The Formula 1 Season Is Over

Another Formula 1 season is in the record books and Wikipedia pages. I don’t know how this happened. I don’t know where the time has gone. Only Rolex knows.

That was a timekeeper joke, for those of you playing along at home. Gonna be a long post if you don’t laugh.

It feels like just yesterday they were in Melbourne, Australia doing laps around Albert Park and Haas had their two drivers in P4 and P5, and everyone was like, “Crikey, those lads are gonna be competitive this year!” and Haas was like, “Blimey gosh darn fiddlesticks, we done did it now!” and in the span of two laps, both cars had to retire from the race because they were released from the pits with loose wheels.

Oh Haas, you comic relief, you.

I recently learned the proper way to pronounce “Melbourne” is “Mel-bin”. Impress your friends.

It was a fun season, but a bit underwhelming. There were hardly any races where rain was a factor. I was disappointed by that because I love rain races. Inject those into my veins.

I’m not talking about light pitter patters of spit falling from the sky. I’m talking about torrential downpours. Break out the old school monsoon tires!

This season brought in a few changes. For starters, the cars had a halo on them. The halo was a safety precaution put in place so the driver’s head would be protected.

I don’t think there’s anyone who thinks the cars look better with them, but I’m not going to sit here and say, “Let the drivers get hit in the head by flying objects, and let them scrape pavement if the car rolls over.”

My fear with the halo was always – how does the driver get out if the car is upside down? And we saw that transpire in the final race of the season yesterday in Abu Dhabi.

Nico Hulkenberg’s car did a barrel roll before coming to a stop upside down, against a barricade. He was fine and told his team over the radio that he was hanging there like a cow.

Do cows hang upside down? I’ve been thinking about it all day. I remember in the movie “Barnyard” some annoying kids would go “Cow tipping” and the cows would end up on their backs. I’m just going to assume that Hulkenberg got his simile from that movie. 

His car flipped over on the first lap and I let out an audible, “Woah!” Later on, my Dad joined me to watch the race and since I always record it, he asks me to rewind to the first lap or any incidents in the race.

So I go back to the start, telling him something happened. We get to the barrel roll and he goes, “Woah!”

We have an expansive vocabulary while watching sports.

Anyway, Hulkenberg was stuck. He couldn’t just crawl out of the car – the halo is too much of a detriment. He had to wait until a baker’s-dozen-worth of race marshals came over, put out the fire at the rear of his car, and flipped him over.

This was relatively easy, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a message from the Formula 1 Gods that something like this will happen again and it won’t be so simple.

Get it? Formula 1 Gods…Halo….the jokes are subtle today.

What if Hulkenberg had been injured? What if he were unresponsive? What if the fire had spread to the cockpit before anyone could reach him?

That’s a pretty terrifying possibility. He might as well be handcuffed under water.

The halo will save lives, but if a driver can’t urgently escape from their car in case of emergency, that’s a problem. I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m sure someone is working on it.

So that’s the halo.

Before moving on, I just want to say the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is one of my favourites. I love the track – it was always a joy to race in the video game.

I also like that it takes place at night. The cars looks better at night. Sports, in general, look better at night.

I just wish this race could be in the middle of the season because so much overtaking happens and we don’t always get that on other tracks. The championship is normally determined before the last race (except two years ago) and it’s a shame this race turns into a mere exhibition.

Yes, I realize the race schedule is predominantly determined by weather conditions and sending the drivers to Abu Dhabi in July would be like putting a slice of pizza in the microwave for 18 minutes.

Another change this year was the width of the tires.

It was one of the reasons why overtaking was so difficult. The other being the whole aerodynamic thing – the whole aerodynamic thing; brilliant verbiage – where the closer a car is to the one in front, the harder it is to pass due to “dirty air”.

These are things far beyond my basic level of expertise, but apparently the problems are being fixed for next year so the cars can do what they’re supposed to do on a race track – pass each other. We’ll see.

