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    Profile photo of Nick

    Jean Alesi’s design (and by proxy, Elio de Angelis’) has always been my favorite and I used to base my helmet livery in games on his.

    I’ve always quite liked Jos Verstappen’s helmet design, as it uses the red white and blue in a manner that was busy in the 90s, but looks simple and effective today.

    Sauber’s current line up probably has the best lids so far of 2015, clean lines and bright colors. I’m also partial to Hulkenberg’s and Bottas’ designs of the current grid.

    Overall, with drivers more and more encapsulated in the cockpit and designs becoming more busy, the design of a driver’s helmet does feel a little less important to me.

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    F1Today is still around?

    I wonder when they’re bringing back the ‘Alonso to Enstone’ rumors next.

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    I’m pretty sure the FIA is doing its best with promoting its own championship by awarding more points for a superlicense for a GP2 champion than a FR3.5 champion. It’d be unwise to give the winning driver money, as there is no guarantee they will go to another FIA sanctioned championship (Renault awards the winners of the FR2.0 championship, but not the FR3.5 championship for that reason; they don’t want to give money to a random F1 team).

    GP2 is too crowded. A lot of drivers stick around for ages, making them very experienced, which is a major asset in a championship full of young guns. Palmer, Leimer and Valsecchi are champions in the same way Glock and Pantano were; they knew the cars, the tracks and had the best team. It’s be newsworthy had Palmer not won the title and let’s not forget how chaotic the 2013 season was, with Coletti getting a head start and basically failed to score in the second half of the season and more stories like that. The 2013 GP2 title was a bit like winning the 24 hours of Le Mans, instead of a championship.

    Red Bull and McLaren seemed to prefer FR3.5 because there is more run time as well.

    Finally, the comparison to F3000 in 1988 is especially slanted since there are currently 18 cars lined up for Melbourne, with well over 30 cars lining up for the first race in the 1989 season. The top teams have been ‘locked’ for years, with only Hamilton’s move to Mercedes and Webber’s retirement allowing some drivers to move on up to top teams (Perez, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Kvyatt). Basically we’ve had the same ‘top drivers’ for some years now, which means the top teams won’t hire midfield drivers that often and the midfield gets cluttered (though the current midfield probably is better than the old days of old race winners clinging to F1). With the loss of teams like Minardi and Jordan, the element of teams hiring young guns straight out of feeder series has become a hard one. Even HRT, Marussia and Caterham seemed to hold on to drivers longer than the typical backmarker of the past.

    If you want to bake an apple pie, first you must invent the universe. If you want GP2 drivers to graduate to F1, first you need to invent an F1 that allows young drivers to come in.

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    @KeithCollantine To be frank, I don’t remember where I got the €300 figure from, what @dirksen posted is correct for the current year. As he said, the prices vary from provider to provider, as seen in As before, most providers allow monthly cancellation, so it’d be possible to pay for March through November only. It also seems to be possible to just get the Sport1go online based subscription.

    Worth to note is that Sport1 will also broadcast GP2, GP3, European F3, DTM, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Porsche Supercup as well as other GT and NASCAR series live. In my personal opinion, that means the subscription cost is more acceptable than before.

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    Personally I’d very much enjoy a Gran Turismo/Forza type game, but instead of leagues, seasons or scenarios. Not a career option with the right cars per se (ie: you start in 1993 and the cars of your second season are actual 1994 cars, like F1 Season Challenge) but being able to both enter a season as yourself or a particular driver, in a free mode and a scenario mode, like @fer-no65 described. I’d have a lot of fun trying my hand at getting the best championship result for a random driver in the 50s, as well as a scenario like the 2005 European GP as Kimi; do you continue and risk a DNF or stop and go for 2nd?

    I think the main thing I’d enjoy is more than one season worth of content and more than the typical ‘career/race/time trial/online’ options every race game ever has. Especially if you’d be able to run a grid of random F1 cars from all times on a track from any time, but that’s probably a licensing nightmare, not to mention it’d take aeons to actually make all the cars and tracks as a license holder (as a lot of work has been done for rFactor mods).

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    Often the best team employs 2 very good drivers, or at least 2 driver that can take maximum advantage of its performance. If you look at the 1994 season, Williams had a better pairing most times out than Benetton (with Schumacher missing out on a few races) and arguably had a better car in some races. In 2008, McLaren and Ferrari weren’t that far apart in performance if you look at Massa/Raikkonen versus Hamilton, but Kovalainen was not as experienced and simply didn’t match up to Hamilton’s performance. However, if you look at a season like 1998, where the WDC was pretty close between Hakkinen and Schumacher, their teammates were a bit further in between. Coulthard was a race winning driver in a car that suited his team mate better, Irvine had a bigger performance gap to Schumacher. Hence, McLaren had an easier time in the championship. Yet, Irvine nearly won the 1999 WDC and was of great value in Ferrari’s 1999 constructor’s title.

