Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Suzuka, 2017

Gasly encouraged by McLaren’s progress with Honda

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Pierre Gasly sees positives in Honda’s development with McLaren in the second half of 2017.

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Mark argues for a bit more patience with F1’s new owners:

Liberty don’t write the sporting regulations (the FIA do), and the three-engine limit for 2018 was agreed by all manufacturers before it was written into the regulations, so they can’t be blamed for it.

The same applies to contracts with circuits; they can’t just be kicked off the calendar overnight.

Deapite that, I feel that F1 has already changed for the better in 2017 more so than it has done in the previous five to ten years, yet Liberty’s vision for F1 is long term and we should trust in them as so far they’ve shown a very professional and thorough approach. Don’t expect drastic changes until then or you’ll be disappointed.
Mark G (@Sparkyamg)

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  • 44 comments on “Gasly encouraged by McLaren’s progress with Honda”

    1. Mhaaserati

    2. As an american team it would make more sense brand them as Chrysler / dodge SRT

      1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        8th December 2017, 15:04

        With the rumours of Marchionne planning to spin-off Maserati and Alfa, it would make more sense for FCA to give them a good amount of visibility. Chrysler, in my opinion, doesn’t make sense as a brand in F1 as it offers nothing racy or exciting at the moment, while Dodge has gone off and killed the Viper, which was the only track-day vehicle in their stables. The Challenger would fit much better in NHRA and other drag events.

      2. Plus distance them from the Italian manufacturers who are all pretty incestuous, I like this idea.

        1. Marchionne is just “adding” teams in his stable for little to no extra cost. This will give him sizeable clout when “negotiating” from 2020. It’s Putin’s favourite method and it works.

    3. Hamilton, who won nine races this season on his way to a fourth world title, collected an impressive 233 points from a possible maximum of 250 to retain top spot.

      That’s 8 first places, a second (Horner?) and a third (probably by Ferrari who will always put their own drivers first).
      Or 1 manager put him 6th; which seems really unlikely.

      Verstappen at 163 and Vettel at 161 means that they picked up at least 14 of the remaining top 3 spots.


      1. Oops Max and Seb have less points. Totally messes up my top 3 calculations :(

      2. Shouldn’t that be a maximum of 500 points.

      3. Out of 1010 points possible, the published top 10 have 951 between them, so there’s 59 points unaccounted for. I think it’s a safe bet 11th-12th will be Perez and Massa with around 20 points each and the rest have single digits points if they get any.

      4. Whahaha I was doing that too while riding a tram. I bet Horner put Max and Daniel ahead of Lewis and then Arrivabene put Seb over Lewis. From what I have seen, it seems that Christian does not like Lewis that much… Unless he is joking with the way he talks..

    4. Sergio m looking to put in place many of his own brands (fiat / ferrari / maserati / alfa / godknowswhatelse) so he can control f1?

    5. Re. COTD – a lot of us fans have shown positivity towards Liberty, and appreciated some of the changes that were made. We were impressed at FOM’s idea of grabbing the crying kid at the Spanish GP and enabling him to meet Kimi, pleased by the way they increased the use of YouTube (remember the interview with 3 drivers about a year ago? As well as numerous race action clips this year), and while their pre/post race initiatives have been met with mixed reactions, there is also a sense of they ought to try out different formulae.

      That said, the honeymoon is coming to an end. The reaction to the new F1 logo has been mixed. The most recent pre/post race events (DJ / announcer) have been met with some bewilderment and criticism. There are some concerns that the presentation of the sport (i.e. the global feed, on-screen tickers and graphics) is going to become more Americanized, and people wonder about and are concerned by what that could mean.

      1. @phylyp

        The changes everyone agreed on were the more obvious ones Bernie didn’t do ’cause he was Bernie. Now that Liberty has to try and think of creative ways to promote F1 the limits of their marketing-based approach are starting to show…

        BTW, does anyone here who’s also on Twitter actually like their tweets (actual question)!!?? I find them so cringe-worthy I wanna reply everything single one of them with a ‘How do you do, fellow kids’ meme…

    6. I’m really quite amazed at how low Bottas is marked.

      He was in the mix for the WDC at the half way point (Kimi wasn’t ) and then had to battle a car that was clearly improved to suit Hamilton’s driving style in the second half and even then managed to stick it on pole twice and scored a win.

