Mercedes wary of “dangerous” Ferrari-Sauber alliance

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In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff is open to forming an alliance with another team the way Ferrari has with Sauber.

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Philip has some early predictions for the season ahead:

I’m predicting another championship for Hamilton/Mercedes, Ferrari to slip to third with Red Bull taking second.

Bottas will again fail to secure second and Mercedes will drop him back to Williams at the end of the season replacing him with Riccardo.

Alonso will get a win, probably in Hungary.

Force India will slip to sixth behind McLaren and Renault.

Toro Rosso will be stone dead last with no points.
Philip (@Philipgb)

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42 comments on “Mercedes wary of “dangerous” Ferrari-Sauber alliance”

  1. MB (@muralibhats)
    2nd January 2018, 0:06

    Should have thought about this when Manor was around

    1. Carlos Alfonzo
      2nd January 2018, 1:23

      Force India is much better option though.

      1. Soon it might up for sale as well once that fraudster Mallya ends up in jail for good.

      2. Why would a team with a standing like FI agree to be a B-team? They’re doing very well on their own terms, thank you

        1. I agree with you, but capitalism doesn’t.
          If the terms of a B-team contract are more beneficial for them monetarily, and particularly for their shareholders, then you bet they’ll become a B-team.

        2. Well the moment they started buying a year old engine, you know that they will sell their soul to compete in F1 Manor was missed opportunity for Merc

      3. MB (@muralibhats)
        2nd January 2018, 8:53

        The idea here i believe is not to take ownership of the team but just have technical partnership. Two different things. Its a lot less risk in partnership as they can pull out very easily. Merc is not interested to run two teams like RB. AF threw in a lifeline to Sauber and they needed it. Merc could had done the same and may also have invested a bit in the team and maybe got some sponsors too- who knows.

    2. I honestly thought that was the plan. With Wehrlein in the team and donning that white/grey outfit in pressers/around the paddock, which resembled Mercedes far more than the blue/orange of Manor, I really thought that’s where Mercedes/Manor were headed.

  2. I’d like Torro Roso to suprise everyone and be very competitive.
    Honda is on spending spree
    They desperately want to improve
    I think that would spice up the season for me.

    1. Honda is still confused about their 2018 engine layout and have kept their 2017 power unit as the backup. Considering that all teams will be running 2018 specs of power units, my money is on Toro Rosso being dead last. It’s not like they have the driving talent to make up for any of the deficit either.

      God bless Toro Rosso. They’re really gonna need it.

      1. Agree that Honda is still the weakest PU partner, and the STR drivers have not impressed so far.
        But still, I think (or hope) that they will be fighting with the 3rd tier teams (Renault and McLaren are the 2nd tier; not sure with whom FI will fight; Williams is doing everything to solidly become a 3rd tier team).

      2. Calling the defending WEC champion talentless is a bit harsh.

        It is sad that this is the general view of the fans that only watch F1.

  3. Ocon really knew how to deal with media.
    The timing and the comment always finely crafted. He made headline about how Merc was assisting him on his rivalry with Perez during time of wave support for Wehrlien to join Williams. He could casually claim that he still faster than Verstappen when F1 were going into silly season. He could made outlandish claim about attempt murder by his teammate as acceptable outburst.
    When he join Mercedes, I hope Hamilton still had some social media account to matched Ocon politics.

  4. Regarding COTD: I agree with points 3-5, but not with points 1 and 2.

    1. @jerejj +1. Also Andrew Benson’s so-called “predictions” for 2018 are laughably pathetic. It’s just his wish-list for 2018 that he calls “predictions”

      1. Most stuff Andrew Benson writes is laughable.

        1. Of course, his commentary does start by saying it is meant to be light-hearted and fun, and not to hang these on him come December.

          1. Good point @robbie but typically some people can’t be assed to actually read it, and rely on the comments section to form an opinion which seems to be their way of contributing to this fine forum.

            I was hoping for a step up in 2018…

          2. Yes it’s “dangerous” Toto, dangerous to the longevity and general health of F1. The more ‘B’ teams, the less genuine competition. Just like teams running 3 cars, it will be used to a) control the driver market c) control the PU availability and c stifle competition.

          3. @baron. I’ve read many many articles by Andrew Benson. And based on reading those articles it is my opinion that he is not a very good journalist. If you would have read my earlier comments you know exactly why I do not rate him as a journalist.

            PS. I have also read this article, and have no problem with it (with or without the first sentence) as it is simply his (lighthearted) opinion.
            And if you would have read my earlier comments you

  5. COTD.
    I think you are spot on re Riccardo, I think he is clearly waiting for Mercedes to give him a sign during the season that its a goer, the fly in the ointment is Bottas, he is quite capable of stringing together some great results and if coming into the summer break he is leading the championship , then it may not happen.
    If he is at Mercedes next year, I think Lewis will beat him, but in a second season, he will either beat Lewis or be so close it will split the championship. After that Lewis will be seriously close to retiring unless he is on 6 championships, he may go for the record equaling 7th despite what he says about not looking that far forward.
    Either way, I can’t wait for testing !

    1. I think Hamilton will retire at the end of 2018.
      Same as I said last year, but I was clearly wrong ;)

    2. What Ricciardo should really focus on doing is beating Verstappen at Reb Bull, and then he can think about moving to Mercedes. His best chance for a championship might very well be with Red Bull, but if he can’t beat Verstappen (which I totally think he can), he’s done for.

