Formula One, FIA Formula 2 and GP3 Series
Formula One – Here we are twelve races into the 2018 season, so what do I think of it so far? I can’t say I am jumping up and down with excitement. The top three teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, remain the front runners as in 2017, clearly Ferrari and Red Bull are on a par with Mercedes and occasionally changing pole position and race winner. Max Verstappen is doing a little bit better at keeping his cool but only just.
Big surprise of the season is Haas and Sauber who are making the top 10 in qualifying and young Ferrari Academy driver Charles Leclerc in his rookie year is showing his talent and I don’t think it will be long before we see him in a red Ferrari, quite possibly as soon as 2019.
The big disappointment so far this season is Williams and McLaren. Both teams are lacking in leaders who want to win. Claire Williams is not Frank and personally I think she should take a step back and hand over the reins to somebody more qualified to get the team back to where I always liked to see it, at the top. As for McLaren, what can be said! Yes Eric Boullier fell on his sword but he should never ever have been allowed to lead that team. He was clueless at Lotus and the same at McLaren. Zac Brown should also fall on his sword or better still swallow it. They should do something before the team disappears like so many others.
As for the drivers clearly Hamilton and Vettel have the car to consistently be at the front followed by Räikkönen, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Bottas. I firmly believe that some of the drivers should be given their P45s as they clearly do not have the talent to be in Formula One and I am talking about Hartley, Ericsson and Stroll. Others need to seriously improve their racing skills or also make room for some new blood. Mind you, Stroll won’t be short of a drive now that Stroll Sr and his rich mates have bought Force India which as we all know was struggling financially.
Which driver will win the championship? That is still open for debate but we all know it is between Hamilton and Vettel and the constructors championship between Mercedes and Ferrari. It is going to be close, that we can be sure of. What about the sudden announcement from Ricciardo. Yes, leaving Red Bull and going to Renault. Risky move I think. Hopefully his move will be luckier than Fernando Alonso. Talking of Alonso, what will he do? Go to Indy, stay in Formula One and move again either to Red Bull or Ferrari and what about poor Carlos Sainz Jnr, where will he go. Watch this space.
Finally a negative note for Liberty and Chase Carey. They are again in my humble opinion destroying the whole fabric of Formula One. To them it is a business not a sport. To the FIA and Jean Todt, please reduce the size of the rule and regulation books. Get rid of DRS, batteries, electronics and all the carbon fibre hanging off the cars. Let’s have bigger noisier engines, more fuel, proper tyres and less choice – let us see man and machine once again being able to race flat out from start to finish.
FIA Formula 2 – What a change from last year. The new Mecachrome engine and software has not been doing what it should. Cars stalling on the grid or during the race going into an engine safety mode. Somebody needed a wake-up call but thankfully the problem seems to be rectified and they are back to racing. So far this season we have seen some excellent close racing, long may it continue. We are also seeing drivers who have progressed from GP3 really showing us what they are capable of and who will likely get a Formula One drive.
Who am I talking about? Clearly George Russell who is currently leading the championship with 171 points, followed by Lando Norris and Albon.
Santino Ferrucci driving for Trident has been sacked by the team and also given a two race ban by the FIA for some pretty serious infringements, i.e. deliberately crashing into his team-mate, using his mobile telephone whilst driving in the pit lane. Ferrucci was given a chance by Trident and moved up from GP3 to Formula 2. Yes he was bringing money to the team (or was supposed to) but what a scandal. Probably back in the USA now trying to find him a drive there.
All this is good news for Alessio Lorandi, Trident has moved him from GP3 to replace Ferrucci. He is a good young driver so it will be interesting to see how he copes in Formula 2 in the forthcoming races.
To sum up Formula 2 provides good close racing and we get to see who is and who is likely to progress to Formula One.
GP3 Series – A really great series on which to hone your skills as a racing driver, that’s if you have any. I have been several times to watch GP3 and I must confess I loved it every time.
The car is great for these young drivers and really tests their skills. There are quite a few current Formula One drivers who ‘cut their teeth’ in GP3. The current leader is Anthoine Hubert who is closely followed by a new British driver Callum Ilott. Then of course we have Pedro Piquet and Giuliano Alesi trying to follow in their fathers’ footsteps and a drive in Formula One.
Personally I would like to see GP3 have a few more races throughout the season so I think we will have to have a word in the ear of the organizers!
FIA Historic Formula One – I have to mention this fantastic series having been to Monaco and watch them race. It is great to see so many Formula One cars from a few years ago back on track and racing. Everything a true petrol head wants to see, hear and smell.
All of the cars entered in the historic race events were at one time driven by some of the true greats be it Senna, Mansell, Piquet, Prost to name just a few. If any of you get a chance to go to one of these events you will never forget it, I promise.
A special mention about a great team Forza Historic Racing. They usually enter several of their cars at each event and Nick Padmore is currently leading, closely followed by team-mate and owner Max Smith-Hilliard. Well done guys, great work.