Even if there are more overtakes next year, there is such a gap between the top three teams and everyone else.

Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull are at the top of the pecking order. You’ve got Force India, Renault, Haas, McLaren, and Sauber somewhere in the middle. And then Toro Rosso and Williams at the back.

For such historic teams, McLaren and Williams should be better.

Toro Rosso is essentially a developmental team for Red Bull, so there’s that.

Mercedes has won the Constructors’ Championship (awarded to the team with the most points) in each of the last five season.

Before that, Red Bull won it four years in a row.

This isn’t a sport that is big on parity. That’s always bothered me a little bit because I’m left to wonder if a driver is actually that good, or if it’s just the car they’re driving.

If you took a Williams driver and put them in a Mercedes, would they be competing for a spot on the podium on a consistent basis? Probably.

Yeah, it takes an abundance of skill and athleticism (believe it or not) to drive these cars, but the best driver in the world can’t make a tricycle go faster than a horse. Weird analogy, but go with it.

So that aspect grinds my gears a bit. I’d love if every car were somehow made equal and all 20 drivers could battle it out. That would be the most dramatic season in Formula 1 history…as I channel my inner Chris Harrison.

To close, I’d like to take a page out of Ted Kravitz’s notebook, so to speak. Ted Kravitz is the pit lane reporter for Sky Sports F1 and after every race he walks through the pit lane with his little notebook and says a few things about each driver. I think it’s brilliant, so I’m going to steal the idea.

Here are my thoughts on each team and driver. In brackets I’ll list where each team and driver finished in the standings.

MERCEDES (1) – Constructors’ Championship
They win too much. That being said, I do enjoy the interviews with Niki Lauda (Legend of F1) and hope he can return next season.

Lewis Hamilton (1) – Drivers’ Championship
He wins too much, but I also think he’s mentally stronger than everyone else on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas (5)
I always feel bad for the drivers who are second fiddle on their team. His race is normally compromised in order to ensure Hamilton can finish higher and maximize points.

They started the season strong and then lost their pace. For the last two years, Mercedes has come out of the summer break guns blazing and Ferrari looks shell shocked.

Sebastian Vettel (2)
Vettel and Hamilton have won 8 of the last 9 Drivers’ Championships. Vettel’s flaw may be that he cares too much and when he feels Hamilton running away with the championship, he drives with extra urgency. And that additional urgency leads to things like breaking the weighbridge in Brazil (long story, don’t ask).

Kimi Raikkonen (3)
Kimi has been in an F1 car for over half my life. Either I’m old, or he has longevity. He mumbles a lot and often looks like he doesn’t care to be there, but yet there he is. He’s moving over to Sauber next season.

I’ve never even taken a sip of Red Bull, but this team is probably my favourite along with Ferrari. They’re the alternative to what’s cool and popular and that vibes with me. Good Lord, I just used the word “vibes” in a blog post.

Max Verstappen (4)
He has a big future and I hope he can realize it without going to Ferrari or Mercedes. I like his gusto.

Daniel Ricciardo (6)
Can someone get this man a car that will finish a race? He’s too good to have been parked on the side of the road so often this year. He’s off to Renault, so I guess that means no more shoeys on the podium?

A “shoey” is when he takes off his shoe, pours champagne in it, and drinks it because how else would you celebrate a top 3 finish?

They finished fourth, but arrived two weeks later – that’s my analogy on how big the gap is from third.

Nico Hulkenberg (7)
The best of the rest.

Carlos Sainz (10)
Like Hulkenberg, he’s held back because of the car he drives.

HAAS (5)
They’re a team that gets Ferrari’s hand-me-down’s. Next year they’ll probably have this year’s Ferrari.

Kevin Magnussen (9)
Again, if it weren’t for the car he drives, he’d be higher on the grid.

Romain Grosjean (14)
Not to be confused with the salad, you can find Grosjean anywhere between 7-15 on any given Sunday.

I was a Ferrari fan growing up and always saw McLaren as a respectable villain with a lineup of Hakkinen and Coulthard.

