@BWOAHF1 15-22 Feb Poll Results

Who will be the F1 “Novice/Rookie of the year” 2017? (Less than 10 races exp.)
08% Esteban Ocon
76% Stoffel Vandoorne
16% Lance Stroll
(66 votes)

Most likely “shock” F1 headline of 2017: Gasly in, Kvyat out? Audi to F1? Kimi Raikkonen WDC? 100% live free to air TV races to return?!
37% Gasly replaces Kvyat
14% Audi announces F1 plans
25% Kimi World champion
24% Free to air TV races 100%
(71 votes)

How races will Kimi Raikkonen win?
43% 0
29% 1-2
13% 3-4
15% 5+
(56 votes)

Highest ranking non-Mercedes driver in 2017?
16% Sebastian Vettel
17% Fernando Alonso
23% Daniel Ricciardo
44% Max Verstappen
(109 votes)

Round 1: F1 World Champion (2017)?
40% Lewis Hamilton
13% Sebastian Vettel
20% Fernando Alonso
27% Max Verstappen
(83 votes)

Round 2: F1 World Champion (2017)?
29% Valtteri Bottas
28% Kimi Raikkonen
04% Stoffel Vandoorne
39% Daniel Ricciardo
(78 votes)

Which Sauber driver will score more points?
31% Marcus Ericsson
60% Pascal Wehrlein
09% Even
(85 votes)

Which Renault driver will score more points?
86% Nico Hulkenberg
14% Jolyon Palmer
00% Even
(56 votes)

Which Haas driver will score more points?
69% Romain Grosjean
27% Kevin Magnussen
04% Even
(59 votes)

Which Toro Rosso Driver will score more points?
20% Daniil Kvyat
73% Carlos Sainz Jr.
07% Even
(56 votes)

Which Williams driver will score more points?
35% Lance Stroll
62% Felipe Massa
03% Even
(63 votes)

Which McLaren-Honda driver will score more points?
17% Stoffel Vandoorne
83% Fernando Alonso
00% Even
(80 votes)

Which Force India will score more points?
83% Sergio Perez
14% Esteban Ocon
03% Even
(77 votes)

Which Scuderia Ferrari driver will score more points?
60% Sebastian Vettel
36% Kimi Raikkonen
04% Even
(88 votes)

Which Red Bull driver will score more points?
49% Max Verstappen
47% Daniel Ricciardo
04% Even
(93 votes)

Which Mercedes driver will score more points?
64% Lewis Hamilton
32% Valterri Bottas
04% Even
(88 votes)

Which “independent” team is most likely to win a #f1 race during 2017?
47% Williams
36% Force India
16% Toro Rosso
00% Haas
(55 votes)


The 2016 F1 season in 20 questions (Keith Collantine)


1. Other than Mercedes, which teams will win races this year? Ferrari & Red Bull (INCORRECT- Red Bull)
2. What will be the best result for Haas? P9 (INCORRECT- P5)
3. Who will score more points: Max Verstappen or Nico Hulkenberg? Hulk (INCORRECT- Max)
4. Which team will score more points: McLaren or Renault? McHonda (CORRECT)
5. Which driver will out-qualify his team mate most frequently? Wehrlein (INCORRECT- BOTTAS)
6. Will Kimi Raikkonen remain on the grid for 2017? Yes (CORRECT! YES!)
7. How many of the 11 teams will score points? Ten (INCORRECT- 11)
8. Before the season ends, will Monza be confirmed as the host of the 2017 Italian Grand Prix? No (INCONCLUSIVE)
9. Who will win the FIA pole position trophy? Rosberg (INCORRECT- Hamilton)
10. Who will be the first driver to be replaced or substituted for a race? Ericsson (INCORRECT- Alonso)
11. And who will take their place? Vandoorne (Honda pay Sauber to let him race in their second car for the remainder of 2016) (CORRECT)
12. Which driver will collect the most penalty points for driving infringements? Magnussen (INCORRECT- Kvyat (7))
13. Who will win the Monaco Grand Prix? Ricciardo (INCORRECT- Hamilton)
14. Who will crash out of the most races? Gutierrez INCORRECT- Vettel, Hulk, Sainz, Palmer & Wehrlein (3)
15. Whose engines will Red Bull use in 2017? Honda (INCORRECT- Renault)
16. At which race will the drivers’ championship be decided? Abu Dhabi (CORRECT)
17. What will be the biggest political story of the year? 2017 F1 Regulations, Red Bull vs. Renault & Engines/Power Units (INCORRECT- Liberty Media takeover of F1)
18. What will be the most entertaining race of the year? Hungary (INCORRECT- Austria)

