Mercedes haven’t been as vocal as Ferrari when it comes to quitting Formula 1. In the recent past, they have mostly been repeating Ferrari’s threats as if they were their own. But will this change at the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix?
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Liberty Media will present a draft of their future plans for the sport to the teams on Friday. Historically, such discussions have resulted in quit threats followed by talk of a breakaway series. While I don’t think any of that will necessarily happen (ever!), I do think that Mercedes will start becoming as vocal as Ferrari in the time to come. This is of course if Liberty Media’s plans don’t offer them more (or as much) money and have rules that even out the competition in the sport. A good and repeated indicator that Formula 1 needs to deliver for Mercedes (and Ferrari) more as a business, than as a sport. But there’s nothing wrong in it. Thank you for this interesting tweet, Mr. Hill.
The sooner @MercedesAMGF1 and @ScuderiaFerrari breakaway the better as far as I’m concerned. These massive industrial complexes are ruining the sport. They don’t want to play. They want it all, and all the time. The @fia have lost grip of @F1 @SkySportsF1 #f1 https://t.co/d6pS3K6DlJ
— Damon Hill (@HillF1) March 24, 2018
There’s more on Mercedes and Toto Wolff in our ‘What Wolff Said This Week Section’.
Ferrari and Mercedes are strange bedfellows in the world of Formula 1. They’ve been competing tooth and nail on-track only to push each other’s case and priorities off it. Let’s see how this battle settles and what remains of the sport once it does.
Pastor Maldonado – Crash, Rebuild, Crash
Formula 1’s crash kid Pastor Maldonado will make his WEC debut this year as he makes a return to full-time racing. Since the endurance races run longer than Formula 1, there’s ample time for Maldonado to crash. In fact, since rebuilding is possible at endurance events (well, not when you crash / bang too hard, Pastor), ‘crash, rebuild, crash’ could end up being Maldonado’s motto!
On a more serious note, I wish Robert Kubica would have taken up the WEC role in 2018. But more on that after this weekend’s Grand Prix.
Liberty Media – Formula 1 2.0
Liberty Media is making a lot of marketing changes to the sport. They seem to be steadily working towards their vision to have 21 Super Bowls across all the countries that host races. A new festival was announced for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix with a clear intention to take the sport to the fans. The attempt here is to have the fans sample the sport, hopefully like it and then go back and follow it in some way or the other. But in its current form, how likeable is Formula 1? No wonder that Liberty Media are trying to make change to the product (read: racing) of Formula 1. They are limited by the rules and regulations being locked till 2020, this is why adding DRS zones, etc. are the only changes that they can currently make with the hope to make the races more entertaining.
Formula 1’s growing problem is that the audience is an ageing one and they need to keep working to attract younger audiences. Now these younger audiences come with uniqueness of their own (shorter attention spans, etc.), but let’s at least acknowledge that Liberty Media is thinking about solving such problems. I am not sure these problems were given any thought in the Bernie Ecclestone era, and even if they were, there were barely any visible steps undertaken.
Why Force India Can’t Go The Haas Way
You are only as good as your last race and this holds true for Haas and Force India (w.r.t the 2018 Australian Grand Prix). Fans have been wondering why Force India (and other customer teams) weren’t as smart as Haas to forge technical partnerships with other works teams such as Mercedes. This is actually an interesting question and I hope I did merit in answering it in this week’s episode.
Either way, I expect Haas’ performance in Bahrain to come under much scrutiny. Let’s see how they go. I would expect them to finish as the ‘best of the rest’.
Fernando Alonso – Mclaren: A Split In The Making?
An interesting story from Spanish media indicates that Fernando Alonso might split with Mclaren thanks to a fall-out in discussions regarding a price cut. The report indicated that Alonso would then reunite with his championship winning team Renault with the hope that their works team status brings about a change in his Formula 1 fortunes. Valtteri Bottas would fill in for Alonso, leaving a Mercedes seat vacant for Daniel Ricciardo. The final piece of this puzzle would include Carlos Sainz Jr. finally getting a promotion to Red Bull Racing where he would end up partnering Max Verstappen yet again. Frankly, the driver silly season for 2019 is only going to get more exciting!
Co-hosted by Mithila Mehta and Kunal Shah, the Inside Line F1 Podcast is a weekly show on Formula 1 that attempts to simplify the sport and business of Formula 1. This show also adds much needed humour to the otherwise serious world of Formula 1. In 2017, the show grossed 200,000 listens across all platforms and was top-rated on iTunes and audioBoom. The show is available on Kunal’s F1 Blog and partner websites such as Motorsport, Firstpost, Car & Bike, The Pit Crew Online, Sportskeeda, Talking About F1, Sporting India and others.