Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Bottas: Following other cars is “a little better” with 2019 aero

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says the aerodynamic changes to this year’s Formula 1 cars has made it easier to follow other cars more closely.

What they say

I think it’s a little bit better. The good thing is the car’s not doing anything funny when we are following, it’s just general loss of downforce.

Last year there was a bit more movement in the car. So it is a bit more stable. You still lose a lot of grip from the downforce because the cars now have more downforce than last year and obviously when there’s no air to make the wings work, you lose grip.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Sebastian Vettel is already too far behind for a comeback to be realistic, says @Hobo:

Not to throw out the season yet, but Hamilton’s 31 point lead over Vettel is larger than any point deficit Vettel overcame in 2018.

If my maths are correct:

• The largest point swing Vettel made in 2018 was 25 points, which took five races and included a Hamilton retirement. After Spain and heading into Monaco last season, Hamilton was up 17, and after the British GP Vettel was up 8. That was erased in the next race by Hamilton when Vettel retired.

• The biggest swing Vettel made in 2018 without a Hamilton retirement was 18pts, Spain to Canada. That was during Ferrari’s better half of the season.

• In 2017, the largest points swing Vettel made was 25 points between Bahrain (tied going into the weekend) and Monaco (Vettel 25pts ahead after the race).

Even if we were to say the cars this year are about even, some tracks favor each, there is nothing outside of reliability or Mercedes going down a development dead end (a la Ferrari last year) that appears to allows Vettel to come back. I’ll be happy to eat my words should that happen because I’d like to see an actual title fight (even better if it is somehow Leclerc). But with the current deficit, even with only three races complete, I’m calling it for Mercedes – and I don’t think it’s a risky call.

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Author information

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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25 comments on “Bottas: Following other cars is “a little better” with 2019 aero”

  1. 31 points seems like a lot.
    But if Ferrari wins the next 2 races (long straights in Baku, repeat testing dominance in Spain) with the FLAPs then the deficit will be down to less than 10 points (I assume Ferrari will continue to favour Vettel over Leclerc).
    And suddenly it will all be open again.

    Interestingly, I think it will be more likely to see 2 Ferrari 1-2’s in the next two races than Vettel beating Leclerc in those same races. Leclerc will find a way to circumvent those team orders.

    1. Ironically, Ferrari team orders may make it easier to Mercedes.
      If given VET a better position at all costs directive remains, LEC strategy would probably be worse every time. As we’ve seen in China, LEC do not swap positions to 4h, but he went from 3rd to 5th.
      So, Ferrari’s 1-2s would only come in tracks with a clear massive advantage. One in which Ferrari second car would not be exposed to at least one of the Mercedes. And, again, as seen in China, VER can realistically try and undercut. Then is not certain that a 1-2 swap in Ferrari will not open the door to 1 or 2 cars between them.
      If BOT newest form is here to stay, one can almost count that both Mercedes cars will finish together. This way it will be harder to get points from Mercedes, unless both Ferraris are free to find who is the fastest – and it is not clear VET is the one this season.
      It is quite a conundrum: 1st driver Ferrari policy can make harder to take points from Mercedes, free range Ferrari may not result in most points going to VET.

      1. That seems to be quite a likely scenario there. So, WCC looking good for Mercedes, WDC a default mark for them? (So let’s hope Bottas 2.0 makes that tough for Hamilton?)

        1. Bottas 2.0 is just Bottas 1.x with a beard.

          Not that there’s really anything wrong with Bottas 1.x, it just got a little resource starved last year.

    2. @coldlfy – I agree, there are plenty of scenarios in which this turns around. I guess my point was that we haven’t seen it happen the last two seasons. Not that it means it won’t happen.


  2. Suggestion to improve the Round-Up: an icon or other way of easily identifying which racing series is being discussed and grouping them together.

    1. 100% with you on this.
      The “Evans” quote had me baffled (not difficult I confess) for a minute there.

