Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020

The F1 title battle is as good as over. Enjoy these five fights instead

2020 F1 season

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It’s going to take some kind of major shock for anything to stop Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes extending their championship runs this year.

But there are still plenty of fights to be settled further down the points table. From constructors’ championship contests with tens of millions of dollars at stake, to the surprisingly close fight for second among the drivers, there’s still lots to go racing for.

The race for runner-up

Hamilton might have a substantial lead at the very front of the drivers’ championship but things are much tighter for second place.

Valtteri Bottas is on 161 points, with one retirement (last weekend at the Nurburgring, due to a hybrid system failure) while Max Verstappen has 147, with three retirements. Bottas also failed to score due to a late puncture in the British Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s consistency at taking the second or third spot on the podium when he finishes has been flawless. He has yet to pass the chequered flag this season outside the top three, which is partly why he’s been able to keep his Red Bull within striking distance of a Mercedes.

If Verstappen’s reliability improves, he’s more than within DRS range of splitting the Mercedes pair when the season ends in Abu Dhabi in mid-December.

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Six points cover three teams

Lando Norris, McLaren, Nurburgring, 2020
McLaren have lost their grip on third place
McLaren, Renault and Racing Point are all within six points of each other in the battle for third place, and any one of the three could conceivably come out on top.

McLaren held an early lead but have had retirements in each of the past three races. That has allowed Racing Point to slip four points ahead of them.

Renault also have four non-finishes but have made a clear step with their RS20 in recent races, which has delivered significant improvements in qualifying and race pace. They are now just two points behind McLaren.

With such fine margins between them, and each team having proven they can take a podium when the opportunity arises, this will be the fight to watch on the third and fourth rows of the grid.

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Midfield bragging rights

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Nurburgring, 2020
Ricciardo’s podium propelled him to ‘best of the rest’
While Mercedes and Red Bull have the top spots on the grid sewn up, who’s going to emerge in front among the drivers not in their cars? Just 15 points – one third-place finish – separate Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc.

There’s another driver in that mix as well: Alexander Albon. With a Red Bull underneath him, he shouldn’t be part of this group, and will be desperately keen to rediscover his late-2019 form and pull into a clear fourth place.

His plans for next year are yet to be confirmed and the same goes for another driver in this fight. It’s particularly impressive for Perez to be in fifth, given he was forced to sit out both Silverstone rounds after a positive test for Covid-19.

Ricciardo’s long-awaited first podium for Renault capped a superbly consistent run, finishing inside the top six at every race since Belgium, and vaulting him from sixth to fourth in the points. The fact Renault lie fifth in the standings underline the quality of the job he has done.

Norris had a good start to the season but has struggled to continue placing highly, while Charles Leclerc’s fortunes are bound to Ferrari’s.

The Italian division

Gasly and Leclerc have shone for their teams
If you’d told Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost, during the first half of the 2019 season, that the next year his team would be locked in a battle with Ferrari for ‘top Italian team’ honours, you’d have been not unfairly dismissed with an Austrian chuckle.

But it’s 2020 and the showdown between Ferrari and the team now known as AlphaTauri is very much on. Ferrari have a 13-point lead but have been out-scored by Red Bull’s little sister in four of the last five races.

Both squads have one driver overwhelmingly delivering – Leclerc (63 points) for Ferrari and Gasly (53) for AlphaTauri. Their team mates Vettel and Kvyat have respectively delivered just 17 and 14 points. If either manages to consistently place both drivers during the remaining six races – or pull out more miraculous podium finishes – then they’ll easily take the sixth-place spot.

It’s bad enough for Ferrari that finishing in the top half of the championship seems an increasingly remote possibility, but the prospect of them losing to the team formerly known as Minardi is an astonishing measure of the leap backwards they have taken this year.

Pointless driving

George Russell, Williams, Nurburgring, 2020
Only the Williams pair are yet to score points
There are three backmarker teams this year, making the fight to get out of Q1 genuinely exciting. George Russell has consistently proved he can do it for Williams but been unable to take advantage of midfield retirements to cross the line on a Sunday in a points-paying position.

Kimi Raikkonen has often been the quicker of the two Alfa Romeo drivers but as of last weekend his team mate Antonio Giovinazzi holds the dubious title of the rear of the grid’s most valuable driver, on three points.

But with none of the teams likely to score a double points finish without chaos ahead of them, the fight for least-worst team this year could well be settled by what happens among the midfield teams and who is best placed to take advantage.