        1. @rahnarlsmenves I think you are exactly right. Of course one of the big talking points for this coming season will be DR and his future post-2018, but yes his season has to start by just focusing on the car and his performance with it, and ideally to get on top of Max, which I personally don’t think he’ll do. But who knows right? That’s why they run all the races and don’t just hand out trophies based on speculation.

          DR, along with all of us, will be witnessing where the teams stand amongst each other, but of course that can be a moving target, and what DR sees in 2018 might not be any guarantee for 2019. But there are only so many options too. In a way he seems to be in a good spot in terms of demand for his services, but then it won’t be a picnic for him at RBR vs Max, Ferrari vs SV, or Merc vs LH. I predict that wherever he goes he’s got at least this year and next of being outperformed by his teammate(s).

  6. Surprising the Autocar article on drivers who have beaten Hamilton didn’t include Button. Beating Hamilton in 2011 was a considerably more comprehensive victory over him than Rosberg managed in 2016.

    Yes, there was an element of Hamilton beating himself through lack of consistency, but Button still gave probably the best season of his career that year. He didn’t just come out ahead of Hamilton because of reliability or team errors, he took the points on merit beating Webber who had the same rocketship Vettel had in the process.

    Rosberg beat Hamilton while Hamilton was on better form, but Buttons victory has less of a question mark next to it.

    1. @philipgb Or maybe Button just proved that McLaren wasn’t all that bad and Vettel just had one stellar season. It’s just how you turn the table really…

      1. @flatsix

        Yeah maybe, it’s not like the guy who was in the other McLaren is especially well known for qualifying or race peace…

        1. @philipgb Not sure whether you now agree or not. It could just be that the McLaren car was actually not that far off the Red Bull and Button who is in no way in the same league as Hamilton or Vettel just had a very good season, whilst Hamilton arguably had his worst making it look like the McLaren was worse than it really was. Making fairly logical one could beat Webber.

          1. @flatsix

            I wouldn’t put Button on the same league as Hamilton and Vettel ordinarily no. I just think he had a season that the stars aligned on and he strung together a lot of great performances.

            You could often see Hamilton was still a faster racer than him, but he was over driving in a likely attempt to make up the deficit to Red Bull and either having a brilliant weekend like China, or just throwing himself into trouble like Monaco.

            Buttons more measured approach won out and there were also times he was just faster like Suzuka.

      2. @flatsix, I wouldn’t say that the MP4/26 was that great a car, as it is well known that the original exhaust concept that was meant to have been fitted to that car failed to work because the FIA unexpectedly clamped down on the use of Glass Ceramic Composites in and around the area of the exhausts.

        They did eventually make the car work, but it was only by copying and pasting Red Bull’s design onto their car – remember that, in the opening race in Melbourne, they turned up with a hastily fabricated metal diffuser because it was quicker for them to fabricate one out of sheet metal and bolt it onto the car rather than carbon fibre (due to the curing time). Meanwhile, the RB7 was based on the RB6, a car that Newey reckoned at the time was already producing more downforce than any other car had in the history of the sport, so the RB7 was an evolution of what was already an exceptional design.

    2. @philipgb

      The answer is Whitmarsh. He cost Lewis WDC in 2007 and blatantly favoured Button.

      Well have to await Lewis’s book to find out actually what happened at McLaren.

      1. Totally agree. Whitmarsh unashamedly favoured Button in 2007 even though JB was driving for Honda ;)
        You would have though maybe Alonso or Hamilton, but Button?

    3. Hmm – he beat him but they had the same number of wins, plus Ham outqualified Button all year long etc etc and all this in his worst year ever in a car that was third/fourth best.

      You know the worst year ever with more wins than Uber wunderkind VER has won in his three years… and Ham was in the third or fourth best car? The Red Bull was second best for two of the last three and third this. Best for four straight years before.

      Thing is, during their time together, Ham was always in final half championship contention. Button not once. He had nothing to do in 011 other than beat his team mate. He never even tried to beat Vettel.

      Who had the only none Red Bull pole of the entire year?

      It always looked like one wanted to win the championship – the other was just desperate to beat his team mate. Bit like Force India this year.

      Suzuka – well yes he beat him. If you ignore a broken anti roll bar….

      1. The McLaren was easily the 2nd best car over the course of 2011. In many races, despite not being the pole sitter it was also the faster race car. Button didn’t make his way through the Canada field entirely on talent.

        And Button was the driver who was mathematically in contention for the championship longer than any other driver in 2011. In Japan when the win was essential he out qualified Hamilton and beat Vettel in the race. He was very much chasing an admittedly slim chance at winning that year.

        Hamilton is obviously the better driver, but that isn’t because Button is lacking in any way, Button is also a great driver. It’s just Hamilton is something special, and Button deserves a lot of credit for going toe to toe with him and managing to beat him even if it was only one season.

  7. Where’s the halo on that Sauber pic? Tut-tut, must follow the ‘safety first’ dictat in future. In fact, all those people stood around the car ought to be wearing helmets and fire proof overalls.

  8. ha!! ha !!
    “Ferrari will win some races – but team boss Maurizio Arrivabene will leave/be sacked at the end of the season.”
    ask them the equities predictions too !! we could make a lot of money !

  9. Re: COTD – Agree on all points! @philipgb

    I think Ferrari will have a hugely frustrating year… Vettel for me (despite his success) is overrated and not the man to drive a team forward, Rai ‘chequed’ out long ago!

    Bottas too overrated, Ricc could be a long term replacement for Ham at Merc.

    Force India been punching above their weight for too long now, McLaren and Renault are coming!!!

    Toro Rosso will struggle with no real investment, two rookie drivers and the only team worse than them this season (Sauber) will benefit hugely from the Alfa/Ferrari investment

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