Nick

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  • #310718
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    Jos Verstappen
    Jos, much like Max, had a very short career in the lower formulae, but was backed by the Dutch branch of Philip Morris. After testing for Footwork and McLaren in late 1993, it seemed that Philip Morris wanted Jos to sign a test contract with McLaren and try to move to a race seat for 1995. Instead, Jos signed to the Mild Seven backed Benetton team to test in 1994 and maybe drive in 1995. As known, Letho broke his neck during testing and Jos made his debut at Interlagos in 1994. In the process, he pretty much lost all of his personal sponsors (or his manager felt he didn’t need them anymore) and managed to come off looking rather weak compared to Schumacher. Then he was replaced by Letho, reinstated, then replaced by Herbert for the final race and 1995. Afterwards his career became a case of finding relatively cheap seats at the back of the midfield and being ousted by paying drivers. (Legend has it that Ken Tyrrell quit his own team after BAT/BAR took over and got Rosset over retaining either Salo or Verstappen for 1998.)

    Perhaps the biggest blow to his career was Honda deciding to return as engine supplier in 2000. The people working on the works team in 1999 were people Jos knew from Tyrrell and liked him. The car was quick and Jos was probably at his peak in 2000 and 2001. I don’t think Jos was as good as Max is as a complete driver, but Jos certainly was gifted.

    Olivier Panis
    It’s hard to judge if Panis would even have made it to F1 were it not for the long gone unspoken rule that drivers backed by Elf would at some point drive for Ligier. However, Panis was regarded as a good driver in the 90s. Staying at Ligier as it became Prost nearly got him a lot (a very good 1997 season) but ended up costing him (his crash at the 1997 Canadian GP). After a poor 1998, it should have been clear that Prost GP wasn’t moving up any time soon, but he chose to stay for 1999. I think 1998 and 1999 allowed people to forget his amazing run in early 1997 and the promise he showed in his debut season. He ended up testing for McLaren in 2000 (much to the joy of Mika Hakkinen) then moved to BAR for 2001 and 2002. The BAR wasn’t very good and Villeneuve got all the noteworthy results. Olivier then moved to Toyota for 2003 and 2004, but again found himself at a team with a decent-at-best car and not so stellar organization.

    Though he faced a similar situation as the likes of Hulkenberg, Perez and Grosjean today, he made a mistake in staying with Prost too long, joining BAR-Villeneuve when they were still together and Toyota. Had he ended up driving the McLaren somewhere in the Schumacher/Hakkinen era, he could have been more of a problem than DC ever was.

    Mark Webber‘s early career
    Mark is one of those drivers that I can’t help but feel should have won more races. Ultimately overclassed by Seb at Red Bull, he somewhat ironically did at the only time in his career he was at the right team at the right time.

    Nothing wrong with starting at Minardi, especially the year after fellow Briatore-protege Alonso did so, but Jaguar was never a good team. Probably not a whole lot of choice there, though. However, his next move, to Williams, is of a different category than ‘doing an alonso’. He traded a midfield team for a top team declining to the midfield.. 2005 was not that bad, but didn’t beat Heidfeld with the might expected of the guy that put the Jaguar on grid positions it had no right of being on. 2006 was terrible for the team and harmed Mark’s profile as well. Moving back to Milton Keynes, now Red Bull Racing, wasn’t the best move from a driver heavily linked to Renault at the time, but ended up being a good enough call.

    That being said.. If Mark had a car of the calibre of the RB6 somewhere between 2005 and 2008, he would have grabbed a lot more wins and potentially the title as well. Perhaps he didn’t quite ruin his career, but that first win in 2009 was years overdue.

    Jarno Trulli
    Started off strong at Minardi and Prost in 1997, was held back (as Panis was) by the poor 1998 and 1999 Prost cars, moved to Jordan in 2000 and 2001 where he had a reasonable time. Then moved to Renault, which had an amazingly poor 2001 as Benetton and their 2002 wasn’t much better. Outscored by Alonso plainly in 2003, but had a strong 2004. Until he managed to get himself fired. Remembering his good former team mate Panis, he decided that a move to Toyota would be the best way to obscurity. Arguably got the most out of driving a Toyota among anyone who drove for them, but ended up joining Lotus1MalaysiaF1Team to really sort that silent exit from of the sport out.

    The move to Renault in 2002 can be excused by winning the 2004 Monaco GP, but at the same time getting fired months later negated that progress. His time driving around a Toyota wasn’t much of a waste, but he must have known he wouldn’t carry the team to wins. Moving to Malaysia1Lotus(not)TeamF1 is still a strange move in my mind and where 2009 aided his profile, he managed to become invisible during the 2010 and 2011 seasons..

