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Schmidt's F1 blog: Looking back on a decent Formula 1 year

Wolfgang Wilhelm
Schmidt's F1 blog
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E s was the longest Formula 1 season of all time. At the end of the year one can ask oneself: Was it a good one too? Let's be honest: it could have been better. Let's give it the predicate 'neat'. It was a bitter disappointment that Mercedes could not hold a candle to anybody even in the third year of the hybrid era, and that the lead of the Silver Arrows was larger than smaller. Like the idea of ​​Ferrari. Or the many rule changes, almost all of which were collected again.

Force India holds the mirror up to large teams

There were also rays of hope. For example, that the world championship fight between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was carried through to the last race and ended there in a real showdown. Hamilton made it artificially exciting. Regardless, we are happy about any change. This Max Verstappen was also good for Formula 1. Another exceptional racing driver who is not afraid of anything or anyone, cannot bend and is so aggressive on the track that his colleagues called for new overtaking rules especially because of him.

Finally, Force India. Why? Because this team, with a budget of 90 million euros, holds up a mirror to everyone else. Especially the top teams who spend three times as much money and are not much better either. Which shows us one thing: if everyone had just as much money as Force India, the sport would be a lot better and healthier. Nobody benefits if 1,400 people have to work for the world title.

Is Rosberg a deserved world champion?

But let's take it one step at a time. We now ask ourselves what people ask when taking stock at this time of the year. Let's get started. Did the 21 races put on a good show? The only real hits were Australia, Monaco, Spain, Austria, Malaysia, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Two of them took place in the rain. In two more, the Mercedes were out of the race or weakened. Still a decent balance sheet.

In the so often cited golden age between 2000 and 2008, we looked for crime novels with a magnifying glass. But what still annoys us is predictability. Two Mercedes are driving in front. Then Red Bull against Ferrari. Then Force India versus Williams. The biggest surprise of the season was the Hamilton engine blown. One wonders why something like this still exists today.

Is Nico Rosberg a deserved world champion? Naturally. Because there are no undeserved ones. World champion is notthe driver who wins the most races, but the one with the most points. Is it good that he stepped down? Somehow yes. This gives Rosberg a profile. You have to trust yourself first. This title will be remembered for a long time. Hamilton just woke up too late. It was only after the defeat in Singapore that he realized that he was driving against a different Rosberg than before. The best Rosberg ever.

Verstappen is the driver of the year

Who is the driver of the year? Clearly Max Verstappen. In 2015 the Dutchman showed that he has Formula 1 qualifications. 2016 that he will be world champion. He has this cannibal gene that separates the extraordinary from the good. The whole world can conspire against him. He does not care. He says himself that he is not there to make friends with colleagues or to compete for fourth place. That is the arrogance of champions.

Who has disappointed the most? Definitely Ferrari. They started to finish first and came third. Red Bull has overtaken Ferrari on the right and left. With a better car, a revitalized Renault engine, a solid team, new courage and less self-pity and two excellent drivers. Ferrari recently looked like a frightened hound of chickens that froze in itself out of sheer fear of doing something wrong.

For years the design office has not provided its own ideas, copied by the competition, does not understand the tires and does it Strategy failure. Apparently the concept of the SF16-H was already exhausted at the start of the season. A phenomenon that has accompanied Ferrari for eight years. Sebastian Vettel landed hard. It dawns on him that the crisis at Ferrari cannot be resolved overnight because it is deeply rooted and because, unlike Michael Schumacher, he has no allies in Maranello. So the beautiful plan to lead Ferrari to the world championship title like the idol once did is a long way off.

The cheapest world championship points

What is the most refreshing story? The title “Best of the Rest” went to Force India. The second poorest team in the field prevailed against Williams, McLaren, Toro Rosso and HaasF1. No other team spends as little money on World Cup points as Force India. Nobody has to go to Bernie Ecclestone for an advance payment and beg for a deferred payment from engine partner Mercedes that often. Few of them have comparable accuracy in vehicle development and so much expertise in tire treatment. “The first shot has to be right. We don't have the money for the second, ”explains Andy Green, Head of Technology.

Who was the best newcomer? No, no driver this time. It's the HaasF1 racing team. Many seasoned Formula 1 teams would doubt that because the HaasF1 was a Ferrari in disguise, with only the chassis, aerodynamics and radiator coming from its own pen. Guys what do you want The critics, in their narrow-mindedness, always have moreSpending money, technically still further removing the sport from the rest of the motorsport world, but making sure that you can only get in like the US racing team. Even a manufacturer would fail today when starting from scratch. HaasF1 team boss Guenther Steiner understood that, read the regulations carefully and did what the rules say.

Rain races are no longer acceptable

What was the greatest miracle? On the racetrack that Kimi Raikkonen was not hit by anyone at the Brazilian GP after his spin. Esteban Ocon saved Räikkönen's life with his evasive maneuver, and so did his. No halo would have helped. Against a head-on collision at 300 km /h, Fernando Alonso's accident in Melbourne would have been a harmless slip. Behind the scenes, it was the rescue of Sauber. A Swedish global corporation buys a Swiss team. It's good that there are still people with money who are real fans. We do a favor not to tell the Lord who is at stake. He doesn't want it and he deserves it.

The race in Brazil brings us straight to the most terrifying realization of the year. On certain racetracks, races in the rain are irresponsibly dangerous and therefore no longer acceptable. Anyone who demands a halo is not even allowed to start in Interlagos. It's sad, but it was. The cars are so sophisticated that you can no longer drive them on a wet track. It doesn't matter whether the rain tires are to blame in the end. Maybe you can't build tires that displace enough water on the straight at 310 km /h?

What's next: a race in two parts?

The biggest annoyance? Pointless rule changes that don't even last a season. I don't want to criticize the new qualification format that was buried after two races. Not even the ban on giving instructions to the driver by radio. Both made sense in theory. It just didn't fit into our perfect Formula 1 world. The qualifying mode failed because of the short-lived Pirelli tires. The radio ban on technology that is so complicated that it no longer works without driving aids. The lesson from this should actually have been to wonder if the sport shouldn't go back to basics. Instead, the wheel keeps turning. We will experience new rules again next year with the sole aim of artificially improving the show. I'm predicting a race in two parts or a partially reversed starting grid in the near future.

What was the most exciting new technical development? There was no real coup, and when it did, it remained invisible. Like the Mercedes chassis with hydraulically controlled roll and ground clearance control. The rest was detailed development, such as the jagged baffles in front of the side pods from Mercedes or the high-speed rear wing inWaveform from HaasF1.

How will Formula 1 be without Bernie?

Who will we miss? Felipe Massa probably not. I'm afraid the Brazilian will go soft and accept Williams' offer to hang on for another year. Jenson Button yes, because I think it was a withdrawal without a return ticket. Herbie Blash as a good spirit in the race management team. Ron Dennis? Probably not, despite his life's work. It was time for a generation change at McLaren.

And Bernie Ecclestone? It could happen that we won't see the face of Formula 1 again next year. Many have railed against him, and some are already in the starting blocks to take over his job. I bet no one will be like Bernie. Whoever does his job, in 20, 30 or 40 years' time you will hardly say a word if he leaves. If he can take it that long at all.

I haven't made up my mind whether the sale to Liberty Media was a good thing. Some plans, like the introduction of a budget cap, sound reasonable. Others like increasing the number of races don't. We don't need more races, we need better ones.


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