    It’s not only about performance from the car, it’s also how much the car can do for you. Schumacher’s teammates in 1994 complained heavily about the way the car handled (Verstappen famously crashed Schumacher’s car at Hockenheim after crashing his own), for a more recent example one can look at Alonso vs. Raikkonen at Ferrari or Hamilton vs. Button midway into the 2012 season.

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    I wouldn’t say he’s out of time. He’s 33 right now, Damon Hill was 34 before he even fought for the 1994 title and was 36 upon winning the 1996 title. Alain Prost was 38 when he won the 1993 title, though both were in cars in a class of their own (yet, Hill’s fights in the 2 years before and Prost’s other 3 titles makes these titles less controversial than Villeneuve’s or Button’s), I think Alonso could stick around long enough for McLaren Honda to be competitive. Time is short for him, but with Schumacher continuing till 43 I doubt Alonso’s age will be a major factor for the next 4 seasons.

    I’m not entirely sure how you reason Hulkenberg being able to deliver the same performance as Alonso. He might take more risks, but Alonso’s consistency is what nearly won him the 2012 title. Hulkenberg might be consistent, but also makes more mistakes (like taking himself out at Hungary) and he hasn’t got the experience Alonso has, so I don’t think he can deliver the same performance, though perhaps the same results isn’t out of the question.

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    There seems to be no line in F1’s leadership.

    Pretty much this. F1 is going in too many directions, pandering to too many audiences in too many ways while alienating a lot of not only its history, but also other parts of the things it strives to be.

    I’d personally say the main problem is that there are too many captains on deck. There are too many (un-united) stakeholders (not to be confused with shareholders). There are too many issues at play for one party to figure out or to address, leading to the recent trend of half-hearted decisions.

    I don’t think F1 has failed: Champcar has failed, F2 has failed as they’re gone. F1 does not even have a clear goal they can fail at right now. In my opinion, F1 needs to be a NASCAR-type of organization, with central leadership, but decentralized local leadership; have a committee for lowering entry fees, but make sure their message is actually heard by all of the leaders (and not shunned by FOM, and ending up in the ‘low priority’ folder at the FIA).

    It’s too easy to say F1 will be ‘better’ if just one of the issues are fixed and us armchairexperts probably don’t know half about how some issues came to be. It’s easy to blame Bernie for the distribution of FOM money, but Ferrari probably didn’t have to press hard to get more than any other team. Same with circuits, if Bernie says ‘sure, Hockenheim, pay 50% of what’s in your contract’, all other tracks will want the same.

    F1 right now is like an old tree ‘blocked’ by new environments both at its roots and on top, but right now it’s being allowed to grow and being cut in random places.. It can be saved, even if there’s 4 Ferrari’s driving around 4 Bahrain GPs, because competition has always appealed to people, it just needs to get with the times AND make up its mind.

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    I’ve sat in a Sauber C12 (1994 car, but with 1995 livery) at a chance event in 1998 at the Famila Park in Leer, Germany. I was just getting into F1 and my parents had no idea that there were several F1 cars on display, though I only really remember the C12 and perhaps a Ferrari 312T of some kind, but there was a security line around the car.

    I’ve seen several F1 cars in the museum at the Nurburgring in 1999, though I only have a picture of me with a McLaren MP4/12.

    At Zandvoort I’ve probably seen several F1 cars up close, but I only remember Verstappen demo-ing a A21 and A22 and seeing the car in the pitbox. The EuroBOSS class is a great series to have paddock tickets for, as you end up being nearly run over by a repainted Benetton B197 and getting to see people work on a Coloni C4 up close.

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    His restlessness and inability to settle anywhere will have cost him the chance to win a third title.

    I’m not sure if an ability to settle somewhere is really the problem. Had he remained at McLaren, titles in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014 would have been very unlikely. Had he stayed at Enstone, he would have been lucky to win more than 10 races since 2006.

    Let’s not forget titles like Prost’s 1993 title in his only year with Williams, Raikkonen winning a title in his first season with Ferrari (regardless of McLaren’s shenanigans in 2007) and Hamilton winning this year in ‘only’ his second year at Mercedes. I’d argue Ferrari and Alonso have been much more crazy about eachother any time between 2010 and 2013 than those champions were with their teams when they won those titles.

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    Alonso and McLaren clashing in 2007 is hardly a completely rational decision from any party involved. Casting aside your feelings and doubts can play a lot harder with your state of mind than speaking up and causing problems can. Had Alonso not caused a scene in 2007, he could have been immensely uncomfortable in 2008 and probably could have ended up fighting his way out of the team regardless.

