FormulaY : Spain Debrief

The Spanish GP started off with so much promise. Mercedes looked almost brand new with their upgrades, and the rest of the pack also edged closer to perfecting this Formula with their own respective steps. But also, after Russia, this had to be more exciting, no? Be careful what you wish for…


I felt much like this Crying Ferrari Kid. VER and RAI are two of the easiest drivers for me to root for. (Sorry, The Grid Girls, I am a Max fanboy at times)* What made matters worse is the incident pushed professional sad driver Fernando Alonso off track to the right, dropping him from an incredible p7 start. He isn’t making up spots on race pace.

*If you like F1 and Indy you need listen to The Grid Girls — who really are responsible for my foray outside F1 into other series.

Excuse the title which seems to place the blame on Bottas–this was best/longest video I could find to showcase the incident. If you read through my texts on Sunday, I blame a lot of things on BOT in the heat of the moment. There is definitely an argument there. Bottas made contact on his own to RAI back sidepod area. Who initiates contact or whose front wheels are ahead of who is enough for some people.  For others, it is all on Max. Three wide into a turn within the confines of a motorsport event? The insanity!

I kid but it perplexes me how VER could take any blame for causing the incident. Max didn’t take any space away from Kimi that forced him into Bottas. Rather it was Bottas who came left and hit Kimi. If Max doesn’t go three wide, maybe he finishes the race, but it is unlikely Kimi does. And it is certain Bottas would still hit Räikkönen.

But this isn’t about blame. The stewards didn’t give anyone a penalty, although it was investigated, and all three DNF-ed so what’s it matter? But if we are going to start handing out demerits for going three wide into a turn that can hold three wide, we will never fix the overtaking issue.

 

KRU

Palmer’s Purgatory

Renault’s Brit Jolyon Palmer has had a disastrous year. If this were 2016 and Renault was still sussing out it’s drive and earmarking money and resources for the next season, this wouldn’t be a surprise or worry. But in 2017, after Renault signed Nico Hulkenberg, added a ton of smart work force, exploded the budget, and – oh!- actually can have a chassis match their engine,  the built-in excuses are no more.

We really laid into Palmer in the Russia Debrief so it feels like beating a dead horse going on and on about it. But at what point do they need to replace Palmer for his own sake and Renault’s?

Sergey Sirotkin has had crowded and unworkable FP1s in Sochi and Spain but is signed up for LeMans with SMP Racing. With a good showing, he could start forcing Renault’s hand. How long can you keep the speedy Russian waiting?

Kvyat

After a season that looked like it could be his last in F1, Kvyat has come out flying and has kept pace with the more heralded Sainz thus far.

I promise you as a guy with a RBR Kvyat cap still worn on (some) race days, this was a topic I jotted down for this Debrief before it popped up on Reddit. Thank you to FormulaY partner Javi Alonso for the link assist.

But since u/Obi-Wan_Kannabis posted it first, let’s quote she or he (I just really wanted to include the handle).

In Australia he was going to finish well ahead when he suffered a puncture.

In China he qualified ahead but suffered a mechanical

In Bahrain Sainz crashed out.

In Russia he was beaten.

In Spain he qualified way behind, describing car balance issues and ended up just behind his teammate.

Honestly, he’s been just as impressive as Sainz this season, just much unluckier so far.

Kvyat showed great bounceback after the Russian GP, which must have been devastating for him. But maybe all the distractions of a home GP took him off his focus?

This has all the build up of a driver knowing this is his last season to make an impression. RBR just simply do not have the room. RIC, VER, SAI are all higher on the list than Kvyat, and offer a much better potential for a WDC or WCC. They also have Pierre Gasly ready to make the jump to Toro Rosso next year, if needed. Unless one of those four leave RBR before next season, Kvyat could find himself like many other drivers, waiting for a call that never comes.

Kvyat is still young (23) and has a lot of experience. A team who may need a stopgap until their development driver is ready, or a non-threatening #2 driver, could extend Kvyat’s F1 life.  However, the more and more I think about it, I see Kvyat’s fit in another series as better for him. Formula E does’t have a Russian driver or ePrix just yet. Maybe that changes in the next season or two, and Kvyat finds himself there.