Over to you

Which is the most intriguing championship contest in F1 this year? Who do you think will come out on top of these battles?

Plus, which other motorsport series have more exciting title contests? Have your say in the comments.

2020 F1 season

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 90 comments on “The F1 title battle is as good as over. Enjoy these five fights instead”

    1. Oh, there was a title battle this year?

      1. Or a constructor title either.

        1. Ive been watching Verstappen. How has he managed to keep hold of at least 3rd place, with all those behind him all over his exhaust pipe. Have you ever seen such a season long defence.

          1. Really? I’ve seen him finishing in no man’s land most races. 10 secs behind, 10 secs ahead…

            1. JustSomeone, I guess you’ve missed the inside joke that Oconomo/David Bondo will usually be on these boards claiming that the Red Bull is apparently a terribly slow car and that it is because Verstappen is a miracle worker that he’s able to compete for those positions.

              To him, the idea that Red Bull could have actually produced a car that might actually be the second fastest car on the grid seems to be an anathematic, if not outright heretical, concept – to most other posters, that sort of hysterical hyperbole has become a source of amusement in parodying it.

          2. Shush, that’s off-narrative! It’s true though, Verstappen hasn’t had to fight for 3rd and hasn’t really fought hard for 2nd. That may indeed be because he’s driven the RBR to the maximum and there isn’t really enough to challenge the Mercedes properly. Or he may be just a little bit too content with knocking out 3rd places and picking up more when the cars ahead have issues. I’m tending to the first option out of generosity and because I think he really is a fighter. But it reminds me, sometimes, of those seasons when Vettel was ahead and Alonso trailing in second in an ‘inferior’ car without ever looking like he was desperate to get a win any more. Resigned I guess.

            1. I don’t know what’s more frustrating, watching a talent like Ham with little or no competition or watching a talent like Max with no competition and just cruising if the Mercs are out of sight.
              Although I can watch them all day during the practice sessions. Both masters of their craft.

            2. At the same time (not here to desperately steer the narrative, but adding to your observation :) ) I think that Verstappen has become a more well rounded driver. He seems to make wiser risk-reward choices and doesn’t seem to be as frustrated over things he can’t control.

            3. @iandearing I agree, this year has been frustratingly out of range for Max. In some ways it’s a sign of him maturing that he doesn’t attempt the impossible.

            4. Ruben, totally concur, I didn’t see your post before I posted the above.

            5. What is Verstappen to do?
              He drives a car that is unbalanced,
              He can’t push the tires because they will go to muck within laps,
              can’t push the engine anymore coz it needs to last 7 races and the drivetrain is already pushed to the limit seeing his great starts,
              He can’t push Lewis into mistakes or stressing the car coz he is way too far ahead,
              He doesn’t have a teammate that’s fast enough to play the strategic game.

              What do you want him to do, apart from pull a rabbit out of his hat that gives him a silver bullet and a golden egg laying goose?

            6. Verstappen is a fighter, david, I’d go with your former option, there’s not enough to really challenge the mercedes, but I’m sure he’ll give it a shot to beat bottas if it’s at all possible.

            7. Ahah, ops, didn’t read the 2nd part of the comment, I see you think the same.

            8. @esploratore and SadF1fan
              Like we’re agreeing, Verstappen can’t do much about the difference. I think in the past he’d have tried more of a lunge at the start, or pushed too hard during the race, but his development as a driver (and I think he’s learned a lot watching Hamilton a few dozen yards up the road) means he doesn’t try the impossible – much as some fans watching would probably like to see the attempt. Personally, I do think Verstappen would be insanely good now in a top car. Speed and talent he already had in abundance, plus that necessary edge of bravado and risk-taking. Let’s hope we don’t see that potential wasted.

        2. Blame Redbull for not building a competitive car despite a very powerful Honda engine. And where are you ferrari.

          Lol. Glad to be a Merc/Lewis fan and enjoy the pain you lot going through 😃😃😃😃

      2. “Last year Mercedes was dominant. But this year, this year it’s definitely gonna be closer”
        – each F1 pundit ahead of every season since 2015.

        Looking forward to next year’s season preview.

        1. Bang on! Please wake me up when there’s an actual multi team title fight! We have high hopes for 2022.

          1. 2017 and 2018. What is wrong, I mean do people not remember even 2 years ago anymore?

            1. Yes, those were interesting years, especially 2018, both red bull and ferrari won before mercedes!

              If only ferrari had 2 capable drivers.

