Russian and Japanese GPs Review

It’s been another two successful races for Lewis Hamilton as the Brit leads Sebastian Vettel by 67 points with just 4 races to go in this championship. Check out how the last two races have impacted the championship.

14/10/18

Round 16 – Russian GP

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 53 Laps (49th win for Mercedes)
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +2.545s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +7.487s
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +16.543s (200th time finishing in the points)
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +31.016s (Fans Drivers of the Day)
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +80.451s
  7. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, +98.390s
  8. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 1 Lap
  9. Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, + 1 Lap
  10. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, + 1 Lap
  11. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  12. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  13. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  15. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  16. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 2 Laps
  17. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 2 Laps
  18. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, DNF
  • Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, DNF

Drivers Championship

1.Hamilton 306pts  2.Vettel 256pts  3.Bottas 189pts  4.Raikkonen 186pts 5.Verstappen 158pts

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 496pts  2.Ferrari 442pts  3.Red Bull 292pts  4.Renault 91pts  5.Haas 80

Round 17 – Japanese GP

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 53 Laps (50th win for Mercedes)
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +12.919s (8th podium of the season)
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +14.295s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +19.495s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +50.998s
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +69.873s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, +79.379s
  8. Romain Grosjean, Haas, +87.198s
  9. Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, +88.055s
  10. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap (Renault’s first point in Japan since 2011)
  11. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  12. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  13. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  15. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  16. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 1 Lap
  17. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  • Charles Leclerc, Sauber, DNF
  • Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, DNF
  • Kevin Magnussen, Haas, DNF

Drivers Championship

1.Hamilton 331pts  2.Vettel 264pts  3.Bottas 207pts  4.Raikkonen 196pts  5.Verstappen 173pts

Constructors Championship

1.Mercedes 538pts  2.Ferrari 460pts  3.Red Bull 319pts  4.Renault 92pts  5.Haas 84pts

 

 

 

 

F1 2018 in the old points system – Part 4

After winning the Japanese GP, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton’s lead has grown to 28 points over chief rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Meanwhile, Mercedes lead in the Constructors Championship has grown to 35 points over Ferrari.

14/10/18

The points system Formula One currently uses has been used since 2010 allows for the top 10 finishers to claim points and as follows: 1st – 25pts, 2nd – 18pts, 3rd – 15pts, 4th – 12pts, 5th – 10pts, 6th – 8pts, 7th – 6pts, 8th – 4pts, 9th – 2pts and 10th – 1pt.

The points system used in Formula One between 2003 to 2009 was as follows: 1st – 10pts, 2nd – 8pts, 3rd – 6pts, 4th – 5pts, 5th – 4pts, 6th – 3pts, 7th – 2pts and 8th – 1pt.

Japanese GP Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 10pts
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 8pts
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 6pts
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 5pts
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 4pts
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 3pts
  7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 2pts
  8. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1pt

Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly who finished in 9th and 10th are not awarded points

Hamilton pulls clear after 4th consecutive win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton heads into the final 4 races of the season with a lead of 28 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. With Hamilton winning in Russia and Japan and Vettel finishing in 3rd and 6th, the gap at the top has grown significantly but there are still 40 points up for grabs in the final 4 races. Even if Vettel fails to finish in the US and Hamilton wins, his gap will be 38 points heading into the 3 remaining races.

Reverting back to 2018, Hamilton’s lead increased to 67 points over Vettel.

Mercedes extend their comfortable lead over Ferrari

With Hamilton and team-mate Valterri Bottas securing 1-2 finishes at the Russian and Japanese GPs, the German team picked up 36 points to increase their over Ferrari to 35 points. While Mercedes scored 36 points in the past two races, Ferrari only picked up 18 points in total. While Mercedes have secured four 1-2 finishes, Ferrari have yet to do this.

Reverting back to 2018, Mercedes lead Ferrari by 78 points.

Four points separate 6 drivers

Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean are separated by just 4 points from 10th to 15th. Hulkenberg and Magnussen are tied on 18 points while Perez is on 17 points and Alonso on 16 points. Ocon and Grosjean are also tied on 14 points each. It just shows how competitive the mid-field is as the 6 drivers are from 4 different teams.

Reverting back to 2018, Perez, Magnussen and Hulkenberg are tied on 53 points from 7th to 9th. Alonso and Ocon are in 10th and 11th on 50 and 49 points each while Grosjean is in 13th on 31 points.

