Clip The Apex
Welcome, or welcome back, to the magical world of Team-Mate Prediction, where you compete to see how your pre-season hunches or educated guesses translate to the real world of Formula One. Here is the usual run down of entry requirements:
Naming Your Team
For the nine participating constructors in the F1 World Championship, you must chose one of their two drivers for your team. You must pick a driver from each team.
You must also pick your joker and fence bonuses. Your joker will go to the driver who you think will score the most points, and you will get half of their score added to your total score. The fence will go to the team that you think will be closest. There is a sliding scale of fence points: if your fence team finishes dead level on our scoring system you will recieve 25 points, going down to 20, 15, 10 and 5 points if there is a gap of 5, 10, 15 and 20 points respectively.
This year's tie-break question is: What will be Red Bull's score in the Constructor's Championship, subtract McLaren's score? Therefore, a prediction of Red Bull to beat McLaren by 50 points would be recorded as 50, and a prediction that the Woking Racing Concern would beat the All-Party Energy Fun Team by 40 points would be -40. If in doubt, give me a number and a team!
Red Bull: Ricciardo
Williams: Massa (J)
Force India: Perez (F)
Toro Rosso: Verstappen
Tie Break: -20 (or McLaren win by 20)
The game will close at 18:00 GMT on 12th March 2015. For any entrants from overseas, this is 14:00 in New York City and 05:00 on the Friday morning in Melbourne. Please remember there is a timestamp on all edits, and any entries edited past this point will be voided.
This must include your joker, fence and tiebreaks. All posts entered without these will be subject to a zero score for the two bonuses, and a nominal tie-break entry of -1,000,000.
If you started watching F1 in 2013, you could be forgiven for thinking that Ferrari and McLaren are nothing more than upper-midfield teams and not the giants that they really are. Ferrari haven't won a race since May 2013, when Alonso won the Spanish grand prix. For McLaren it's even longer, in November 2012 Button won the Brazilian grand prix. Since McLaren's first season in 1966, I believe this is the longest period during which neither McLaren nor Ferrari have won a race.
So what's gone wrong? None of this will be new for most of you but the story begins in 2008. Both McLaren and Ferrari were fighting tooth and nail for the championship up until the last race of the season, with Hamilton ultimately winning his first title in that dramatic last lap which saw Massa's family celebrating only for Lewis to overtake Glock in the final few corners and take it for himself. At this point McLaren or Ferrari had won 9 out of the last 11 WDCs and constructors championships. 2009 then brought the major aerodynamics regulations overhaul, and whilst the likes of Adrian Newey and Ross Brawn were completely focused on creating a winning package for F1's future during 2008, McLaren and Ferrari had been battling it out trying to gain a development edge in the 2008 championship and were left seriously compromised in their 2009 efforts. Neither McLaren nor Ferrari have won a championship since (joint longest period since the 9 seasons between 1965 and 1973, in which Lotus, Brabham, Matra and Tyrrell won championships).
With the resources and experience of Ferrari and McLaren, though, you would have expected them to find their way back to the top again pretty quickly but it hasn't happened for different reasons. Although Alonso was able to drag the Ferrari close to championships, the Ferrari design team has completely failed to build a car that even comes close to Red Bull in terms of mechanical and aerodynamic grip. McLaren, on the other hand, gradually closed the gap to Red Bull and probably built a car that was capable of winning the championship in 2012, only to completely drop the ball in the first half of the season with a multitude of errors (pit stops, fuel loads etc.) and then with reliability in the second half of the season. They then inexplicably got it completely wrong in 2013 and fell way back down in to the midfield.
The continued failures have eventually seen both teams lose arguably the two best drivers on the grid to try to take advantage of the change, to the V6 engines in pastures new. Hamilton, no doubt frustrated by the 2012 season, left McLaren at the end of 2012 to move to the emerging and now dominant Mercedes (with Ross Brawn again masterminding the regulations transition). Alonso finally gave up on Ferrari at the end of last year after another season spent in a mediocre chassis now coupled with a mediocre engine. The saving grace for McLaren is that they convinced Alonso to move back to Woking despite their history. Ferrari haven't done too badly either, nabbing a 4 time world champion in Vettel, although time will tell if he can fill Alonso's shoes after suffering a pretty comprehensive defeat by Ricciardo in 2014.
What are the prospects for each of them now, then? Although it's now been six seasons without a championship and almost 2 seasons without a win for either team, they are still two of the power houses of F1 and surely they will find their way back to the top eventually.
Its been announced this week that Belgian Mclaren development driver Stoffel Vandoorne will return to the GP2 series in 2015 again driving for the ART team. Vandoorne is hoping a successful championship year with ART will be the pathway for him to get into F1 for 2016, preferably with Mclaren, but is that actually really likely to happen?
Vandoorne’s potential is not in any doubt. He won the F4 Eurocup title in 2010 and then had a close tussle with Dani Kvyat in Eurocup 2.0 in 2012, a tussle he eventually won and took the title. In 2013 he jumped up to the WSR 3.5 series and scored a win on his debut. He scored 4 wins in total with 10 podiums in 17 races, all this in the much unfancied Fortec car as well. He was piped to the title by fellow Mclaren development driver Kevin Magnussen who had already done a year in the series and was driving the all mighty DAMS car. K-Mag landed himself an F1 seat with Mclaren and Vandoorne switched feeder series to join ART in GP2. Once again Vandoorne scored a win on his debut before suffering the same fate the majority of rookies do when joining GP2 and falling backwards whilst getting used to the difficult Pirelli tyres. To be fair to Vandoorne this only lasted for a few rounds and by the time he got to round 7 in Austria he was back up there with the front runners. Unfortunately for him Jolyon Palmer, again in a mighty DAMS car, was already out of sight but he did manage to haul back to 2nd in the championship with a further 3 wins and 5 podiums. He was cost better results by some questionable tactical decision by ART on occasions too, especially when the failed to pit him under the safety car when the entire rest of the field did leaving him in an almost impossible position. Anyone who saw his comeback drive that day can’t have failed to be impressed.