    Not going to Red Bull made a ton of sense. Let’s not forget Newey didn’t win any titles since 1999 and had produced some very odd cars for McLaren in his time there and his first Red Bulls weren’t exactly instant winners either. Renault had been on a steady lift since 2003 and their 2007 was (at the time) the driver’s fault according to a lot of people, probably inside the team as well. He was comfortable there. Not all driver decisions are made entirely rational, as sure as people who aren’t working in high pressure environments sometimes do things that don’t seem rational for their goals and careers.

    I didn’t follow F1 in 1995, but at the time Ferrari was no place to go for Schumacher. Benetton had been on s steady lift since 1991, while Ferrari had been struggling for years. McLaren didn’t make sense because they were on a downward spiral, but Williams was probably the best bet out there at the time. Schumacher went to Ferrari anyway and trust me, before 2000 there were genuine concerns he would never actually win his title there. He went on to win 5, but that was a long time coming.

    I doubt that, had Alonso moved around differently, he would have won any more than 4 titles. 2010 and 2012 could have been his, but in the same sense that Schumacher could have won 1997 or 1998. You don’t need more titles to be a great driver, just look at the debates about Schumacher vs. Senna. Jim Clark is a legend, but he ‘only’ has 2 championships. Frankly, to say Alonso ‘could have won 7 titles’ is as sensible as saying ‘Schumacher would have won 10 titles’, ‘Prost could have won 6 titles’ and so on. It’s easy to say ‘IF Prost moved to Williams instead of Ferrari, then he would have performed like Mansell’ or ‘IF Schumacher moved to Williams and then McLaren we would have won Hill’s, Villeneuve’s and Hakkinen’s titles’, but completely ignoring what could have gone wrong there.

    Frankly I don’t know who the ‘best’ driver is on the grid right now, but I really doubt Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton lose any sleep at night thinking about ‘what if I did this at that point in my career’.

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    Squirrel Creek Raceway, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    Track itself if 5.1 kilometers long, the other stuff is there because I nearly forgot to draw a pitlane. It’s been a while since I entered in one of these! Track is somewhat inspired by Magny Course and Istanbul Park.

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    Throughout the year I’ve been grading the drivers. Looking at the final grades, I have to say no-one had a standout season in my rankings and there were some surprises compared to where I would put the drivers on top of my head. (I’ve been giving a lot of 6s and 7s out of 10 all season.)

    I decided not to include Will Stevens and Andre Lotterer, since both did just one race with minimal preparation, but both did pretty decent.

    22. Esteban Gutierrez

    Largely unimpressive, cost Sauber valuable points at Monaco and had a number of strange run-ins during the season. Impressed me sometimes later in the season (Hungary stands out), but doesn’t seem like a driver who can put together a full season on full power.

    21. Marcus Ericsson

    Started off pretty poorly with his Q1 Monaco incident with Massa as a low point. As the season progressed, he seemed to improve and kept out of trouble. Not a debut season I’ll remember.

    20. Adrian Sutil

    On paper should have had the upper hand on his team mate, but didn’t always do so and frankly also threw away points at Monaco. As experienced as he is, he is hopeless.

    19. Kamui Kobayashi

    Didn’t quite impress and as the season progressed, Ericsson seemed to get closer. It’s hard to stand out in a team like Caterham, but he simply didn’t.

    18. Max Chilton

    Seemed to be closer to Bianchi this season, but generally mediocre. Still, leaving a mediocre impression is better than what the drivers with lower rankings left, so he’s got that.

    17. Pastor Maldonado

    While he seemingly has calmed down a lot and managed to get closer and closer to Grosjean during the season, he still had his iffy moments during the beginning of his season. All in all a average season from a driver I think could do a lot better.

    16. Kimi Raikkonen

    To be honest, I expected him to be higher on my list. I felt I have him pretty reasonable grades for most of his races, but he averaged a 6 out of 10 on my list. I accounted his car troubles, but frankly, he has driven cars not to his liking before, but never had this kind of issue with them. Can’t call it anything other than a disappointment.

    15. Daniil Kvyat

    Started off strongly and frankly is one of the STR drivers I personally feel is the safest pair of hands while maintaining speed throughout the weekend. Still, as the season went on, Toro Rosso didn’t seem to be able to finish ahead of where they would logically finish, making it hard to judge his drives.

    14. Jean-Eric Vergne

    Vergne had a less impressive start, but I personally feel he got more out of the car during the races which gave him the edge in my personal ratings. Personally would have promoted him to RBR and kept Kvyatt in STR.