Drivers Championship

After Japan D

Constructors Championship

After Japan T

What happened in September – F1 News #13

September was an eventful month for many of the F1 drivers as they decided where they will be racing next year including one of F1’s most popular drivers who made a surprise switch with a young star. Read on for all the latest news stories that happened in the month of September.

03/10/18

September 5th – Fry returns to McLaren Technical team

McLaren have added Pat Fry to their technical team as the team continue to overhaul its structure. Having worked with Benetton before joining McLaren from 1993 to 2010, it’s understood that Fry will take on the role of engineering director.

After McLaren, Fry joined Ferrari as a deputy technical director from 2010 to 2014 before he left the Scuderia as part of a restructuring decision by the Italian team. This year, McLaren have let go of a number of senior members which include: Eric Boullier, Tim Goss and Matt Morris. Its also understood that Toro Rosso’s technical director, James Key, is also to join the team after he is released from his current contract.

September 8th – Todt: F1 will never go fully-electric in the future

There has been a growing interest in Formula E, the electric racing series, with cars manufacturers such as Jaguar, Nissan and BMW already committing to the series. This has lead to claims that F1 may need to consider its approach if the future is to be electric.

FIA president Jean Todt does not see an issue though, as he cannot imagine F1 will ever go entirely electric. “It is true that we have an exclusive agreement on single-seaters for a certain amount of years with the promoter in FE, but it would be a nonsense to say that in the future Formula 1 is going to be electric,” said Todt.

September 25th – Giovinazzi to partner Raikkonen at Sauber

Sauber F1 Team have announced that Ferrari reserve driver, Antonio Giovinazzi, will partner 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen for the 2019 Season. As Charles Leclerc gets promoted to Ferrari, in an effective switch with Raikkonen, Sauber chose Giovinazzi over long-term driver Marcus Ericsson to partner the Finn for 2019.

Ericsson will remain with the team as third driver and a brand ambassador. Giovinazzi made his F1 debut at the 2017 Australian GP deputising for the injured Pascal Wehrlein. He finished 12th and raced at the following round in China.

“The decision to elect Antonio Giovinazzi is particularly significant in the scope of the project that this season saw the return of Alfa Romeo to the pinnacle of motorsports after a hiatus of more than 30 years,” said Sauber.

September 28th – Haas retain Grosjean and Magnussen for ’19’

Haas Formula One team have announced that both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean will be staying with the American outfit for the 2019 Season. Grosjean, joined Haas when the team entered the sport in 2016 and has been with them since while Magnussen meanwhile joined last year.

“From the very beginning, we needed experienced drivers to hasten the development of our car and our team, and we have two very good and experienced drivers in Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen,” said team boss Gunther Steiner in an interview with Autosport. Haas currently occupy 5th in the Constructors Championship in 80 points.

 

 

Hamilton extends Championship lead with faultless Singapore GP win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton extends his championship advantage to 40 points by winning the Singapore GP ahead of Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as Fernando Alonso scores McLaren’s best finish since the Azerbaijan GP.

16/09/18

Grid Formation

1.Hamilton  2.Verstappen  3.Vettel  4.Bottas  5.Raikkonen  6.Ricciardo  7.Perez  8.Grosjean  9.Ocon  10.Hulkenberg  11.Alonso  12.Sainz  13.Leclerc  14.Ericsson  15.Gasly  16.Magnussen  17.Hartley  18.Vandoorne  19.Sirotkin  20.Stroll

Race

The top 10 will start on the Hypersoft tyre while Brendon Hartley will start on the Hypersoft tyre as well as Lance Stroll will start on the Soft tyre. Everyone else will start on the Ultrasoft tyre. There has been a safety car featured at every Singapore GP, will there be one today?

The lights go out and its a good start by Lewis Hamilton as Sebastian Vettel pressures Max Verstappen but Verstappen stays ahead. Esteban Ocon is in the wall and is out after making contact with team-mate Sergio Perez. Vettel overtakes Verstappen for 2nd into turn 7 as the Safety Car is brought out. Its been a good start by Pierre Gasly, who is now 12th, after starting 15th and Fernando Alonso, who started 11th, is now 9th and ahead of both Renault drivers.

