In an Ideal World: The Sharp End

Posted: October 22, 2011 by Matt Ruda in Insights

The silly season so far has been quite a bust, with nothing really interesting happening until lately. Rumors are starting to swirl, mostly focusing on Force India, Williams, and Virgin to a lesser extent. This is going to be a mega post, frequently updated with what you guys think. Where should Rubens go? What about Kubica?  What about new teams? Shoot me a comment, tweet, whatever and I’ll add you opinion here. Let’s go!

This post is the first of 3, with this one focusing on the top four teams.

Red Bull:

My opinion: Sebastian Vettel/Lewis Hamilton

Right off the bat I’m treading into controversial territory here. I’m a McLaren fan, that’s no secret, but I’m an even bigger Hamilton fan. I believe that 2011 is going to be the “slump year” for Hamilton. He seems to be dealing with some personal demons both on and off track, and I like to think his performance in Korea is him on an upswing. You may not appreciate his aggressive driving, but you cannot deny Hamilton is one of the fastest racers out there. He has an ability only two other current racers have. He can take a car that’s complete crap and somehow finish far above where the car should. I think that Red Bull would benefit from having someone on their team who is willing to take the risks to put the car ahead, and with Hamilton on board they can dominate even harder than they did this year. It’s a win/win.

The second of these three is the man I want for Hamilton’s teammate at Red Bull. Vettel is an amazing talent. I’ve been critical of him in the past, but it seems anything I critique he comes along the next race and shows me how wrong I am. I once said I hoped and prayed we would not see another repeat of a Schumacher era, but you know, I wouldn’t mind with this guy. Racing skill aside, Seb is an amazingly nice guy who always seems humbled and genuine in interviews. He’s not taking his results for granted or shoving it in everyone’s face (his finger does that for him). I started off the season rolling my eyes when he won. Now, I actually like the guy.

JourneyTH Says: Sebastian Vettel/Lewis Hamilton

Yeah, I really like this one as well, not because I particularly care for either of them (although, props to both – Hamilton is still a fantastic driver and so is Vettel). None of them are used to be #2, so we could see a repeat of 2007, except with less douchebaggery – that would be fun.

Gareth Says: Sebastian Vettel/Lewis Hamilton

I agree with the Red Bull scenario, certainly giving Hamilton’s gripes earlier this season, but if it happens it may not be for awhile. Both those guys are young and have a good ten years at the top yet.

Jan Says: Redbull: Sebastian Vettel/Mark Webber

Already a good lineup (beside of the fact that they aren’t friends)

 

McLaren:

My opinion: Jenson Button/Mark Webber

These two are the thinkers of F1 and would make perfect teammates. Neither has the flamboyance of someone like Hamilton or Kobayashi, but they are consistent, solid drivers. Webber may have the raw speed advantage over Jenson, but Button’s is the superior driver when the weather gets interesting. Moreover, both are used to being #2 drivers, meaning they will be much more obliging to each other on track. If McLaren sorts their team issues (detailed in a great post by Steve) these two could take them all the way to the top once again.

JourneyTH Says: Jenson Button/Mark Webber

Dream team, here. Yeah, this isn’t really a good strategy for McLaren in the long run, but who cares? These guys are clearly friends, both excellent drivers and, well, to see two out of three of my favorite drivers in one team would be amazing.

Gareth Says: Jenson Button/???

I don’t see much in Webber going to Mclaren. He’s not that far off retirement (discounting Schumacher) and I don’t see much in it for Mclaren long term to be honest. Webber is one of my favourite drivers but he could well stay at RB until he retires.

Jan Says: Mclaren: Jenson Button/Lewis Hamilton

Good relationship between Button and Hamilton

Ferrari:

My opinion: Fernando Alonso/Robert Kubica or Sergio Perez

Fernando is a given at Ferrari, what with a contract until 2016 and a solid performance given a shit car.  Alonso is the third driver in the trio I described earlier. That’s all there is to say about Alonso really. He’s fast, consistent, exactly what Ferrari need right now. Obviously Kubica’s return depends on his condition, but that’s not the only reason I put him or Sergio.

