Esteban Ocon, Renault, Algarve, 2020

Ocon: Russell deserves to keep his seat but F1 “can be cruel”

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon says George Russell deserves to keep his seat in Formula 1, amid speculation he might lose his drive.

What they say

Ocon likened Russell’s situation to when he lost his drive at the end of 2018:

It is definitely a difficult thing. I’m not really aware of what’s happening, but I really hope George can stay in Formula 1.

Performance wise. He’s doing an excellent job in that Williams. He’s doing the best he can and there’s nothing to say bad about him, about what he’s doing.

So it would be not justified for him to not be on the grid next year. But that’s how Formula 1 is. It can be cruel sometimes. And I’ve paid that price at the end of 2018 for 2019. I hope this won’t be the case for him.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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IndyCar title contenders to start mid-pack at season finale

Josef Newgarden, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2020
Josef Newgarden, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2020

Will Power will start the IndyCar season finale from pole position alongside Alexander Rossi. Championship leader Scott Dixon will start from the middle of the 24-car grid in 11th place, three places behind title rival and reigning champion Josef Newgarden (pictured).

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Comment of the day

Does Lewis Hamilton really try to hide his pace in practice?

I wouldn’t imagine he goes slower in practice as a means to deliberately hide his pace… but I could believe that he drives a practice session like a practice session, and a qualifying session like a qualifying session.

Could just be that Bottas pushes harder in practice than Hamilton does, so he has less to gain when he steps up to maximum effort in qualifying.

That would be my best guess, anyway… given each driver approaches things in his own way, and has his own idea of when to push, and how hard. If we were to go down the pit lane and find a way to measure the amount of effort drivers put into extracting maximum pace during practice sessions, we’d probably get 20 different results.
Neil (@neilosjames)

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On this day in F1

  • 50 years ago today Jacky Ickx won the Mexican Grand Prix, despite considerable danger caused by fans sitting at the side of the track. Three-times champion Jack Brabham bowed out of F1.

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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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40 comments on “Ocon: Russell deserves to keep his seat but F1 “can be cruel””

  1. It would be harsh to sideline Russell but F1 is a business first and the owners of Williams do not have the deep pockets of Merc,Renault or Ferrari to keep a young driver on the books just for their talent. Someone like Perez is an experienced reliable and fast driver who will also bring in a very large amount of cash.

    1. I think its more that if they pick up Perez they know he will stick around while Russell they will probably only get to keep for 1 more year. Williams has a right to demand drivers who are committed to their team/development program rather then drivers treating them as a stopgap until a better seat comes along. Personally I think keeping Russell would yield better results next season but Perez is a better long term move.

      1. I’m not sure why people seem to believe Mercedes will promote Russell for 2022. As they have proved, they are more than satisfied with the Hamilton-Bottas partnership, and Russell still hasn’t proved himself up against a top driver in F1. People were calling for Ocon to replace Bottas after he beat Perez 17-4 in qualifying, and now he is 11-1 against Ricciardo and nobody particularly rates him as a top driver anymore. And if it’s as a replacement for Hamilton, I’m not sure Mercedes would be brimming with confidence at a Russell-Bottas lineup to beat Verstappen and Red Bull, especially from 2022.

        1. @mashiat They will need something after Hamilton leaves. Russel could potentially be the best driver of the field after Hamilton (consistent, fast and a good motivator). Having Russell drive alongside Hamilton and pick up some tricks would certainly help check the benchmark and improve Russell even further.

  2. That fan video. It’s been a while since I went to a race but it reminded me the tv broadcast camera work completely destroys the sense of speed and the violence of the braking of the cars. I think it’s one reason people find the races boring. Skillled camera work makes it look easy.

    1. Absolutely, @dmw. If only the broadcast could (re)capture just how quick and amazing F1 cars are.

    2. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      25th October 2020, 3:39

      @dmw which reminds me, there was a video from Brazil 2016 which was shot by a fan from a gap between the fences on the main straight. It was posted on this site in the round-up (back when it was f1fanatic). That video is the closest I’ve come to seeing the real speed of an F1 car, in the wet at that! It made me respect the drivers even more for piloting these beasts at such unfathomable speeds.

    3. the audio too on TV is absolutely awful, the cars sound so much richer and more interesting in person. it always frustrates me that cheap camera phones seem to capture more of the intricate complexity and violence of the engines than we get on TV, which just sounds like a monotone whine.

