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  1. #1
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    Formula One - The future

    On a year such as this one, where unforeseen circumstances has given pause to the F1 roadshow. We are given an unexpected moment to reflect on what has happened in F1 in the last ten seasons and what lies ahead, post the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The close of the first decade of this new millenia saw the close of a truely meterioric, stellar career of Micheal Schumacher and the rise of a truely gifted talent in Fernando Alonso. At the start of the second decade of the Millenia, Alonso in a Beneton-Renault which coincidentally gave Schumacher his first driver world championship title a decade before, won two world titles against the incumbent seven times world champion in a scarlet Ferrari.



    Schumacher hung up his helmet and went into retirement. Alonso, seeking better machinery moved to Mclaren just as the newly crowned F2 champion was called to duty as a rookie partner to the well established and adored Alonso. I remember at the start of that season, much was not expected of Hamilton. Many saw him as potentially a good number two driver to the star of the moment Alonso. In a Mclaren, Fernando was expected to pick up Schumacher's mantle and dominate the next ten years of racing. Most people quietly expected Alonso to be the driver to match Schumacher's meterioric acheivements.



    Much like Vettel has found with Leclerc, 2013 was a rude awakening for the double world champion as his rookie teammate was giving him a hard time. Each time he raised the bar, the rookie took it further or match him. To everyone's surprise, The young man from Stevenage was leading the championship by ten points at one stage. Ferrari-Gate and a DNF at Sao Paulo, deprived Hamilton of a world championship title that would have gone down as the most sensational rookie season of all time. Losing by just one point to give Kimi Raikonen his only driver's world championship title.



    Hamilton won the championship the following year in a nail biter race at Sao Paulo, in a rain swept race that he needed to finish in the top five to be world champion. Massa the main challenger, won the race while Hamilton was struggling in sixth outside championship positions. Massa was effectively world champion at this point with a few minutes to the end of the race. At the very last lap, Hamilton overtook Timo Glock to move into the fifth position that he needed to be world champion. The title was cruelly snatched away from Massa at the dying seconds of the race.



    Thereafter followed five barren years for Hamilton. In those years, Brawn GP arose from the ashes of the Honda teams and won what has become the last championship won by a privateer racing team. And Jenson Button joined the ranks of driver world champions with a brilliant season of close and tough racing with Ruben Barrichello. Then came the emergence of Sebastien Vettel in the Redbull who then won the following four consecutive seasons that led up to the start of the hybrid era. Within that period, Mercedes had acquired the Brawn GP team and rebranded it Mercedes. They assembled the best designers and engineers that they could find, they enticed and acquired the service of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. As the era approached the hybrid regulations, Mercedes approached Hamilton to replace Schumacher. Hamilton then made a sensational decision to part ways with Mclaren to join the fifth placed Mercedes team.



    While there were constellations and many suggestions that it was the worst decision that he could make, the first season of the Hybrid era in 2014, presented the racing world with Hamilton in a truely superior car to the then dominant Redbull cars. Two seasons in a trot, Hamilton won back to back world championships titles, much to Rosberg's dismay. Rosberg then finally got his own back in 2016 and promptly retired. An engine failure at Malaysia in a season that saw Hamilton bear the brunt of a vast majority of Mercede's component failures that season, gave Rosberg a 23 points lead that essentaily set him up for a comfortable win of the 2016 drivers title. The percentage of problems that was happening on Hamilton's car was enough to give the suspicion that there was something dodgy going on in the Mercedes garage. Since then, Hamilton has won the championship of every season to date.



    Over the last two seasons, Farrari has given Mercedes a good fight but has not been able to subdue the briliiant Mercedes Team. Redbull out of frustration with its Renault engine switched to Honda. Within all these activities, we witnessed the emergency of the next generation of stars in Verstapenn and Leclerc that has on occassions been able to beat the six times world champion to race wins.



    At this point in time we sit at the precipice of what seems like the start of a new era of racing and the emergence of the next driver to dominate the grid for the next ten seasons. Whoever that may be, they must earn a right of passage by the challenging task of defeating the current incumbent world champion Lewis Hamilton to a world title. They must do so while Hamilton is seeking to match the records of Michael Schumacher by winning seven worlds titles, just to really spice things up.




    As we go into the new Regulations commencing in 2022, l ask who is likely to emerge as the next incumbent driver? The obvious choices are Verstapenn or Leclerc. But l think it is not as simple as that. If teams like Mclaren and Williams get their 2022 programme right, we could be seeing Norris and Russell emerging as strong candidates as well. Don't forget Sainz, he is championship winning material as well. If Ricardo can find a competitive seat, l expect him to be at the front also.

    The suggestion therefore is that it may be a baptism of fire for the next pilot to dominate the future of the sport, as there are so many really good drivers on the grid at the moment. And the cars are likely to have very close performances. It is going to be a cracking next era of racing l am sure.

    The whole thing is thrown into some confusion as we now have the drivers market out of sync with the new regulation era due to the postponement of the new era from 2021 to 2022. Lots of drivers have their contract coming to an end in 2020, but the COVID-19 hit 2020 season, means contract negotiations for the new era may now happen in 2021. It is not clear how the teams are going to deal with this situation.

    Also the financial consequences of the COVID-19 cancellations could also mean that some teams may well go under. We could have as many as four teams drop out of F1 in 2021. Williams is at serious risk, so is Sauber, Renault, Haas, Racing Point and even Maclaren.

    There is also a chance that Honda and Renault might pull out of F1 engine supply as a consequence of the financial crisis that is about to hit F1.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 2nd April 2020 at 19:03.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
    William Shakespeare

  2. Likes: airshifter (2nd April 2020),Jag_Warrior (25th March 2020)
  3. #2
    Senior Member Jag_Warrior's Avatar
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    A lot of time and thought went into preparing that, and I enjoyed reading it. Much appreciated.

    "Every generation's memory is exactly as long as its own experience." --John Kenneth Galbraith

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  5. #3
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    With the season in free fall as the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll on the 2020 F1 season, what are the chances of Liberty Media selling their stake in F1?
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; Yesterday at 08:06.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
    William Shakespeare

  6. #4
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    Well written piece Nitrodaze.

    What the future holds we don't know, and now we have the COVID-19 and another big wrench in the picture.


    And thanks for that photo of Massa on the podium. Though in the end he was denied, he still dominated that race and did everything in his power to take a shot at a WDC. Living in the shadow of a giant is hard, but Felipe still did his best.

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