            2. Well, according to my recent opinion of vettel (post germany 2018 really) they didn’t even have a capable driver in 2018, not for a top team’s car ofc.

            3. @john-h: yes people remember that Ferrari was running an illegal car by cheating with the engine.
              It was all an illusion…

            4. I know it was an illegal fight, but Jasper didn’t need waking up did he?

          2. Merc is already miles ahead there. And Ferrari is getting there as you can see they have ditched 2020 and 2021 seasons.

            Redbull will be harmessing Max’s and horner’s huge mouths and ego and self entitlementNess to build a bicyle engine that will power Redbull out of the F1.

    2. the constructors battle for 3rd place is by far the biggest fight for the rest of the season. Taking into account the money involved!
      Battle for 2nd in the drivers? Who cares. It’s just a bit of pride.

    3. Which is the most intriguing championship contest in F1 this year? – P3-P5 in the WCC
      Who do you think will come out on top of these battles? – RP with Renault 4th and Mclaren 5th.

      1. Also think renault, it’s also interesting verstappen vs bottas (better driver vs better car) and ricciardo vs the others, I think bottas and ricciardo will come ahead, ricciardo is driving really well coupled with renault being probably the best midfield car lately, and for ricciardo it’s mathematically impossible to do more than 4th since mercedes and red bull driven by a capable driver are far out of reach.

      2. Most intriguing is FIA vs Lewis, they managed to steal two wins, but the champion outclassed them in 7 other events.

    4. As a Max fan of course I am most interested in seeing if he can end up 2nd in the WDC. Even if he doesn’t he will be very close to doing so, and I think that is an incredible feat against the might of Mercedes. What a great team RBR is, to be as close as they are without having the full factory works setting that Mercedes and Ferrari enjoy. Even if one were to consider the RBR/Honda pairing as full factory, it has been a short relationship, so no wonder Mercedes were never going to supply them with power units, such is their ability to make hay such as they do even in a hybrid formula that requires one to be a factory team for titles success. And thank goodness. Better to have one team or driver at least nipping at Mercedes’ heals than having Merc and then everyone else fighting in the mid-field way way back.

      1. As a Max fan

        You don’t even need to be a Max fan to admire what is doing this year, @robbie. Had he won the races in which he DNF’ed he would have lead the driver’s championship. None of the other trailing drivers can say that.

        Of course Lewis can up him one by offering Max to deduct any three of Lewis’ weekends this year and he would still be leading Max.
        And they’ll order another beer, and share stories about fighting sharks.

        1. I don’t think he would be leading the title if you removed the DNFs simply cause I don’t think he’d have won those races, maybe the first where he retired.

          Not that we can expect that much with that car, imo having hamilton with an uncatchable car till he retires and never ever having a fight for title against verstappen or leclerc is such a waste, it’s like if ferrari had remained dominant in 2005 and 2006, and then schumacher retired: no alonso title battle.

          1. So you see a pattern, stop complaining. There’s always someone is dominating.

            1. Even Ham agrees. Winning in a superior car is not much fun.
              It’s routine.
              His only challenge is keeping focus.

      2. With their past success and budget I find the ‘great for a non-factory team’ a bit of a faint praise @robbied90

        When at the track they are indeed great, inventive persistent and great to have in the sport, as we know they and Verstappen will tend to take any chance offered, even if they have to stretch it to fit.

        So it is a pity they haven’t been able to take that good season start for so long, with always these aero issues to fix before coming good around the halfway point and a sprint at the end to promises of a better next season, or Verstappen could have had that head start he no doubt would stretch a long way, perhaps even to the end of the season.

          1. @bosyber Yeah true it is a pity, but I think moreso just how it worked out with the hybrid era requirements and with the underperforming customer Renault pu and then the short tenure with Honda. Had they been able to nail it from the start, and hey perhaps that might happen next year given the circumstances of the 2021 B cars, perhaps they might pull off a miracle, for that seems to be what it would take to topple Mercedes in this chapter. If they can get closer next year, taking Mercedes own advancements into consideration, the Max factor might just be enough. Seems like a tall order though. The 2022 reset is going to be fascinating and the Max factor accented. Unfortunately it will also likely be back to year one again for RBR with Renault vs Merc, Ferrari, and Renault all in-house with their projects and their pu’s from the start of the hybrids use. Thank goodness the cars will be able to race closely and RBR and Max are so good.