    4. @dmw true, it’s fine that they aim to show the cars clearly for most of the time, but now and then a shot showing the cars blast by from a short distance would help a lot.

      Clips showing F1 cars going up Eau Rouge are always amazing.

    5. @dmw YES YES YES. the tv director thinks otherwise, he is very wrong. tell the camera guys to calm down.

  3. Uh oh Verstappen said a bad word, looks like he’s #cancelled!

    1. You can join me! I’m a Verstappen traitor since Baku 2018 and I never regretted a single betrayal.

    2. Im fed up about hearing these guys says the f word because they lack vocabulary. This time Verstappen crossed the line, and F1 is to be complice if don’t do nothing.
      RaceAsOne one another.

      1. Same. Sick of drivers swearing, sick of it all.

    3. We are all victim of Keiths fourth mentioning of this topic, all in pursuit of clicks.. worrying stuff for a site that gives the impression to love racing

      1. @Mayrton Keith has bills to pay and a wage to earn, but still gives you his content for free. Given that you most likely don’t contribute in any monetary sense to this page, I don’t see how you have any right to complain.

      2. Maybe it is because everyone does as if nothing happened. Remember Kyle Larson… I think when the world will know about this, they will slam the sport, our sport, the one of Max, Keith, me and all of you.

    4. It’s not about Max saying a bad word. It’s about him being overtly offensive in the face of the We Race As One initiative, and being completely in repentant about it.

      You know as well as I do that if Lewis had done that (and believe me, I’m no fan of his) it would have exploded.

      Mac has demonstrated his childish petulance once again. It’s a pity that your partisanship doesn’t allow you to see that.

      1. That should say “completely unrepentant”.

    5. It’s not just that, but it’s the utter disdain he shows for his colleagues. The lack of vocabulary just shows he’s immature as well as arrogant.

      The road rage that he just plants his car on the inside of the corner forcing Stroll to brake heavily and let him past or crash. Risking peoples lives in free practice!!! Staggering.

      1. Well said.

  4. Russell deserves to be in F1 moreso than Ocon. Rusell is demolishing his teammate while Ocon is being demolished by his teammate. Renault or Redbull should sign Russell for 2021.

    1. What happened to the rumours of Gasly replacing Ocon next year?

      1. @emcm5517 They’re still out, I guess.

    2. Somehow, I don’t think Latifi is anywhere near the same level as Ricciardo…

  5. Words are only words – they don’t physically harm, not to mention, kill anyone, so point in making a fuss if someone uses choice words. It’s something everyone does, after all.

    Somewhat unfair indeed as the line into T14 got inadvertently compromised.

    Also, on this day in F1: Lewis Hamilton clinched his 3rd WDC at COTA in the 2015 US GP.

    1. @jerejj are you only defending this because it happened to be Max Verstappen who said this, and therefore you think it is more important to put your loyalty to him first? Do you think it is acceptable to use terms that are both derogatory towards those with Down’s syndrome and also has racist connotations?

      As others have asked before, if you had somebody close to you who did have Down’s syndrome, would you tell others that it was perfectly fine to abuse them in that manner because “it doesn’t physically harm them”?

      1. Please stop being a victim of the media. You are being fed

        1. Mayrton, it would appear that you are resentful of the fact that you are now no longer able to freely abuse others without people criticising you for it.

          No, I am not “a victim of the media” – if anybody is a “victim of the media”, it is an individual like you who, bitter at his own failings, feeling insecure and resentful and wanting to lash out at others, has internalised a sense of victimhood in wanting to blame and abuse others and swallowed up the propaganda that tells you “no, it’s all OK, it’s not your fault – it’s the fault of this group that we can blame instead”.

          It is easier for you to attack others than to challenge your own prejudices and to have to admit fault in yourself, because you are more scared of the latter option than the former?

      2. 1. Does Stroll have the Down Syndrom? Obviously not. So, I don’t see why it should hurt him.
        Swearing is a healthy way of exteriorating frustration. There’s no harm there. It just says that he thinks he’s stupid in a more colorful (and yes, derogatory) language. But so what?
        Also, people offended by such small stuff are annoying. Don’t you ever swear in your life?
        Plus, and it’s my second point,

        2. Were do you draw the line?
        Soon, you won’t be able to say to/of someone: “Are you/Is he blind?” or “Are you/Is he deaf?”
        Yes, think about those poor people suffering from blindness and deafness.
        Same with “stupid” etc… We must be considerate to people with low IQ out there.
        See how it becomes completely ridiculous real quick?

