The pre-Christmas pressure on Bottas and Vettel
With Formula 1 firmly in its off-season, the drivers will have turned their attention to the new year and a new campaign. In his final Fifth Column, Nigel Roebuck explains why two racers in particular may be unnerved by the end of the season just gone
"What," said Martin Brundle, "are the two most evocative Mercedes-engined cars on the grid?"
A trick question, I supposed, and I was right.
"I'll tell you - the safety car and the medical car! If EV and EQ and all that are so important in hybrids, why do we have a double-supercharged V8 at the front and back of the grid? On Ferrari's website the cars are categorised not by spyder, coupe or whatever, but by V12 and V8. Which company in Formula 1 sells a 1.6-litre engine? I suppose, to be fair, Renault probably do, and maybe Honda - but all Mercedes' new engines are straight-sixes! My point is, in Formula 1 what are we selling - and to whom? If it fails down the road, the beginning of the failure was these bloody hybrid engines..."
For years Brundle and I have met for lunch in December to talk through the season past and the one to come. The politics we got on to later, by which time a quantity of Amarone had gone down; as usual, the first topic was drivers and teams, and inevitably we started with Hamilton and Vettel. This season was indisputably the best of Lewis's career to date.
The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old
Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume
Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?
The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car
Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory
With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed
STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership
Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…
McLaren outlines key factors that triggered 2018 F1 problems
How Honda learned a crucial lesson with the FIA in F1 2018