Constructors? Merc (CORRECT)

Drivers? Hamilton (INCORRECT-Rosberg)


BWOAH Racing Acid


1. Other than Mercedes, which teams will win races this year? Ferrari & Red Bull
2. What will be the best result for Haas? P9
3. Who will score more points:Max Verstappen orNico Hulkenberg? Hulk
4. Which team will score more points:McLaren or Renault? McHonda
5. Which driver will out-qualify his team mate most frequently? Wehrlein
6. Will Kimi Raikkonen remain on the grid for 2017? Yes
7. How many of the 11 teams will score points? Ten
8. Before the season ends, will Monza be confirmed as the host of the 2017 Italian Grand Prix? No
9. Who will win the FIA pole position trophy? Rosberg
10. Who will be the first driver to be replaced or substituted for a race? Ericsson
11. And who will take their place? Vandoorne (Honda pay Sauber to let him race in their second car for the remainder…

View original post 92 more words


F1 Race Reviews

Edit: 12th of September, 2013
As the sensational return of Kimi to Ferrari is now official, I thought it was fitting with a slightly updated prologue. The opinion of myself and the research of wrcva still stands. In fact, as is mentioned many times, the info used here is easily retrieved and found by anyone with internet access and a search engine.

Kimi has proven himself to be a far bigger man than I am. He has clearly chosen to let bygones be bygones. And he may look at what happened as “nothing personal, just business”. Because that is what it was: Business.

Anyway, things have apparently been patched up between Kimi and Ferrari. And more importantly, new assurances have undoubtedly been made in his 2-year contract. What comforts me is that according to MTV3/Oskari Saari, one of the important things in the negotiations between Kimi and Ferrari was that…

View original post 6,071 more words

2016 F1 Teams’ Review of the Season: 1-10

  1. Mercedes (1st, 765 points- Nico Rosberg (1st, 385pts)/Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 380pts)) 10.0

A third consecutive season of processional dominance for the boys from Brackley. Out of 59 Grands Prix since the start of 2014, they have won 51 races, 56 poles and 34 fastest laps.  Out of an accumulated total of 3,551 laps, they have led 2,969 of them- a whopping 83.6%. They have consistently maintained a qualifying lap average of 0.7 seconds over their rivals, so there have a few conspiracy theorists, who have suggested that the Mercedes hierarchy secretly harboured to see a Nico Rosberg WDC victory to prove their accomplishments stemmed from the engineering solely. No team has sustained such dominance within such a time frame- not even Ferrari succeeded in doing this between 1999-01 and 2002-04, when they won an unprecedented six consecutive constructors’ world championships.

From 1999-2001, Ferrari won 25 races, 24 poles & 14 fastest laps out of 50 Grands Prix. Out of 3,139 laps, the Scuderia led 1,531 of them (48.8%). From 2002-2004, Ferrari won 38 races, 30 poles & 34 fastest laps (66.6%) (this is the only statistic higher than Mercedes’) out of 51 Grands Prix. Out of 3,230 laps, the Maranello boys led 2,033 of them (62.9%). During these years, F2002 & F2004 were their two most prominent cars, which were praised for their excellent mechanical grip, neutral handling and near bullet-proof reliability- F2002 recording just one mechanical failure, whilst F2004 clocked up none.

Red Bull, from 2011-13, won 32 races, 37 poles & 29 fastest laps out of 58 Grands Prix. Out of 3,456 laps, they led 1,985 of those laps (57.4%). During these years, RB11 & RB13 were their two most prominent cars, which were estimated by aerodynamicists as producing the most amount of downforce seen in any F1 cars before or since.

Williams, from 1992-1994, won 27 races, 36 poles & 29 fastest laps out of 48 Grands Prix. Out of 3,127 laps, they led 1,829 of them (58.5%). During these cars, FW14B & FW15C were their two most prominent cars, acknowledged by experts to be the most technologically complex machinery- active suspension, ABS brakes, traction control plus numerous other gizmos, leading Alain Prost to describe FW15c as a “mini Airbus”.

McLaren, from 1988-1990, won 31 races, 42 poles & 23 fastest laps out of 48 Grands Prix. Out of 3,122 laps, they led 2,376 of them (76.1%). In qualifying, their two prominent cars MP4-4 & MP4-5 blew their rivals away, capable of defeating the fastest non-McLaren car by up to three seconds in the hands of one-lap master Ayrton Senna. If the relationship between Prost and Senna hadn’t been so acrimonious and reliability wasn’t such a prevalent issue, it is possible the statistics in this period would match or even beat what Mercedes have achieved.