Fernando Alonso (11)
He drove his final F1 race yesterday, for now at least. He is the thread that connected the Schumacher era with the current one. When he won the championship with Renault in 2005 and 2006, it was the first time I found myself cheering for someone other than Ferrari. He always got the most out of his car, no matter how poor it was.

Stoffel Vandoorne (16)
When Alonso is your teammate, you’re going to be overshadowed. He’s moving to Formula E next year.

I thought they could make an attempt at challenging Red Bull this year, but they had their own set of issues and it never happened. Surprisingly, I am a fan of the pink cars. Sadly they’ll be gone next season, as they’re getting a new name and colours.

Sergio Perez (8)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before – if it weren’t for his car, he’d be higher on the grid. With a reliable car, he’s capable of a top 10 finish every time.

Esteban Ocon (12)
He doesn’t get along well with Max Verstappen. He doesn’t have a seat next season. Really tall.

They receive their engines from Ferrari and starting next season, they’ll receive a driver as well – Kimi Raikkonen – in exchange for Charles Leclerc. No draft picks are involved in the deal.

Charles Leclerc (13)
I am all in on this kid’s potential. I can’t wait to see him with Ferrari next year. Leclerc versus Verstappen is the next era of Formula 1.

Marcus Ericsson (17)
I just realized we have the same birthday, except he’s older by a year. He’s off to IndyCar next year.

For the longest time, I didn’t realize “Toro Rosso” is Italian for “Red Bull” which makes sense because they act as the developmental system for the senior team – Red Bull. Silly Paul.

Pierre Gasly (15)
I’m nervous about his move up to Red Bull. Gasly (23) and Verstappen (21) will be a combined 44-years-old when the season starts next year.

Brandon Hartley (19)
How in the world is he 29-years-old?

Oy, they deserve better than this, but somebody has to come in last.

Lance Stroll (18)
He’s the only Canadian on the grid and the first one since Jacques Villeneuve. Let’s just say I was a bigger fan of Villeneuve. Stroll is moving over to Force India next season because his Dad bought the team.

Sergey Sirotkin (20)
He recored 1 championship point in his rookie season. He won’t get another shot, as Williams is bringing in Robert Kubica and George Russell next year. Russell is 20-years-old.

And that’s it! Next year promises a lot of changes – I’m already excited.

Netflix filmed behind-the-scenes footage of this entire season and I can’t wait for that to come out. I think it’ll help introduce Formula 1 to a brand new audience while giving fans something they’ve never seen before.

Thank you for reading!

Until next season, I bid you a vroom vroom!

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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10 Responses to The Formula 1 Season Is Over

  1. cd says:

    This was awesome! We honestly have so many of the same thoughts on all this!
    Also I don’t think it was only me that literally had a heart attack when Hulkenberg was upside down, that was scary to watch. But my goodness that was an insane race yesterday.

    I don’t know if it’s just me or what but I already can’t wait for next season, hopefully with Ricardo & Kimi on other teams we will have more diversity in the top 6 & it will be a little less boring (oops did I just say that). Personally I love Ferrari & Redbull too so seeing Mercedes win everything & Hamilton always on top was agitating! But like you said Mad Max has a long career ahead of him, hopefully Vettel can keep it together next year & lord knows I really hope Ricardo can keep up & have a car that actually finishes!

    At least we only have to wait a few short months! Great read as always Paul!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      This comment made my day, thanks Cass!

      They need more races like yesterday’s throughout the year. So many are decided during Qualifying and the race is a moot point.

      I’m so excited for next year! Red Bull and Ferrari are definitely the teams to watch going forward. I feel like Max is really on the cusp of challenging Hamilton and Vettel consistently. I’m looking forward to new faces on the podium and hope Ricciardo and Kimi can elevate their new teams a bit.

