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  1. #1
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    2016 F1 Season - Your thoughts

    2016 featured the longest f1 season on record. With 21 races this season, there promised to be much for the F1 fans to enjoy and ponder. The American racing team Haas had their first year with a car that was mostly Ferrari engine and parts. And delighted us the fans with their remarkable accomplishments. New tracks were introduced, Baku which had quite a question mark on it exceeded everyones expectation and turned out to be a brilliant addition to the calendar.

    Much to our delight, Max Verstapenn was one of the main highlight of the season. With controversial defending tactics combined with great speed and car control, with a sturbborn predetorial attacking driving remincent of Senna, Schumacher, young Hamilton [2007/8] and young Vettel [2009/10].

    While most are quick to criticize Mr Ecclestones when he gets it wrong, rarely is he praised for those things that he gets right. Baku and Haas are legacies that we should be grateful to Mr Ecclestone for. The brief change to the qualifying format was one of those ideas that did not meet with approval. But the initiative to drive down the cost of engines and ensuring a better level of engine parity between supplier and customer teams is certainly other great contribution by the maverick wizard negotiator of F1.

    The most defining component of the 2016 season was the recurring dominance of the Mercedes team. The sheer power of the dominance was to ensure that only a Mercedes-Petronas driver was going to win the 2016 driver title. Which unfortunately sets the scene for a fierce two man battle between the Mercedes drivers; 3 times world champion Lewis Hamilton and newly crowned world champion Nico Rosberg. A rivalry that seemed set to put at risk the Mercedes bid for the 2016 constructors title began to unfold. Placing the aspiration of the team in a position at odds with the result of the assertions of the personal aspirations of their drivers. The crash in Spain where both Mercedes cars wiped each other out of the race highlighted the extent of the problems facing Mercedes. It was also a defining moment which saw the introduction of the so called rules of engagement.

    A set of rules that was not shared with the public but executed internally in a number of unclear ways. Asked about what these ways were, Paddy Lowe can be quoted at saying we have our ways, which included depriving a wanton driver of new parts among other ways suggested. All suggestions were Mercedes did not appear to know how to control the raw competitiveness of their drivers. From a fans perspective, they seemed to have the effect of sanitizing the racing with the so called "rules of engagement".

    Most noticeable was that after Spain, we rarely had two competitive Mercedes cars race each other from the lights to the end of the first lap. One car would either have clutch issues at the start while the other was ok. Or something else happened that somehow ensured that we do not have a competitive tussle between the two Mercedes cars. For a car that completed a race season worth of laps during the pre-season test, it leave many with disbelief that they would have so many mechanical issues during the season. I suppose this is what they mean by "we have our ways" maybe.

    2016 has been for me an unsatisfactory year. I feel robbed of something but l cannot put my finger decisively on what it is. But l can say it was unsatisfactory because there was no proper fight for the driver's title in the sense of a wheel to wheel action. Hamilton and Rosberg each scored their wins in circumstances where their immediate competitor [their teammate] was having some sort of issue and is unable to compete directly in a wheel to wheel duel. With obvious exception to some truly exceptional wins by Hamilton where he won from a disadvantaged position against better opposition, like Monaco and the race after that.

    Dominance which preclude competition it seems, has not made for a great season. Particularly, we do not get to experience the raw competitive actions between the two drivers with a real chance of winning the drivers title. If these drivers were in two separate teams; [Schumacher vs Hill], [Vettel vs Alonso], [Hamilton vs Massa], the influence of the team on the outcome of the season is less and limited to their driver and car combination. When both driver are in the same team, it is hard to exclude the possibility that the teams has not favoured one driver over the other and in so doing wittingly or unwittingly influences the outcome of the season; [Prost vs Senna], [Button vs Barrichello], [Vettel vs Webber], [Hamilton vs Rosberg].

    I suppose we are all very disappointed that the promise of Ferrari getting even closer to the Mercedes and mounting a serious threat did not materialize. While Redbull excelled, they were only good enough to snatch low hanging fruits, like the Spain wipeout etc. Disappointingly Ferrari and Williams faded as the season wore on, while Redbull and Force India emancipated from their 2015 positions.

