If Bahrain is capable of predicting a season, then we’re in for a weird one. For obvious reasons, such as the fact that Aston seems to be the closest car to redbull (my thesis in my last article has been proven wrong), as well as the fact that Mercedes has an aversion to designing a good car. Just to add to that, after 76 years of racing, Ferrari still doesn’t know how to properly insulate a wiring loom. (Although that one’s not too surprising).
Now of course, I am a known Max fan, but that does not bare any hold on today’s topic. I have nothing to say about max, because the driving and the cars speak for him. It’s already clear that at least the first half of the season will be the teams trying to catch up to Redbull, and the drivers trying to catch Max. In terms of teams, this article will be about Aston, Ferrari, Mercedes. In terms of drivers, it will be about Hamilton, Alonso, Stroll, and Leclerc.
My thesis on Mercedes is pretty simple: They’re screwed until the new power units come. They seem to be unable to function properly on the engineering side without their formerly 484 million dollar budget with a great car to build on. Now with just over a quarter of their once great budget, and a bad platform to use as foundation, they’re lost. Yes they’re coming to Jeddah tomorrow (Friday the 17th of March), with a big upgrade package, but so is everyone else, because everyone learns a big flaw of their car from the first race. Everyone will have an upgrade package, maybe the lower budget teams won’t have overhauls. But my point stands, If they were that far behind Aston martin, and Redbull, and Ferrari, who will all have upgrades, and all of whom have only good pace to improve upon, how does Mercedes expect to have the 2nd best car? It certainly won’t happen in the first half of the season, and they will have to work a miracle over summer break.
Which brings us to Hamilton, whom I don’t think will be able to keep his cool this season. He will eventually grow tired of dealing with Mercedes’ failures, and the fact that for the first time since 2016, a teammate is actually brave enough to challenge him, and is doing well in that challenge. I think he’s going to end up feeling jaded. (If he doesn’t already).
It looks like it will be another season of disappointment for the Tifosi: I believe them to be quite talented, capable engineers and designers, but my god, get it together! The levels of incompetence are just ridiculous, it’s as if the last three years of Ferrari were just skits ripped from a slapstick movie like, “Naked Gun”. For Ferrari I have lost all hope in their ability to create a reliable car, and to actually find a strategist that is qualified to have the position.
Which brings us to Leclerc, a special case. He is young and has a relatively bad understanding of the team win theory. He will push the calm mannered Sainz over the edge. It might be this year when he next gets greedy, and decides to beg ferrari to let him through because he’s faster,(but in that specific moment, he’s not). Of course Leclerc is a much better overall driver than Sainz, he has better if not equal pace, but also has consistency, something Sainz has yet to find. The problem is that Leclerc has an only childs’ mentality, believing himself to be the only one Ferrari cares about enough to let win. He’s one of the best talents on the grid, with the pathology of seven year-old.
Good news for all you Aston lovers: If you were the guy who kept saying Aston will be amazing this year (kind of like I as a Jets fan do every year), then wow, I am impressed oracle. Astons’ glow-up was mind blowing to watch, truly amazing. Alonso finishing third, and Stroll in sixth, truly amazing results for a team which finished seventh in the Constructors’ Championship last year. I don’t know what they did, but that design is seriously fast. It’s got great downforce in the turns, which allowed Alonso to pull some crazy moves in Bahrain, and decent straightline speed. In my opinion, Mercedes should do enough to keep their car middle of the pack, and instead make the best of the power unit situation so that Aston Martin, and the Mercedes engine have a chance.
Which brings us to Stroll, A ripped from TV Daddys money stereotype, whom has on occasion really stepped his game up, just to falter in the next race weekend and perform even worse than his car should. However, in 2020 with the decent equipment, he proved himself to be somewhat competent. And people learn a lot in three years. He managed to get a sixth place finish at bahrain with a messed up wrist that prevented him from gaining full wheel lock, clearly a spectacular result. Is it one of those moments in sports history where the adrenaline surges and everything just fit together perfectly? I don’t know, but what I do know is that last year, and the year before that, it would’ve needed to be a soaking wet track for Stroll to get this kind of result.
On to Alonso, one of, if not the most revered driver currently on the grid. And by god, he is blisteringly fast for his age. Picking up a third place at Bahrain was truly amazing to see. He made that Aston move like Anittas’ Ass. It was a lesson in perfection. The overtakes, the defenses, I was slackjawed watching that Aston go around the track. This season looks like it’s going to be Alonsos’ first big break since Renault signed him for 2005&6. I do have one fear though. Alonso has always had strong opinions of his teammates. When he signed with Alpine he became gracious, but I believe that to be because Ocon was actually willing to listen and learn from Alonso. But what happens when he gets paired with a playboy living off his father, who feels entitled to winning, without ever doing anything to deserve that entitlement. He’s getting paired up with a spoiled brat who thinks he knows everything, although a decent instinctual driver, Stroll is so spoiled, and praised by the people around him, I think he will be unwilling to shut up and learn. Which I believe will end in a blow up.
It’s been great writing for you guys, and I hope you enjoyed this Op-Ed, I put a lot of thought into this one, and I can’t wait to write for you guys again, have a lovely race weekend.