    13. Kevin Magnussen

    Had some weekends where he seemed to be on top of things, but a lot of times I felt he was simply following Button for most of the race, only to end up several places behind him. A good debut season, but a team with a luxury problem like McLaren might think good isn’t what they’re looking for.

    12. Jules Bianchi

    I think the feeling I had when he crossed the line in Monaco can only be compared to what I felt when Jos Verstappen finished 4th at Monza in 2000; an underdog I support finally got a dream result. While Monaco saw both Sauber drivers goofing off and Raikkonen having an off day, he still got the car home in 9th, despite some penalties. The rest of the season saw him ending up where I personally expected him to be; best of the backmarkers and sometimes sneaking into Q2.

    He’s in my thoughts a lot and if there’s anything I’d want for Christmas, it’s good health for him and Michael Schumacher..

    11. Sergio Perez

    Finishing third at Bahrain was quite an awesome performance, but he didn’t quite have the same handle on Hulkenberg for most of the rest of the season, despite him looking good to finish in front of Nico during some of the races. I’d say this season with this car is a logical step after his 2012 season with Sauber and has washed away any doubts his season at McLaren have made about his capabilities. For me, anyway.

    10. Felipe Massa

    He had an amazing end to the season and his pole at Austria was an awesome lap. However, it cannot be ignored that Bottas did a lot better with the same car in more races. I’m not quite sure we have ‘the old Massa back’, but he showed a lot more of his past form than he did at Ferrari, even the good run he had in late 2012-early 2013. His start of the season was quite poor, compared to the end.

    9. Nico Hulkenberg

    I can be short and frank about his season; got the most out of the car more often than not and beat his teammate. Why this guy isn’t at a top team is beyond me. It could have something to do with the weekends he doesn’t seem to be on it, though.

    8. Romain Grosjean

    Quite surprised to see him end up so high in my rankings, but he did drag that thing called Lotus E22 to points and he had a fair share of battles that were nice to watch. Just a shame he couldn’t pick up where he left off in late 2013 as far as results go.

    7. Jenson Button

    Had quite a few results above my expectations, did well during races and frankly just did a good job.

    6. Sebastian Vettel

    Didn’t seem to enjoy this season, was beaten soundly by his teammate both in qualifying and races more often than I ever imagined and had some strange races where he just couldn’t get the most out of the car. But he’s still an amazing driver and scored some proper results.

    5. Fernando Alonso

    Once more (sadly) had to drag his Ferrari to results that it shouldn’t get and nearly won a race in a car that couldn’t qualify on the front row to save its life. Still, as in 2013, the highs seemed to be a little less high than in the past, or at least, fewer than in seasons like 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012. As a Ferrari fan, I’m sad to see him go, as an Alonso fan, I hope he gets a car that can perform as well as him.

    4. Valtteri Bottas

    Never rated him highly, proved me wrong all season long. Great in races, great in combat and if I didn’t know any better I’d say he has been in F1 for years.

    3. Nico Rosberg

    Rosberg is a driver that doesn’t invoke a lot of passion or seems to have peaks like many other drivers, just a solid level and a level under solid. He had a few odd races and sessions out where I couldn’t quite put my finger on why he’d made a mistake or was slower than Hamilton. All in all a very good season (as a Schumacher fan, I’m glad his results started people talking about Schumacher’s performance at Mercedes in a more positive light as well) but he lost the title bit by bit over the season.

    2. Daniel Ricciardo

    What a guy. Such amazing performances against a 4 time WDC team mate, some heroic battles and some great qualifying performances. I wish I had something sensible to say, but I’ve never been as wrong about a driver as I’ve been about Ricciardo; I rated him considerably lower than Vergne and didn’t expect much of him at all.

    1. Lewis Hamilton

    Had a dominant car, but faced many set backs and won races by overtaking his team mate on track and frankly I found him more impressive during races.

    Personally, if I hadn’t graded the drivers for each race (they competed) I think Button and Grosjean might have been a little lower, but overall I quite like this method.

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    I think Bernie today gave a perfect assist. Now it’s a matter of something kicking it in the goal and I’ll be out for at least a while.

    What an out of touch and tired little world F1 is turning into. For a sport with such great fans and people who work in it, those who are at the top of the food chain manage to ruin it for everyone.

    If I want to be insulted, I’ll go out of my way to do so. I don’t have to watch a sport to be insulted.

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    The thing is, it’s not exactly the team doing this. It’s a bunch of random administrators who also work for the crowdfunding website. Imagine if HSBC took control of Marussia and asked for crowdfunding; people would be outraged. Frankly, I’m surprised not more people are at the Caterham situation.

    If it were a bunch of employees who started it, I would have donated. But the link between the administrators and crowdfunding website, as well as the completely anonymous feeling I get from the campaign leave a foul taste in my mouth.

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