      3. @robbie

        I’d replace ‘Mercedes’ with ‘Valtteri’ in your write up. Red bull/Max is not even close to Mercedes/Hamilton this season. Not in quali, race or reliability, except the 70th anni grand prix. Max is a beast but he is not doing anything out of the ordinary except showing that Valtteri is, at best, an average driver. I’d be disappointed if Max did not place 3rd in all races or second when Valtteri drops the ball.

        Using your logic, we should heap the same amount of praises, if not more upon Renault/Ric, Perez/RP and Norris/McLaren for beating Red bull.

        That Red bull is much much quicker than the rest of the field, just not as quick as the Mercedes. Valtteri and Albon just shows why you need 2 solid drivers in a team.

        1. @lums Yeah fair comment. But while true that Max ‘should be’ second or third every weekend it is because of RBR’s great work without the same pu situation as Merc and Ferrari that he is there, which is why I praise them as part of the discussion of VB vs MV, MV being a component on the team who has helped progress the car.

          VB has the experience and the car such that yeah he is showing himself to be lesser when he should be a solid second, pushing LH, with Max not near. But AA is still relatively inexperienced. DR, SP, and LN may be beating AA on any given day, but they’re not beating MV and VB.

          While your last sentence is true the reality is DR left RBR who tried hard to keep him, and they haven’t had as solid a driver to fall back on, and Mercedes is just happy to not see LH challenged.

        2. I think VB is taking the wrong approach. If he learned to be a solid second every race without fault I feel he would learn so much. He could follow Lewis closer and closer and then next season try to make the step to beat him. The failiure this weekend wasn’t his fault – but out braking himself was and potentially giving Lewis win and maybe even Max a shot at second….though as always he was there to do so on VB’s retirement.
          The most interesting battle is of course all those behind Max (I would say Redbull but the second one is only Midfield…) Qualifying really has been good this year with many surprises and the best time to excited over the Mercedes – I really it is not replaced by a sprint race of dome kind…

        3. @lums Bottas is actually a great driver in his own right. Hamilton is just a whole level up from that.

          It’s like Mika Hakkinen being blown away by Senna and then heralded as a great champion. Or Hill, blown away by Prost and even more so by Senna and then … etc etc

          Had Bottas or (Rosberg for that matter) had a team mate like Vettel at Mercedes then he’d be winning championships and seen as a great champion.

      4. The thibg is with the same two guys fighting for second and third it’s just 3 points in between them each race. Consistently beating the other guy doesn’t get the lead guy that far ahead and a technical issue or small mistake can set them waaay back.

      5. God all the people hyping max up this year were the same people hyping up vettel in 2015. Max has nobody to fight he is driving a much faster car then the 3rd fastest team and his teammate is incapable of putting up a fight. If anything vettel had it harder since in 2015 the gap to merc was a lot bigger. Red bull aren’t ever more then half a sec slower then merc. A bad race for max is 3rd

        1. The difference is: vettel had a car able to win titles in 7 seasons: 2009-2013 and 2017-2018, he won 4; verstappen never had a car able to win titles, so before saying he’s like vettel wait to see him with a title contender!

        2. @ Carlos
          I wonder what you expect from a car being indeed that 0.5 slower… a good race for Max is 3rd, a bad race for Max is 3rd…. out of 8 finishes he only finished 3rd twice… meaning he finished higher than the 0.5 sec slower car was realistically capable of six times.

          Bottas does have a car to finish 1st each race… out of 10 race he maximized the potential twice
          Lewis does driver that same car, out of 11 finishes he maximized the potential 7 out of 11

          Something is telling Max is doing a much better job than Bottas and Hamilton, he never finished lower than the car’s true potential 9 out 9 while he finished higher than expected 6 times.

          As Lewis said after the last race “this young guy next to me is so talented, so fast, so consistent and their car is getting better and better, I expect it will be this close from now on, it will between the two of us”

          1. Don’t forget, FIA stole 2 race wins from Lewis. So that makes 9/11 Lewis got the car to it’s full potential.

            Redbull is just a sugar horrible drink company, their has no soul just like their horrible drink. Why are even talking about someone who can’t build the most important part of the car. Lol.

            1. “stole”?

    5. Some of those “battles” will be ended pretty soon.
      RP lost 15 points in the constructor championship. Still ahead and more to come.
      The 2019 merc is a strong contender especially when they figure out the development path.
      Perez, even with less races will increase the gap further.

      1. Stroll had 4 DNF’s and none of those were his fault. Perez had only 2 DNS and getting Corona was his own fault according to the pictures of him with other people.