In terms of what Mercedes have achieved compared to rival teams in the modern era, it is similar to the astounding dominance achieved by individual drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. It is unlikely we’ll ever see such supremacy from a team on such a totalitarian scale, so that should be a welcome sigh of relief for fans.

Of course, the 10.0 mark was not only awarded for their car’s third consecutive year of crushing superiority, but also the team’s management. Despite controversy in Spain, Canada & Austria, relations remained stable between their star drivers, allowing them to seal the WCC at Suzuka with four races to spare.

2. Red Bull-TAG Heuer (2nd, 468 points- Daniel Ricciardo (3rd, 256 pts)/Max Verstappen (5th, 204 pts)/Daniil Kvyat (14th, 25 pts)) 9.0

After last year’s debacle, which led to Red Bull badging their Renault engines after their new sponsor, 2016 showed a huge leap forward. 2017 should present a permissible opportunity to return to the front, with Ricciardo and Verstappen hogging the headlines. It is expected star designer Adrian Newey will pen a chassis to exploit the aggressively increased downforce and tyres regulations to the absolute maximum, whilst Renault provide a power unit with ample grunt.

3. Force India-Mercedes (4th, 173 points- Sergio Perez (7th, 101 points)/Nico Hulkenberg (9th, 72 points)) 8.5

The Silverstone-based team’s gradual ascent through F1’s hierarchy was richly rewarded with their best-ever WCC finish of 4th. It is unlikely such a result will be achieved in 2017, but credit where credit is due. The designers exploited the current regulations’ need for drag reduction and straight-line speed, which permitted the chassis to lap quickly thanks to the invaluablely-endowed Mercedes power unit. It is debatable that in the hands of the best drivers (i.e. Alonso, Hamilton & Verstappen), the VJM09 could have pushed Ferrari for 3rd in the WCC. Loyal stalwart Hulkenberg will leave for Renault, so for 2017, promising talent Esteban Ocon takes his place.

4. Toro Rosso-Ferrari (7th, 63 points- Carlos Sainz (12th, 46 pts)/Daniil Kvyat (14th, 25 pts)/Max Verstappen (5th, 204 pts)) 8.0

A second consecutive season of progress for Faenza boys was rewarded with another 7th in the WCC. If Verstappen had remained at the team for the entirety of the season, they might have caught McLaren for 6th, but their 2015-spec Ferrari power unit proved their Achilles’ Heel. It is expected for Toro Rosso to move up in 2017, with the excellent Carlos Sainz spearheading their challenge.

5. McLaren-Honda (6th, 76 points- Fernando Alonso (10th, 54 pts)/Jenson Button (15th, 21 pts)/Stoffel Vandoorne (20th, 1 pt)) 7.5

A steady, if unspectacular, second season of the reunited fabled McLaren-Honda partnership. The car still suffered from a fair degree of understeer and the Honda power unit underwhelming in its overall output, but reliability was a welcome boost. Alonso did his usual miracle job, whilst Button floundered, scoring just five more points than last year. In his place for 2017 will be Vandoorne, who lit the paddock with illuminating reviews with his dazzling performance at his sole outing at Bahrain, whilst deputising for Alonso. The Spaniard will be not be feeling too comfortable, though, as memories of a particular rookie tearing his reputation to shreds will see its tenth anniversary.

6. Haas-Ferrari (8th, 29 points- Romain Grosjean (13th, 29 pts)/Esteban Gutierrez (21st, o pts)) 7.0

In their first two races, America’s newest team became the first team since Toyota in their debut consecutive Grands Prix to score points. What’s more, Grosjean finished P6 in Melbourne, then P5 in Bahrain thanks to excellent pit calls. As the season progressed, though, Haas ran through the typical stumbling blocks every new team encounters in their early hurdles of the unforgiving environment of F1. Lack of experience of set-ups and the narrow operating windows of the Pirellis, as well as dubious feedback from their drivers exacerbated their acute struggles at certain races, with Mexico being their nadir with P19 & P20. Gutierrez finished P11 five times and did well to beat his French team-mate during mid-season, but he never appeared to have the spark to produce a vital points finish. In his place for 2017 will be Kevin Magnussen, who will be hoping to improve upon his lacklustre 2016.

7. Williams-Mercedes (5th, 138 points- Valtteri Bottas (8th, 85 pts)/Felipe Massa (11th, 53 pts)) 6.5

After two years of enjoying the fruits of a remarkable revival with two consecutive 3rds in the WCC, my prediction of a third consecutive P3 was pathetically wrong. Strategic errors remained prevalent, which were exacerbated further by lack of development and critics slamming their low-drag, low-downforce design philosophy as one-dimensional. Lance Stroll will be a welcome addition with exorbitant funding by his billionaire tycoon father, but with Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement, the second seat is a major conundrum. Will Bottas go to Mercedes? And if he does, will Felipe Massa postpone his retirement for one more season?