    2. This is the second time you’ve said that. Hurting isn’t only about the physical it’s also about the mental, words can fuel wars and cause suicides, words can fuel violence and aggresive attitudes. So yes words can physically harm.

    3. @jerejj It’s not just words. He purposely goes looking for this crash with Stroll. He knows Stroll is not letting up on the straight (DRS open and at full acceleration). He knows that Stroll is ahead. Yet he still goes for the corner. Pushing for that crash because his arrogance makes him decide in his head that Stroll should back down.

    4. @jerejj Words are not only words.

      People get their entire futures decided based on what it is believed possible for people with a certain intellectual capacity to do. Legitimising discrimination based on perceived intellectual capability reduces the options people below a certain apparent threshold get. Given that this includes things like mainstream vs special school (with the lack of access to educational opportunities that the “special school” provides, and the special-school-to-restrictive-residential-environment pipeline that exists for those inappropriately placed there), being allowed to live independently vs restrictive sectioning-based residential settings and working vs being on benefits vs forcibly dependent on others’ charity… …slurs like Max used are Serious Business.

      People do get harmed by the judgements created by social permissiveness of the words Max used in that radio call. The majority of people do not use such language, and in fact OFCOM criticised Big Brother’s Big Mouth a decade ago for using that specific insult (after the watershed, so after standard swears are allowed) without apology, as it “breached generally accepted standards”. This was despite the program in question being live. The only reason the broadcaster (Channel 4) was not fined was because it proactively took mitigation steps to prevent the recurrence of such an incident… …something F1 has failed to do.

      This is the sort of thing that, if continued, can lead broadcasters to be obliged to remove material including driver radio from broadcasts (in case of breach). That requires action from F1, if Max will not do it himself.

  6. If Russell lost his seat I’d be disappointed but I would have to assume that Merc would have to promise Russell a seat in 2022, Hamilton will not keep driving forever and personally judging by his “I don’t want to commit to 3 year deal” comment I can see him bowing out end of 2022 2023 by which point he’ll be 38. They have already lost Ocon and although I think they’ll poach Verstappen they will still have the other seat to think of.

  7. Well if George is that good some team will take him.

    There are a lot of really good drivers outside f1.

    A fair warning to all drivers entering F1 with Williams,.. It is a dead end.

    Is he better than Bottas? Why wont Mercedes take him? Decissions do not lie. Talk is cheap 20 million reasons speak well for pay drivers.

    1. @jureo I think things went a bit pear shaped last year when Williams used their option to take Russell for 2021. That put Merc in a situation where they had to take Bottas for another year. Then of course Williams lost the major sponsor and it all fell over.

    2. The problem is that it never had a proper teammate to evaluate him against. So, as much as we can see that he’s quick, we don’t know HOW quick. Most of the big teams won’t take that risk/gamble anymore. Behind Mercedes constructor championship points are more and more fought for.

      The only ones that could are RBR and AT but they have their hand full with their young drivers program and RBR will most likely choose a more experienced driver next year (HUL, I guess).

      I would like to see Russel in an Alpha Tauri, first (before a bigger team) but I don’t see how that could happen, unfortunately.
      Or in a Renault? But why would they replace Ocon with Russel? With Gasly, I see the marketing appeal and he has experience driving up front of the grid… not (with) Russel.

      And the smaller teams need money. So, tough situation for Russel.

    3. @jureo The point is he was already taken, so he can’t go anywhere anymore.

      Mercedes and Williams clearly said that Russell has a 3 year contract and that’s why he’s still there. While Bottas got only a one year extension.

  8. George is an exceptional talent, I really like him. He fully deserves the seat in a solid midfield team and if it wasn’t for Ricciardo, I’d love to see him at McLaren. Unfortunately, there’s one factor that plays against him, he tends to lose places at the start and his race pace isn’t always that consistent. Huge shame that he lost the 9th at Mugello. There might be a tiny chance he’ll be interesting for Red Bull (and that would actually be a great asset for the team’s future), but if it doesn’t materialize, he’ll probably have to wait on the sidelines. Which is hard in modern F1, just look at Ocon.

  9. About COTD, I think both Hamilton and Bottas give it all at all times (specially because ultimate speed is found by finding the most minute limits and, for that, you have the test those limits as frequently as possible). I suspect that Bottas simply adapts to the circumstances more quickly (which may be related to why he’s such a decent rally driver) but plateaus sooner, while Hamilton develops slower but takes is further. Just a theory.

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