        1. As reported on this site, RP have said Perez contracted the virus from a personal chef he hired on returning to Europe so that he wouldn’t have to go out to eat.

          1. Possibly damage control and they wouldn’t have any way to know if he got it off that cook anyway.

          2. @bookgrub Agree with Broccoliface. Either way, he took other people in his bubble with that too. There is a reason why he tried to hide those photo’s. It’s a sign of someone ignoring the rules. Finding a scapegoat for he indiscretions doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

            1. Always nice to read the sensation articles about drivers I guess.
              But that was not what I said.
              I look at the points scored and even with less races Perez is doing great.

    6. No wonder no one’s watching. There’s more interest in Cyril’s tattoo than any of this.

      1. @asherway Reminded me of the BBC F1 podcast and Palmer (I think?) responding that, actually, he really doesn’t care in the least about the tattoo story! I mean, it’s not really anything, is it? Man has tattoo. Or not.

        1. Palmer (I think?) responding that, actually, he really doesn’t care in the least about the tattoo story!

          My sentiments entirely.

          1. As a Ferrari fan I have to admit that my interest in the tatoo and in whoever wins the Italien division is pretty much equal:
            Close to zero…
            The other battles also don’t really set the world alight so instead of focusing on the championship I will take it day by day and hope for some interesting races with some good racing.

      2. Maybe they would be interested if the commentators didnt think their childish jokes, eating escapades and continual nonsense was more interesting than whats on track. Not that croft has any idea of whats going on in a practice session or race anyway. Breath of fresh air when Karun of Nico are in the chair.

        1. Yep. The same happens in Brazil, the main channel coverage has a ‘personality’ presenter who is unbearable. They also have a dedicated channel where the pundits are actually informed (amazing notion) and don’t get overexcited over nonsense. Though I still prefer UK coverage because it’s more extended, indepth and has much better track access. And a lot of former drivers providing input. I don’t see the need for a ‘Crofty’ figure. BBC Match of the Day works brilliantly with one of England’s best ever forwards as the presenter. Pick an actual racer as the lead presenter, it would be far better.

        2. If you’re watching through F1TV pro, give the pitlane channel a try. They seem to focus much more on the actual racing, and two small screens extra makes it possible for them to follow multiple events at the same time… And the same event from multiple angles.

          Oh, and they’re not as bad at yapping over the radio messages.

          (I actually believe it’s also on Sky Sports F1 subscription, but I live in Denmark, so I don’t really know)

    7. From the headline I was expecting title battles from other series. On that note, MotoGP’s title fight is going down as one of the greatest in the history of any motorsport ever seen.

      1. So you suggesting a little accident to Ham may improve things? lol

    8. It’s a tad early though with all the corona cases going around.

    9. losing to the team formerly known as Minardi is an astonishing measure of the leap backwards they have taken this year

      That one hitted me..

      1. Yes, that’s humiliating and tbh another thing like that was earlier in the article when they said they lost 4 times to red bull…. B team! It’s ok for ferrari to lose races to red bull, a strong rival like in 2018 and so on, but not the sister team!

      2. @qeki That’s just as useless as saying that they are destroying the team that won world championships with even a baboon like Mansell due to cars that were 3 seconds a lap faster than all other cars.

        1. Funny… Calling Mansell a baboon as he was known as one of the fastest drivers of his era. Maybe not on Prost or Senna – level, but probably right below that up until Schumacher arrived. Calling a driver who has 30+ wins, poles and fastest laps, won with 2 different teams over 10 seasons, and a world champion a baboon… It says a lot about your personal dislike for some drivers, which we can also notice in a lot of your posts.

    10. It’s annoying how Sky likes to pretend otherwise week in and week out. Even saying Bottas needs a miracle to win the title now is disingenuous hype. Bottas needs a miracle just to score more points than Lewis in the next five races alone.

      1. Indeed, at this point he needs an injury or worse, missing a race or 2 with coronavirus will still see hamilton win the title.

        1. Careful.

          Don’t wish bad luck upon others. Especially they work at top level to show how to dominate.

          1. Don’t wish bad luck upon others.

            You want a monopoly on that it seems :(

    11. …and even then some will defend the current engine formula. Mostly Mercedes fans, of course, and also those who believe some fairytales about technical excellence. Sorry, lads, it’s just tons of money that were pumped into the Mercedes F1 programme even before the 2014 had started. The worst thing is, this has ceased to be a sporting competition long ago, it has become a marketing platform for the manufacturers and nothing more. They’ll have to be kicked out of sport one by one, the engines will have to follow some kind of standardized formula, and only then there might be something resembling a title fight.

