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Ruslan

The 2020 Season

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I gather the season is starting to assemble. Here is what I have so far:

 

1. Austria I - 5 July

2. Austria II - 12 July

3. Silverstone I - 26 July

4. Silverstone II - 2 August

5. Then I gather they will go to Spa, possibly for two races.

 

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When we are going to count all people who are exited about this season so far, do I need fingers on both hands, or one is enough?

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Actually, I think it will be a pretty cool season. More intense, as everything is packed together. It will be Vettel's last chance to prove his value, as he will certainly not be constrained. Of course, it is going to be a Mercedes romp, with Red Bull brining up the #2 slot, but it will be interesting to see how McLaren, Renault and Aston Martin do.

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Vettel will be constrained in areas of team's strategy, setup, and every other petty little thing what departing members are usually exposed to. This is not going to be a first class ride by any means. His support will be just good enough to have him slotted behind Leclerc for WCC points, and nothing more. They will park him in area of development, exposure, and so on. It was always that way, and I do not see any reason why this case should be any different.

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Maybe so as you say Ruslan, but qualifying performance in terms of significance (in relationship to driver's qualities) could be vastly misleading, as you surely know. It is journey down the rabbit hole, especially if a car which is good in qualifying run and real dog next day in the race. Not every car (due to its design characteristics) is good for both sessions. Ferrari seems such car.

In Schumacher days a team could continue to work on a car from Saturday to Sunday. Now, for economic reasons, cars go into Parc Fermé which makes no sense to me, but whatever. Sport aspect takes one whammy after another. 

People who make living of the sport make up all kind of nonsensical comparisons on the mike, but in my humble opinion mostly useless, and in fact in terms of statistical significance often irrelevant and misleading. As an example I cite quite often comparisons between teammates, when people talk about "the same cars", which is misnomer. Cars are as the matter of fact NEVER the same. One can only talk about degrees of similarity, but that's about it. CVC, Liberty, and FiA have taken painful step not to bother fans with too many technicalities, but they went IMO too far. This is technical sport, and unless media use correct contextual discussions, it all becomes one big dog meal mess. 

Vettel can beat Leclerc on Saturday, and lose next day. From my recollection he actually prefers to concentrate on race setup, often to the detriment of qualifying. It leads to compromise in setup, because one cannot drop too far on the grid for the race start. I am sure he will do his best every time the engine starts, and wheels turning.

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15 hours ago, Sakae said:

Maybe so as you say Ruslan, but qualifying performance in terms of significance (in relationship to driver's qualities) could be vastly misleading, as you surely know. It is journey down the rabbit hole, especially if a car which is good in qualifying run and real dog next day in the race. Not every car (due to its design characteristics) is good for both sessions. Ferrari seems such car.

In Schumacher days a team could continue to work on a car from Saturday to Sunday. Now, for economic reasons, cars go into Parc Fermé which makes no sense to me, but whatever. Sport aspect takes one whammy after another. 

People who make living of the sport make up all kind of nonsensical comparisons on the mike, but in my humble opinion mostly useless, and in fact in terms of statistical significance often irrelevant and misleading. As an example I cite quite often comparisons between teammates, when people talk about "the same cars", which is misnomer. Cars are as the matter of fact NEVER the same. One can only talk about degrees of similarity, but that's about it. CVC, Liberty, and FiA have taken painful step not to bother fans with too many technicalities, but they went IMO too far. This is technical sport, and unless media use correct contextual discussions, it all becomes one big dog meal mess. 

Vettel can beat Leclerc on Saturday, and lose next day. From my recollection he actually prefers to concentrate on race setup, often to the detriment of qualifying. It leads to compromise in setup, because one cannot drop too far on the grid for the race start. I am sure he will do his best every time the engine starts, and wheels turning.

