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  • #302819
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    Nick
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    Found it a bit hard this time around as there are no real stand-out seasons in progress in my opinion.

    1. Hamilton
    Hasn’t made a lot of mistakes and generally has been performing to the top of his ability this season. It’s almost refreshing to see him perform like this, not riddled with rumors or complaints.

    2. Vettel
    Making the most out of a Ferrari that isn’t fit to fight the Mercedes’. Apart from Bahrain he’s had a very good season as well, little to no complaints from me.

    After these two, I find myself to be in a bit of limbo, as the grades I’d give the drivers on races all put them very close.

    3. Rosberg
    Appears to be a little less strong (or lucky, depending on who you’d ask) than 2014 and hasn’t had any real stand-out performances. He’s in the race for the championship, but to me, it doesn’t feel like his chance is as big as last year – so far. Especially his early season deficit was too large.

    4. Hulkenberg
    Didn’t have an amazing start to the season, but has been on it recently. Mainly meeting and exceeding expectations puts him so high up my list, though I wouldn’t know who else to put 4th if I went by gut alone.

    5. Bottas
    Another driver who seems to be a little less strong compared to his team mate than in 2014, but his results so far have been good. Victim of Williams’ inconsistency recently and needs the team to turn their luck around or Kimi to keep having bad luck to stay in front of Kimi in the championship.

    6. Massa
    Performance wise a lot closer to Bottas this season and has done little wrong. Also needs Williams to turn the tide after Hungary to stay where he is in the championship.

    7. Grosjean
    Romain’s season has been a bit of a mixed bag for me. He’s scoring points again in a car that has an odd performance window, but he isn’t always as far clear from Maldonado as you expect him to be, sometimes even when Pastor starts behind him they still encounter each other on track.

    8. Raikkonen
    Higher up on my list than any other posted here so far, but mainly due to the races where he finished, he finished decently. Rather than it being a good season for him, the others are having similar seasons in my opinion.

    9. Ricciardo
    Had a clear advantage over Kvyat, suddenly had Kvyat doing to him what he did to Vettel and then came Hungary. If he can keep his head up now and Renault can finish the races, I don’t see why he shouldn’t be in a position to improve in the standings. If he gets beaten by Kyvat regularly still, his momentum might dwindle.

    10. Kvyat
    Not where I expected him to be at the beginning of the season, then got into form and has delivered. Not too much to say about him.

    11. Sainz
    Despite not having some of the peaks Verstappen has reached, he does come across as a more secure driver. Has held himself against a much talked about team mate, but musn’t get distracted by poor reliability.

    12. Verstappen
    Fast, mature for his age, but there are times where you can tell his age and perhaps, more importantly, his lack of experience. Monaco and Silverstone kind of blemish a season that’s otherwise been very good.

    13. Alonso
    Hard to judge. Finishes sort of above expectations, but at the same time, the current McLaren isn’t a F2012 or even a R28. I wouldn’t say he has, explicitly, done a worse job than the others, but I can’t grade a world champion driving for a top team a 10/10 for a DNF or finishing outside of the points, driving in the gap between the midfield and Manor.

    14. Nasr
    A very solid first season so far, but apart from his points finishes, has been exactly where you expect him to be.

    15. Perez
    Despite the difference in ranking, is close to Hulkenberg in how I grade him; he’s just had less noteworthy races. Has been kind of invisible lately.

    16. Button
    As with Alonso, hard to judge. Loses a few decimal points per race to Alonso for my grades and ends up here. Again, not because of poor driver performance, but because I don’t really have much to award him for.

    17. Maldonado
    It might not be 2011/2012 Pastor, but a large number of DNFs and incidents have him with just over half of Grosjean’s points despite keeping up with him from time to time on track. Hungary is a bruise on a season that has failed to deliver, while not being as crash prone as before.

    18. Ericsson
    Simply forgettable. Not bad, not good, he’s there. Scored points, finishes behind his team mate usually. Really struggling to say anything other than that.

    19. Stevens
    Does what he can with the Manor.

    20. Mehri
    Does what he can with the Manor, which typically seems to be a little less than Stevens can. Gap is too high sometimes, but he has been managing to finish in front of Stevens.