      1. @pironitheprovocateur and yet, are you really upset that “this has ceased to be a sporting competition long ago”, or is the real problem that your favourite team is not the one that is winning right now? The nature of a number of your posts has given the impression your problem is the latter, and that you wouldn’t be complaining in the same way if your team was the one on top.

        1. I totally agree that F1 stopped being a sport long ago – and I say that as a fan of no driver or team, but as a fan of many forms of motorsport and many series covering many different classes and categories of racing.
          I shouldn’t need to be a fan of a successful team or driver in order to enjoy that sport – but that’s pretty much where F1 is at now.

          It’s not about tech anymore either… What tech advances will there have been come 2025, when the engine regs will have been in place (and barely changed) for 11 years by that time? Other than aero (which is completely useless to the automotive industry, and everything else) there will have been no meaningful or useful developments at all in that time.

          I truly hope F1 is asking itself why manufacturers are leaving F1 but still competing in other ‘dirty’ racing series…
          Hopefully they’ll realise that a single engine ‘spec’ for a decade is of no use to any manufacturer. They want to build their own engines, using whatever tech they feel will do the job best and which appeals to their marketing aspects.

          1. S, are there really that many manufacturers “still competing in other ‘dirty’ racing series”, or similarly that many independent organisations?

            For all the comparisons made with IndyCar, that series is entering its 9th season with the same engine formula and no new manufacturers have wanted to join that series since 2012.

            The World Endurance Championship has been trying very hard to court manufacturers with the new “Hypercar” regulations, but it’s not been especially successful – they’ve only secured Peugeot, and even that doesn’t seem to have been a particularly easy sell.

            In many ways, the regulations of the “Hypercar” class were aiming to be very much what you advocate – being geared towards “using whatever tech they feel will do the job best and which appeals to their marketing aspects” – and the response from manufacturers has been to go “that’s nice – but we’re not interested”.

            1. I’ll put GT3 out there. And also Formula E to an extent.

              I’d mention Class One also (DTM/Super GT) if it weren’t for DTM not noticing that the biggest attraction of Super GT is not the GT500 car itself, but the multi-class racing and the BoP/Success Ballast inclusions in the sporting regulations. Pity that DTM decided to focus solely on the manufacturers (Audi, Mercedes and BMW) without considering that manufacturers come and go as they please anyway – which Mercedes did, and then Audi followed due to lack of competition and resulting dwindling audiences (lowering ROI).

            2. S, that doesn’t really seem to support your argument about how manufacturers will only enter F1 if the engine regulations change though.

              You cite the Class One regulations for DTM/Super GT, but that is actually all about heavy standardisation. The regulations, to quote from the JAF, specify that “The only engine permissible is a supercharged direct injection in-line four cylinder engine with the cylinder capacity less than 2,000cc and was approved by JAF.” – that change was made back in 2014 – whilst all of those cars are built around a standardised core chassis, transmission and suspension components.

              If you want to put forward the argument that manufacturer “[…] want to build their own engines, using whatever tech they feel will do the job best and which appeals to their marketing aspects.”, then how does SuperGT support that argument?

            3. Like I said – I would mention Class One, but I didn’t.
              I’ll stick with Super GT though, as the JAF GT300 class regs do allow any engine from that manufacturer (which is why the Prius’ formally ran a RV8K, and now a Lexus 5.4L V8 – both hybrid) and, along with the new JAF-spec Supra (running the same engine) and the Subaru BRZ using a WRC-based EJ20.

              Engine-wise, there are many things Class One does not prescribe, instead relying on the strict homologation process and BoP to ensure competition and performance equality. Something F1 will not do.
              Class One did not exist in 2014 either – it was introduced into DTM first in 2019, then Super GT followed in 2020, due largely to the necessary re-design of the NSX at the insistence of DTM (MR to FR). GT500 regs formed the basis of Class One, but several changes were made between the 2014 rules and the final Class One rules, eventually agreed in 2015 for a 2017 introduction. Which was then delayed at the insistence, again, of DTM.
              Honda was still running a hybrid NSX back in 2014…. But stopped in 2015.

              Whatever, GT3 is still a prime example.
              As was F1, back when much looser regulations applied. There were how many manufacturers 30 years ago?
              And how many since the engine regs changed from being a capacity limit to a full prescribed specification?
              3 – 4?
              You tell me what F1 needs to do to attract more manufacturers. Or should it stop trying to?

