Top 20 Indycar Drivers since 1979 (CART, Champ Car, INDYCAR & IRL)

1) Rick Mears (4x Indy 500/ 3x CART championships)
2) Michael Andretti (1991 CART champion/ 42 CART wins)
3) Scott Dixon (2008 Indy 500/ 4x IRL/INDYCAR championships)
4) Dario Franchitti (3x Indy 500/ 4x INDYCAR championships)
5) Al Unser Jr. (2x Indy 500/ 2x CART championships)
6) Alex Zanardi (2x CART championships/ 15 CART wins/ never raced Indy 500)
7) Bobby Rahal (1986 Indy 500/ 3x CART championships)
8) Gil de Ferran (2003 Indy 500/ 2x CART championships)
9) Mario Andretti (1984 CART champion/ 19 CART wins/ 1969 Indy 500 (USAC sanctioned))
10) Will Power (2014 INDYCAR champion/ 30 Champ Car/INDYCAR wins/ 2015 Indy 500 runner-up)
11) Emerson Fittipaldi (2x Indy 500/ 1989 CART champion)
12) Simon Pagenaud (2016 INDYCAR champion/ 9 INDYCAR wins)
13) Al Unser Sr. (2x CART champion/ 4x Indy 500- 1987 (CART sanctioned))
14) Kenny Brack (1999 Indy 500/ 1998 IRL champion/ 2001 CART runner-up)
15) Greg Moore (5 CART wins/ never raced Indy 500)
16) Helio Castroneves (3x Indy 500/ 4x IRL/INDYCAR runner-up)
17) Danny Sullivan (1985 Indy 500/ 1988 CART champion)
18) Sam Hornish Jr. (2006 Indy 500/ 3x IRL/INDYCAR champion)
19) Dan Wheldon (2x Indy 500/ 2005 IRL champion)
20) Raul Boesel (Best CART driver to never win a race)

2016 Singapore Grand Prix: Max Mania Continues

DRIVER OF THE DAY

Sebastian Vettel (P5, Ferrari)

In a trouble-filled weekend with pace and reliability issues, the German’s drive from P22 to a solid P5 is testament to his combativeness. It would be easy for the four time champ to lose his marbles at the Scuderia’s state of affairs, but Vettel continues to preach belief and positively in his media statements.

WINNERS

Nico Rosberg (P1, Mercedes)

A very worthy candidate of Driver of the Day himself. This weekend, Rosberg decimated teammate Lewis Hamilton in a manner rarely seen throughout their partnership of the past four years. In the closing stages, Rosberg may have slipped up at the sight of a rampant Daniel Ricciardo looming in his mirrors in previous seasons, but the German held firm. Once seen as a certain nearly-man of F1, Rosberg has transformed his critics’ opinions and maybe 2016 could finally be his crowning glory.

Daniel Ricciardo (P2, Red Bull)

The Honey Badger continues his upturn in form since mid-July, this time comprehensively defeating tyro teammate Max Verstappen emphatically. His economic usage of supersofts underline his ascendancy, consolidating his credentials for a potential championship challenge in 2017. In the closing laps, Ricciardo sliced the deficit to Rosberg rapidly, but arguably if the race had lasted a lap longer, the Australian could have been toasting his first victory of the season with a “shoey”. Ricciardo was also awarded the fastest lap of the race, his third of the season.

Lewis Hamilton (P3, Mercedes)

The Briton had a strange weekend. Completely overshadowed by Rosberg amidst rumours of sabotage on social media, Hamilton’s race worsened when Kimi Raikkonen pounced and overtook adroitly on lap 32 to leave red faces within the Mercedes garage. Ferrari’s perplexing decision to switch Kimi’s softs to used ultrasofts ultimately saved Hamilton’s bacon, but momentum has now swung firmly in Rosberg’s favour.