Sergio Perez is going streaking

It is quite amazing what Sahara Force India has been able to accomplish over the last two seasons. The improvements have seen them tackle Williams as the best Merc customer team and they are closing the gap on RBR while continuing to fend off the improving Renault, Haas, and Toro Rosso. The management somehow have kept this team together admid money and legal isues, and can still acquire massively talented drivers like Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon, and maybe the best of all three, Sergio Perez.

“Checo” is riding the longest point streak at 15, five more than the next drivers on the list (some guys named Hamilton and Vettel). That is incredible focus and skill, and a whole lot of luck.

It’s hard to say Perez won’t be up for an open seat at a factory team come the offseason. At 27, Perez is at a good point in his career to switch squads and make concerted WDC preparations and runs. Could he go back to Ferrari, where he was a development driver in their program? Grosjean wants that gig badly. Hell, everyone wants a Ferrari drive. Then there is Bottas’ seat which you’d think is sturdy but you never know. McLaren is not appetizing at the moment but if they pick up a new PU and ALO leaves… maybe. As much as I think Checo is a better driver currently than Grosjean, I could see Grosjean leaving for Ferrari and Perez taking his seat at Haas. Grosjean is a bit older, wiser, and has a greater familiarity with Ferrari’s engine. He would be the ‘safe choice’. Perez taking a quick stop at Haas makes a lot of sense and maybe allows more doors to open for him.

But if he keeps driving like this, his value is going to skyrocket. He is almost guaranteed money at this point, with a lot of room and ability to grow. Quick someone attach “Future Champion” to his name while the hype is hot!

Other Notes

  • Williams had a bad week across the board. Two back marker cars is not a common sight for Claire Williams & she won’t be happy about it. While there may be some complex reasoning behind Stroll’s struggles this year, Williams will be relying on Massa to rebound to his very competitive form this season.  And Stroll, hasn’t run out of runway yet–this being year 1 and all (look at Kvyat last season). When he does, his father will surely buy more.
  • Pascal Wehrlein built off a slid debut in Russia to grab 4 points for Sauber. thats double their total from last year, in just one race. That is exactly the performance Sauber was expecting getting a motivated Merc young driver. Good qualifying in Monaco could make points in two straight, if WEH can start at the head of the parade and keep car clean.
  • Hulkenberg had a hell of a start.


Formula 1 Standings and Schedule

Formula 1 Drivers' Championship
Place Name Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 104
2 Lewis Hamilton 98
3 Valtteri Bottas 63
4 Kimi Räikkönen 49
5 Daniel Ricciardo 37

 

Formula 1 Constructors' Championship
Place Name Points
1 Mercedes 161
2 Scuderia Ferrari 153
3 Red Bull Racing 72
4 Force India-Mercedes 53
5 Toro Rosso 21

 

Formula 1 on NBC Sports
Round Date Grand Prix Track Winner Team
1 26 March Australian Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
2 9 April Chinese Shanghai International Circuit Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3 16 April Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
4 30 April Russian Sochi Autodrom Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
5 14 May Spanish Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
6 28 May Monaco Circuit de Monaco
7 11 June Canadian Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
8 25 June Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
9 9 July Austrain Red Bull Ring
10 16 July British Silverstone Circuit
11 30 July Hungarian Hungaroring
12 27 August Belgian Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
13 3 September Italian Autodromo Nazionale Monza
14 17 September Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit
15 1 October Malaysian Sepang International Circuit
16 8 October Japanese Suzuka International Racing Course
17 22 October United States Circuit of the Americas
18 29 October Mexican Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
19 12 November Brazilian Autódromo José Carlos Pace
20 26 November Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit

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More Race Schedules

Formula E on Fox Sports
Round Date ePrix Track Winner Team
1 9 October 16 Hong Kong Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit Sébastien Buemi Renault e.Dams
2 12 November 16 Marrakesh Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan Sébastien Buemi Renault e.Dams
3 18 February Buenos Aires Puerto Madero Street Circuit Sébastien Buemi Renault e.Dams
4 1 April Mexico City Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler Audi
5 13 May Monaco Circuit de Monaco Sébastien Buemi Renault e.Dams
6 20 May Paris Paris Street Circuit
7 10 June Berlin Race 1 Tempelhorf Airport Street Circuit
8 11 June Berlin Race 2 Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit
9 15 July New York Race 1 Brooklyn Street Circuit
10 16 July New York Race 2 Brooklyn Street Circuit
11 29 July Montreal Race 1 Montreal Street Circuit
12 30 July Montreal Race 2 Montreal Street Circuit