      Hopefully next year, now he’s gotten used to the vagaries of the Merc, he’ll prove all the doubters wrong. I certainly wouldn’t underestimate him, he has a steely determination to perform and I think we’ll see some fireworks next year very much like the Rosberg/Hamilton era.

      1. a car that was clearly improved to suit Hamilton’s driving style in the second half

        I know Merc were trying to “un-diva” the car, but not that they were tuning it to Hamilton. Is that speculation, or do we have confirmation from some authoritative source (either Merc or an expert commentator)?

        1. @phylyp, it seems to be that people are assuming that is the case because Bottas fell back whilst Hamilton remained competitive, but have not provided any evidence to prove that it was (or even offered any explanation of what apparently was done to the car to favour Hamilton).

        2. I’d have to go hunting back thru this site but it was Bottas that said the developments in the car didn’t suit his driving style (which I assumed meant that it did suit Lewis but that was an assumption) and that he had to learn to drive it differently as a reason as to why he’s dropped behind Hamilton in the second half.

          Hamilton remained more than competitive and seemed to actually improve post break.

          That’s the other reason I think Bottas was rated too low – when Hamilton is at the top of his game, there’s not too many drivers, if any that can compete with him.

          1. @dbradock – cheers. Yes, I recall reading something along the lines of what Bottas said. Whether that meant it was being tuned to Hamilton’s liking, or whether it was just that Hamilton adapted to it better than Bottas did, is probably open to interpretation.

            That said, I would agree with your point about him being marked a lowly 10th, especially with Kimi ahead of him by 3 spots and 10 points. He’s probably been (inadvertently) penalized in this vote for having the best machine on the grid.

            In some ways, I think Bottas is the new Iceman – like you said, steely determination and an implacable calm. I remember a radio exchange in his Williams days when racing Massa for track position – when Massa was typically excited and emotional, Bottas’ radio exchange was an emotionless “Well tell him to go through, I have more pace”. Mentally, I think he’s got the game to take it to Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Alonso. Let’s hope he can tap his talent as well on the track.

            1. I think it is safe to say, after 4 such strong seasons, the Mercedes is LH’s car, in the sense that they have tons of data on LH and their cars, that have for the most part fit him like a glove, not unlike other WDC’s and their WCC winning cars in the past. So I don’t think they could have developed the car more for LH than they already were. I think the difference is merely that they (F1) changed the dimensions of the cars and tires, and that meant a bit of a curve ball for the team. The supremacy of the pu was never in question. I think it was moreso getting the still too temp sensitive tires to work at various tracks, that became their headache. After all, more than a few hoped the changes would take something off Mercedes’ dominatiion, but it would seem the same ‘locked in’ advantage that many bemoaned they would have for years wrt their pu is still in place for now.

              So I don’t think it is fair to have expected too much of VB in this his first year in a competitive car, first year at Mercedes, against WDC level LH who is as engrained on the team as any driver has even been bar MS/Ferrari. If Nico hadn’t retired, I predict they would have gotten rid of the ‘diva-ness’ quicker as NR was also deeply engrained on the team and would have provided valuable feedback, like LH would have been doing this year too, and that VB simply was not equipped to provide to quite the same degree. I also think Nico’s absence flattered Ferrari somewhat and had he been there this past season there would have been more shutting out of the likes of SV and MV for some of the higher points paying positions.

            2. @robbie – that makes a lot of sense.

        3. @phylyp
          This is me playing devils advocate here. If you were Mercedes, and you saw the performances of both your drivers, which of your drivers characteristics would you develop your car towards?

      2. @dbradock I think it’s quite appropriate place for Bottas in the poll using that system. Hamilton is clear winner, followed by Vettel and Max taking up the top 3 spots. Then Ricciardo running alone (as usual) in 4th place. Ocon and Alonso battle for 5th and 6th. I think we can agree that the performance 6 drivers above is make sense to be rated above Bottas this season. The rest of 4 top 10 drivers is Kimi, Sainz, Hulk, and Bottas. All of them are good drivers. Kimi late season is strong, although the result is not really reflecting this because there are times we knew Ferrari sacrifice him to help Vettel (Hungary). Sainz getting 90% of STR points and close to Hulk in a car he’s not used to. Hulk also get majority of Renault points. Compared to them Bottas is the only one that mostly losing to his teammate and by quite large margin after summer break and before Brazil. Note that Bottas getting 39 points and how close the points between 7th to 10th means that some bosses do rate him higher than those 4 drivers.

