Formule 1 2016 – preview

Het is elk jaar weer een gat waar je in valt zo rond november en de vraag is, wat ga je dan doen met je vrije zondag, maar gelukkig weet je dat het in maart weer begint.

Formula 1 logo

Uiteraard heb ik het over de Formule 1 en hoewel er zeker minder jaren tussen zaten volg ik het toch al dik een jaar of 20. Zeker afgelopen jaar (2015) was natuurlijk weer erg leuk en dan niet zo zeer vanwege de vraag wie de race ging winnen of wie kampioen ging worden, maar omdat we eindelijk weer een Nederlander mee hebben rijden en één die in tegenstelling tot de heren die hier voor in de Formule 1 zaten, bij een team zit die een deuk in een pakje boter kan rijden en dan ook nog eens het talent lijkt te hebben (of is het de ballen of de onbevangenheid) om dat dan ook te doen, we zullen het in 2016 zien. Hoe dan ook heeft ‘onze’ Max er toch wel een spektakel van gemaakt en dat vinden niet alleen wij Nederlanders maar zeker ook de Britten (BBC en SKY-sport) en eigenlijk ook de rest van de wereld als je de social media mag geloven. Maar goed dat was 2015, onze Max moet nu gaan bewijzen dat hij het echt kan en het niet gewoon mazzel was.

Dus, wat kunnen we verwachten in 2016, of eigenlijk, wat zijn de zaken die ik verwacht en naar uit kijk.

Bij de teams lijkt er niet al te veel veranderd te zijn, er zijn wat namen anders Lotus => Renault en Marussia => Manor dat is het hoewel de verandering van Lotus naar Renault op de achtergrond natuurlijk een grote verandering is, maar op de voorgrond lijkt dat alleen een verandering van naam en we hebben natuurlijk ook het nieuwe Haas, een Amerikaans team met een Fransman en een Mexicaan als coureurs. Haas heeft natuurlijk al de nodige ervaring met racen en ondanks dat het nieuw is in de Formule 1 verwacht ik toch wel wat van ze, wellicht al wel een puntje hier en daar.

Bij de coureurs zien we ook voornamelijk dezelfde namen of namen die we al kennen in de Formule 1, bij Manor en Renault zien we echter 3 nieuwe namen of liever gezegd nieuw in de Formule 1. Pascal Wehrlein, Rio Haryanto en Jolyon Palmer allen niet echt nieuwe in een raceauto, maar nog geen Formule 1 races gereden.

Dan de banden, we hebben een nieuwe compound en deze heeft een mooie paarse zijkant gekregen. Het is de Ultra Soft, die dus nog zachter is dan de Super Soft die we al hadden. Word waarschijnlijk alleen op een aantal stratencircuits gebruikt, zoals Monaco. Verder kunnen de teams dit jaar uit 3 compounds per race kiezen, waar dat in 2015 nog 2 compounds waren die door Pirelli werden gekozen. Dit gaat voor ons kijkers wat verwarrend worden, omdat er in 2015 werd gesproken over primary en option tyres wat dus voor iedereen hetzelfde was. Nu kunnen de primary en option banden dus per team verschillen, ben benieuwd hoe dit zal gaan.

Het geluid, daar is sinds de V6 met turbo nogal wat over gezegd en het was inderdaad nogal zacht. Hier hebben ze dit jaar wat op gevonden. Er zijn namelijk extra uitlaten toegevoegd die uitlaatgassen afvoert die niet door de turbo gaan en dus voor meer geluid zorgen. Voelt voor mij allemaal wat kunstmatig, maar er wordt wel meer herrie gemaakt.

Nieuw dit jaar is matte verf op de een aantal auto’s. Red Bull heeft dit in ieder geval en ook Renault schijn dit ook te gaan doen, maar dat zien we morgen (16 maart) voor het eerst. Men zegt dat deze matte verft ongeveer een halve kilo aan gewicht scheelt ten opzichte van glimmende verf.

Dat zijn zo ‘from the top of my head’ wat zaken die ik wel interessant vond, maar er zijn natuurlijk nog honderden kleine en grotere zaken die veranderd zijn, zowel technische als in de regels.

Maar goed, wat verwacht ik van de Formule 1 in 2016?

Mercedes

Zal wel weer bovenaan staan

Ferrari

Zal ze het een stuk moeilijker kan maken dan in 2015 en waarschijnlijk wel wat overwinningen meer kan pakken. Vraag me af wat Kiki Räikkönen nog kan, had niet een best jaar.

