I’m not even sure the joke you’re trying to make. Is it the same joke I complained that everyone was making on YouTube?
Yes? You realize that Racing Point essentially stole/copied the 2019 Mercedes aero and it’s a major point of contention at the moment, right? Stroll could barely get pass Ricciardo (without driving him off the track) last race. His qualifying performance is almost certainly dominated by the car performance rather than him being some sort of outstanding talent.
Okay. So this is exactly the kind of surface-level “discussion” that overwhelmed the YouTube comments.
OF COURSE Racing point copied the Mercedes design and have a better car than last year. OF COURSE car performance is the dominant factor in Formula 1 qualifying.
With those obvious facts out of the way, why not see what else is going on?
When a driver joins a team during a period of stable F1 regulations, the “concept” of the car, and its dominant handling characteristics, has usually been developed in partnership with the previous drivers in that team. The new driver isn’t in a position to guide the development to suit their own driving preferences, especially if they are a last-minute driver replacement.
You can see this has happened with Red Bull and Renault recently. Verstappen and Ricciardo are comfortable in their Red Bulls. Ricciardo goes to Renault and is astounded by how differently the car drives. He asks Nico Hülkenberg what’s up with the car, and why it’s all janky, and Hülkenberg just shrugs and says “this is what the Renaults do”.
Meanwhile, Gasly arrives at Red Bull with a newly promoted race engineer, and finds a car that is developed perfectly for Verstappen and Ricciardo, and never manages to get it dialled in for his own style. He goes back to Toro Rosso, where he drove the year before, and slots right in. This year, Albon is in a similar situation.
This is all just one example of driver merry-go-round, and how it’s hard to slot into a new team mid-way through a period of stable regulations.
What’s interesting about Racing Point isn’t the fact that they’ve copied Mercedes, nor the fact that their car is fast, but that it’s very rare these days that a team will completely change their fundamental car concept during a period of stable regulations. Normally a team will stick with a concept and try to refine it, or better understand it, and make it work.
So Lance Stroll is in an even rarer position of first being in a car that was developed for and by 1. Perez and 2. Occon, and then being in a car that was developed for and by 1. Stroll and 2. Perez.
And it’s come along when most other car concepts are stable from last year.
With all this laid out, I think it’s very reductive to say: “well, he’s in a better car, so of course he’s more confident…”
That can’t be true when Gasly got in a better car from 2018 to 2019, and was way less confident.
Stroll is in a better car that was designed for him and so is way more confident. None of the other drivers who are new to F1 or have changed teams recently can say the same. Lance Stroll is the only driver where that is true.
George Russell is an infinitely better driver than Lance Stroll. I’m going to bet that Lando Norris turns out better than him as well. If Stroll has this year’s car designed for him, why is he getting outclassed by Perez in both of the races so far?
I’m not comparing Stroll to George Russell or Lando or Perez. I’m comparing Stroll 2019 to Stroll 2020. He’s outclassed by Perez because Perez is probably a better driver than him, who also has been at Force Racing Point for years, and also knows exactly how to work with their designers and engineers.
The amount of “partisanship” of fandom in F1 is the thing I despise the most. Never read the comments on a message board / YT video about F1. I really enjoy informed analysis but generally dislike the online fan community (the in-person passion is great). Overly broad declarations like Hamilton gets every consideration, Verstappen is a whiny brat, Vettel is washed up, Mercedes are cheaters, and on and on… I don’t care what some fan thinks they know about what is happening behind the scenes. I want to analyze the on-track performance and strategy and I want to hear from informed observers of the sport about the behind the scenes machinations.
On that note, here are a couple of YT channels that I enjoy for this content:
- A comment on a recent video about why I like this channel: “Typical Chain Bear: taking an annoying thing and explaining it so well that it seems completely reasonable.”
- A well researched and non-breathless source for news, F1 politicking reporting, and examining the implications of various developments in the sport.
Hardly a surprise that F1 doesn’t want to go to Texas and Brazil.
What’s cool is that we might get a Vietnam GP this year after all!
Oof, that’s not good for him as his future with Racing Point is already tenuous given recent rumors of Sebastian Vettel’s future. For F1 generally it is interesting that by the 3rd venue of the adjusted 2020 racing calendar a reserve driver is going to be needed, the 1st test of how the contingency plans are going to work out. Hopefully this remains isolated and we don’t see a spread through the paddock.
Maybe Hulkenberg can get his first podium in a Pink Mercedes?!?!
Merc doesn’t even need four wheels to win a race
I’ve not watched the highlights, but I guess it is the start, a first lap crash, a second safety car, then skip to the last three laps and replay them in real time.
“Hulk qualified where??”
This past weekend has confirmed that we need to permanently shift the tire hardness down for all races. No more one stops!
Props to F1 for posting content like that on their official channel.