Kimi Raikkonen (P4, Ferrari)

Another case of what if. The Iceman has a patience of gold, as surely an average driver would lost his frustration at the Maranello squad’s mounting foibles. A superb drive that deserved so much more, especially when considering how Kimi outpaced Vettel in all three practice sessions.

Fernando Alonso (P7, McLaren-Honda)

The polarising Spaniard continues his 2016 revival, as Alonso thoroughly exploited the precise characteristics of his McLaren chassis to another solid points haul, making his soft compounds in his final stint last 27 laps. Why Ferrari didn’t follow this tactical decision with Raikkonen is an utter mystery.

Sergio Perez (P8, Force India)

After his petulant display in Saturday’s qualifying, where he repeatedly blocked cars and failed to slow for yellow flags, Perez exploited the first lap safety car to switch to softs, making his second set of softs on his final stint last a mammoth 42 laps. The Mexican’s market value is booming again.

Daniil Kvyat (P9, Toro Rosso)

In a difficult 2016, where the Russian’s motivation has come under question, this was the feisty performance he desperately needed to prove his doubters wrong. His overtake and subsequent defending against his swap partner Max Verstappen had the hallmarks of an intense rivalry, but also defiance from Kvyat against his finicky employers. If Dany is to remain in F1 for 2017, it is almost certain to be with a non-Red Bull affiliated outfit, so it was vital for the Russian to sell himself with an exhilarating display.

Kevin Magnussen (P10, Renault)

2016 has been a continuous series of underwhelming results from the Enstone-based squad, so it was vital Magnussen picked up the team’s first points since Russia. A scintillating start followed by his consistent stints on supersofts is a welcome change in the Dane’s undistinguished recent performances.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Max Verstappen (P6, Red Bull)

The Dutchman sited clutch issues as the source of his pathetic start, but it was inexcusable how he blocked off Carlos Sainz, causing a fast approaching Nico Hulkenberg to smash into the Spaniard’s Toro Rosso and end the German’s race. The remainder of Verstappen’s Grand Prix saw him humiliated in a fascinating tussle with Kvyat, whose staunch defence served a taste of the bratty youngster’s own medicine. Finishing the race 70 seconds behind surging teammate Ricciardo and struggling heavily with tyre degradation, Max’s late charge did little to disguise his poor day.

F1 Silly Season 2016: September

The announcement of Felipe Massa’s retirement and Jenson Button’s demotion to reserve driver at McLaren sent shock waves throughout the sport during this year’s Italian Grand Prix. It was universally agreed everyone was pleased to see Stoffel Vandoorne finally be handed a full-time ride with McLaren, but Button’s talents being lost to midfield teams, who may need an experienced driver to fill a void. The decision by Ron Dennis and associates to rearrange their driver line-up for 2017 was shrewd and assuring: Vandoorne finally gets his chance, Button is kept on board to please sponsors as McLaren’s British commercial representative, whilst if Fernando Alonso decides to retire from F1 earlier than expected, Button would be a competent and reliable substitute.

Here is my perspective of the future of the sport’s current incumbents:

Force India

Huge interest circulating, but no concrete decisions yet

Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have refuse to refute rumours linking to other teams. Hulkenberg has a contact which ties him to Force India until the end of 2017, but has made no secret of his desires to land Kimi Raikkonen’s seat at Ferrari, when the Finn’s current deal finishes. Perez is linked to Williams, which would be a move sideways, and Renault, where huge investment into their 2017 car may yield immediate rewards. The team have made no secret of their desire to retain both drivers for the foreseeable future, so therefore have not talked about replacements.

Haas

A bump in the road for the American new boys

The two G’s of America’s only F1 teams are very much part of the silly season rumour mill. There has been condemnation over Romain Grosjean’s ability to perform the role of team leader, something which has disgruntled Gene Haas and reports link Grosjean returning to Renault (named Lotus when he drove for them). Esteban Gutierrez continues to polarise pundits over his ability; he has outpaced Grosjean recently, but is unable to rid himself of his knack of failing to finish able 11th. Reports of his poor feedback have circulated, so maybe the clock is indeed ticking on the cordial Mexican’s career. If Gutierrez does remain in F1, though, it will be mostly likely to be a second season with Haas. Prospective GP3 champion Charles LeClerc has emerged as a contender for a seat at Haas, along with Alexander Rossi.