            4. S, you seem to be very much approaching this with the preconception that there is that pent up demand for manufacturers to enter F1, to the point where I wonder if you have asked the question of yourself at all of whether they would enter in the first place?

              You constantly hark back to 1990, but the thing is, how many of those manufacturers wanted to make a long term commitment to the sport back then even with those regulations? You might have had multiple manufacturers, but how many of those efforts were sustained for that long?

              Why do you assume that things will be the same as 30 years ago, and that those manufacturers will be so willing to enter in the first place? Have you not considered the possibility that there has been a generational shift that means that the mentality of those manufacturers has shifted in that 30 year period?

              Only last year, we had Francois Ribeiro, who is in charge of the WTCR, saying that he anticipated that the years ahead for internal combustion engined motorsport series would be “brutal”, with his attitude being that most motorsport series – from touring cars and rallying all the way up to F1 – was in for a rather sharp shock and that their choice was to either “adapt to the energy transition of the automotive industry”, or likely die out.

              You talked before about manufacturers who “want to build their own engines, using whatever tech they feel will do the job best and which appeals to their marketing aspects.” – but inherent to that is the assumption that motorsport is something that those manufacturers would want to do in the first place for marketing aspects. With the current trends in the automotive sector, is motorsport, in its current incarnation, something that those manufacturers want to do?

            5. Manufacturers don’t need to commit for decades, they just need to participate and be competitive using their own brand identity. That’s what they are marketing. And they need RoI to justify it. Running around at the middle or back of the pack does not give them what they want. That would be a poor marketing strategy.
              A single universal engine specification doesn’t give them that opportunity, unless they spend more than everyone else to have the best and most developed one.

              “With the current trends in the automotive sector, is motorsport, in its current incarnation, something that those manufacturers want to do?”
              Not in F1’s current incarnation, that’s for sure. So why not?
              There was much more manufacturer interest when the rules were more open and they were churning through more of them, now they are closed and reliability regs mandate they can only use (sell) 3 units per car per season. Not saying that is the cause, but there is definite correlation. And it can be seen in most other motorsport series globally.
              Which is why I keep mentioning GT3 – manufacturers can turn up with a product of their own design and brand identity and can be competitive on a modest budget. It’s a system that works when it is a well controlled sporting environment. Current F1 isn’t working for anybody – manufacturers aren’t interested, it’s too expensive, the racing sucks and the series is far too predictable. The rules need to change, and it’s known that the previous one worked better for more stakeholders and viewers.

            6. S, what, then, would be an acceptable length of commitment for you then? If a manufacturer joined and then left within a couple of years – which did happen quite a number of times in that early 1990s period that you keep citing – is that healthy for the sport?

              You also state “they just need to participate and be competitive using their own brand identity” – but implicit within that is the assumption of competitiveness to begin with, which is not something that they are automatically going to be. Furthermore, you keep pointing back to 1990 as proof of that, but very few of the companies which were competing in F1 had engine designs that could be considered “their own brand identity” at that time. Honda was not known for producing large displacement V10s and V12s, nor was Porsche or Yamaha either – indeed, to most Yamaha wouldn’t even be associated with cars, being primarily thought of as a motorbike manufacturer.

              Whilst you say that you’re not assuming that it is the case, the way that you keep hammering the correlation association means that you’re very much coming across as taking that correlation as evidence of that cause. Ultimately, I guess we are going to have to disagree – you seem to be approaching this topic with the attitude that you can recreate 1990 in 2020, and I am more of a position that the changes in the 30 years since then are such that you probably can’t recreate those conditions again, no matter what type of regulations you try to introduce.

            7. Why tell them how long they need to commit for? Let them decide for themselves. If some think 2 years is enough, that’s fine. Others might prefer 10 years, and that’s fine too.
              Provided they are able to achieve both marketing success off the track and competitive success on it, there’s no need for a set time limit. They are participants in a racing series – that’s all.