    Giancarlo Fisichella
    There is a strange symmetry between Trulli and Fisichella. As Fisi drove for Benetton in 2000/2001, Trulli drove for Jordan. Trulli moved to Benetton/Renault, Fisichella moved to Jordan. Why anyone would want to move to Jordan after 2001 is a mystery, being a team in decline and getting second grade Honda engines. 2003 did give Fisi a win at the wheel of the Jordan-Ford, but much of the season saw him not even finishing. He only scored two more points the entire season. He made a good call moving to Sauber for 2004, effectively racing Ferrari’s 2003 challenger. But, the call from Renault came and Fisi dutifully played second fiddle to Alonso, harming his profile in the process. After being ditched by Renault because the poor 2007 season was totally Fisi’s fault, he ended up at Force India. He stuck the bloody thing on pole at the 2009 Belgian GP, only to sign on for Ferrari to do marginally better than Luca Badoer in the monumentally bad Ferrari F60 for the rest of 2009.

    Giancarlo stated a dream came true: he became a Ferrari driver. For a few races. Then he became a Ferrari-GT driver. Looking at Force India in 2010 and 2011, they could have used Fisichella a lot better than Ferrari’s GT program did. Perhaps not a ‘ruined’ career, but returning to Enstone to be Alonso’s second man was below the best he could have done at that point, and his career didn’t have to end on 5 non-points finishes at a team that already had next season’s drivers lined up.

    Perhaps not so much ‘ruined careers’ then, but mostly ‘careers that could have gone a lot better’?

    #310459
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    Used my trusty grading system, but grades went off as the season progressed.

    21. Roberto Mehri
    Not impressive, not bad, but that’s not something to show at a team like Manor and expect to stay in F1.
    20. Will Stevens
    Faster than Mehri in qualifying, but as the season went on seemed to lose out during the races. Unremarkable season, so like Mehri just didn’t impress.
    19. Alexander Rossi
    Showed up, did his job and beat his teammate. Ran too few races and exactly where you expected him, so hard to place him much higher.
    18. Pastor Maldonado
    Not a bad season per se, but to finish first, first you have to finish. Luck or not, Pastor had a hard time doing that this season, despite being much closer to Grosjean in the races than I expected.
    17. Marcus Ericsson
    Much like the Manor drivers had a largely unimpressive season, but did score points and didn’t always run as far off Nasr as I expected.
    16. Fernando Alonso
    Hard to judge, but I can’t rate DNFs higher than finishes.
    15. Jenson Button
    See Alonso.
    14. Felipe Nasr
    Did a fine job, but wasn’t as far in front of his teammate as I expected. After this season I’m also doubting his potential for growth, though he was never one of my favorites in GP2 either but did well there in the end.
    (From here on it’s a lot closer, where individual spectacular results give an advantage over finishing ‘in position’ for nearly all season)
    13. Felipe Massa
    Shown in 2014 he can still perform. 2015 showed that’s also pretty much it.
    12. Daniel Ricciardo
    Kvyatt beat him on points, but had a poor first half of the season. Something to think about, he has proven he’s a good driver, now to stay on top of things.
    11. Daniil Kvyatt
    Beat his teammate on points, but had a poor opening to the season.
    10. Kimi Raikkonen
    It pains me to put one of my favorite drivers this low, but compared to Vettel and seeing the amount of non-mechanical DNFs/points lost, I have to be disappointed.
    9. Valtteri Bottas
    Not as special as his 2014, with Massa being a lot closer it’s hard to put him much higher for me.
    8. Romain Grosjean
    His most mature and consistent season. A podium is a great achievement in a car that wasn’t developed much all season. Pulverized Maldonado in qualifying, but Pastor came pretty close to him during a number of races. Ultimately held back by the Lotus.
    7. Carlos Sainz Jr.
    Was unlucky to receive the lion’s share of Toro Rosso’s mechanical DNFs, but was pretty close to Verstappen. Both Toro Rosso drivers got the most out of the car, but Verstappen was closer to the positions to capitalize on others’ misfortune often.
    6. Nico Hulkenberg
    Had a somewhat hit and miss season, especially before his Le Mans victory. The best results went to his team mate, which is something the Hulk needs to be wary of.
    5. Sergio Perez
    A third place and three fifth places are excellent results for a Force India. Sergio seemed to be a more consistent version of his 2012 self.
    4. Max Verstappen
    As I put above, I started scoring expected results lower and lower as the season progressed. With two finishes in 4th, impressive drives throughout the season, Max scored the most standout scores. At the same time, Monaco was a big, avoidable mistake and I’m not sure what was going on in Abu Dhabi.
    3. Nico Rosberg
    Saved his place in my top 5 by his late season streak. Rosberg continues his reputation of being a weak driver in second or under pressure, but a strong driver if he’s comfortably first. If his timing was wrong in 2014 because of his Saturday vs Sunday performance, his timing in 2015 was wrong as he only won races comfortably after the championship was lost.
    2. Lewis Hamilton
    A very strong season, resulting in a well deserved 3rd WDC. Still has too many races where he’s just not on it. The car is strong enough to then still guarantee 2nd, but driving like that in a more competitive season would have cost him a lot of points.
    1. Sebastian Vettel
    Apart from his mistake in Bahrain and his off race in Mexico got the best out of his car all season long and often was the life of the party when Mercedes was challenged. Now for Ferrari to build an even better car and stop the silly mistakes when it comes to Q1, and we could have a challenge on our hands.

    #309291
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    They’ve also thrown Sebastien Loeb under the bus by not giving him a WTCC seat despite moving to that series together. Didn’t properly inform him either.

    I honestly don’t know if I should feel bad for the WTCC because it’s always been like this. First Seat, then Chevrolet, now Citroen, I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up calling it a day on the series if they don’t manage to keep some manufacturers on board, or rather find some that won’t ditch the WTCC as soon as their marketing budget undercuts their sporting budget.

    #309166
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    I’d call him one of the best drivers not to win a title of the current era, but only when this era is over and Hulkenberg and Grosjean never get a go at a top team. At the same time, history usually isn’t kind to drivers who finish second and weren’t that popular during their careers. Villeneuve was and still is a hugely popular driver and could have won the 1979 title, but no other season had him so close. It’s mainly the fact he hasn’t won more than he did (but he so obviously had the talent for it) that adds to his legacy. Drivers like Moss and Ickx have many accolades outside of F1, leaving it more at a ‘it’s a shame they never won an F1 title’-sentimental type legacy.

    Rosberg meanwhile has by and large always scored to his best and it hasn’t been enough. He never got close to the title in the second best (or worse) car like Schumacher in 1998, or Raikkonen in 2003 or even Alonso in 2012. I think of him more as a driver who would have won the title under different circumstances, someone like Berger, Webber or Ralf Schumacher (minus his Toyota days). He might need to either win the title or have another close season like 2014 before his profile is boosted any more than his current general perception.

    #308341
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    I’m loving the ideas of standardizing more in F1 and having F1 facilities that can be used by smaller teams, as well as the idea of structuring the sport more like US sports in the sense of franchising.

    One thing I do note in this tread is that it’s rather forceful; changes like the ones described above me would have to be pushed through by the FOM/FIA or a breakaway council. To follow up my original question; how do you think that F1 should change these things? Have F1 break away from either FIA or FOM (or both?), have the Strategy Group decommissioned?

    Personally I’d prefer a ‘fresh start’ for F1 in the shape of a Indycar/NASCAR type franchise. This would allow for an overhaul of pretty much everything that’s been talked about in this thread, but also would allow for parties to stay behind. One element of a ‘breakaway series’ that has come up on previous discussions on this forum is the possibility of a team staying behind in an FIA/FOM series and raking in the rewards, while the new series has to rebuild its appeal.

    #307673
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    I only now realized I completely forgot my own deadline. Sorry for the delay! (Though it serves as a good indication why I haven’t taken part in this challenge lately, I keep forgetting the deadlines!)

    I liked all the entries, the ones from Phil and Browny went neck a neck, with Browny’s perhaps being more realistic for 2015 circuit design, however @philereid takes the win with a nicely flowing track.

    #307225
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    Awesome, thanks @browny

    A couple of years ago, the province of North-Holland figured it’d be a good idea to demolish Zandvoort and build a new racetrack somewhere near Den Helder or Den Oever. This challenge is inspired by that.
    -Build a purpose built circuit near either Den Helder or Den Oever in the Netherlands
    -Between 4.5 and 7.5 kilometers long
    -You cannot demolish houses, but you can build over waterways or small roads
    -The small islands north of Den Helder are off limits

    I’ll probably announce the winner around 21:00 GMT+1 on Thursday.

    #307203
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    Volzhsky, near Volgograd (aka Stalingrad). Actual track is a little over 6 kilometers long.

    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6737886

    #305682
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    While agreeing it’s a kind gesture from Vettel to have Kimi’s name on the pit board as well, part of me wonders why Ferrari has him sitting there but hadn’t included his name in the first place. Then again, this is Ferrari, I guess.

    #304572
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    Another one set in my hometown, the actual track is 3.3235 KM (gmaps displays the length+pitlane+backtracking to draw pitlane).

    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6707692

    Chose a route that shows off some of our inner city landmarks; the station, the museum, the Martini clock tower and AA-clock tower. There are some bottlenecks (the satellite images are from 2010 or earlier, and some traffic dividers) but my city likes to waste tons on re-paving the city, so that should be no problem for a FE round.

    #304241
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    It’s been a while since I entered, but a hometown design round I can’t skip!

    http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6705020

    Pretty simple design, with a number of bends you’d really need to nail in order to get the right acceleration and some overtaking spots.

    #303316
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    I quite liked the exhaust placement on the Ferrari F300, sending the exhaust air over the rear wing.

    Though I wasn’t a fan of what it eventually became around 2003 (another aero appendage)

    #303107
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    I’ve never been a fan of most 1990s backmarker liveries, ironically there’s a bunch I do like already posted! Most of them are just incoherent and not ugly per se. But some are.

    For instance the 1990 Larrouse:

    Or the 1997 Minardi: (largely due to there being no regard to the Mild Seven decals in the rest of the design)

    Not that the 1998 Minardi was much better:

    Mind you, I’ve got a thing against plain grey F1 cars.

    As for more modern F1, I found the later Earth car to be much worse than the first:

    The two ‘racing stripes’ just mess with my head.

    I was never a fan of BMW Williams’ nor BMW Sauber’s livery either, but looking at this thread I’m not sure they belong here.

    #302819
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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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    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.

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