Well Vettel can make a statement if he wants to or is able to. He does have the same equipment as Leclerc, I am pretty certain that is in his contract. It is just a matter of whether he can do it. There was no question that Vettel was the #1 driver last year and he was resoundly outperformed by Leclerc. So Leclerc was able to beat the #1 when he was #2. Why can’t Vettel do the same?

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1 hour ago, Ruslan said:

Well Vettel can make a statement if he wants to or is able to. He does have the same equipment as Leclerc, I am pretty certain that is in his contract. It is just a matter of whether he can do it. There was no question that Vettel was the #1 driver last year and he was resoundly outperformed by Leclerc. So Leclerc was able to beat the #1 when he was #2. Why can’t Vettel do the same?

First of all, I have no confirmation from anyone that Leclerc was No. 2 in 2019.  I take it for baseless and somewhat venomous rumor. Based on several incidents in last season, I was rather suspicious that shabby treatment was actually reserved for Vettel without tagging any labels with numbers on driver's forehead. 

Secondly, Vettel is not Hamilton who has actually done it (at least once what I do recall), and I don't expect him to start now and publicly complain about bad treatment by his own team. At worst he will say "we need to improve car".

In terms of differences between cars on the same team is not as much due to deliberate sabotage, such as what the British mechanic (Stepney) did to Schumacher, but it is mostly consequential due to variability and error in car setup not optimally reflective of contrastive field conditions, inherent variability in manufacturing and assembly affecting car stability in different conditions, critical sections on each car are on its different life cycle curve affecting how much load each driver can apply during a race (tires, PU, etc.), incompatibility of design with individual racing styles (recall case of Kimi and Alonso), and there are a few others. Aggregate result can be significant, and this all for start without driver placing his foot wrong.

Those are all factual differences, and as you surely know, in sport where 0,05 sec can make difference in driver's placing on time table, any hair out of place can, and will make the difference for better or worse. If you are not a technical person, let me summarize it for you. Claim that cars are the same is misnomer. Cars are not the same, just similar, yet different enough to make difference at the FINISH line.

 

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5 hours ago, Sakae said:

First of all, I have no confirmation from anyone that Leclerc was No. 2 in 2019.  I take it for baseless and somewhat venomous rumor. 

This is going to be painful...but let me address your comments point-by-point...as apparently you are starting to try to hard to defend Vettel (and vilify anyone and anything that says otherwise).

1. Binotto openly said so at the beginning of the season. I think it was a stupid thing to say, and made that comment on another forum, but Binotto was quite clear at the start of the season that Vettel was #1. Do I really need to find the quotes for this?

2. The first team orders of the season were given to favor Vettel.

3. On what planet would you suddenly decide that your 4-time world champion who had been with the team for 4 years was not the #1 compared to the new guy who was in his second year in F1.

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Based on several incidents in last season, I was rather suspicious that shabby treatment was actually reserved for Vettel without tagging any labels with numbers on driver's forehead.

Really....I have not seen that. Care to delineate the incidents? We have already argued over Canada, which I do consider was Vettel's fault and a perfectly fair judgment. I know you disagree...but to date I do not know of a single penalty that Vettel has taken in his career that you agree with...and there are a lot of examples to work from. More so than most drivers.

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Secondly, Vettel is not Hamilton who has actually done it (at least once what I do recall), and I don't expect him to start now and publicly complain about bad treatment by his own team. At worst he will say "we need to improve car".

I don't understand why Hamilton suddenly gets slammed here or what for. What has Hamilton "actually done" that you are blaming him for. Again, I suspect your dislike of Hamilton is closely related to the fact that he is beating Vettel, and the dislike is far in excess of any deeds or mis-deeds that he has done.

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In terms of differences between cars on the same team is not as much due to deliberate sabotage, such as what the British mechanic (Stepney) did to Schumacher,....

OK...I will bite...this is a new one to me. What did British mechanic Stepney do to Schumacher's car?