Sergey Sirotkin pits during the Safety Car period as the Russian had sustained damage to his front wing. He swaps to the Soft tyre as the Stewards declare that there will be no further action between the lap 1 incident between Ocon and Perez. Lap 5, Racing resumes as Lewis Hamilton leads the way. Max Verstappen is still complaining of engine problems in which seemed to hamper the Dutchman yesterday during qualifying. Lap 9, the top 3 of Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen are starting to pull away from the rest as they are separated by just over 2 seconds.

Lap 12, the top 6 are staying on the track at the moment as they try and build a gap so for when they come in, they won’t encounter as much traffic. Lap 13, the top 6 are starting to spread out as Lewis Hamilton now leads by 2.1 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel who is 2.4 ahead of Max Verstappen. There are spots of rain in the paddock. Lap 15, Vettel pits, goes onto the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 7th. Will Hamilton pit? Yes, Hamilton pits on lap 16. The Brit goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 5th and ahead of Vettel.

Max Verstappen now leads ahead of Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Lap 17, Bottas pits, goes onto the Soft tyre as well. Sebastian Vettel is now able to overtake Sergio Perez for 5th but has lost time to Lewis Hamilton ahead. Lap 18, Verstappen pits, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins side-by-side withy Vettel. Verstappen inches ahead and has made the over-cut work. Raikkonen and Ricciardo are now 1st and 2nd but are yet to make their first pitstops. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean have already made their first pitstops and are in 16th, 17th and 18th.

Lap 22, Kimi Raikkonen pits from the lead. The Finn goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 6th. Daniel Ricciardo now leads. Lap 27, Charles Leclerc overtakes Pierre Gasly, who is struggling on his tyres, for 9th before turn 13. Gasly and Kevin Magnussen pit and are now 18th and 19th. Ricciardo pits, goes onto the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 6th. Lewis Hamilton now re-takes the lead ahead of Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr are 7th and 8th but are yet to pit. If they keep going at a reasonable pace they’ll be able to jump Sergio Perez who is still behind the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin.

Sergio Perez has had enough and overtakes Sergey Sirotkin but Sirotkin fights back. There’s contact and Perez pits as Nico Hulkenberg overtakes Sirotkin round the outside of turn 5 for 13th place. Replay shows that Perez moved to the left and hit Sirotkin before turn 18. Lewis Hamilton is now encountering lapped drivers and Max Verstappen is closing the gap. It was 4.5 seconds, its now 2.8 seconds. Romain Grosjean and Sirotkin battle and Hamilton has to back off. Verstappen is all over the back of him and Sebastian Vettel isn’t far back as well as Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. Grosjean and Sirotkin are under investigation for ignoring blue flags as Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc pit.

Lap 40, Sergio Perez has been handed a drive through penalty for the contact with Sergey Sirotkin. Fernando Alonso is still in 7th after making his pit-stop with Marcus Ericsson in 8th having not pitted yet. Carlos Sainz is 9th with Stoffel Vandoorne, yet to pit, in 10th. Alonso went onto Soft tyres while Charles Leclerc, who is in 11th, is on the Hypersoft tyre. Lap 41, Perez takes his penalty as Lewis Hamilton has extended his gap to over 3 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen. Romain Grosjean has been handed a 5 second time penalty for ignoring blue flags as Sainz overtakes Ericsson for 8th. Ericsson pits on lap 46 and that allows Leclerc to get into 9th and Nico Hulkenberg into 10th. Sirotkin is also given a 5 second time penalty for forcing another driver off the track.

Lap 49, everyone has now made their pit-stops as Stoffel Vandoorne pits and rejoins in  12th just over 3 seconds behind Marcus Ericsson in 11th. Daniel Ricciardo has set a new lap record and is closing in on Kimi Raikkonen and Valterri Bottas in 4th, 5th and 6th. Lap 61, Lewis Hamilton wins the 2018 Singapore GP ahead of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 61 Laps (7th wins of the season & 69th career win)
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +8.961s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +39.945s
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +51.903s
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +53.001s
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 53.982s
  7. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, +1:43.011
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, + 1 Lap (First points since Austria)
  10. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap (150th GP start)
  11. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  13. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  14. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 1 Lap
  15. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  16. Sergio Perez, Racing Point Force India, + 1 Lap
  17. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 2 Laps (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  19. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Esteban Ocon, Racing Point Force India, DNF

Drivers Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 281pts
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 241pts
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 174pts
  4. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 171pts
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 148pts

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes, 415pts
  2. Ferrari, 390pts
  3. Red Bull, 248pts
  4. Renault, 86pts
  5. Haas, 76pts

 

Hamilton takes unexpected Pole in Singapore

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes Pole Position ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Championship rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the Singapore GP.