Manor MRT

So far, so good

Pascal Wehrlein is expected to spend a second season at Manor for 2017, but some feel this is a waste of his sizeable talent. Some believe Mercedes would help to accelerate his progress by placing him in the soon-to-be vacated second seat at Williams, allowing the German to compete in midfield battles more regularly instead of trundling at the rear of the grid. Rio Haryanto was recently demoted to the position of reserve driver after Pertamina’s funding extinguished, but his associates have made noises about new sources of sponsorship, which may help Haryanto return to a full-time seat in 2017 at Manor. An option to retain Esteban Ocon is on cards, as long as the Banbury-based squad can negotiate the conundrum of his intertwined contracts with Renault and Mercedes.

Renault Sport

A year in transition

Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer have done little to impress pundits this season. Magnussen’s P7 at Russia remains his only highlight thus far, whilst Palmer threw away a potential points finish when he spun at Hungary, running in P10 beforehand. Sponsorship funding will be key to the future of these youngsters, although no interest has been affirmed from rival outfits as of yet. Cyril Abiteboul has spoken of the need for a “charismatic” driver to lead the Enstone-based squad, which was possibly the French boss pillorying the efforts of his team’s incumbent drivers. Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon have  been mentioned to be targets for this iconic outfit.

Sauber

A light at the end of the tunnel?

This season has proven to be a truly state of affairs for this Hinwil-based squad. A takeover by Longbow Finance, though, has been stated to be securing Sauber’s future, although one cannot always take these statements literally in the rapid, cut-throat world of F1. Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr have not had a car in which either has had the opportunity to impress; indeed, this season has been the nadir of Sauber’s Grand Prix racing history. With little money to spend on development, their current drivers are hoping Monisha Kaltenborn is not eyeing up other drivers, as no rival teams have expressed interest in their services. Nasr, however, was once Williams’ test driver and many feel the Grove-based squad would welcome his injection of Banco do Brasil cash. It would make commercial business sense to replace an ageing Brazilian favourite with another emerging Brazilian talent, appeasing sponsors and retaining global identity.

Toro Rosso

What became of the broken hearted? 

Carlos Sainz has been confirmed for a third season at the Faenza-based squad, although some feel this will be his last if a promotion to the Red Bull senior isn’t beckoning. A move to Renault has been rumoured, although the Spanish press have also stoked rumours of a move to Force India or even Ferrari. A potential move to the Maranello-based squad may tempt Sainz, but he would do so at the age of just 23- his lack of experience with politics within a team entrenched by Machiavellian tendencies may deter him, though. His cerebral and embattled team-mate Daniil Kvyat is fighting an intense battle to save his F1 career; his relations with Franz Tost and Helmut Marko are believed to be at ground zero and with no hints of interest from rival teams, Kvyat’s best hopes lay with an undisclosed Russian backer buying him a seat at Williams, Sauber, Manor or Force India.

Williams

F1’s Tottenham Hotspur

The Grove-based squad is yet to confirm Valtteri Bottas for a fourth season, but many feel it is just a matter of applying pen to paper. The career prospects of Finland’s best prospect have flatlined, with interest from Ferrari seemingly a distant past. With Felipe Massa’s retirement at the end of this season confirmed, the speculation over Williams’ second seat escalated when Jenson Button announced his role with McLaren for the next two years. Lance Stroll, Nasr, Kvyat, Perez, Wehrlein are just several out of many names linked to this seat, but some feel their inclusion may be a stop-gap solution for the foreseeable future.