    Basically, 6 through 16 can change on a race to race basis for me, as my grades stand now.

    #302635
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    Nick
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    Fernando Alonso – Brazil 2003. Crashed into debris left there by Mark Webber’s crash. Fernando’s crash ended the race, which had him miss the podium.
    Kimi Raikkonen – Europe 2005. Flat spotted his tyre, kept going and had his suspension break on the final lap. Cost him a lot of points which enabled Alonso to ease to his maiden championship more so than had Raikkonen won this race. He nearly took out Jenson Button as well, closer than Hulkenberg came to taking out Bottas last Sunday.

    #302634
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    Nick
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    One of my first favorite podiums happened at the 1998 Italian GP; M Schumacher, Irvine, R Schumacher. Nothing like seeing your favorite driver win with his teammate and little brother next to him. Europe 1999 is another great one, with Herbert-Trulli-Barrichello. The 2003 Brazilian GP is a little odd in that I like the top 3 finishers, but that podium ceremony got a little weird with the wrong result and Alonso not being there. Definitely one of the more memorable, though!

    The 2004 Monaco podium was something else as well, Trulli-Button-Barrichello. If you’d told me Button would be the one to end up winning the most races out of the three of them I’d probably laugh at the time. Felt like Trulli was going to win more, which makes this one a little bittersweet. 2005 San Marino race had Alonso-Schumacher-Wurz, which was quite vindicating for Wurz and I enjoyed having him on the podium. That year’s Monaco GP also had a nice podium, with Raikkonen, Heidfeld and Webber. The 2008 Canadian GP is also up there, with a 1-2 for BMW Sauber, but also DC getting a podium for one of his two points finishes that season. Similarly, the 2009 Belgian GP had Raikkonen scoring his only win that season, Fisichella his only points finish with a 2nd place and Vettel in 3rd and suddenly looking like he could be a factor in the championship.

    Valencia 2012 has a special place in my heart, though. Seeing my top 3 favorite drivers on the podium again after all that time was something I did not expect but was very welcome.

    #302630
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    Nick
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    I’m sad to see Renault go, but I’m pretty happy they’ve gone the way of finding a solution and/or new manufacturer immediately, rather than face into the abyss for too long. Superlicence points or not, it’s a good championship and drivers who win the title generally have been successful elsewhere, so perhaps over the years they’d still have gotten enough to get into F1 after the category.

    #302627
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    Nick
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    I think one of the contributing factors to F1 seeming more boring now is that the fans have a lot more information. Watching a boring race in the late 90s or early 00s for me was boring, but I felt that races like that happened. You never really knew what strategy everyone was on, how much fuel they had, what tyres they were on. There was perhaps some more diversity in engines and tyres as well, adding more elements. If it started to rain, it wouldn’t just be more exciting because of the rain, but also meant one tyre manufacturer could lose their edge and the other came back into play.

    Right now, perhaps since 2010 or so, we’ve had increasingly more information fed to us during the race and rules have called for more uniformity. In my perception, it’s become a lot easier to ‘read’ a race, with less elements of interest and more information. On top of that, retirements have diminished to a point you could say regulations regarding limited engines etc. per year have had a completely different result than ‘cost saving’ and rather have eliminated engine and engine part failures as a common retirement cause.

    In terms of unpredictability, F1 has lost something over the past 10 years, with the past 5 years and the introduction of artificial unpredictability and push to pass, races feel different to me than they used to do.

    We can’t really turn our back on cost saving and tell the teams to run infinite engine parts again, but I do feel F1 needs to look into opening up regulations to let a little bit more variety in and keep artificial means out.

    #302625
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    Nick
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    For some reason I’ve always liked Jordan Mugen-Honda a lot, but Jordan Honda didn’t do as much for me. I also really liked the Petronas branding on the Ferrari engines in the Sauber, to the point I found it a shame Ferrari let their engines be called Ferrari for Red Bull, Spyker and Toro Rosso afterwards (I’m over it now, though). There was something about engine rebranding that feels very 90s to me (Arrows branding their Hart engine as Arrows for no reason other than stroke Walkinshaw’s ego).