15/09/18

On a track where Mercedes have tended to struggle in the past couple of years, pole position today was unexpected. Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas ended FP3 3rd and 4th behind both Scuderia cars and over half a second adrift. Things at one point looked bleak for the Silver Bullets. They opted to run on the Ultrasoft tyre in Q1 and were close to being knocked out with Bottas 12th and Hamilton a whisker from being out in 14th. Bottas and Hamilton got back to normality by ending Q2 in 3rd and 4th with the possibility of a car on the front-row.

Hamilton’s first lap was legendary and will go down as one of his best qualifying performances. A one minute 36 dead was over 3 seconds quicker than Vettel’s pole lap from last year. Bottas however was disappointed with 4th and to be nearly 7 tenths behind Hamilton. The Finn, who has yet to secure pole position this year, is seemingly going to play rear-gunner to Hamilton.

One of the Ferrari drivers should have been on Pole. Sebastian Vettel, who has gone well round here in the past, dominated FP3 after a great comeback after he damaged his Ferrari during FP2. Both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen looked to be in trouble however in Q2 as they both ran the Ultrasoft tyre. They quickly found out that they could not get enough heat and time out of the purple marked tyres and swapped to the Hypersoft tyre which saw them safely through to Q3. Vettel repeatedly hit traffic on his out laps and bemoaned a “messy” qualifying session while Raikkonen, who was on Pole in Monza, struggled and ended Q3 5th after topping Q2.

Close but not close enough for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. It was a great lap by the Dutchman to beat both Ferrari’s, the Mercedes of Bottas and his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to 2nd. Verstappen qualified in 2nd last year but was caught in a Ferrari-sandwich which resulted in contact. A clean start is crucial if he wants to challenge for the win. Ricciardo, who topped Q1, will line-up in 6th but will be baffled to how he ended up over 6 and a half tenths off of Verstappen.

Apart from Hamilton and Verstappen, Force India’s Sergio Perez was the star of qualifying as the Mexican claimed “best of the rest” spot in 7th. Perez admitted that they weren’t expecting this pace but was very happy with 7th. Esteban Ocon confirmed that the major update that Force India had brought to this weekend had worked by qualifying in 9th and ahead of the Renault of Hulkenberg.

Romain Grosjean has been on good form of late and that seems to be helping his chances of staying with Haas for next year. 8th on the grid will please the Frenchman and what will please him more is that he out-qualified team-mate Kevin Magnussen who was knocked out in Q1.

Renault seem to be struggling for pace this weekend and will hope that they will be leaving Singapore on Sunday night with a handful of points as Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified in 10th, and Carlos Sainz, who qualified in 12th, look to be right in the middle of the mid-field pack.

It was another valiant effort by Fernando Alonso drag his McLaren to 11th place. The Spaniard had hoped that Q3 could have been on the cards but just missed out. It was another tough day for Stoffel Vandoorne who was out-qualified for the 15th time this season by Alonso. Having missed much of FP1, Vandoorne claimed that his last Q1 lap was “such a messy lap” with the Belgian tapping the wall at turn 22.

It was a solid performance by Sauber with both Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson progressing to Q1 and qualifying in 13th and 14th. Although, tapping the wall at turn 22 as well, Leclerc was able to put his drama in FP1 behind him which left the Sauber team with a bit of rebuilding to do around the front-right corner.

If it had not been for Magnussen’s Q1 elimination, Pierre Gasly would have found himself out in Q1. Gasly was 2 and a bit tenths off of Ericsson’s time but he would have to settle for 15th in the end. Brendon Hartley was a casualty of Q1 despite being just under 2 tenths slower than Gasly in Q1. Management at Toro Rosso have told the New Zealander to pick up the pace or he’ll be out of a seat for next year.

It was yet another frustrating session for Williams as both Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll found themselves 3 seconds off of the pace of Ricciardo who ended Q1 quickest. After leaving Monza on a high with both drivers in the points, the team have been brought back down to earth with a bang with the team locking-out the back row of the grid.