Williams

Ging afgelopen jaar eigenlijk best goed en hoewel Massa een beetje een zuurpruim wordt is het toch een leuk ‘oud’ team dat thuishoort in de Formule 1.

Red Bull

Heeft in de basis dezelfde motor als in 2015 en die was niet zo best, maar ik mag aannemen (of hopen) dat deze over de winder heen wel wat is verbeterd.

Force India

Deden het ook prima en voor een team dat een aantal jaar geleden toch zeker niet zo goed gingen toen het nog Spyker of Midland was. Het lijkt weer op het niveau te zijn als toen het nog Jordan was in de jaren 90.

Torro Rosso

Een kleine 100 pk meer dan in 2015, maar een motor die niet meer wordt doorontwikkeld, dus die moeten aan het begin van het seizoen grote stappen maken en punten scoren, zal aan het einde van het seizoen lastiger worden als de 2016 motoren nog wel worden aangepast.

Sauber

Om eerlijk te zijn valt er niet zo veel te vertellen over Sauber. Hadden niet zo’n best jaar in 2015, kijken hoe 2016 verloopt.

McLaren

Ja McLaren, denk dat 2015 op zijn minst een klote jaar voor ze was. Ik had in ieder geval veel meer verwacht van Honda, laten we hopen dat ze het lek boven hebben en dat ze in ieder geval mee kunnen doen voor de punten.

Renault

Op het laatste moment hebben ze Lotus gekocht dat in de financiële problemen zat. Natuurlijk een grote naam in de Formule 1 vanwege de motoren door de jaren heen (maar zeker niet in 2015) en hun eigen F1 team. Lotus heeft het in 2015 nog niet eens zo heel slecht gedaan, maar dat zal voor een deel aan de Mercedes motor gelegen hebben, nu met hun eigen motor, die in 2015 niet best ging, ben benieuwd.

Manor

In 2015 standaard achteraan, ik verwacht voor 2016 hetzelfde.

Haas

Zoals hierboven al gezegd, veel ervaring in racen, nog niets in F1. Ik denk dat ze het weleens goed zouden kunnen gaan doen. Heeft de 2016 ‘drive train’ van Ferrari, dus daar zal het niet aan liggen.

Goed, ik zit er aanstaande zondag klaar voor met een glaasje jus, wat croissants en een kop koffie (het is namelijk nogal vroeg) en heb er zin in. Dus zoals David Croft (Crofty) op de BBC altijd zei “Lights out and away we go !”

Changes to Formula 1 in my opinion

Recently I watched a few Formula 1 race from 1995 (20 years ago) and those were a lot more fun to watch then there 2015 races I have seen so far and with the discussion the last few months about the future of Formula 1 I thought I might add my 2 cents about why the 1995 races were a lot more fun and what the changes to formula 1 should be.

First of all the sound. In 1995 there were 8 types of engine in use, the V8, V10 and V12 and those were all very LOUD. I do understand that 3 types would be a bit of an issue to run, so 1 type would be OK with me, but make it sound great. V12 is great of course, but I would settle for a V10. A little example of what I mean in the below video.

A very fast pitstop was ~8 seconds (“8 seconds, one of the best we have seen today!” according to the commentator) back then and that was all because of the need to refuel. This gave you a nice view into the strategy of the teams and gave you the opportunity to do some math and figure out when the next stop would be as the fuel went in at 12 liters a second and you knew how much fuel each car used for each lap, so easy math.

Tires, well the 2015 rule is stupid, I don’t care about bad tires, just put on a piece of rubber and drive your ass of until it goes bad, get a new set and repeat. This is an artificial way to bring more excitement (which failed if you ask me). Get more tire manufacturers into the game and let them make the best tire they can, bring back the tire wars !

pirelli_tyres

A blue flag you say? Well those were not there in 1995. Drivers just had to pay attention and try to get passed. Sure you would eventually get a little sign, after about a lap of blocking, that it might be a good idea to get out of the way. I remember a few “international signs of friendship” coming out of some cars when it took a bit to long.

DRS, never really understood that one as it is an artificial way to make cars pass each other. In 1995 you just had to be smart, use a slipstream and try to pass the guy in front of you. Seems to me that in 1995 cars could run much closer to each other too, without much trouble, which was probably because the aerodynamics were simpler. It might be that there were less actual passes, but drivers were trying for lap after lap to get past and to me the TRYING to overtake is much more fun then the actual overtaking.