Ferrari and McLaren operate best under completely opposite driver setups. While McLaren is at its best with equal driver treatment, Ferrari  function best with a defined #1 and #2 driver. Both approaches have their advantages, but Ferrari’s is where I see trouble for Kubica. Prior to his injury, I think given a Ferrari drive he would be serious competition for Alonso, not a willing participant for the “bend over and take it” role we’ve seen Massa assume. 2007 showed us how Alonso takes to teammates trying to prove themselves, and so while I think Kubica is the best fit for Ferrari, Kubica may not be the best fit for Alonso (who it seems, according to their Twitter, is Ferrari).

The second possibility is to have Perez take the spot. He’s young, is having a great rookie season, and seems to have Marenello’s graces. Being that he’ll still be a rook in 2012, Sergio would have no problem playing second fiddle to Alonso if it means driving for a team with the legendary status Ferrari has. A year or two with them should give Perez a better negotiating position to jump to a team that will allow him to progress, or push for more equal driver status.

A note, I’d rather see Perez as a third in Ferrari than a Sauber driver.

JourneyTH Says: Fernando Alonso/Sergio Perez

I know it’s not happening, but dammit, this would be a lot of fun to watch. I guess we’ll just have to wait for 2013.

Gareth Says: Fernando Alonso/Mark Webber

If Ferrari ever want to win another Constructor title they need two strong drivers (like Mclaren now) to have any chance. Alonso can’t do it by himself. Perez cold be interesting but will probably end up having a Massa type role. Seeing Button there could be interesting too, but it may never happen. Perhaps Webber short term while Perez matures a bit at Sauber?

Jan Says: Ferrari: Fernando Alonso/Nico Rosberg

Rosberg has the pace; maybe he can show his real potential

Mercedes:

My opinion: Michael Schumacher/Nico Rosberg

I don’t see any need to change Mercedes’ setup. Most of their current problems revolve around chronic car issues, mostly involving rubbers in the rear heating up too much. With Mercedes pledging the 2012 car will fix these issues, we may see a return to form for the German giant. Alright, maybe not Brawn GP level stuff, but challenging for podiums could be a distinct possibility if the car performs how Mercedes have been advertising. Rosberg still has much to prove, having performed well enough in 2011 to step out of Keke’s shadow. Schumacher is Schumacher, and his experience and potential advertiser/commercial draw is too much for Merc to pass up. No change for Mercedes.

JourneyTH Says: Michael Schumacher/Nico Rosberg

Jan Says: Michael Schumacher/Felipe Massa

Were friends at Ferrari

 

To wrap up:

VET: Red Bull

WEB: Red Bull -> McLaren

HAM: McLaren -> Red Bull

BUT: Mclaren

ALO: Ferrari

MAS: Ferrari -> Out of Sharp End

KUB: Renault/Lada/Smirnoff or -> Ferrari

PER: Sauber -> Ferrari

ROS: Mercedes

MSC: Mercedes

Comments
  1. JourneyTH says:

    Well, even though there’s overwhelming evidence against most of these, this is how I’d like the driver’s line-up to be:

    Red Bull – Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton

    Yeah, I really like this one as well, not because I particularly care for either of them (although, props to both – Hamilton is still a fantastic driver and so is Vettel). None of them are used to be #2, so we could see a repeat of 2007, except with less douchebaggery – that would be fun.

    McLaren – Jenson Button and Mark Webber

    Dream team, here. Yeah, this isn’t really a good strategy for McLaren in the long run, but who cares? These guys are clearly friends, both excellent drivers and, well, to see two out of three of my favorite drivers in one team would be amazing.

    Ferrari – Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez

    I know it’s not happening, but dammit, this would be a lot of fun to watch. I guess we’ll just have to wait for 2013.

    Mercedes – same line-up as this year

    Renault – Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov

    With every new report it seems that Kubica isn’t gonna be back up to full speed in time. And that’s a shame. But still, out of the four guys looking to snatch the two Renault seats, I like Kubica and Petrov the best. Also, if not Robert, than Grosjean and Petrov. Just saying.

    Force India – same line-up as last year

    Again, not likely to happen, the Internet is buzzing with rumours that Hulk will replace Sutil. I guess that’s fair but I wouldn’t want to see it happen.

    Sauber – Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi

    Kobayashi isn’t too good this season, but that doesn’t mean I want him out. And Massa – well, I don’t want him out of F1. So why not Sauber, where Kamui probably won’t be “faster than you”.