    Speaking of Arrows, Arrows-Yamaha always seems like a very apt combination for the one of the last shady teams to survive into the late 90s and early 00s. Much like Arrows-Asiatech for the same reason (rebranding Peugeot engines and somehow making them worse? Brilliant!) Arrows also ran rebranded BMW turbo engines as Megatron, which I’ve always liked, growing up watching Transformers (where Megatron is the main antagonist’s name.)

    Another thing of the 90s, when Renault left at the end of 1997, Williams and Benetton had to rebrand the engines for 1998, while Benetton used the stylish ‘Playlife’ as a rebrand, Williams went with the manufacturer name Mechachrome. Perhaps one of the least passion-invoking brandnames to ever be involved in F1.

    Benetton-Renault is another favorite, an Italian team, based in Britain, running French engines, driven to a championship by a German driver in 1995. If that didn’t warm hearts all over the EU commission I don’t know what would. A shame Benetton sold the team to Renault in 2001, as the 2001 Benetton is one of my favorite ‘simple, modern’ liveries of all time. Really didn’t care for Renault’s liveries.

    #302188
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    Nick
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    I think I will remember him most for his points in Monaco, as it was the final indicator for me how wrong I was about him when he first entered my sights.

    In 2010 and 2011 he was one of the drivers in GP2 which I considered to be ‘good, but have iffy driving styles’. Being a somewhat fan of Giedo van der Garde, some incidents he had with VdG had my fandom/nationality pushing Jules into the category of ‘crash prone driver’. In 2012 I was following FR3.5 very closely and there he was, a transformed man, he seemed much calmer to me, but as fast. His wins at Silverstone and Paul Richard (especially the latter, as Frijns was nowhere) built up a sort of ‘fear’ in me, the same way I ‘feared’ Vettel halfway through the 2012 F1 season as Alonso fan.

    @andae23 did a great job of describing how the final race turned out, though I personally felt (or rather, was accustomed to, as a Schumacher fan) the crash wasn’t a big deal and was rather annoyed by some statements made by Bianchi and especially by Tech1 and Ferrari. In hindsight, the feelings I had for Bianchi at that point in time were very similar to the way I felt about Mika Hakkinen in 1998/1999; a competitor who could beat my favorite driver and thus irked me emotionally, rather than rationally.

    During his time in F1, he was one of the few drivers of the ‘new 2010 teams’ I ever felt had a bright future in F1. When he managed to go fastest in multiple cars at the YDT at Magny Cours, I felt he nearly had to be signed by Force India. They didn’t, much to my chagrin, but he proved his worth at Marussia none the less.

    https://youtu.be/NK23dzTJbDk
    Also includes some praise from none other than Alain Prost.

    #302083
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    Nick
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    @ivan-vinitskyy You think the families, friends and perhaps fans of all those other people who die wouldn’t like a tribute to their fallen loved one? How odd we want a tribute for a driver in the sport we liked, normally people just throw their deceased in the bin, grab a pen and cross their name off the door.

    #302077
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    Nick
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    Retiring both car number 17 and the name ‘BIA’ in the FOM graphics for at least a few years would be nice.

    Something else to remember him by could be in the form of his initials on a car or chassis, like JS with Ligier for Jo Schlesser or DW in Indycar for Dan Wheldon.

    #301736
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    Nick
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    F1 has come a long way from the Schumacher days, where TV directors felt the need to only show what was going on in the front (usually Schumacher’s Ferrari) which was boring to me, even though I’m a massive Schumacher fan. I remember races like Canada 2000, where Jos Verstappen was slicing through the field in the rain, but the director only ‘flashed’ us his overtakes, then went straight back to any Ferrari or McLaren.

    That being said, the TV director still makes odd calls on who to follow and what to replay (endless replays of the start manage to cool my enthusiasm almost entirely when there are lap 1 battles going on), so I definitely agree the air time of anyone who isn’t in the top 3 teams is usually a little sub-par.