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but it is mostly consequential due to variability and error in car setup not optimally reflective of contrastive field conditions, inherent variability in manufacturing and assembly affecting car stability in different conditions, critical sections on each car are on its different life cycle curve affecting how much load each driver can apply during a race (tires, PU, etc.), incompatibility of design with individual racing styles (recall case of Kimi and Alonso), and there are a few others. Aggregate result can be significant, and this all for start without driver placing his foot wrong.

There are sometimes minor differences between various cars on the same team. No argument there. Prost complained for a half a season at one point at McLaren that his car chassis was flexing (and he was being beaten by Senna). He got a new chassis have was through the season....and suddenly he was back to being competitive to Senna....

But.....this is not an argument for 2019 as far as I know. I have heard no complaints from Vettel or rumors that his car was in anyway inferior to LeClercs.

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Those are all factual differences, and as you surely know, in sport where 0,05 sec can make difference in driver's placing on time table, any hair out of place can, and will make the difference for better or worse. If you are not a technical person, let me summarize it for you. Claim that cars are the same is misnomer. Cars are not the same, just similar, yet different enough to make difference at the FINISH line.

Yes....but regardless you can be close. There were times last season that Vettel was really not close to Leclerc. One was a four-time world champion with 12 years of experience and 4 years already at Ferrari, and the other was in his second year and had just arrived at Ferrari.

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Regarding Vettel's declining performance, I gather there could be a few reasons, and I am not much better off than anybody else who is guessing reasons behind it, and there could be several. He could be tiring mentally for lack of support (despite all empty claims he is No. 1), and venomous articles about him day in day out smearing his name and accomplishments. In part add perhaps also his own recognition that his future with Ferrari was coming to the end once he realized what presence of Leclerc means for him. He has wife, and she can read. It affects her, it affects him.

Somewhere on the forum is my post from pre-season in which I was raising my doubts about Vettel's future already when Ferrari presented a poster for a season, with a new driver. Leclerc was standing between brass from New York and Binotto, whereas they positioned Vettel end of the line. Quite innocent for uninitiated, but was it? In Japan such place is where junior (functionally lesser employee) stands. Right there was writing on the wall, but that was just begging of what we have now confirmed actually begging of the end.  

I doubt however that Sebastian forgot how to drive a racing car. To win, there have to be a team acting as one. Was there one for him? They chased him out when he wanted his input to be heard. It was self-defeating situation when mechanics lost desire to wake up in the morning and go to work, literally speaking. Italian media had sniff of it. 

Vettel is now leaving and there is no point for me to continue and fight internet, especially when perceptions and alternative interpretations of facts are endemic every time Vettel or Grosjean names are mentioned.

Button, speaking positively about Vettel, now added his voice to all those who are puzzled over ending of this story. One cannot avoid wondering, if New York / US politics got tangled in this saga to some measure. I am not implying anything specific, but one cannot avoid wondering about every conceivable angle that could put thumb on the scale. 

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He could be tiring mentally for...

This could be part of it. We have seen in the past some very lackluster seasons (2014 comes to mind) and we have seen periods of uneven performances even during good seasons (including some of the ones he won). He has always been a strange driver. He is clearly very talented, and I suspect when everything is good, and his head is fully in it, he is as good as anyone. What he does not appear to be is relentless and on pace all the time. I mean for Ricciardo and Leclerc to outperform him like they did means that they are either the second coming of Christ or Vettel was underperforming. But, in the end, if you are getting paid $40 million a year, no one is going to be particularly interested is watching you throw a season away. As I suspect this is his last half-season in F1, he is probably going to leave F1 with a checkered reputation. 

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After Sergio (or was it Arrivabene?) publicly scolded Vettel for wanting to have inputs into car design, do you remember - mind you your own business - he continued lacking the backing at Ferrari he wanted, which I suspect led to some mishaps on his part in 2018, and morphed into the end as we have it now. Add lack of car development at one point, strategy errors and why anyone should be surprised you get fed up  and tired? In retrospect, perhaps it is good for his health to part ways with this team. There is a lot to unpack for those who are interested. I am not that much anymore. For me Sebastian remains a decent person, nice to be around, have a glass of wine with at my own dinner table, and I would definitely root for him again, if we had to do it all over.

