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  1. #1
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    Mercedes Junior Programme

    Since no Mercedes junior has lasted up to three seasons, neither has any actually made it anywhere close to a Mercedes race seat, it is looking like the Mercedes programme is a cul-de-sac leading to nowhere. The programme has showcased some very talented young drivers like Wehrlein and Ocon. And a Mercedes junior Russells is currently leading the F2 championship.

    On evidence alone, the programme does seem to serve the purpose of saying Mercdes has a junior programme but has not proven to be worth anything to the juniors in it. Certainly not like the Redbull junior programme that has delivered time and again to its junior drivers and producing some of the most exciting drivers in recent times. From Vettel to Ricciado to Verstapenn to Gasly; each have progressed from a junior fomula into a senior Redbull seat in F1. Even Ferrari and Mclaren are working hard to be true to their junior programmes. In comparison, the Mercedes one seem to be an empty promise. The disappearance of Ocon in 2019 may be an evidence of this.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 6th September 2018 at 23:47.
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    The 2019 season would see one new rookie in Lando Noris join the grid and two 2018 rookies get promotion to a senior seat; namely Pierre Gasly and Charlie Leclerc. One 2018 rookie [Vandoorne] loses his seat to the new comer and one 2017 rookie [Ocon] fighting to stay on the grid. And the musical chairs of 2019 silly season is still gyrating with lots of seats still yet to be filled.

    There is Sirotkin yet to be confirmed for 2019 and there is talk about Markelov coming into the grid for the 2019 season. By all account, the young guns are stepping up. Just not at Mercedes :-(
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    Senior Member Jag_Warrior's Avatar
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    If both Wehrlein and Ocon are on the sidelines in 2019, I think that would be a major shame. By most accounts, it was Ocon's association with Mercedes that hurt him (in securing another F1 seat) instead of helping him. These are two of the better young racers of the past few years, IMO.

    Sort of veering off track a bit, but what the heck has happened to Vandoorne? From a dominant, rather amazing GP2 stint to now a broken soul?
    "Every generation's memory is exactly as long as its own experience." --John Kenneth Galbraith

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jag_Warrior View Post
    If both Wehrlein and Ocon are on the sidelines in 2019, I think that would be a major shame. By most accounts, it was Ocon's association with Mercedes that hurt him (in securing another F1 seat) instead of helping him. These are two of the better young racers of the past few years, IMO.

    Sort of veering off track a bit, but what the heck has happened to Vandoorne? From a dominant, rather amazing GP2 stint to now a broken soul?
    There are two reason for that; Firstly, Mclaren has been a very depressing experience for Vandoorne. He went in there thinking he would eventually have a competitive car to allow him to showcase his talents but got a dud instead. Secondly, Alonso is not the easiest of teamate to have as a rookie. Hamilton would tell you that much. He is a larger than life individual that grabs all the focus of the team. In such a circumstances, a rookie could easily get stifled, and Vandoorne clearly was overwhelmed by this. He seemed to have his head in the wrong space all of last season and this one. Hence, his speed just never materialized.

    In the myriad of changes and controversies that took place since he joined the team, somehow it seemed the nuture that he should have had as a rookie fell through the cracks. This is F1, it can sometime weave an unforgiving and brutal vicissitude that lead to a punishing outcome. I think there is something exciting inherent in Vandoorne, unfortunately we shall not find out what it is in F1. This is just another potential talent like Wehrlien before him to disappear from F1 before they get the chance to blossom into something special. Ocon is looking like another to vamos in similar fashion.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 23rd September 2018 at 11:55.
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  5. Likes: N4D13 (15th September 2018),truefan72 (15th September 2018)
  6. #5
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    What's the point of being a Mercedes driver when you have no place in the Mercedes team? Isn't it a little pathetic the way Wolff is upset with some Renault teams that they are not keen to hire a Mercedes driver that doesn't have a place in his Mercedes Team?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Ben View Post
    What's the point of being a Mercedes driver when you have no place in the Mercedes team? Isn't it a little pathetic the way Wolff is upset with some Renault teams that they are not keen to hire a Mercedes driver that doesn't have a place in his Mercedes Team?