    Scuderia Toro Rosso – same line-up as last years

    I like both of the guys. It would be a shame if one of them lost his seat.

    Williams – Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg

    Again, Maldonado is keeping his place, but this is what I’d like to see. Don’t much like Kimi, but it sure would add a LOT to the championship to have him back.

    Lotus – Heikki Kovalainen and Nick Heidfeld

    Nick was wrongfully let go by Boullier this season and replaced with an inferior driver. I hope that he can get a seat in a team that’s not fucking evil.

    Virgin – Timo Glock and Jerome D’Ambrosio/Robert Wickens

    Both are equally acceptable variants in my eyes.

    HRT – Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne

    Yeah, that would mean a third Red Bull team. Fuck it, I don’t care. It’d make for an interesting career ladder for their drivers, that’s for sure.

  2. If Lewis were to go to Red Bull, I would probably commit suicide.

  3. Gareth says:

    I agree with the Red Bull scenario, certainly giving Hamilton’s gripes earlier this season, but if it happens it may not be for awhile. Both those guys are young and have a good ten years at the top yet.

    I don’t see much in Webber going to Mclaren. He’s not that far off retirement (discounting Schumacher) and I don’t see much in it for Mclaren long term to be honest. Webber is one of my favourite drivers but he could well stay at RB until he retires.

    If Ferrari ever want to win another Constructor title they need two strong drivers (like Mclaren now) to have any chance. Alonso can’t do it by himself. Perez cold be interesting but will probably end up having a Massa type role. Seeing Button there could be interesting too, but it may never happen. Perhaps Webber short term while Perez matures a bit at Sauber?

    I see Massa going to Williams for what it’s worth, I think Steve pointed this out before. Could be a chance for him to get his morale and confidence back.

    I would like Renault (or whatever they will be called next season) to have Kubica and Senna as their drivers. I’ve never liked Petrov since he started, and he hasn’t grown on me either; but when there’s money involved it’s never going to be simple.

  4. Jan says:

    Redbull: Vettel/Webber
    + Already a good lineup (beside of the fact that they aren’t friends)

    Mclaren: Button/Hamilton
    +good relationship between Button and Hamilton

    Ferrari: Alonso/Rosberg
    +Rosberg has the pace; maybe he can show his real potential

    Mercedes: Schumacher/Massa
    +Were friends at Ferrari

    Renault: Kubica/Senna
    +Kubica won’t have the pace after his accident to get a seat at Ferrari
    +Senna is talented and brings some Brazilian money

    Force India: Di Resta/Hülkenberg
    + Both are fast and young

    Sauber: Kobayashi/Petrov/Perez The money has to decide

    Toro Rosso: Ricciardo/Vergne
    +Buemi and Alguersuari had their chance…

    Williams: Sutil/Raikkonen
    +Fast drivers with a lot of experience

    Lotus: Kovalainen/Grosjean
    +With a Renault engine in the car a Renault driver could get a seat.

    Virgin: Glock/Maldonado
    +No seat for Maldonado at williams

    HRT: Barrichello/Chandhok
    +Barrichello can help to develop the car😉
    +Chandhok gets another chance

  5. Rahmel says:

    Red Bull: Vettel – Hamilton. It’d be fun to watch, kind of like Alonso – Hamilton with 100% less asshole. Vettel has been groomed for Driver 1 since Toro Rosso and this could be the shake up Hamilton wants and needs.

    McLaren: Webber – Massa. Am I drunk? I think so. McLaren’s tendency to not play favorites and treat both drivers as relative equals would do these two well, what with Webber constantly maintaining the gap and Massa understanding certain messages.

    Ferrari: Alonso – Button. I am a fan of the Scuderia, and this is a match made in Heaven. Alonso has the skill and ability to take his car, whatever he is in, to another level. Button is arguably the most consistent driver on the grid. With two strong drivers in tow, there’s a good chance they could contend for the Constructors once again. Then again, this could end like Alonso – Hamilton 2007.

    Mercedes: Keep it as is. I like the team of Schumi and Rosberg, and I hope come next year, they’re competitive enough to challenge for the podium, maybe even steal a win!