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On 19 May 2020 at 4:20 AM, Ruslan said:

This is going to be painful...but let me address your comments point-by-point...as apparently you are starting to try to hard to defend Vettel (and vilify anyone and anything that says otherwise).

1. Binotto openly said so at the beginning of the season. I think it was a stupid thing to say, and made that comment on another forum, but Binotto was quite clear at the start of the season that Vettel was #1. Do I really need to find the quotes for this?

2. The first team orders of the season were given to favor Vettel.

3. On what planet would you suddenly decide that your 4-time world champion who had been with the team for 4 years was not the #1 compared to the new guy who was in his second year in F1.

1. What Is Binotto to say. that a rookie has equal status within the team. that would not go well with the media would it.. Or anyone else for that matter. Another way of of indirectly piling heaps of pressure on a already fragile relationship (looking back in hindsight), where they either refused or could not to build the car around Vettel's wishes and driving style. Was that point not already aptly demonstrated right from the beginning of the season. Already at Bahrain it was stated that Vettel is NOT HAPPY and struggling with the car, DURING THE RACE, with Leclerc scampering off in the distance, already at one with the car. Do u remember that. Did Vettel just lose his speed and regain some of it during the season...? I mean... WTH. If you read between the lines of Leclerc himself, he certainly did'nt think he was de-facto nr 2 driver. No way son, not with the attitude that boy has...

2. Really? It was always my impression that the lead car in the race has the preference within the team... Any team.. And seeing that Vettel had some issues with the car.. Well...duh

3. Refer to point 1. Also on the basis of the previous years with Kimi as teammate. How on earth can you, when u have a realistic chance of winning a championship, give preference to the other driver who was already on HIS WAY OUT. Pls explain that to me. First at qualifying..then Kimi's unyielding attitude right at the start at Monza and pushing Vettel into the hands of Hamilton...

Maybe Vettel's mistake that he cud not unify the team in the exact manner that Schumie did, but then Schumie did insist on bringing his championship big brass folks over from Bennetton did'nt he. He was loaded with the right ppl behind him that made it easier to influence the team to rally behind a common purpose. With Vettel it seemed abit... Disjointed

 

There are those for and against the penalty that Vettel received in Canada. The best way to get a clear handle if it was fair or not, was a previous incident with Hamilton at Montreal himself, where he did exactly the same thing and got away with it

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We're not saying Vettel did not make any mistakes during his tenure at Ferrari... Ferrari made a ton of mistakes themselves. The drivers certainly did not have the fluency that the Merc cars had

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Mistakes? What kind of mistakes? Take selected a few.

(1)     Hamilton provoked Vettel, who lost consequently temper, and in revenge bumped into Hamilton's car. Explanation was given that it was supposed to be only close move to make clear for Hamilton not to f***k around. In that he said he lost control and contact was initiated, Media called driver's mistake, I don't. In sport anger flares and brawl happens all the time.

(2)    In Singapore after lights went off, Vettel moved across, didn't touched anyone, but Verstappen and Kimi got tangled together behind Vettel. Now, media call called Vettel's mistake, I still don't understand why. Verstappen on couple occasions dove into some impossible places, Vettel tried to avoid him, contacted Kimi, and who was blamed? Not Verstappen, not Kimi, but Vettel. Seems like double standard to me (in ref. to Verstappen).

(3)    In Germany he was leading the race, he got his car unexpectedly on a wet patch, and slid into a wall. DNF. Media claimed it was his HUGE mistake. Oh, ok then. No one else ever slid on a wet patch, that's what rocket scientists on sidelines are saying? 