Mercedes ‘trick’ suspension revealed — thejudge13

Teams up and down the pitlane want the FIA to close a loophole that could possibly explain the massive advantage that the Silver Arrows car currently holds. The claim comes from Germany’s Auto Motor und sport, who go on to say that the team with the best engine, also have the best chassis. The report suggests […]

via Mercedes ‘trick’ suspension revealed — thejudge13

F1 Stars of the Future: GP2 and Development Drivers

It has been a heated matter of conjecture concerning whether GP2 is a conducive breeding ground. A sad trend of pay drivers (i.e. Sergio Canamasas) occupying seats worthy of more talented prodigies has irked fans and journalists, with many questioning driving standards.

It has also become an emerging trend for F1 teams to select starlets from lower series, with Daniil Kyvat & Valtteri Bottas plucked straight from GP3 and Carlos Sainz Jr & Kevin Magnussen graduating from Formula Renault 3.5 (now Formula V8 3.5). However, hope is not lost for GP2, as the implemention of the FIA Superlicence points system will rigorously enforce prospects to accumulate experience steadily through junior formulae.

*Eligibility for F1 requires a minimum of 40 Superlicence points (Points listed from conclusion of 2015 racing seasons)

Alexander Rossi

Current series: Indycar (Bryan Herta Autosport w/ Andretti Autosport #98)

Indycar 2016 position: 11th (370 points, one race remaining)

Superlicence points: 43

F1 2017 Likelihood: 6/10

The Californian displayed flashes of brilliance against the all-conquering Stoffel Vandoorne in 2015, where he made the most of resources supplied to him by Racing Engineering to finish ahead of Rio Haryanto and current GP2 ace Sergey Sirotkin. Rossi fared favourably against Formula Renault 3.5 veteran Will Stevens, but lack of sponsorship funding meant a switch to the notoriously competitive Indycar Series and a reserve role with Manor. In spite of his meticulously calculated Indy 500 victory, progress has been steady if unspectacular. Rumours swing from a return to a race seat with Manor or Haas in F1 to remaining where he is, but no one can doubt his versatility would hold him in strong stead against Pascal Wehrlein or Romain Grosjean if he was selected.

Alex Lynn

Current series: GP2 (DAMS #5)

GP2 2016 position: (8th- 93 points, 4 races remaining)

Superlicence points: 58

F1 Likelihood: 5/10

Once a highly touted prospect, Lynn’s sparking progress has fizzed out in the F1’s top feeder series. The Essex exocet’s performances this season have mirrored that of his debut season, with both seasons seeing him win twice, but performing inconsistently thoughout. His development driver contract with Williams may be terminated if he fails to emerge as a championship contender in 2017.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Current series: GP2 (Prema #20)

GP2 2016 position: (2nd- 164 points, 4 races remaining)

Superlicence points: 43

F1 Likelihood: 7/10

A native of Martina Franca, Giovinazzi has spent much of his junior career beneath the radar of F1 scouts- until now. His recent invitation to a simulator test with Ferrari is justified recognition of his vastly-improved performances, transforming himself from a F3 journeyman to a championship contender in GP2. A brilliant double win in Baku with back-to-back victories in Belgium and Italy were just exactly what the doctor ordered, leaving the Italian ten points behind team-mate & championship leader Pierre Gasly with 96 points remaining. He may not debut in F1 next year, but a test seat is certainly not out of question.

Artem Markelov

Current series: GP2 (Russian Time #10)

GP2 2016 position: (11th- 80 points, 4 races remaining)

Superlicence points: 10 (Insufficient)

F1 Likelihood: 2/10

Rumours of the young Russian and his investors enquiring F1 teams about a 2017 race seat have circulated in the paddock, but it would be wholly undeserved on the basis of his results achieved in his three years of GP2. Just a single win from an incident-filled Monaco feature race this year has proved to be an exception on an otherwise unimpressive CV.