    Most of the exciting entertainments this season were in the midfield and we have Kimi, Perez, Verstapenn, Sainz and Ricciado to thank for that. Unfortunately Vettel was lacklustre, Hulkenburg was accident prone [mostly as a result of other drivers], Kyvat was ambushed and both Williams driver were a shadow of their true potential.

    How do you rate this season and why?
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 9th December 2016 at 18:01.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
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  2. #2
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    I thought Baku was alright but not special.

    Haas did better than we expected but it's not like they got podiums and turned the year into a delirious merry go round. They were a novelty for scoring points in the opening round, then settled in as a reliable eleventh place team.

    I can't see why we should thank Bernie for Haas. Surely we should thank Gene Haas? [Thank you, Mr Haas, I am a Grosjean fan and I'm grateful.]

    The championship battle was better than the last few years because there was a championship battle, we really had no idea how it was going until the last few races. It's good to know that when you can't have a close fight between two well-matched drivers, reliability will sometimes make things interesting.

    I had a fond hope that putting a Mercedes engine in the Manor's would get them off the bottom, but alas not so much.

    On a positive note: they made a sensible change to the radio rules, ditched the failed attempt at a new qualifying system (how many of you had forgotten that until I mentioned it), and the new rules about going off the circuit seem to be working. Nice outbreak of common sense, there.

    But Vestappen.... Yeah. He was exciting. He made the season. He was better than all the other good things combined.

    On a lesser note: Well done Force India, congratulations. And it's nice to see Kimi back on form.

  3. Likes: truefan72 (29th November 2016)
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    I think this season was rather boring and like you, I would have liked to see more of a fight at the front. Unfortunately, that's what we got - a string of Mercedes wins only interrupted by hiccups in Spain (if you'd call THAT a hiccup) and Malaysia. It was often interesting to see who'd get third place, but as soon as one of the Merc drivers made it past the first two turns, you could almost certainly know who'd be standing on the top of the podium. And predictability is not what we like to see. Hopefully next year things will get better and we'll have more straight fights for the win.

    I also find Verstappen to have been one of the highlights of the season for often spicing up races, but when looking at his results alone, I find he's quite overrated. He's been beaten by Ricciardo both in qualifying (10-7) and races (9-7, not counting the gearbox failure at the USGP). I think it's fine and he's got the talent to justify his hype, but just like last year when racing Sainz, it's not like he's proven to be clearly superior to either of them. But then again, we're talking about comparing him to arguably two of the most talented drivers in F1 - and Ricciardo in particular keeps proving that he's WDC material.

    As for the rest of the grid, a few comments:

    - I'm surprised that Pérez beat Hülkenberg. After his Le Mans victory, pretty much everyone felt that the German would be hot property, but it's not like he seems to have the speed to be at the sharp end of the grid. I also wouldn't have bet on Force India getting fourth place in the constructors championship - kudos to them, but will that prove costly in 2017?
    - It's a shame that Williams lost out on that fourth place, but it's what they get for falling a lot behind in the development race; this year they don't have such a big engine advantage and it shows in their reslts. Massa's results compared to Bottas show that his time in F1 is rightfully over, and hopefully the young Stroll will be a faster driver.
    - As for McLaren, well, sixth place is not that terrible considering how last year went, but it's still quite meager for a team of their standing. Alonso seems to have been doing what he excels at - driving the hell out of an underperforming car and foulmouthing the team at every possible chance. Meanwhile, Button seems to have been rather far from his teammate this season; the points gap in the WDC standings might not be really representative and he might have had a bad season, but like Massa, I think he's done with F1. He'll be missed, but hopefully the young Vandoorne will live up to his Bahrain performance.
    - In Toro Rosso, Sainz finally got a reliable car after last year's handful of mechanical breakdowns, but unfortunately it was down on power. Even so, he seems to have quite a bit of speed and has been occasionally mixing it up with people with faster cars. As for Kyvat, well, I think the only reason why he's keeping his seat is because RBR haven't found a replacement who is ready for next season, but I'm betting that the Russian will be gone in 2018.
    - That Haas car was unbelievable fast at the start of the season and it would have been lovely to see them keeping it up. However, they decided to switch their focus to 2017 and as a result they fell behind quite heavily. I'm hoping it'll pay them dividends, though.
    - Renault were nowhere for the whole season. This season didn't do lots of good for Magnussen, who's found it difficult to beat his teammate (12-9 is not a massive advantage if you ask me). As for Palmer, I don't honestly think that he belongs in F1, but I haven't been playing close attention to his season. Hopefully Renault will bring a proper car next year and we'll see how good he is.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Rollo's Avatar
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    End the engine freeze. It only serves to lock in advantage for whoever has it.
    We want to see the manufacturers pushed because someone else has found extra power or torque.
    The Old Republic was a stupidly run organisation which deserved to be taken over. All Hail Palpatine!