Qualifying Results

1.Hamilton  2.Verstappen  3.Vettel  4.Bottas  5.Raikkonen  6.Ricciardo  7.Perez  8.Grosjean  9.Ocon  10.Hulkenberg  11.Alonso  12.Sainz  13.Leclerc  14.Ericsson  15.Gasly  16.Magnussen  17.Hartley  18.Vandoorne  19.Sirotkin  20.Stroll

Raikkonen moves to Sauber as Leclerc joins Ferrari

2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen will move to Sauber with Charles Leclerc named by Ferrari as his replacement for the 2019 F1 Season.

13/09/18

Ferrari’s driver conundrum

As it has been for quite a few years now, Ferrari were faced with a occurring decision: would the Scuderia keep the popular Finn for another season? At one stage, it looked like it could have gone either way with Raikkonen either staying for another season in “red” or jumping ship to another team or calling it quits on his time in the sport. At last a decision has been made and it seems to have worked out great.

Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Kimi Raikkonen will return to Sauber, the team he first drove for when the Finn made his GP debut in 2001, on a two-year deal which will keep Raikkonen in the sport for the 2019 and 2020 F1 seasons. Raikkonen’s fate at Ferrari prospered throughout the season as the Finn, who lies 3rd in the championship, has secured 9 podium finishes, his latest podium finish coming at the Italian GP where he finished in 2nd place after securing Pole Position.

Raikkonen seemed to be on track to drive for Ferrari after the death of then Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, who died in July. Marchionne’s replacement as CEO, Louis Camilleri, is a supporter of the Finn and was torn between either sticking to Marchionne’s decision of promoting Leclerc or keeping Raikkonen for an extra year.

Seemingly over the Italian GP, Ferrari’s home race, it was decided that Camilleri would honour Marchionne’s decision and replace Raikkonen with Leclerc for the forth coming season.

Raikkonen was receiving outside help from over 74,000 fans who had signed a petition urging Ferrari to keep the Finn for another year. Whether the petition had any effect on Ferrari, Raikkonen is moving to Sauber to compete and is not looking at a couple of records he could achieve over the next few years.

“During these years, Kimi’s contribution to the team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental,” said Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

“Dreams do come true” – Leclerc

Charles Leclerc will race alongside 4 time world champion Sebastian Vettel after just 14 races in the sport. Leclerc, who is part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, will be the first product of the programme to drive for the team in F1 when he joins the Scuderia in 2019.

Leclerc has had an exceptional season so far while at the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, scoring 13 of the 19 points the team has achieved so far this season. Leclerc was granted the chance to drive in F1 after a stellar campaign in F2 in which the Monegasque won the championship in 2017. A best result of 6th place in the Azerbaijan GP and 4 other points scoring race places Leclerc in 13th place.

Leclerc has been outperforming his much more experienced team-mate Marcus Ericsson with Leclerc being able to reach Q3 on 3 separate occasions. His strong showings have impressed the likes of Championship leader, Lewis Hamilton and soon-to-be team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who have given praise over the course of the year.

How did the change come around and what impact will it have?

Leclerc will join Ferrari as their youngest driver since Ricardo Rodriguez drove for them at the Italian GP in 1961 and he will also be their least experienced debutant since Gilles Villeneuve competed with them in 1977. What does this say about Ferrari? It shows that they are ready for change for swapping experience for youth, nothing the Scuderia have done in a while. They follow Red Bull and McLaren who are putting their faith in their young drivers, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris, who will be driving for their respected teams next year.

If Ferrari had kept Raikkonen for an extra year, it’s highly likely that Leclerc would have stayed with Sauber or either moving to Haas who are customer team of Ferrari. This would have allowed Leclerc to gain more experience of the sport not being put into the spotlight after such a short period of time. But would his talent be wasted by spending another year at a mid-field team whereas he could potentially be able to fight for podium finishes or race victories? This is one of the factors why Ferrari decided to effectively “go radical” for 2019.

Vettel and Raikkonen have been Ferrari team-mates since 2015 and have become very good friends off the track. Vettel has been able to beat Raikkonen each year, thus Ferrari giving him the unofficial title of Number One Driver. How will Vettel cope with Leclerc in beside him given that Leclerc has the potential to beat the German? Only time will tell but the 2019 F1 Season is poised for a great scrap between drivers and teams.

What next for the F1 Driver Market?

With Leclerc moving to Ferrari, it has ruled out the move to Haas if Ferrari were keeping Raikkonen.

