W er driving where? Eddie Jordan said before the GP Mexico: 'Ocon at Force India, Nasr at Renault and Gutierrez at Sauber.' The oracle was only correct with Ocon. At Renault, Jolyon Palmer stays in the saddle, at Sauber it's about the question: Pascal Wehrlein or Felipe Nasr. Esteban Gutierrez applies to Manor.
Nasr and Wehrlein are the losers in the transfer market. Both wanted to go to Force India. But Ocon got the place. The decision was made in Vijay Mallya's English villa. Team owner Mallya, team boss Bob Fernley, sporting director Otmar Szafnauer and technical boss Andy Green put the sporting potential of Ocon over the dowry of Palmer and Nasr. And they rated the French based on a GPS analysis and experience from test drives over Wehrlein. Ocon has shown more humility, it is said. 'And from our point of view, he has the greatest potential in terms of sport,' explains sports director Otmar Szafnauer.
Manor has to come in tenth. Otherwise the end is imminent
Felipe Nasr waved a free dowry of 15 million dollars from his sponsor. In the last few races, the Brazilian was mostly overshadowed by his Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson. At the same time it leaked in Brazil that Nasr would be disadvantaged in the team compared to the Swede. That didn't go over very well with his Force India and Renault options.
Not even good words from Bernie Ecclestone at the Mexican GP helped. The Formula 1 boss needs a Brazilian in the field. “We take the driver who is best for us and not for others,” explained Szafnauer. Ten days before his home race, Nasr learned that he was out of the race and is now sitting between the chairs of Sauber and Manor.
You hear that Banco do Brasil is reluctant to work with Sauber because of this year's results extend. And certainly not for several years. On the other hand, at Sauber, you are no longer sure whether Nasr will not want to look for another team again in a year's time.
Wehrlerin appears to be the more predictable option with a little financial support from Mercedes. Motorsport boss Toto Wolff had a long conversation with Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn. A Ferrari team is clean and Manor is a Mercedes customer, but the future of the Swiss racing team is on secure feet. There are still various question marks at Manor.
Manor would be Nasr and his sponsorreceived with open arms. It would be more money than you can get from Wehrlein, Gutierrez or Haryanto. Every dollar counts for the smallest racing team in the field. A sword of Damocles hovers over Manor. If the 10th place is still lost to Sauber, the racing team may have to close. Then around $ 18 million in placement money from Berbie Ecclestone's box office would be missing. Manor must hope that Sauber no longer scores a World Cup point. Sauber also survived in eleventh.