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2016 Racefans Top 10 F1 Drivers

2016 Racefans Top 10 F1 Drivers

  2016 Formula 1 Top Ten Drivers 1. Daniel Ricciardo 1 win, 1 pole position, 7 podiums, 4 fastest laps (256 points 3rd in the Championship) Following a disastrous season in 2015 in which the Red Bull Racing team were persistently hampered by the unreliability of their Renault engine, the Milton Keynes crew had very … Continue reading

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Renault Sport Formula 1 team principal Frederic Vasseur has stepped down from the team with immediate effect. In a statement the Frenchman said "There was too much different vision in the management of the team, so at this stage it makes sense for me to leave." His departure despite only a year after Renault re-claimed control over the former Lotus F1 Team is bizarre given Renault were never expected to perform well in 2016 due to their last minute acquisition of the team. Vasseur's departure is the business equivalent of a marriage whose participants have got so caught up in the wedding plans without really taking the time to determine whether they want kids. It's a bad look for Renault ahead of a season that should hopefully return them to being regular point scorers.

Mercedes has announced that Paddy Lowe will step down as the team's executive technical director effective immediately. Lowe was considered instrumental in enabling the team to obtain the position of dominance within the sport over the last three years. It is rumoured that former Ferrari and Lotus technical director James Allison will replace Lowe for the 2017 season. The departure of Lowe comes as Patt Symmonds parted way with Williams at the end of last year. Lowe is expected to take up the position at Williams, a team he worked for from ... to ... The re-shuffle between Mercedes and Williams is seen as further evidence of arrangements to enable the release of Valterri Bottas from his Williams contract in order to partner Hamilton at Mercedes this year. This writer wonders whether the Fin is really worth trading Paddy Lowe.

Felipe Massa looks set to return to the Formula 1 fold only weeks after putting himself out to pasture. In a move that vindicates not only the gremlins that sought to blow his engine while dominating the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix, but also the age old adage that only true champions know when to retire, Massa has decided now is not the right time to hang up his gloves. This despite the fact that Massa embarked into a long spiel at the 2016 Autosport Awards about how this was a great time to retire, as if no one knew that he had asked earlier to be retained and was denied by Williams F1 team chief Claire Williams. Massa was a great driver, but were he to line up on the grid alongside Lance Stroll at Melbourne come March 2017, there would be two positions on the grid filled by one driver that was far too early to the show and one that was far too late. A sad day for the sport.

Honda have announced that they are to adopt the engine philosophy put to such effective use by Mercedes in the first three years of the 1.6 litre turbo hybrid era. One can only marvel at the audacity of the heads at Honda who decided that after witnessing three seasons, and 51 grand prix wins, that maybe Mercedes were on to a good thing. The realisation that Mercedes were so far ahead of the development curve with these engines, such that they had trialled all other methods well before the 2014 season, puts to rest the reasoning behind Fernando Alonso's move to McLaren Honda. Alas it turns out the saying was right and the only way to beat them, is to join them.

All signs point to Valterri Bottas partnering Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the 2017 Formula 1 season. One basis for this connection is the fact that Bottas is managed by Mercedes AMG F1 Team boss Toto Wolff. This prompted some reporters to question whether there was a conflict of interest in such a deal, seemingly oblivious to the dealings carried out by Flavio Briatore, who would only employ drivers at Renault on the condition they left their management for him to ensure he got a cut of their salary from Renault.

The regulations for the 2017 season have been finalised and strong doubt remains amongst team principles over whether they will produce better racing. Greatest concern to this writer is Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner's continual reference to a time frame on narrowing the performance gap between engines. The introduction of an engine parity rule is simply offensive to what Formula 1 stands for in that it:

1.) Damages the credibility of competition in the sport. It would appear all is being done to assist non-Mercedes engine manufacturers for their poor performance in the development stage so as to close the gap between teams.
2.) Damaging the image of Formula 1 by restricting the development on hybrid technology. The engine freeze seeks to halt the development in technology that is designed to greater assist the car industry. How does Formula 1 look relevant/progressive when it is halting the further development/improvement in the efficiency/performance of these engines?

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Vale Jack Brabham 1926 – 2014