(4)    In Canada last year he went off, returned, and received 5 sec penalty to get Hamilton into a lead. Good for Hamilton. I do recall a race in Mexico, and a hatched job Whiting did on him, but it was again Vettel, who was blamed. It seem like tradition with certain people in F1. In the same race Hamilton went off the track quite early - no penalty to anyone, yet he kept his position. 

(5)     Hard to talk about Italy last year. Ferrari managed with their strategy-special to warm Seb up, and rest is history. Mistake or not, one would argue maybe his tempter was in boil, but we are what we are, and one could discuss how much responsibility Ferrari was bearing for that mess which they created to begin with by wanting to have golden boy take the flag.

Point I am making here is not to absolve Vettel of anything particular, but if you look under the hood, it is not as much Vettel's (alledged) incompetence as many like to holler, but set of conditions which played on his nerves. Senna after all hit Prost in anger, Senna in pits slapped Irvine, yet he is judged differently from Vettel.

Vettel is not the only one who clashed on the track for one reasons or another, but surely he received a different treatment for it than most. That's how I see it.  

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Publius would be probably able to explain it. My own interpretation was a simple speculation that Seb has certain way how he feather brakes, and when he steps on power. RB was a stable car responsive to his style, whereas Ferrari was probably not that exactly, but, again, I am not totally sure. People do study charts to know what driver did, and when he did it.

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1. What Is Binotto to say. that a rookie has equal status within the team. that would not go well with the media would it....

 

Most team managers say that the drivers have equal equipment and equal opportunity, and things like that, even if it is not true. It was unusual enough for Binotto to say that, that I commented on it a couple of times on CTA forum. It struck me as odd and inappropriate. I am sure Leclerc has some interesting questions from the press about that.

But, I have said for a while that I was not convinced that Binotto was the right guy to lead Ferrari, and so far how 2019 season was run has backed up my point far too well.

 

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1 hour ago, Ruslan said:
1. What Is Binotto to say. that a rookie has equal status within the team. that would not go well with the media would it....

 

Most team managers say that the drivers have equal equipment and equal opportunity, and things like that, even if it is not true. It was unusual enough for Binotto to say that, that I commented on it a couple of times on CTA forum. It struck me as odd and inappropriate. I am sure Leclerc has some interesting questions from the press about that.

But, I have said for a while that I was not convinced that Binotto was the right guy to lead Ferrari, and so far how 2019 season was run has backed up my point far too well.

 

True Rus, I've also stated that... He gives the appearance of being a little... whimsy. It's like he's easily affected by circumstances that happen around him, then act accordingly. He's technical, and shud've stayed in that position.

Certainly Marlboro man was better than this dude...

 

Now Leclerc has to answer q's about nr 1 status, which he vehemently denies. This bromance might not last and fizzle out quickly. Wait till Sainz (whom I also have my doubts about) start beating him, then we'll hear those moans again. He strikes me as a spoilt brat. The pressure is enormous

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I am not going to defend Binotto here, with admission, that I don't know much about him in a managerial role. I am having nagging doubts that he had completely free hand in a decision who team's drivers are, and just because he seemed rather indifferent to Vettel, that's not a crime. Nicolas Todt* certainly could (but I doubt he will) explain what was really going on at that place. Negotiations for new "CA" or similar document couldn't be playing any role in these developments, right? Oh darn, I am now conspiratorial, so it's time for me to leave that subject.

*Nicolas, son of J. Todt (FiA), is Leclerc's manager.

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2 weeks 2 go and it`s HERE - the 2020 season WILL finally B upon us - if all things consistent 

So is everybody anticipatin another Mercedes DOMINATION ? 
Will Honda finally get 4 wheels instead of just 2 ALL pointed in the winning direction ?
Before everybody gets 2 excited.  1 thing WILL B missin - the Grid Girls, unfortunately will NOT B a part of the season
with the current covID-19 crisis.  <sniff> <sniff>

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You call it a season? Oh OK, people are known to have different taste bud. Isn't there some song - Money, money, money...which will soon replace national hymn?

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