mercedes and imagined a supercar, nobody thought of RedBull and associated them with racing…

      Ferrari though is associated with fast cars like babies are ssociated with milk.

    11. Formula 1 without Ferrari will no longer be Formula 1. It may be an interesting category, but it will lose millions of enthusiasts all over the world. As simple as that.

      1. So not agreeing with you… but I am one man, one vote. Has there been any substantial research into this (polls and stuff)? Beacause frankly I couldnt care less what happens to Ferrari if they leave, but do care what it would mean for F1

    12. I really wonder what’s behind Williams hesitation. Was Kubica really that bad? And up to what point is the 25 years limit mandatory for at least one of their drivers? Could it be the reserve driver? Or is Di Resta the only option left? Many questions left on the table by Williams. They really failed to secure a decent driver after Bottas’ departure.

      Williams situation is worrying for 2018 as development has already started for quite some time now. Any stepping-in lead driver would have to catch-up hard and they start next year on the backfoot.

      Business-wise it’s probably safe with Stroll’s money but it’s not nice to see Williams in such a sorry state and it’s not going to be better anytime soon.

      1. I sympathize with those here who have long memories of when Williams set the standard in F1. I was not old enough or interested enough then to see it. To me, they just seem to be going through the motions. Decisions seem to be made with the best of intentions, but almost always about money, not talent. The time it is taking to confirm their driver line just says to me they are looking for the driver who can bring the most money, or should that be funding. Sad really.

    13. @ CotD @Thegianthogweed

      But if you look at his performances over the past two years, he’s missed out on several points finishes that were unlucky.

      Ben, if we exclude this year’s Mexican GP, what other missed opportunities were there?
      I can think of exactly one, and that was Baku. And that would be a rather extreme case of selective reasoning, as the opportunity for points only arose due to extraordinary circumstances. Kvyat, Verstappen, Massa, Hülkenberg, Pérez, Räikkönen – without all those retirements, Ericsson and Wehrlein would’ve battled over 16th. Wehrlein was extremely lucky to score a point, true. But that doesn’t mean Ericsson really deserved it, either.

      And his team mates in the last two years have only got points down to others’ misfortune.

      With all due respect, that kind of statement grinds my gears. Firstly, because it angers me that you feel the need to disparage Ericsson’s team mate in order to elevate him. Secondly, because it’s wrong.

      In 2016 and 2017, Ericsson’s team mates have scored points on three occasions:
      – Brazil 2016 (Nasr)
      – Spain and Azerbaijan 2017 (Wehrlein)

      Out of those three races, I have to agree with Azerbaijan being a lucky result for Wehrlein, as it was only brought about by an unusual amount of retirements from the top half of the grid.

      But I very much disagree with the other races.
      – In the 2016 Brazilian GP, out of the 6 drivers who failed to see the chequered flag (Grosjean, Ericsson, Räikkönen, Palmer, Massa, Gutiérrez), only Räikkönen was likely to finish ahead of Nasr. Had Räikkönen not crashed, Nasr’s performance would still have been good enough to finish 10th. Other than that, there was not a single place gained by Nasr due to other drivers’ misfortunes.
      – In the 2017 Spanish GP, Wehrlein did benefit from three high-ranking retirements (Verstappen, Räikkönen, Bottas). He was classified 8th at the end of the race, so one might surmise that he was just lucky, as there was no way he could’ve finished higher than 11th without those retirements.
      And that’s where I disagree. You keep referring to the VSC that had to be deployed in the middle of the race, but the VSC is not a magical Ericsson disadvantage/Wehrlein advantage device.
      As I explained at length, the VSC wasn’t beneficial for Wehrlein’s race in Spain, on the contrary: It cost him a place and a penalty.
      The penalty he received for driving around the wrong side of the bollard at the pit entry, which had to do with the timing of the VSC and the fact that his crew called him into the pits when it was almost too late, which makes it hard to argue that the penalty was his fault. That penalty cost him a place to Sainz, whom he had been able to keep behind for the rest of the race.
      As for Hülkenberg getting past him, that wasn’t his fault, either. He came into the pits just ahead of Hülkenberg (+0.685 at the finish line), but lost 1.1 seconds during the pit stop (23.445 vs. 22.362). Had the Sauber crew produced a normal pit stop (Ericsson’s pit stops: 22.775 and 22.995), Wehrlein would’ve stayed ahead. Would he have been able to finish ahead of Hülkenberg? Surprisingly, the answer is: Probably yes. Despite running in clear air for the remaining 32 laps, the Renault and the Sauber were separated by just 4.2 seconds at the finish, and Wehrlein had been able to keep Hülkenberg behind him for the last 7 laps of his first stint, despite running on tyres that were 15 laps older than Hülkenberg’s.
      Consequently, Wehrlein might even have finished 6th, if not for the mishaps surrounding his pit stop. Even if the Verstappen, Räikkönen, Bottas trio had finished the race, Wehrlein could still have scored a point or two on merit.