Charles LeClerc

Current series: GP3 (ART Grand Prix #1)

GP3 2016 position: (1st- 177 points, 4 races remaining)

Superlicence points: 20 (Will be increased to 45 if he wins GP3 title)

F1 2017 Likelihood: 5.5/10

A fabulous record in karting followed by accolades in Formula Renault 2.0 and European F3 were proof that the Monegasque was a probable championship victor when he made his GP3 debut and his supporters have been indicated. He only turns 19 next month, but he has completed three Friday practice sessions with Haas at Silverstone, Hungaroring and Hockenheim. Some may consider 2017 too soon for his F1 debut, but a reserve role intertwined with a seat in DTM appears preferable to the rough-and-tumble nature of GP2.

Esteban Ocon

Current series: F1 (Manor MRT #31)

Previous series: DTM (Mercedes ART #34)

F1 2017 Likelihood: 7/10

Esteban Ocon is an enigma. Two ordinary seasons in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 followed by immediate championship success in European F3 and GP3 is evidence of his ability to toil through strenuous self improvement, but perhaps a slight lack of raw natural talent. His GP3 season saw him win the title with ten second places, but just a solitary win in the season opener. His partial season in DTM yielded just two points, guaranteeing an eventual championship position of no higher than 24th. His initial full Grand Prix outings with Manor have laid the bricks for gradual improvement, but whether Renault or another team will be convinced to offer him a full-time seat remains a mystery.

Lance Stroll

la

Current series: FIA European F3 (Prema #1)

F3 2016 position: (1st- 364 points, 6 races remaining)

Superlicence points: 20 (Will be increased to 60 if he wins F3 title)

F1 2017 Likelihood: 6.5/10

Widely dismissed as a rich kid freeloading from a tycoon father, the Montreal native has stiffen his credentials annually, with honours galore in karting and titles in Italian F4 and Toyota Racing Series and an almost probable championship win in this year’s FIA European Formula 3 championship. However, many will pontificate the vast sums invested into Prema Powerteam he drives for and how it has taken two years to claim the title at this level, but he is yet to turn 18. He retains a watertight development contract with Williams, whom are doubtless appreciative of lucrative funding provided by his father.

Pierre Gasly

Current series: GP2 (Prema #21)

GP2 2016 position: (1st- 174 points, 4 races remaining)

Superlicence points: 39 (Will be increased to 69 if he wins GP2 title)

F1 2017 Likelihood: 9/10

With stories of Daniil Kvyat’s relationship with the Red Bull hierarchy declining, the well regarded Frenchman appears a dead cert for the Russian’s Toro Rosso seat. As the most likely of this year’s junior hotshots to cement a seat in F1 next season, you’d think pundits would praise him highly, but many feel impassive by his steady yet unspectacular path to prominence. His solitary season in Formula Renault 3.5, where he finished runner up, yielded no wins and his first season in GP2 produced four podiums and no wins. His feature race victory at Silverstone this season ended his three year winning duck, stretching back to his Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title-winning campaign, an omen Gasly will not want to carry into his F1 career.

Other GP2 stars

Oliver Rowland, Sergey Sirotkin and Raffaele Marciello currently hold the required number of points for FIA Superlicence eligibility, but their chances of appearing in F1 are heavily reliant upon sponsorship funding. Mitch Evans is yet to match the stunning heights he achieved in his earlier junior formulae career, with five victories throughout his four year GP2 career, but a slim chance of finishing 5th in this year’s championship has rendered the Kiwi unlikely to ever drive in F1. Manor development driver Jordan King and Norman Nato have also impressed, but will remain ineligible for a Superlicence if they finish where they currently stand (5th & 6th).

2016 Italian Grand Prix Review

Driver of the Day

Nico Rosberg

Controlled a processional race from start to finish. Trails Lewis Hamilton by only two points in the world championship.

Reject of the Day

Felipe Nasr

Stupid move on Jolyon Palmer, which ended the Sauber driver’s race and the resultant damage to the Renault eventually forced the Briton to quit. You plonker.