    It is quite funny actually. Rather than review and revamp their junior programme, he is having a go at other teams for exercising their rights to take a path that does not include having a Mercedes driver. Why would other teams help Mercedes create a driver that would later be a problem for them on track in the near furture?

    The scenario is that, their potentially new rookie George Russell shall be feeding into the F1 scene from 2019, it would be a head to head fight for available seats in 2019 between Ocon and Russell. Like Ocon was problematic to Werhlien's future in F1, so would Russell to Ocon. By the evidence of what is apparent to all, Mercedes are not doing a great job of running a junior programme. They should hire someone to focus on this. They probably need to have their own feeder team or buy into a midfield team to guarantee they nuture their budding talents properly.

    I personally thought Ocon or Werhlien were good enough to step into the 2nd seat along side Hamilton at 2017. I don't see why they should expect anyone to have faith in their junior drivers, if Mercedes themselves do have have such faith. The picture looks very ugly for Mercedes with Gastly and Leclerc getting into senior seats quicker than Ocon with more experience and comparable speed if not faster. They should stop the programme or do it properly, because the way it is currently run is looking like it is damaging to the F1 careers of these young talents.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 17th October 2018 at 09:24.
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    Mercedes junior programme looked to be in trouble when Rosberg retired at short notice and they overlooked Wehrlein in order to buy Bottas out of his contract at Williams.

    It would be a great shame if Ocon were to loose his place in F1 next season as he more than deserves a seat and it would really show how dysfunctional the driver market is. His last hope would seem to hang on Mercedes making an offer to Williams.

    However Mercedes have to accept that other teams will look after their own best interests wheather or not they align with those of Mercedes.
    Time is the enemy.

  10. Likes: journeyman racer (6th October 2018)
  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by emporer_k View Post
    Mercedes junior programme looked to be in trouble when Rosberg retired at short notice and they overlooked Wehrlein in order to buy Bottas out of his contract at Williams.

    It would be a great shame if Ocon were to loose his place in F1 next season as he more than deserves a seat and it would really show how dysfunctional the driver market is. His last hope would seem to hang on Mercedes making an offer to Williams.

    However Mercedes have to accept that other teams will look after their own best interests wheather or not they align with those of Mercedes.
    The reality here is, Williams may prefer George Russell to Ocon if Russell wins the F2 championship. George Russell, like Leclerc would have won both the F3 and F2 championships which would make him the most desirable young driver coming into F1. The likelihood is Ocon shall be taking a couple of years out of F1 by the end of this season.

    Another consideration is that, George Russell is the real deal and is most likely the best candidate for Mercedes to invest their efforts to nuture into replacing Hamilton when he retires. George Russell clearly has the sort of talent that could cause problems for Verstapenn and Leclerc in the near future. And l think Toto Woolf knows that but would like to see how he does over a full season in an F1 car.

    Both Leclerc and Russell are both on a potentially historical journey; one of them is staring down the possibility of being the first man to win both the F3, F2 and F1 championships.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 5th October 2018 at 20:14.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
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  12. #9
    Senior Member journeyman racer's Avatar
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    Sometimes, you may have a good record prior to F1, but still not be ready to face whatever challenges "F1" throws at you, Vandoorne is another example of this.

    Driver development programs I think are good PR and method of networking in the motorsport industry for the teams, but I'm not sure how good they are for the benefit of the F1 team and aspiring driver.

    It's kind of funny with MB. Their driver program brought along Schumacher at a time when they weren't participating in f1Yet when the had an engine good enough to win a championship, it was Schumacher who was their main rival trying to deny them. Then when the time came where they thought they could get some value out of him, he was ineffective and were better off keeping Button.

  13. #10
    Senior Member truefan72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emporer_k View Post
    Mercedes junior programme looked to be in trouble when Rosberg retired at short notice and they overlooked Wehrlein in order to buy Bottas out of his contract at Williams.
    Exactly!!!
    you can't argue with results

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