              Competitiveness should be a guarantee, yeah. Why do you suppose so many manufacturers build and support GT3 cars? BoP is not the devil. Certainly not for engines in what is now predominantly a chassis competition, anyway.
              I think that F1 engines (current one excepted) are very much a unique product of their manufacturer. How they met their mandated capacity limit was up to the designer, and was unique to each engine.
              Unlike now, where they all have the same V angle, bore, stroke etc because the rules stipulate them.
              Also importantly, they all produced their own signature soundtrack. Now they are all pretty much equally dull and indistinctive. You can tell which is which when they are together, but you can’t really pick them out from a sports car or prototype from another series.
              Honestly, can you tell me what it is that sets the Mercedes engine apart from the Ferrari engine, and how the Renault differs from the two of them?
              The average viewer could tell engines apart in the past – the Ferrari V12, the Renault V10, the Ford V8 – each was unique and everyone knew it. You could hear it, you could see it (we were allowed to see them back then) and you could feel it as it raced past. That one’s definitely a Renault Turbo, this one’s obviously a Judd V8, here comes a Cosworth DFR…
              Your examples include Porsche (who’ve made a wide range of racing engines at various times) and Yamaha (who basically funded development for Judd, and were seemingly primarily looking to market Japanese race engineering and drivers as much as their own brand name). They came for the marketing aspect and perhaps to improve their engine R&D more than they did to sell road cars. Presumably some of that knowledge found its way into their small engines (which F1 engines essentially were – just with more cylinders).
              Their choice why they came, the important fact is that they did come.

              I mention correlation because it is there. Perhaps it is the cause…
              F1 can’t recreate 1990 levels of manufacturer involvement with a standard generic engine – that is a guaranteed fact. They probably can’t do it with open regs either, but isn’t it actually worth trying? The current engine would still be allowed too, as would anything else that any manufacturer wishes to try out.
              I truly don’t understand why F1 would deliberately close the door on many manufacturers by specifying an engine – most obviously aren’t going to want it.

      2. @pironitheprovocateur

        it’s just tons of money that were pumped into the Mercedes F1 programme even before the 2014 had started

        Who had the best team before the new engine regulations? Yep, Mercedes. So which team was most likely to have the best again?

        Fact is they came up with a much, much better design. Other engine manufacturers went the wrong way and were too slow to turn back.

        1. @F1osaurus
          Who had the best team before the current engine regulations?
          Red Bull won their 4th consecutive championship that year (2013) winning 10 of the last 11 races of the season – including the final 9 straight.

          Are you sure it was Mercedes?

          1. Do you really have the impression facts will convince (@f1osaurus)?
            He is best in creating his own reality.

            1. Facts don’t seem to matter here

            2. erikje, no offence, but neither you nor S come across as particularly neutral of observers either…

              As to the comments made by @f1osaurus on “best engine”, it all depends on how exactly you define “best engine”. If you focus solely on peak power, which is what Horner often tended to do when complaining about Renault’s engines – something that he did fairly often during that period – then yes, the studies by the University of Cologne in 2009 did suggest that Mercedes had a slight peak power advantage over Renault (about 10-15bhp, allowing for slight uncertainty in the data).

              However, if you are looking at the attributes of the engine as a whole, the picture is more ambiguous. Renault’s engine was rated as being slightly more fuel efficient in that same study, and as also having a slightly wider usable torque curve, which pretty much negated the peak power advantage of the Mercedes engine.

              Newey has also intimated in the past that he actually thought the Renault engine was the best engine for the type of car he wanted to design. He indicated that the lower cooling demands of the Renault engine meant he could more aggressively package the car, improving airflow at the rear of the car, and the exhaust blowing techniques that Newey could exploit with the Renault engine were difficult to replicate with other engines, particularly the cold blowing aspect.

              As to the wider team itself, well, whilst you could argue about what was the “best team”, at the very least it cannot be denied that Mercedes did make a fairly significant jump in performance in 2013. Red Bull themselves were not exactly free from complaints that they won because “they just pumped tons of money into their cars”, given Red Bull were often considered to be one of the spending team in F1 in that period (often cited as second highest) – at what point success from being the “best team”, and what was the “best budget”, could be said to be somewhat blurry in that period too.

    12. I’ve been down to the bookies to put a tenner on David Croft getting through a race this season without making a really stupid error during race commentary. I expect that one to go right down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. In the extremely unlikely event Crofty comes out on top, it’ll be a nice earner just before Christmas as the odds they gave me were extremely generous.

    13. Title fight is still on. Enjoy that. Everything else is yawnnnnnnnnn….

      There is something major to look forward to, it’s Merc/Lewis vs cunning FIA. So far they managed to steal two races and failed miserably in Mugello. Let’s see what else FIA smoking in the next rounds.


    14. The battle for 16th Fulham vs Sheff Utd. Pay per view £14.95

      And its live

    15. It would be funny to imagine this situation in other world sport tournaments. Don’t bother with the world cup final, the favourites already have it in the bag. Instead enjoy Croatia vs Japan!

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