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    Senior Member N. Jones's Avatar
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    Good season.
    While the battle for first and second was usually set at qualifying time, the fight for the positions behind 1 & 2 were very exciting. The emergence of Max and Red Bull getting closer to Merc with their "slow" Renault engine was nice.
    " Lady - I'm in an awful dilemma.
    Moe - Yeah, I never cared much for these foreign cars either."

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    Senior Member anfield5's Avatar
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    Some things good, some things bad.

    Good
    Haas had a spectacular start to the season, they must have thought F1 was easy after two races.
    Mercedes engine and design teams again did an exceptional job.
    Young Max has shown that when he matures some more he is going to be awesomely good.
    Red Bull and Renault engines made huge strides back towards the front.

    BAD
    Ferrari seemed to be headed to the top 12 months ago, this season was a disaster, plus they fired James Allison, possibly the best aero man (other than Adrian Newey?) in F1. Internal politics are never far from the surface in Marinello
    Renault chassis was awful, but it was designed before Renault took over, so it was a shoestring effort
    Daniil Kvyat seemed lost this season esp after he was dumped by Red Bull, he is far better than that.
    Red Bull for dumping DK
    Honda still haven't got their act together, need to improve next year or I can see McLaren looking elsewhere, irrespective of the contract they have.
    McLaren internal politics and the axing of Ron Denis. I have never overly liked Ron, but credit where it is due he made McLaren the most successful team in F1 in the 80's and 90's

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    Tyres were abit of a problem for the teams this year as well. Noticably, Monaco and Brazil where the tyres struggled to work well in the wet. Also we heard alot of talk about graining as most drivers struggled to switch on the tyres in most races.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
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    Senior Member Storm's Avatar
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    I did not see the majority of the races. I hopefully will rectify that next year.
    The ones I saw were dull. Only good things that happened are the slight revival of Honda and emergence of MadMax
    Tito Vilanova = :champion:

  10. #9
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    I watched the 2016 Mexican GP again today. It was bizarre on race day and it remains quite bizarre today. Stands out as the worst stewarding of all time l think.

    The 2016 season sort of took us through some very exciting moments. It certainly was full of drama, politics and some great racing. All in all it was a great season really. I enjoyed a great deal about it than l did the 2015 season. but it never really matched the 2014 season.
    Mercedes is still my favorite team until Mclaren finds their way back to the front. But l am so looking forward to seeing the 2017 Redbull package. I hope Ferrari also find their way back in 2017. A three or four way fight at the front would be fantastic.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 18th December 2016 at 20:39.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
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  11. #10
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    I'm a Perez fan, but even I have to admit that Sergio only beat Nico in the points. The Hulk may have got snookered on strategy--and had some bad luck in the races--but he beat the Mexican in qualifying. Perez is probably the better racer, but it's not by much.

    To the OP, if you think a 19 year-old joining a team after the season was 1/5 over, matched up against one of the best in the world (Ricciardo), and getting a win, outqualifying him 7 of 17 times, is "overrrated," I think you are expecting too much. One can look to just about any race and see that Max is an outrageous talent, but I'll give you one in particular: Brazil.

    Sainz is darn quick, but not quite the monster in races that Max is. The Spaniard is also the dirtiest driver on the grid--after Rosberg.

    I thought the Mercedes battle was terrific. Their coming together in Spain made for some compelling storylines, as did Rosberg's crappy move in Austria (see previous comment).

    Vettel's and Grosjean's raw soundbites were terrific, as were Hamilton's at the season-ender.

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