Fears that the hybrid-turbo era would see power unit manufacturers reign control over Formula 1 first came true in 2015. Back then, Red Bull Racing was looking for a new power unit partner after Renault struggled to come to terms with the hybrid-turbo regulations. In fact, Red Bull Racing’s discussions with Mercedes and Ferrari were fairly public – with the eventual decision that neither manufacturers were ready to supply power units to Red Bull Racing. Understandably and they admitted to seeing Red Bull Racing as a potential threat to their championship aspirations. The first clue that Ferrari and Mercedes were controlling the competitive quotient of the grid. The continued struggles of Renault and then Honda only made matters worse for Formula 1.
Cut to 2019, Mclaren recently announced a reunion with Mercedes from 2021. This time too, Mercedes admitted that they would expect Mclaren to be a threat but went ahead with the supply agreement anyway. In 2015, it was the Mercedes board that rejected a supply agreement to Red Bull Racing. However, the new board does seem okay with a reunion with Mclaren. But one wonders if Mercedes would still be as willing to supply to Red Bull Racing as well! In fact, despite their deep efforts with Honda, Red Bull Racing might just jump to the prospects of using Mercedes or Ferrari power units, if the offer actually came by.
Either way, there could be more than what meets the eye with the Mclaren-Mercedes relationship. Either there’s a genuine change of heart at Mercedes and they want as many teams to be powered by their championship winning power units (yes, how naive!) or they don’t #BelieveInMclaren as genuine championship contenders. Or could it be that Mercedes is preparing to exit the sport as a works team but continue as a power unit supplier? The latter seems almost out-of-question given official statements in the recent weeks.
The Haas F1 Team has hit unwanted and unexpected trouble. The star of the Netflix-F1 show season 1 and Haas’ team boss, Guenther Steiner, could face sanctions from the FIA for copying Sebastian Vettel on the pit-to-car radio. Let’s hope the FIA doesn’t be too harsh while reminding Steiner that he isn’t Vettel! Luckily for Steiner, he was let off with a penalty lenient than what most expected.
In this week’s episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, we wonder if Mclaren-Mercedes is a sign that Fernando Alonso isn’t returning to Formula 1 with the top-4 teams. Toto Wolff is afraid that Mclaren might be a threat for Mercedes come 2021, in which case, let’s give Mercedes engines to Red Bull Racing too? The Verstappen camp can complain as much as they want, but Max Verstappen may not have anywhere else to go in 2021. Finally, the young Formula 1 drivers are already lining up alternative careers for themselves. Tune in!
(Season 2019, Episode 38)
Here’s what’s in store for you in this episode:
1. Who will be the top dog at Ferrari is the BIG question, but the BIGGER question is if Ferrari will be the top dog at all races going forward
2. Romain Grosjean’s plea to his fellow drivers, one that will (and should) fall on deaf ears (Read: Grosjean: I’d Like To Go Back To Le Mans One Day)
3. This week’s feature – Guenther Steiner’s indiscretions against the FIA and expected penalties; all for Netflix-F1 show season 2?
4. Helmut Marko’s honest assessment of Max Verstappen’s performances in the races after the summer break (Read: Red Bull Missing)
5. Cyril blames the FIA for everything while gearing up for a Ricciardo-Ocon rivalry. Let’s hope their rivalry isn’t for 15th-16th places on the grid (Read: Ocon-Renault Contract A Piece Of Paper Only)
6. Lucien’s Moments in Time section – for all your Formula 1 history buffs!