      3. I’m surprised that Vandoorne didn’t make an appearance in the top half, albeit in a poor car but after a good showing against Alonso

      4. I was one who, at the start of this season, expected better results from Bottas than what he produced, so I guess one can’t be surprised to see such a low place. In fact, if it wasn’t for the two equally rated drivers then Bottas wouldn’t even by in the top 10. That said, I would have thought he’d have got a higher place.
        It seems to me by giving Bottas such a low score the majority of team principals think most of those above him could have done a better job against Hamilton.

    7. I’m loving the cross-optimism between Toro Rosso & McLaren. Toro Rosso are optimistic about Honda improving like they have over the past few months, and McLaren are positive they can achieve what Red Bull are doing with a Renault engine. This really was a win-win situation for everyone.

      Let’s see how it pans out next year. Although, my money is on another Honda epic fail.

        1. It depends if Honda continue to develop the 2017 engine or do what they did the last 3 years and start each season with a new and unproven design.

          1. @emu55 Honda have stated the 2017 unit is now the base for them and 2018 will be a development of that..room for optimism, however it will surely be 2019 before they have anything competitive, and they can’t go burning through PU’s like this year chasing performance.

            I can see Toro Rosso and Honda using 5-6 of each PU component as they chase performance, with only two opportunities to bring upgrades next season they are bound to take planned hits to bring in new complements.

            1. @ju88sy, as I understand the situation, the 2018 spec engine will be a development of their 2017 engine. However, it sounds as if there are plans for larger changes to the energy recovery systems for 2018, with the MGU-H expected to go through a more substantial redesign given that it was the part of the power unit which caused the greatest number of problems for Honda in 2017.

              I expect that what we are more likely to see will be a situation more akin to what happened in 2016 – improved reliability and moderate improvements in performance, but an expectation that the overall package shall still lag behind their rivals. Their engine is still the thirstiest in the field, and I expect that to remain the case in 2018 as well, and whilst they’ve made improvements in that area, the efficiency and effectiveness of their energy recovery systems has been the area where they’ve had the greatest difficulties.

              Whilst there were some rather bullish statements from Honda and Toro Rosso early on, I think that it is more likely that Toro Rosso will probably just end up treading water in 2018 (i.e. not being terrible, but probably being in the mid to low midfield pack).

      1. The fact that Honda is restructuring its F1 operation AGAIN after only 3 years in the sport doesn’t seem like a good sign for Toro Rosso, though…

      2. I dunno… Alonso seems to have entered into a legally binding contract with Horrible Timing & Bad Luck. I’m half expecting Honda to come good very shortly, & Renault to recapture the unreliability title simply because of the Alonso effect.

        1. Aldoid, your comment literally made me laugh out loud. Originally joined the site for the articles/features but actually stayed for the comments section. It’s always entertaining and/or interesting so cheers everyone!

      3. @todfod I’m a glass-half full guy, I believe in Honda for 2018 :), surely cannot fail to build on the improvements of 2017……..

    8. Will Honda get any share of the prize money given to McLaren?

      1. Depends on how their McLaren and Honda deal is structured. If they were splitting the revenue from prize money, I’m pretty sure Honda should get their share.

    9. ‘Telling drivers what to do’ is why Motorsport got boring. Moto GP riders have opposed this type of communicatoin.

    10. What’s more funny is that people still didn’t realize that Alfa Romeo’s comeback and the possible return of Maserati will never be against Ferrari’s interests. Alfa Romeo deal will expire at the end of 2020 so is Maserati (if it will return) which is the date of the expiration of the Concorde agreement.
      Ferrari, unlike all the other manufacturers, sells road cars in order to race in F1 but this time Marchionne made it clear that the team will not race at any condition and if the regulations will be à la 2014 that favors one team over Ferrari, he will not accept it. BTW, Ferrari under Sergio’s leadership first showed that it can enter a fierce battle with the FIA when it vetoed the stupid rule of engine discount for customer team in 2015

      1. Why are so many people shouting out loud that this time Ferrari’s threats are more serious? Up till now, nothing is different from the other periods in which the Concorde agreement had to be renewed. They always say they will quit if they do not get it their way and always say it is serious this time. There is only one way to find out: wait and see what happens…

    11. Only saving grace for Honda racing outfit this year had been that they managed to clinch all 3 titles in MotoGP(rider, team and constructors) even after some horrid times with not so decent bike(factory team). Now only if they get their head down they might make that F1 PU work for poor Toro Rosso’s sake.

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