      Only 110 days away from the new season. Thanks again Cass!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. great post Paul… not too many racing fans out there… love the break down on all the teams.. I find F1 fairly predictable currently and hope that next season there will be some more competition from other teams…. I was fortunate to go to 2 races this past year and Adbu Dabi is on the list of races to see one day

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! Yeah, I can count the number of racing fans I know on one hand. With most of the races starting in the middle of the night or 8am in the Eastern time zone, it’s not ideal for attracting new fans.

      I hope it’s more competitive next year as well. It seems like all the action comes on the first two laps or when everyone pits and the rest of the race is follow the leader.

      Which races did you go to? I think I remember you commenting on a previous post that you went to Montreal. Some day I want to get out to some races as well.

      Thanks again for the comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Issa says:

    “If you took a Williams driver and put them in a Mercedes, would they be competing for a spot on the podium on a consistent basis? Probably.”

    I think the would be. Bottas did achieve his first pole position with Mercedes, which oddly enough has pushed Williams down since he left. Which even with a lesser car, he is a good driver. The same thing happened to Verstappen, his performance skyrocketed since he was promoted from Toro Rosso. Remember how well Kvyat was doing with Red Bull before he was demoted which led to him turning into an almost forgotten man.

    I heard that you want Verstappen to achieve without going to the big cars. Imagine Verstappen in a Ferarri. He should have replaced Kimi.

    I’m always impressed by Perez. I’m a big fan. I also think he would finish higher if he had a reliable car.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Great point, those guys came from weaker teams and have been top guys with Mercedes and Red Bull. I believe Kvyat is back with Toro Rosso next season so that should be interesting.

      I don’t think Ferrari would’ve wanted Verstappen while Vettel was there. That would be too much of a headache for them, trying to appease two #1 drivers. You see it a lot with the top teams – they have their main guy and then a second driver who can be there for support. If Verstappen can win with Red Bull, then that’s three legitimate teams on the track.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Issa says:

        Well, I believe Verstappen can win with Red Bull but he has to tone down the incidents he keeps finding himself in plus he is too aggressive and some push backs can be avoided. Like colliding with Ocon in Brazil… I mean he was winning the race and then he wasn’t.

        I get the two driver concept like Hamilton and Bottas.

        It will be good to see Kvyat back next year. He has great potential. Plus I’m curious about that Alex kid who was confirmed for Toro Rosso.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dutch Lion says:

    Great stuff Paul. You are an excellent writer.

    Here in the U.S., I don’t know any F1 fans. It’s not big on the radar. I’m excited that ESPN is broadcasting the races this year. Honestly, I’m a new fan and just trying to figure it all out. I want to get involved more. As previously mentioned, as a kid I was a big IndyCar fan. I’d like to get into F1 more in the future.

    As you’d imagine, the “Dutch Lion” loves Max Verstappen! He’s my guy. I too feel similarly about many of the things you mentioned but I don’t have much knowledge yet. The Halo? Yeah, kinda weird. The lack of passing? Obviously a huge problem. The dominance by Hamilton and Vettel? B-O-R-I-N-G! The different tracks? Probably my 2nd favorite thing about F1. My favorite thing? Shoeys!….and the post-race celebration/interviews/trophy presentations, etc.

    The manufacturer’s/constructor’s teams? I don’t even get it. That’s like having NFL teams wear different brands and then making that a part of the standings. The Patriots are wearing Nike today while the Eagles are wearing UnderArmour. Nike leads 7-3. ???

    Thanks for all this. The Dutch Lion approves. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It takes a while to fully grasp everything about F1. There are still things I don’t, but I like to think I learn something new with every race.

      No surprise you’re a Verstappen fan! He’s always got his own section of Dutch fans who go to every race and wear orange. It’s awesome.

      The lack of passing is a concern. I promise it hasn’t always been this way. They need to reconfigure the shape of the cars so passing is easier.

      I’m not a fan of all the teams being related to each other, while still being their own entity that doesn’t share knowledge. It’s like two NFL teams using the same playbook, except one if the 2017 version and the other is updated.

      It’s a weird sport at times, but a lot of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

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