      Long story short:
      Something doesn’t quite add up here. Of course, no one’s stopping you from calling the points finishes of Ericsson’s team mates lucky when they weren’t, and Ericsson’s failure to score any points unlucky, when it wasn’t, to draw the conclusion that there really wasn’t any difference between Ericsson and his team mates, just luck. But it’s a strange thing to do, and it smacks of disingenuousness, or, at the very least, massive bias.

      1. Well I think You are being a bit disrespectful considering I’ve now got COTD twice regarding Ericsson’s performances. I’ve been wrong with a few things but I think you also are missing the point of a few. On other Forums, and also here, I have seen many say that Wehrlein benefited in Spain due to him being able to suddenly change his strategy because of the safety car. Maybe the others could to but this still changed things. Without this happening and there being 1 less retirement in the race, I doubt he will have finished anywhere close to as high as he did. I still can’t really agree with you so lets not take Spain that any further. And brining up the “Ericsson disadvantage/Wehrlein” that you seem to think I am using, I’ve seen multiple people say the safety car did badly affect Ericsson in Mexico in other Forums and here. More seem to think what I think than what you are saying from what I’ve read.

        What I mean by Ericsson missing out on several points finishes is that several times in his career when he’s finished just out side the points, there have been less retirements than when his team mates have scored. We have no idea if Grosjean could have beaten Nasr or not in Brazil last year. One of the other missed opportunities for Ericsson was Mexico last year. That is clearly one he missed. Retirements and or an extreme strategy that works out almost always are what give the back markers points if they are well below the rest of the field. Ericsson finished 11th and the only car that retired was a Manor. Now that was a missed opportunity. Just think if there had been 3 top cars retiring (like Spain this year remember)? Ericsson would have been 8th. And I would say he had a fair bit of luck in the same way I personally think Wehrlein did in Spain, but Ericsson has been the closest to the points without there being a strong possibility that retirements helped him get there. And that includes Nasr, Wehrlein and Ericsson over the past 2 years. It may have only been on 1 occasion though, and indeed he hasn’t actually managed points.

        I’m thought you started one of your comments the other day implying you respect my comments. It doesn’t seem that way. I’ve had COTD twice with these sorts of topics regarding Ericsson’s performances so it means Keith clearly shows some respect for the time and effort I have gone to. You clearly seem to think different. Can’t you just agree to disagree?

    14. Two agenda’s being pushed today with regards to FE. Rosberg gushing about its R&D road relevance is a bit unbelievable. It’s a spec series after all, not much more than a marketing exercise. Meanwhile the South China Morning Post trying to paint the picture that no one showed up at all.

      I’m not sure what it means but interesting to note…

    15. If Ferrari and Merc leave, as they are threatening to do, it may hurt F1 briefly but if other manufacturers such as Audi, BMW etc. throw their hats in the ring due to more reasonable costs they won’t be missed for long.

      If I’m Liberty I’m putting feelers out for other manufacturers and if they show enough interest let the big boys leave if they’d like.

      In the end F1 will survive and more than likely prosper if they get rid of the current dog and pony show farce where those with deep pockets call the shots as they are trying to do here.

    16. I really cannot see Ferrari leaving. It’s all a bluff and can be expected from them really. I admire Ferrari but they have a long history of wanting things their way. They have to date always been indulged in this.

      A few people have mentioned that F1 is not big in the U.S. which is their largest market. However, the Ferrari brand is synonymous worldwide with making fast cars. And where does most of the world expect to see the fastest and most technically advanced race cars but in F1. It’s in the name ‘F1’. Top, the best, the fastest, premium.

      There is no way they will leave in my opinion.

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