8. Renault (9th, 8 points- Kevin Magnussen (16th, 7 pts)/Jolyon Palmer (18th, 1 pt)) 5.5

Were they racing in 2016? It was a poor return to F1 for the double WCC-winning French marque, who insisted upon using a revised 2015 Lotus chassis as their challenger this season. It is understandable that due to cash flow issues Lotus suffered, as well as time constraints linked with their late buyout, that the car was hurried, but development did not produce desired improvements. Cyril Abitedoul stated an intent to sign a “charismatic” lead driver, so it remains to be seen if Nico Hulkenberg can live up to such a lofty position.

9. Manor-Mercedes (11th, 1 point (Pascal Wehrlein (19th, 1 pt)/Esteban Ocon (23rd, 0 pts)/Rio Haryanto (24th, 0 pts) 5.0

A decent season for the Banbury-based squad. In spite of a car that lacked downforce, it topped top speed sheets regularly thanks to drawing inspiration from technical partners Williams, who sourced out their suspension and transmission. Wehrlein impressed in parts, whilst Pertamina-backed Haryanto lost his drive when the dollars dried up, as his race performances were inadequately under par. Ocon took his place, producing a great drive in Brazil before he spun. The point he lost for P10 proved academic as Sauber’s Felipe Nasr scored two vital points in P9, thrusting the Hinwil squad into 10th in the WCC. So that left Manor languishing in 11th for a second consecutive year. As ever with the backmarkers, their driver line-up will announced at the last minute before next year’s much anticipated tests.

10. Sauber-Ferrari (10th, 2 points- Felipe Nasr (17th, 2 pts)/Marcus Ericsson (22nd, o pts)) 4.0

In a season of mounting financial pressures, further burdened by two mediocre pay drivers and a bland corporate image, it was a miracle Sauber escaped the wooden spoon in the WCC and on this list. To be frankly honest, Monisha Kaltenborn clearly has a lucky charm somewhere. The car was rehash of last year’s decent contender, so it was inevitably predictable how poor this season was going to be.  All year, the Hinwil team appeared destined to see a 11th finish to darken their worries over the long-term existence of Sauber, but the heavens opened in Interlagos and the rest is history. Marcus Ericsson is confirmed in one of their seats for 2017, but it remains to seen whether Nasr has the funding to continue.

The next article will focus on this year’s Reject Team of the Year. Don’t miss it!

List of must-have Grands Prix


Australia (Albert Park, Melbourne)
China (Jiading, Shanghai)
Spain (Montmeló, Barcelona)
Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)
Canada (Montreal, Quebec)
Austria (Red Bull Ring, Spielberg)
Britain (Silverstone, Northampton)
Hungary (Hungaroring, Budapest)
Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot)
Italy (Monza, Lombardy)
Japan (Suzuka, Mie)
United States (Austin, Texas)
Mexico (Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City)
Brazil (Interlagos, São Paulo)


South Africa (Kyalami, Midrand)
France (Paul Ricard, Le Castellet)
Germany (Hockenheimring, Hockenheim)
Portugal (Portimão, Algarve)


Bahrain (Sahkir)
Russia (Sochi)
Europe (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Malaysia (Sepang, Kuala Lumpur)
Singapore (Marina Bay)
Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)


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.


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.


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.


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.

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


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 British Grand Prix: A Sport in Disarray


Max Verstappen


F1 Authorities

It is safe to say the start of yesterday’s British Grand Prix was farcical. In spite of the brightening skies and an abrupt end to the downpour prior to the parade lap, Charlie Whiting ordered drivers to meander behind the Safety Car for the first five laps. So one must ask, what is the point of the full wet compounds? Within two laps of the restart, the majority of the field barring the Mercedes and Red Bulls switched to intermediates. The decision to start this year’s Monaco Grand Prix behind the Safety Car was wise; the heavens had completely drenched the track and rain continued to sprinkle after the Safety Car had withdrew. In a circuit surrounded by uneven armco barriers, a potential pile up was always a likely scenario, however, at a purpose built venue such as Silverstone, a similar situation was a much less likely eventuality.

When the track inevitably dried quickly, the multiple dry compound rule was annulled, allowing many to run the remaining thirty laps on the medium compounds. This meant viewers were treated to a less than thrilling race by 2016 standards.