  6. ninja90 says:

    When the cars are as strong as this year (I take the “Ideal” aspect a bit far :p):

    RBR – Button/Rosberg
    Complete overhaul. Stop the domination of vettel and actually put drivers there who are (about) equal. Rosberg can learn a lot and we’ll see if he’s good enough if he beats Button.
    Button still has stuff to learn and can change his approach and maybe learn more here.

    McLaren – Hamilton/Perez

    Hamilton is more McLaren boy than button, so I let him stay.
    Also he’d be domination just like Vettel in a RBR.
    Let Perez have a bite of the action. He’s certainly talented and can hopefully learn a lot here.

    Ferrari – Alonso/Vettel

    Alonso being the completest driver in many peoples thinking (mine uincluded) should show Vettel a little of the hard side of F1.
    Vettel will have to give his all to beat Mr. Eyebrows and we’ll see what he can really do.
    This might bring both of them to shine.

    Mercedes – Schumacher/Di Resta

    Schumacher to develop and maybe teach Di Resta a little.
    Di Resta surely has talent and we’ll see how he compares to Schumie.

    Renault – Kubica/Kobayashi

    Let Kubica sink in for a season after his crash to see if he’s still like he used to be.
    He might have been good enough for a top team in 2010 but let’s see that one first.
    Kobayashi has been a little behind Perez for a while and need a little build up before he can join up there.

    FIndia – Hülkenberg/Buemi

    Give Hulkenburg back to F1, he’s a good talent and needs his time to learn.
    Also let’s just see how good Buemi/Algie really where at STR by just picking one for Findia and putting him agains someone we all know to be somewhere about Barrichello and Malonado.

    Sauber – Glock/Whoever is new to get

    Sauber has brought some good talents to F1 with Kobayashi and Perez.
    Glock is a solid driver, so let’s give him the opportunity to develop the team further/actually be soewhere.
    And let them bring whoever’s new and promising to F1.

    Torro Rosso – Vergne/Riccardo

    I don’t really care about STR. Just bring some new drivers.

    Lotus – Kovalainen/Massa

    Dump site No.1.

    HRT – Webber/Alguersuari

    Making it at least a little worthwhile watching HRT.

    Virgin – Sutil/Trulli

    Whatever’s left dumped in here.
    I’d like Sutil to be somwhere up there, but there’s no space left.

  7. ninja90 says:

    Just realized I missed Williams.
    Well, speaks for their performance this year.

    Williams – Raikonnen/Sutil
    then.
    Put Barrichello or Buemi at Virgin then I guess.

  8. thevillainf1 says:

    good fun! here goes mine for the top dogs:

    Red Bull: Vettel/Ricciardo
    Well, Vettel is a bit of a no-brainer, He’s had a perfect season and I see no reason why he’d lose that edge, tanking on even more confidence having won back to back WDCs now. I’m sad for Webber to finish his F1 career as Vettel’s lapdog, and would have preferred to see him hang up the gloves this year to not endure another year of total humiliation in 2012. Alguersuari or Buemi would then arguably be the next ones in line but despite some nice drives by both lately, Jaime in particular, 3 years in they still don’t have the consistency and the ‘wow’ factor I do get when watching Vergne and Ricciardo in WSR/HRT. While a year behind Ricciardo development wise I believe Vergne’s got even more talent than Daniel, who I do rate very highly as well. Daniel is destroying what’s left of Liuzzi’s f1 career at HRT and I’d love to see a hungry young gun take it to Vettel. That said, had Vergne had equal experience in an f1 car than Daniel, I’d have picked the Frenchman.

    Mclaren: Hamilton-Button
    Boring, I know, but Mclaren really have a dream team here. The ideal Prost-Senna combination, with one crucial ingredient taken out which led to disaster in ’89: they don’t hate each others guts. They can both win races, they push each other and the team every step of the way, and Mclaren would be bonkers to get rid of either…as Lewis would be nuts to leave Mclaren now.

    Ferrari: Alonso-Rosberg
    Alonso’s a shoe in as we all know and Ferrari couldn’t dream of having a better driver. Massa should have been out of that no2 seat after a horrendous 2010 season already. Rosberg is another mr.consistent, seems to be quite unconfrontational (surviving Schumi as your teammate, stomping him and still avoiding any controversy is quite a feat) and he definately deserves a really top car to prove the doubters wrong. All year long Rosberg has gotten the max out of that Merc, in pretty much every race. He deserves a shot at the big leagues.

