The story that seems to pop up every few years “is Lewis Hamilton going to Ferrari?”. Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of becoming the most successful Formula 1 racing driver in history. Whenever we finally get the season started in 2020, Hamilton could not only equal Micheal Schumacher’s tally of seven World Driver Titles, but he could break many other records too, including: podium finishes, Grand Prix won having lead every lap, Grand Slams, number of race wins, and a few others. Given that the 2020 Formula 1 season, along with just about everything else in the world, has been majorly affected by Covid-19, it puts a twist on how this season will roll into the next. One major change being that the new generation of cars will not come until 2022, something I will get in to in a minute.
Not surprisingly, Eddie Jordan has been at the centre of the latest incarnation of this F1 news story. Don’t let that fool you though, Jordan has been right about so many driver switches in the past that his BBC co-presenters actually asked him if he had written the script! In all seriousness though, Eddie Jordan has a lot of contacts within the sport who he can call up for a chat and extract information with that Irish charm of his. Like I said already, don’t discredit Eddie Jordan’s driver predictions – he has been spot on many times in the past.
Mercedes Leaving Formula 1
The effects of Covid-19 are being felt in all industries, some are experiencing massive growth while others suffer a major downturn, one of which is the oil sector. As we spend more time at home, businesses adapt to new ways of working that involve less travel, and we all generally don’t move around the planet as much, a lot less fuel is being consumed. While this is great for the planet, it is not so good for oil and fuel manufacturers. One of which is Petronas, Mercedes F1 main sponsor. The talk on the street is that Petronas will have to scale back its sponsorship potentially to such an extent that Mercedes F1 would no longer be able to compete. There were already rumours that Merc were planning on leaving F1, apparently winning all the time is boring, so this could just be the final nail in the coffin.
Every Boy’s Dream
Hamilton has often said that he would love to one day drive for Ferrari in Formula 1. I think probably all F1 drivers had that dream at some point in their lives. Ferrari has been in Formula 1 from the start, they have always used the instantly recognizable Rosso Red livery. There has always been a race in Italy. The Tifosi have always been the most passionate. Many of the biggest names in Formula 1 have driven for Ferrari. Some people even say you haven’t “made it” until you have driven for the Scuderia. It’s not just within Formula 1 either, I have spoken to Ferrari fans, people who are Ferrari through and through, and who really do not like Lewis Hamilton (because Ferrari reasons) but would “love to see him in red” as one fan put it.
Jenson Button was in a Brawn GP in 2009 when the new 2009 rules came in to effect, and he won the 2009 championship. (Then Brawn GP became Mercedes F1 and took a few years to sort themselves out, more on that in a moment). Sebastian Vettel was in a RedBull Racing Formula 1 car in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, when the 2009 rules were still in place and he won the driver’s championship every year. Lewis Hamilton was in a Mercedes AMG Formula 1 car in 2014 when the 2014 rules came in to effect, and he won the championships in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019 (a Merc still won in 2016, just not Hamilton’s one). In 2021 the rules are going to change again, in fact this rule and regulation change will be one of the biggest shake-ups Formula 1 has ever seen. As the previous twelve years has shown us, being in the dominant car at the start of a major rules change will put you in a dominant position for the following seasons with the same rules. Some say that Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes in 2013 was founded on the team’s work they had already put into the 2014 (new rules) car. Could it be that he will see something in the new Ferrari Formula 1 cars for 2022 (although provisionally built to 2021 spec rules), and we could have the same situation where Hamilton and his new team get a year to bond and understand each other before the rules change?
The Magic Formula
Formula 1 is so named because it is the pinnacle of Motorsport. The engineers are given a set of parameters within which to build a car. They can decide how much or how little of anything they will use, so long as it fits inside the box. This is how we end up with so many ideas, philosophies, designs, and approaches to problems. When you add to this a driver who brings their own unique ideas, approaches, and methods, and mix it all together you have your formula. This is what you will be using to do battle with against the world’s best engineers, aerodynamicists, strategists, and drivers. You can tweak it slightly here and there, but generally, your formula is set. Could it be that Ferrari’s new car has something over the Mercedes? We know they have been trying out some ideas which flirt with the boundaries of the regulations. We also know that whatever they were doing with their fuel system hasn’t necessarily been deemed to be against the rules. Maybe this was a trial run for systems and parts they are using on the 2022 cars. Lewis Hamilton has shown the world once already that he can spot a winning car in the making, is he about to do the same again?