This year’s race will be remembered for Max Verstappen’s extraordinary overtake around the outside on Nico Rosberg at the exit of Maggotts and Becketts; such precocity is leaving believing his ability to dominate F1 for the next two decades and overhaul Michael Schumacher’s seven WDC. Unfortunately, it will also be remembered for the radio ban rearing its ugly head once again; after debacles surrounding the struggles of Hamilton and Raikkonen concerning their car settings in Baku, Mercedes panicked and leaked illegal assistance to a struggling Rosberg, who had gearbox gremlins. It was draconian of the stewards to add ten seconds to Rosberg’s race time, costing three valuable points and leaving Lewis Hamilton just a single point behind his firm nemesis. Hamilton drove impeccable throughout this year’s race; he only a opened a four second gap to the car behind when required and conserved his car expertly throughout.

Life in F1 is rather straightforward when you’re driving the fastest car in ideal circumstances, as everyone else struggled and Williams and Ferrari have both taken gradual steps back as this season has progressed. It appears not only are their strategic decisions are flawed, but the outright pace of their chassis are falling behind where they were in regards to their standing in the pecking order last year post-Silverstone. Red Bull appear to be Mercedes’ closet rivals now, but frustrations from Daniel Ricciardo’s side of the garage could light a bitter feud between himself and Verstappen.

On the whole, it appears most of the paddock is already focused on 2017 with more than half of this year’s Grands Prix still yet to commerce.

F1’s Most Underrated Driver: Ukyo Katayama

Ukyo Katayama is widely remembered as the laughing stock of F1 back in the 1990’s. His Mild Seven/Cabin sponsorship gave him the hallmarks of a prototypical pay driver, but after two undistinguished seasons, the diminutive Japanese surprised everyone in 1994. The banning of electronic aids helped the underfunded Tyrrell squad build a neat and nimble chassis in the 022, courtesy of Harvey Poslethwaite, Mike Gascoyne and Jean-Claude Migeot.

Along with valiant point scoring drives at Interlagos, Imola & Silverstone, Katayama set a fastest lap a mammoth 1.6 seconds quicker than his highly-regarded team-mate Mark Blundell in the race at Barcelona. Blundell’s eventual podium finish was a cruel blow for Katayama, as his Yamaha engine failed after just sixteen laps in a race where Michael Schumacher’s Benetton became stuck in fifth gear for two-thirds of Spanish Grand Prix. The German would savage second place, whilst championship rival Damon Hill won his first race of the year. This proved to be a moral-boosting lift for the beleaguered Williams squad still coming to terms with Senna’s death, but one wonders whether how close Katayama could have pushed Hill for victory. The Tyrrell stalwart would redeem himself further at that year’s German Grand Prix, qualifying a career-best fifth, 0.756 seconds ahead of Blundell. Thanks to an electrical failure for Jean Alesi and a collision with Damon Hill, damaging the latter’s suspension, Katayama was able to charge after Gerhard Berger and Schumacher in third place, only for his throttle cable to snap after just six laps.

Katayama would repeat his qualifying feats of Hockenheim by placing his Tyrrell 022 on fifth place for the following race at Hungaroring, but he retired due to an unfortunate collision with the two Jordans of Eddie Irvine & Rubens Barrichello on the first lap. Further hard-charging drives at Monza, Estoril & Jerez proved enough for Katayama to be awarded “Most improved driver of 1994” title by Autosport magazine’s Nigel Roebuck and rumours of a “top team” -most likely Benetton with Ukyo’s Mild Seven connections- offering a seat circulated, but Katayama claimed “he had to turn it down”. It later transpired the Japanese ace had developed back cancer, which sadly hobbled him for the remainder of his ailing F1 career, where he would be heavily outpaced by Mika Salo at Tyrrell and Jarno Trulli at Minardi. The new high cockpit sides mandated by the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger & Ayrton Senna at Imola and Karl Wendlinger’s coma-inducing crash at Monaco in 1994 would impair the peripheral vision of the diminutive Japanese star. The new weight regulations, starting in 1995, which mandated the inclusion of the driver’s weight into the new 600kg total car weight limit, would additionally impede Katayama as the advantage of being one of the lightest drivers on the grid was abruptly removed.

The remainder of Katayama’s F1 career is notably remembered for his start-line barrel roll in 1995 Portuguese Grand Prix, but he never lost his sense of humour and humility. Experts later estimated the Japanese stalwart could have scored up to 25 points had it not been for mechanical issues and pure bad luck accumulated during 1994. This would have placed Katayama in the heady heights of fifth place within the FIA Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship, ahead of Alesi and just behind Mika Hakkinen, rather than his lowly classification of 17th with five points.

For just one season in 1994, Ukyo was one of the best five racing drivers in the world.