  3. I am not sure how Racefans could talk about this, but this “biggest comeback” “controversy” raises the question on how and who is taking care of F1 branding/storytelling.
    Yes, US media is a jaggernaut. When they are set on a narrative, this story is the truth. It is possible to see many invested people/companines pushing the narrative that Woods comeback is the biggest in sport – between sponsors, broadcasters, and golf entities. I reckon that personal/mental maladies are very hard to overcome. But Woods’ downfall was expressed in money and some peace of mind lost.
    On the other hand, I cant say that the general public knows about the event with Lauda. I don’t think that Lauda should have been touring in the US every year recounting what happened with him. But I quite sure that F1 should have been in charge of promoting its history – as the Netflix series seemed to be a example.
    I have the impression that F1 branding was relegated to each individual broadcaster in its particular territory. Each country hailed its heros but there were not a cohesive narrative for F1 history – one especifically pushed by F1/FIA.

    1. Bernie never cared for Marketing, it was the role of teams and promoters to him which is why there’s no central historical narratives like what you see in the NFL etc.

  4. Re:COTD To be fair you should take largest point swing proportionally to the maximum possible remaining points. There is still 468 points available, and 31 point is about the same as 25 points out of 400 maximum available points after Spain in 2018. But personally I can’t see it happening this year either though.

    1. Good point!

    2. Exactly the point I was going to make. Plus the key to a large swing is if Ferrari can deliver some 1-2 results with Vettel leading. Kimi sadly wasn’t always in the right place last year to help hit home a Vettel win even more so by taking more points off Hamilton. Leclerc looks more like he will, especially if Ferrari keep shoving him aside for Vettel to pass him.

    3. @Tim @tonyyeb – Fair point, and that can certainly be included in one’s analysis. I wasn’t looking at proportion, rather total swings. If Vettel had been down in the first race by 25 (say he DNFd and Hamilton won) and been up by 100 in the last race, I would have said that he made a 125 point swing.

      Why I feel comfortable with what I said was that the 25 point swings he managed were the absolute largest, no matter what time frame, over the course of the entire season. But we’ll see how it goes this season. Hope i’m wrong.

  5. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    16th April 2019, 2:03

    F A R acing T eam

    Fernando’s having a laugh isn’t he?

    1. @jackisthestig – LOL :). The power of…

      It is often said that before embarking on a multi-million dollar branding campaign (e.g. 2012 Olympics), the material should be reviewed by a group of teenaged boys.

    2. My hats off to him though, that sort of platform for young latent to rise is very hard to come by.

      It is still Fernando Alonso, so of course is initials would be on the teams name, plus that paintjob is horrible, but as they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

  6. Over the past years following other cars became “a little worse” each year. So a little better is an improvement.

  7. Question for Ross Brawn. What values do you consider to be at stake here? Is this F1’s pre-2011 values or is DRS an integral part of F1’s DNA now? On another note I sometimes wonder where we would be if Ari Vatanen had became FIA president after Max Mosley. We could of course have been worse off, because F1 has a diverse power structure which can easily spiral out of control at any moment, but it would be an interesting parallel universe to observe. My point isn’t really that Vatanen would have made a better president, it’s more that around that era was perhaps a sliding doors moment where there was an opportunity to go in a more pure direction with the sport but instead we went in the direction of a more expensive, more exclusive show. I already know the responses Ecclestone, FOM, CVC, FIA… I know that the power structure is complicated and that more than one person is responsible for this.

  8. So is JEV basically saying that he thinks the full course yellow starts once the race directory says the words “Full course yellow in….”? Because if he is, what is the point of the count down that follows?!

  9. Re-Cotd.
    Plenty of time (and points) for Ferrari to come back, but I don’t think that they will unless they alter their mindset about having a number one and a number two driver.
    Also it seems to me that they need to hire a new race strategist. I don’t know who is doing it now but Mercedes must love him.

    1. All strategies look bad when your car isn’t fast enough.

  10. I thoroughly agree with both the BBC and the Telegraph-articles. Ferrari with this approach is just making it harder for themselves to take points away from Mercedes.

    Regarding the COTD: Yes, that could very well be it although still many races left and many points available but at this rate, it’s just going to become harder and harder to overhaul the points deficit.

    1. @jerejj – Agreed. Plenty of time and past does not dictate the present/future actions. Just found the juxtaposition interesting and troubling for anyone that isn’t Hamilton.

  11. @keithcollantine – Thanks for COTD. Glad that some of my stats-based musings aren’t completely unlovable. :)

Comments are closed.