 

IndyCar on NBC Sports or ABC
Round Date Race Name Track Winner Team
1 March 12 Firestone GP of St Petersburg Streets of St Petersburg Sébastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing (Honda)
2 April 9 Toyota GP of Long Beach Streets of Long Beach James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (Honda)
3 April 23 Honda Indy GP of Alabama Barber Motorsports Park Josef Newgarden Team Penske (Chevrolet)
4 April 29 Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix GP Phoenix International Raceway Simon Pagenaud Team Penske (Chevrolet)
5 May 13 IndyCar GP Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course Will Power Team Penske (Chevrolet)
6 May 28 101st Indianapolis 500 Indianapolis Motor Speedway
7 June 3 Chevrolet Detroit GP Raceway at Belle Isle Park
8 June 4 Chevrolet Detroit GP Raceway at Belle Isle Park
9 June 10 Rainguard Water Sealer 600 Texas Motor Speedway
10 June 25 Kohler GP Road America
11 July 9 Iowa Corn 300 Iowa Speedway
12 July 16 Honda Indy Toronto Exhibition Place
13 July 30 Honda Indy 200 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
14 August 20 ABC Supply 500 Pocono Raceway
15 August 26 Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Gateway Motorsports Park
16 September 3 GP at The Glen Watkins Glen International
17 September 17 GoPro GP of Sonoma Sonoma Raceway

 

FIA World Endurance Championship on WEC website
Round Date Race Track LM P1 LM GTE PRO
1 16 April 6 Hours of Silverstone Silverstone Circuit Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Derani/Priaulx/Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK
2 6 May WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Bird/Rigon Ferrari AF Corse
3 17-18 June 24 Hours of Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe
4 16 July 6 Hours of Nürburgring Nürburgring
5 3 September 6 Hours of Mexico Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez
6 16 September 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas Circuit of the Americas
7 15 October 6 Hours of Fuji Fuji Speedway
8 5 November 6 Hours of Shanghai Shanghai International Circuit
9 18 November 6 Hours of Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit

 

FIA World RX Championship on World RX website
Round Date Race Track Winner Team
1 31 March World RX of Barcelona Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Mattias Ekstrom EKS RX (Audi)
2 21 April Bompiso World RX of Portugal Montalegre Mattias Ekstrom EKS RX (Audi)
3 5 May World RX of Hockenheim Hockenheimring Mattias Ekstrom EKS RX (Audi)
4 12 May Coyote World RX of Belgium Circuit Jules Tacheny Johan Kistoffersson PSRX Volkswagen Sweden
5 26 May World RX of Great Britain Lydden Hill
6 9 June Team Verksted World RX of Norway Hell
7 30 June World RX of Sweden Holjes Motorstadion
8 4 August World RX of Canada Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres
9 1 September Bretagne World RX of France Loheac Bretagne
10 15 September Neste World RX of Latvia Bikernieki National Sports Base
11 29 September All-Inkl.com World RX of Germany Estering
12 10 November World RX of South Africa Killarney International Raceway

 

DTM on DTM website (US may need VPN), replay on CBS/CBS Sports
Round Race # Date Track Winner Team
1 R1 6 May Hockenheimring Lucas Auer Mercedes-AMG Motorsport BWT
1 R2 7 May Hockenheimring Jamie Green Team Rosberg (Audi)
2 R1 20 May EuroSpeedway Lausitz
2 R2 21 May EuroSpeedway Lausitz
3 R1 17 June Hungaroring
3 R2 18 June Hungaroring
4 R1 1 July Norisring
4 R2 2 July Norisring
5 R1 22 July Moscow Raceway
5 R2 23 July Moscow Raceway
6 R1 19 August Circuit Park Zandvoort
6 R2 20 August Circuit Park Zandvoort
7 R1 9 September Nürburgring
7 R2 10 September Nürburgring
8 R1 23 September Red Bull Ring
8 R2 24 September Red Bull Ring
9 R1 14 October Hockenheimring
9 R2 15 October Hockenheimring
 

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