Had a couple of examples where drivers just drove along with a smoking car, obviously there was something wrong with the engine. But the car stayed on track as it might just make it to the end and the engine would be replaced if it didn’t. This caused another piece of excitement “will the car hold until the end, or will it blow up?” So make simpler (and cheaper) engines and let teams use more of them.

A little comparison between the 2015 and 1995 number of engines manufacturers:

2015
01. Ferrari
02. Mercedes
03. Honda
04. Renault

1995
01. Ferrari
02. Mercedes
03. Honda
04. Renault
05. Yamaha
06. Hart
07. Ford
08. Peugeot

Might this be a part of why the 1995 races were much more fun to watch?

Spare cars, yes we had those back in 1995. During a crash at the start the race was red flagged (no there were no safety cars back then) and drivers would get out of their crashed car and run back to the pits to get in their spare car. There was just 1 spare car per team, so you might end up in a car setup for your team mate, but at least you could drive. This was only permitted with a start crash, you could not get into your other car when you crashed at any other time during the race.

“Formula 1 needs to have more danger” that’s what Kimi Raikonnen said this week. By this he did not mean people should get hurt more, but the game is just to safe these days. I think achieving this can be done my getting the stewards out of the picture and not penalize everybody when they misjudge an overtake and crash into someone. We are racing here, stuff can go wrong.

So what should happen to the F1 if you ask me?

They are shouting ‘reduce cost’ for years now, but to me it looks like they are just making it more expansive, a few examples:

DRS

Expansive system to make the rear wing move, has all sorts of mechanics and electrical stuff that can break, go back to the fixed rear wing and make it simpler, so just 1 level (for both front and back)

KERS

Batteries, electrical systems, stuff that breaks, extra gear for the pit crew to wear because of the risk of electrocution.

Different tire compounds

Seems to me that making just 1 compound and a rain tire is much cheaper then making 6 different types.

 More engine manufacturers

I really believe that if the engines would be simple (and cheaper), so lets say a V10 without KERS and turbo’s and other stuff, more engine manufacturers would join. I’m not really into the engine specs myself, but I’m sure some rules could be made to make the engines simpler, but still very fast and without all sorts of ‘driver aids’. They would also just have to make the engine and maybe gear box and don’t have to build a car. So just get as much power out of that thing as you can and still make it reliable for, lets say 2 race weekends and all of that with a reasonable fuel consumption, as more fuel means more weight , means slower car.

Less/no factory teams

When looking at 1995, but also at the 2015 GP2 championship, you do not see any factory teams (except Ferrari in 1995), which means less influence of those manufacturers. This alone would make the sport a lot cheaper as private teams just don’t have the cash to spend as Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda and because they all would have less money to spend the sports gets cheaper. Just buy the engine you want and build your car around it.

Get rid of the steward that ‘investigate’ every little incident on track, scaring the drivers to try and overtake. Misjudging the situation is part of racing and so are crashes.

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My view on the 2014 formula 1 season

F1_logo

 

Well 2014 is over, when it comes to Formula 1 and it was not a real exciting one when it comes to the championships for both drivers and constructors. Pretty soon it was clear that Mercedes were going to be the champions and with almost double the amount of points as the runner up is was not a surprise indeed.

In the drivers championship the only exciting bit was if wither Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg would become the winner and they took it to the very last race to decide and that only because of the double points in the last race that that happened. Whether you like those double points or not, it did bring the outcome of the season all the way to the last race, knows as ‘the battle in the dessert’. Well Lewis won and it did not turn out to be a battle in the end due to technical issues with Nico’s car. But what else was there to watch this year?

Rules

As every year 2014 got a few rule changes and probably the one that stood out most was the engine changes. A 1.6 litter V6 engine with a turbo with a maximum rpm of 15.000. This made the engine sound very un-formula1-ish and people complained as usual for a few races, but got used to it I guess. The less loud engines made you hear other stuff though, like tire squeal when they drove of from a pit-stop. Next to the 600 horsepower or so the engine puts out there is also an electric motor in the car putting out another 160 bhp. This is very similar than the KERS sytem of previous years but they can use it for a lot longer (33 seconds a lap instead of 8). Another big change is the amount of fuel used by each car. This was limited to 100kg a race instead of the around 160kg car used in previous years.

Other then these rules there are a lot more changes either large or small, ranging from nose height to driver numbers.

Mercedes

F1-team-mercedes

Well they did something better then the other teams over the winter and it seems that some how they ‘got’ the rules better then other teams. We have seen this before (Brawn GP) in the past and that was usually just for 1 season. Lets see what happens to Mercedes next year. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, they have been racing together for a long time during their career and even are friends. But the things that happened this year might have cooled that friendship a bit. Because they were basically only fighting each other everything that happens during those fights were between 2 drivers, where every other year stuff happens as well, but usually it is between different drivers that fight for the win all the time. So things heated up a bit between them, lets see what happens in 2015.