    #300142
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    Nick
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    The Dutch Eurosport commentators had an interesting take on it, namely saying that they’re partaking in Le Mans/WEC instead of other forms of marketing. The returns you get on marketing in any shape or form are hard to determine (especially globally, it’s actually easy to see if you have one store, take out one ad in one newspaper for one period, but I digress). Essentially, by partaking in this sport you’re marketing your brand, which will lead more people to your brand and perhaps more importantly, affirm people’s positive opinion of your brand.

    It’s very difficult to actually get someone to buy your expensive, durable product, with just advertisement, but if you already own an Audi, they win Le Mans 13 times, you’re a lot more likely to buy another Audi and recommend them to your mates, than anyone going out and buying 3 Porsches just because they won Le Mans, however it could influence your opinion on the purchase.

    Again, it’ll be difficult to express the exact monetary return on investment, but it’s not as if WEC works teams are throwing their money into a ditch.

    #300141
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    Nick
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    I was 8 when Schumacher had his Silverstone 1999 accident, I was shocked when it happened, but telling my classmates the next day I did burst out in tears. Not good for the reputation, but alas, adding insult to injury is easy in school. Then again, it felt great to gloat on the Mondays after races like Hungary and Italy the year before.

    I’m not sure if I cried (tears of joy) when Schumacher won his first title for Ferrari, I do remember jumping around the house in joy.

    Though not as spectacular as crying, I do remember being intensely let down after the title deciders of 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2012. As a Ferrari fan, I felt really bad for Massa in 2008, but as an Alonso fan, 2012 actually had me rather gloomy for about a week.

    To be really frank, I do find myself holding back tears whenever I see Schumacher’s fastest lap at Monaco 2012. He meant a lot to me as a kid and it breaks my heart every time I think about his and his family’s current situation. Though I wasn’t as big a fan of Jules, his situation is heartbreaking as well and it’s a big elephant in the room for me, regarding F1 to me. In both cases, I’m not sure I’d keep my eyes dry if bad news reached me.

    I should probably mention also jumping off the couch a lot during the early 2000s, which didn’t really return until 2012. I think I pulled a muscle after the Spa start crash that year.

    #300021
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    Nick
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    Maybe a lot of fans are quiet on this subject because we have been absolutely bombarded with suggestions from drivers, team managers, former drivers, pundits, commentators and other fans.

    It’s plain to see there are plenty of things that can be improved in current F1, but keeping up with all of the suggestions of both what’s wrong and what their supposed solutions would be are starting to become a huge nuisance.

    #298585
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    Nick
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    I think Ricciardo is leaving himself out of the equation, which is fair, but he himself might have been in F1 for a longer time, he himself only has one year of experience as a top team driver as well. I can’t imagine the rate of development at Toro Rosso being anywhere near as fast as at Red Bull and they probably utilize different methods, tools and strategies.

    I’d say the RB11’s development is not going as fast as it could because of the relative inexperience of the drivers, rather than ‘being held back’. In modern F1, the race drivers seem to have less influence on the development on the car too (as compared to cars being designed for drivers like Schumacher-Ferrari and others in the past), which I find some evidence in at McLaren this season.

    #296612
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    Right now, I’d say downsizing.

    Ultimately, we wants the circuit fees and the cost of running a team to go down. This cannot happen without also losing some income (from the circuits) and without sacrifice. You can’t however just cut on two or three places and keep running a company like nothing happened. I think it will boil down to taking less crew to races, having less crew, less windtunnel time, etc. This will also limit development, jobs, etc, but frankly that’s the only way I can see costs being cut without some unmanageable cost cap or giving the FOM less money (and in turn, them giving the teams less money) while expecting the teams to maintain their current budgets. A downsize like this is still largely unmanageable in a sport with this many constructors and other stakeholders, though.

    The only way I see F1 moving towards a more ‘grounded’ financial and commercial stance is to go NASCAR/Indycar and become a stand-alone series which manages its own rules, commercial rights and races. The thing is, the teams will never pry F1 from the FOM or FIA, not to mention there will always be teams who will want to continue with F1. So, frankly, F1 needs to fall entirely before it can walk, in my eyes.

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