    Mercedes: Timo Glock – Kamui Kobayashi
    Never thought I’d say this, but I kinda like Schumi now, and really wish he’d get at least a podium on his comeback. However it’s just not cool for an old fart like him to keep hogging a good f1 seat when so much young talent peddles along in midfield/backmarker cars because the way is blocked. Di Resta is the obvious candidate and I’m sure would do great, but Merc is German and Timo is another top rated German driver now languishing in the back with Virgin. I’d love for Timo to get a shot at the front of the grid again. He proved at Toyota’s he’s got what it takes. Kobayashi, like Rosberg , truly deserves a better ride but sadly he doesn’t really have any inroads with the top teams, unlike Di Resta with his Merc links and Perez with his Ferrari links, How unfortunate for Kamui that Toyota or Honda are out. Just when the country finally found a top rated f1 driver, there’s no place for him to enjoy the once massive influence of Japanese manufacturers in F1.

  9. Gareth says:

    I think I misread the topic title lol, I went for a more realistic approach. Oh well.

  10. I so want to see Perez in a truly fast car. The guy is nice, charismatic, consistent and on the pace. And he takes a Speedy Gonzales toy with him to the races, which is, like, +99999 point to him.

    RB — Vet/Ham
    McLaren — But/Web
    Fer — Alo/Per
    Merc — MSC/Ros
    Renault — Kub/Pet
    FI — Hulk/DiR
    Toro Rosso — Ric/Alg
    Virgin — d’Am/Glock
    HRT — pull out of F1

  11. Rather unsurprisingly, my ideal lineup gives a chance to lots of rookies! A ground rule before starting – Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso can never be teammates. None of them would cope with a teammate that was better than them.

    Red Bull – Vettel/Alguersuari – Maybe not a long term solution – but give Alguersuari the chance to show what he can do. If he’s still nowhere near Vettel by the end of his first year he get’s kicked out in favour of Ricciardo or Vergne.

    McLaren – Hamilton/Button – This pairing is near perfect aleady for a Brit like me. Just need Lewis to get back to his best and for the team to actually build a car that can match the RB all year long.

    Ferrari – Alonso/Perez – Perez is of course the obvious choice but I had a look around and couldn’t really find an alternative.

    Mercedes – Rosberg/Di Resta – Schumi’s been there and done it. He doesn’t need to hog a seat IMO.

    Renault (Lotus) – Senna/Webber – Being pesimistic here and assuming that Kubica doesn’t return. Webber wouldn’t want to drop any lower than this I shouldn’t think. Sure Group Lotus could hand him a tasty pay cheque using Senna’s sponsorship money.

    Force India – Hulkenberg/Kovalainen – Gives Hulkenberg the deserved chance to return to the grid, and Kovalainen a deserved place further up it.

    Sauber – Kobayashi/Massa – The obvious place for Massa to end up when Ferrari boot him out.

    Williams – Grosjean/Glock – Renault (the car company) would love to have Grosjean in the Williams. Deserves a second chance after his GP2 season. Glock a more youthful alternative to Rubens.

    Toro Rosso – Ricciardo/Vergne – The next two in the Red Bull ranks. Both could have potential to match Vettel in an RBR.

    Team Lotus (Caterham) – Bianchi/Sutil – Both would use their personal sponsors to help top up the team’s budget.

    Virgin – Wickens/Petrov – Marrussia would no doubt love a Russian driver. Here they’ve got one, alongside a driver they’ve bankrolled in FR3.5 this year.

    HRT – Maldonado/Pic – Both have plenty of cash for HRT’s liking and sufficient talent to deserve a place on the grid.

  12. TheThedde says:

    I’m a bit intrressted in that noone even have mentioned Mario de Villotas. A coulpe of weeks ago, she did a test with Lotus Renault. (An old Reanult car but still.) Although no times from the test were puplished, the reactions from the team suggest that she has what it takes (in pace anyway) to be an F1-driver. I think HRT will take her, because she has some big sponsors and a pretty descent pace.

  13. thevillainf1 says:

    I read Joe Saward reporting on her and he basically said she was crap. The woman is also 30 something already. I wouldn’t mind a woman in f1, but she needs to be a talented one, not just a PR stunt.

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