Red Bull

F1-team-red-bull

With them being the champs the last 4 years their season was a bit of a disappointment, but with Mercedes being as good as they were, being second in the championship was the best they could get. Sebastian Vettel ended up being 5th in the championship, which is way below his ‘standard’ of the last 4 years and 3 places below his teammate Daniel Ricciardo who was the rookie in the team but turned out to be a force to be reckoned with for both his teammate as the rest of the drivers. Ricciardo, well he’s the only driver not driving a Mercedes that won a race this year, 3 actually, so that makes the always smiling Aussie the best of the rest, but with a car that was just not good enough that is all he could be this year, lets see what he can do next year.

Williams

F1-team-williams

Weren’t they a surprise? To me they were as the last couple of years were pretty bad for them. No idea what happened for them to be as good as they were this years, but I’m happy that they are back as to me they are still the best private team out there (and I know that technically Red Bull is too, but I have a soft spot for Williams). Maybe the surprise of the year was Valtteri Bottas because with a good car this year he could show what he is capable of and it seems he is capable of a lot and he is already nominated as future world champion by many and it would not surprise me if he indeed becomes world champion some day in the near future. Felipe Massa, many might have written him off after his accident with Ferrari and his mediocre comeback, but it seems he found his place at Williams and he seems to be much more relaxed that he was at Ferrari and he’s enjoying himself a lot more.

Ferrari

F1-team-ferrari

Well, their season sucked to be honest and 4th in the championship is not up to Ferrari standards and even they think so as a lot of changes are happening in the management. Maybe Vettel can change their luck next year. Fernando Alonso is arguably the best driver of the bunch but even with his intelligent driving he was not able to turn the bad luck around ending up 6th. Still no word on what he is doing next year. Kimi Räikkönen after some issues with him and Lotus last year (money issues) he returned to Ferrari, the team that made him champion in 2007, but being 12th this year will not make him to happy I guess.

McLaren

F1-team-mclaren

Well it seems most teams did not do as well as they should in 2014 and McLaren is a team you would want to be in the top regions of the standings but this year they have to do with a 5th place. Jenson Button, probably the nicest guy of them all always doing and saying the right things, the guys from the BBC says this weekend and that seems to be the case for sure. Never heard anything say anything bad about him and still he is a very fast driver and a master in driving neat and tidy saving fuel and tires. Next year we’ll see the return of Honda with McLaren, which brings back an iconic brand of the past in F1.

Force India

F1-team-force-india

After years of dangling at the bottom of the list they finally got stuff together and got things to work fighting with both McLaren en Ferrari for the points. It looks like they will be a force to reckon with for the coming years.

Toro Rosso

F1-team-torro-rosso

They did what they were supposed to do being a training team for Red Bull and that is end up right after the bigger teams. Daniil Kvyat did very well and has earned a place in the bigger brother RedBull for next year. For 2015 we will see the youngest ever F1 driver enter the car at Torro Rosso with Max Verstappen who so far did very good in the Friday practices he did and for me as a Dutchman I happy to see a countryman enter a F1 car again, especially one that has this much potential.

Lotus, Marussia, Caterham, Sauber

What can you say about these teams, one thin comes to mind and that’s ‘Money Trouble’. We know that the smaller teams have to scrape money together each year to run their cars, but this year the number of teams having to do that is a bit high and actually having to stop running at the end of the year because the money ran out is pretty bad. Even though Bernie Ecclestone did not like it to much I loved the crowd funding the Caterham guys did and even more so that they actually got it to work out in the end, could that be the future of F1 sponsoring for smaller teams?

Jules Bianchi

Can’t really talk about the Formula 1 of 2014 without mentioning Jules Bianchi the Marussia driver. Driving for Marussia he did not do very well in the standings, but unfortunately his year was dominated by his horrible crash at the Japan Grand Prix this year where he drove into the back of a vehicle that was along side the track clearing another car that had crashed there. Just a few days ago his family brought out the news that he was no longer in a artificial coma and that he was brought to France from Japan.

Formula 1 has become safer and safer over the years but freak accidents like this always happened and will always happen, all drivers know the risks and take them every time they step into the car. This is part of the fun and excitement of the sport, but you do not want to see a driver get seriously hurt or even killed. Lets hope Jules will be better soon.

#ForzaJules

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