Recent rumours suggest that Haas will be keeping Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean with strong rumours also suggesting that Lance Stroll will be joining Sergio Perez at the newly rebranded Racing Point Force India.

Esteban Ocon’s and Stoffel Vandoorne’s chances of staying in F1 are looking slim. Vandoorne has been dropped from McLaren in favour of Lando Norris for 2019 while Ocon looks to on his way out after being forced out at Force India as Stroll is set to take his seat.

The second Sauber seat alongside Raikkonen looks to be between Swede Ericsson and Ferrari’s third driver and reserve, Antonio Giovinazzi. Ericsson, who is having a better season so far compared to the past few years, brings a lot of money in terms of sponsorship to the team and experience as he made his GP debut in 2014 for Caterham – signing for Sauber for the 2015 season.

Vandoorne remains an out-side bet for the Sauber seat and also a seat at either Williams or Toro Rosso as does Ocon but if Ocon is to secure a seat at any team for 2019, his ties with Mercedes must be cut as teams, who showed interest in the Frenchman such as Renault, McLaren and Red Bull, have bypassed him because of his ties as a young driver for the German team.

2019 Driver Line-up

  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton & Valterri Bottas
  • Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel & Charles Leclerc
  • Red Bull: Max Verstappen & Pierre Gasly
  • Renault: Daniel Ricciardo & Nico Hulkenberg
  • Haas:
  • McLaren: Carlos Sainz & Lando Norris
  • Force India:
  • Sauber: Kimi Raikkonen
  • Toro Rosso:
  • Williams:

 

Norris in at McLaren for 2019, Vandoorne out

McLaren have confirmed that their second driver for 2019 will be 18 year old Lando Norris who replaces Stoffel Vandoorne and will be partnering Carlos Sainz Jr for the 2019 campaign.

05/09/18

Announced on Monday, McLaren confirmed that Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne would not be racing with the team next year. Vandoorne, who joined their young driver program in 2013, became a test driver in 2014 and raced for the team at the 2016 Bahrain GP where he scored points. He became a full time driver at McLaren after replacing Jenson Button for 2017 and has partnered Fernando Alonso since.

A few hours later, McLaren announced that rising star Lando Norris would take Vandoorne’s seat and partner Carlos Sainz Jr for the 2019 F1 Season. Norris is currently 2nd in the F2 championship and trails Mercedes junior driver George Russell.

Why did McLaren chose Norris?

McLaren regard the 18-year-old as a special talent who was too good to ignore. McLaren boss, Zak Brown, said that Norris was “an immense talent.”

Coupled with 24 year old Sainz, McLaren are looking to the future and currently the right fit for their current position.

Norris has tested on four occasions for McLaren, most recently in last month’s two-days after the Hungarian GP, and drove in Practice One at the Belgian and Italian GPs. His pace was great, better than Vandoorne’s time at Spa, but also in Italy where he showed great skill in the rain and was half a second down on Alonso.

McLaren say that they needed to promote Norris as he was attracting attention from other F1 teams. Most notably was Toro Rosso when the Italian squad tried to sign the youngster in June in replacement of Brendon Hartley. McLaren turned this down and with Vandoorne not performing well up against Alonso, Norris was ultimately the right choice for the team.

What happens to Vandoorne?

It’s fair to say that it has been a hard 2018 campaign so far for the Belgian. Vandoorne hasn’t scored points since Baku as he has struggled to get to grips with the MCL33 and his tally of 8 points leaves him 16th in the championship.

One of the main sticking points for Vandoorne as he is yet to out-qualify Alonso in the 14 races so far this year. He is also on a run of seven consecutive Q1 eliminations.

Vandoorne is a very talented driver but has not been able to show his skill at McLaren who have gone through a very difficult and lacklustre couple of years with Brown accepting that they “haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent.”

This is not the first time this has happened with McLaren as Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen found out when they joined the team in 2013 and 2014. Both left after just one year but have salvaged their F1 careers at other teams.

Toro Rosso and Sauber are potential options for Vandoorne if he wants to race in F1 next year but Brown was quoted to say that “we have some other racing activities we are reviewing, and I wouldn’t hesitate to keep Stoffel in the McLaren family if there was a seat available and he had a desire to race in it.”

2019 Driver Line-up

  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas
  • Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel
  • Red Bull: Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly
  • Renault: Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg
  • Haas:
  • McLaren: Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris
  • Toro Rosso:
  • Sauber:
  • Williams: