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    1. M Schumacher
    2. Alonso
    3. Vettel
    4. Raikkonen
    5. Hamilton
    6. Button
    7. Coulthard
    8. Montoya
    9. Häkkinen
    10. Massa

    The only changes to my list have come at the bottom.

    Massa has slipped down the list a bit due to his poor performances recently. I have also removed Kubica – he drove very well, but I think I was judging him on one good season (2010) rather than on his career as a whole, where he often struggled to beat Heidfeld. Montoya is his replacement.

    Up at the top – Raikkonen was one of the top racers in the first half of the decade, challenging Schumacher. I placed him 4th last year and his successful return has only strengthened his hand.

    Alonso and Vettel were both amazing this season, but my memory’s not so bad that I’d remove Schumacher from the #1 spot.



    No, but a non-human might – you can take your pick between robot, cyborg, artificial lifeform and alien.

    When all is said and done, who [or what] will succeed Bernie Ecclestone?



    Not by the wider public. There have been some good races, but a great season needs a strong ‘story’ with two or three drivers vying for the title. This year we’ve had a scrappy start and then Alonso has ground his way into a commanding position through consistency. It’s all very impressive but it’s not very memorable. [things could change if Vettel suddenly wins 2 of the next 3 and makes a fight of it.]

    When all is said and done, who will be the next driver to win their first championship? And when?



    I wasn’t trying to imply anything – I am just careful with my words from time to time. Just because I didn’t notice any team orders doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

    However I know that teams do put as little fuel as possible into cars, and if a driver has had to push a lot and there has been no safety car then they will often be asked to watch their fuel consumption towards the end of a race. We saw the opposite situation in Singapore where after the safety car had been out for a few laps, one of the drivers was told “we don’t have to save fuel anymore.”

    So I feel that the orders passed to Hamilton seemed reasonable. They could have been an attempt to stop the two cars from crashing into each other, but a simpler explanation is that they were exactly what they appeared to be.



    Attitudes have changed a bit. These days team orders are allowed and accepted… in a lot of cases it just makes sense.

    When Ferrari ordered Massa to let Alonso through, team orders were against the rules. Breaking the rules is sensational in itself, but also – as team orders were banned – nobody else was (openly) giving them at the time so it was unusual.

    Then there’s the feeling that some of the orders issued by Ferrari weren’t ‘necessary’ as Schumacher would probably have won the title anyway. I think these simply resulted from bitter experience… after Schumacher missed out on what might have been his first championship for Ferrari with a broken leg, they realised that anything can happen at any time and that you need to fight for every point when you get the chance.



    I believe Button is just being realistic.

    As I posted elsewhere, Alonso has been very consistent this year and it is quite reasonable to believe he can average 4th place each race for the rest of the season. If he does this he will be on 266 points.

    To beat that, Hamilton would need three wins, two second places and a third place. Or alternatively, five wins and a retirement.

    God forbid Alonso actually finishes on the podium in one or two of those races! In that case, even five wins wouldn’t be enough for Hamilton.



    What’s Lotus’ budget?

    The only reason Mercedes is in the running is because they’re well-funded (running a works team, offering a big salary etc.). I’m not sure Lotus has the backing to do that.



    We need to award points down to 10th so that the midfield teams have something meaningful to race for. Just think of all the interest in who will take 7th/8th/9th/10th – often it is more interesting than the battle for the lead.

    In contrast, nobody really cares who finishes 11th-15th because for the likes of Force India or Torro Rosso, that would simply mean no points and a faliure.

    Now once we’re awarding 1 point to 10th place, we need to award more points to all the places above. Hence the current system.



    There is already a top driver who (when less famous) was involved in some bad stuff – definitely worse than Giggs. His team used the courts to keep it out of the media, and unlike in Giggs’ case, the media actually respected that.

    The result is that most people don’t know, so the sponsors don’t care, and he’s still racing.

    Sometimes cover-ups work…



    The season opener should be someone from outside the top three teams, just to ram home to us all that this is a new season. How about Raikonnen for Melbourne? That would be exciting!

    Then Alonso on pole for Ferrari in Malaysia – showing that Ferrari intends to give a proper showing in this year’s title fight.

    Once it’s been established that this is a real contest, I’d love it Vettel proved that this year’s records were more about the man than the car by taking half the poles over the season anyway. Hamilton would surely snatch a couple – I reckon he and Vettel are the best qualifiers on the grid – and it would be unbelievably awesome if Schumacher could somehow have one last hurrah on a wet Saturday in Germany.

    How do those five sound is potential pole-winners? I know I’d be on the edge of my seat.



    Perhaps it’s your fault for getting carried away and overhyping him?

    I see him as one of the more promising upcoming drivers – in the same category as Rosberg, Petrov and Alguersuari – and I think this year, he’s outdone all of them bar Sutil.

    After all, he’s put the car where it ought to be. Despite being known for his agressive style and daring overtakes, he rarely makes mistakes – he only had one accident all year – and never had a truly bad race. In always finishing 15th or above, he outdid Schumacher, Petrov and Di Resta, and matched Sutil – all of whom had faster cars than him.

    Judged against his peers, he’s had a season to be proud of, picking his risks well and combining high achievement (like a 5th at Monaco) with consistency (like 7 consecutive top-ten finishes). And he remained consistent and focused even when the other teams improved their cars more quickly than Sauber, showing he can keep his head up when the going is tough.

    Put that together with the way he’s conducted himself in interviews, talking about responsiblility and always staying positive. From where I’m sitting, this is easily his most mature season, and I reckon he’s developed into a real team leader. I can’t imagine Sauber getting rid of him.




    Who would your biggest rival be? – probably HRT. I don’t actually have any experience at this team leading stuff.

    What would be your greatest success story? – we would have better crowd support than any other team (except Ferrari in Italy and Spain). We would do this by giving out free caps and t-shirts at every grand prix, and generally being happy and cherry folks. Oh, and being completely crazy :D

    What would be your biggest failure? – points. We probably wouldn’t win very many.

    What would your team be like personality wise weird, but… actually no, just weird.

    What would your livery be like? Orange! We’d only have two sponsors: the ‘phone company, and a local market stall which sells fresh fruit each week in Southampton.

    Who would be your main sponsor? – I’ve already answered that one. TRY to keep up ;)

    Which big F1 name would be your loyal ally? – Eddie Jordan, he’d love us. And Red Bull, we’d look after some of their young drivers (God knows they’ve got enough).

    Which big F1 name would be your biggest enemy/rival? – Luca Montezemolo. “Why can’t they take things *seriously?!*”

    What sort of circuits would your car do well at? – Good question. We hope to find one before the end of the season. (I’d probably set it up for lots of downforce and great cornering ability. Racing happens at corners; straights are just the bits in between.)

    What secret weapon or device would your car have? – Another good question! This is, of course, secret. But I’m sure we’ve got one.

    Which two drivers would you hire and why? – I believe I mentioned Red Bull’s young driver program. Vergne, and Ricciardo.

    Which reserve driver would you have? – The Mighty Quinn! No, not that one. Niall. We hired him because we liked his name… I don’t think he’s very happy about that.

    Which would be your favourite driver really? – Jenson Button. We grew up in the same area. (I’d tell my drivers to let him by and hold up his rivals.)

    Would you use team orders and when? Don’t just think switching positions but using both cars when they’re 1st and 2nd to block the road and stop anyone passing like Top Gear did a few years back. – F1 is a team sport. My drivers would be expected to recognise this and voluntarily let their team-mate past if their car had a problem. Alternatively, if they found themselves running next to each other, one might hold up the pack while the other accelerated away into the distance.

    But if the two drivers were evenly-matched on the track, and neither of them was competing for the championship – well then, I’d expect a good old-fashioned battle, and the winner can share his champagne with the team.

    And that’s all I can think of for now. Hopefully you’ll all enjoy this thread and hope you’re all having a good festive Xmas season so far :)

    Happy Christmas :)



    BasCB, I’ve added a version of your (first) idea to the spreadsheet – making first place be 2*2nd and 3*3rd (etc.).

    The points for the top positions are then 24, 12, 8, 6…

    This puts a big value on first place, but it does mean that (say) 15th and 16th are basically indistinguishable – so one disadvantage is it judges the teams on different standards, i.e. for the front-runners, winning is everything, but for the lower teams, consistency is everything.

    It also throws up some interesting changes. Hamilton is now 3rd, because of his race wins. (to go on from my comments last page, would he have received so much criticism under this points system? Perhaps people would praise his risk-taking. But he’s still behind Button).

    And Senna only comes 25th! This is because like I said, for the lower teams, this system works (arguably) against your intentions, as all the positions become a bit of a blur… not racing half the season becomes a huge black mark against him. Heidfeld also suffers.

    It certainly throws up some nice results, though. As for judging driver skill, maybe another week.



    Basically any scoring system is a comprimise between “what was your best result?” and “how consistent were you?”

    At one end is the system you just described, and the other is to simply take average finishing position over the season (with any retirements counting as 24th/25th) – the system Ajokay set out in his comment.

    Both systems ‘feel’ wrong, in that Petrov doesn’t seem to ‘deserve’ to be ahead of the Mercedes cars (as in ‘best finish’), but the average system doesn’t do enough to reward risks.

    The question then is psychological: what are these feelings based on? Can we make something which ‘feels’ right? And can we really lay down a formula which says, e.g. ‘one win is worth the same as two 3rd places?’

    I also wonder how much this shapes our opinions of the drivers. If the FIA used this system, would we be talking about how Schumacher had ‘made good’ on his comeback, and beaten his team-mate by two places? Would we be saying that Sutil was dead-weight and essentially tied with Di Resta? Or that Petrov was one of the best drivers around, hauling his Renault above both Mercedes and a Ferrari?

    I do wonder just how much of our opinions about the drivers is influenced by that little number next to their names in the standings. That’s one of the reasons I like looking more closely at the numbers: it reminds me of the stories behind them, and how different things could look if we approached from a different angle.



    This isn’t a crusade to change the rules – I just find it interesting to think about how they could be different. If you don’t find it interesting, that’s fine too!

    And besides, this does give us a better way of comparing the midfield and lower runners – say, from Perez downwards (which is half the drivers!). So there’s interest there, in seeing how the new teams change over time.

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