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Featured F1: Massa Poised to Return to Williams, Opens Door for Bottas/Mercedes Deal

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Chris, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. Chris

    Chris
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    Massa.jpg Felipe Massa looks set to return to the Formula One grid after Williams offered the Brazilian veteran a reported five million euro contract for the 2017 season.

    Entering the final race of 2016 in Abu Dhabi, the Formula One grid for 2017 looked relatively stable. However, with the shock exit of the reigning Champion Nico Rosberg just five days after taking his maiden title, the driver market has endured it's largest shake up in some years.

    With Rosberg now out of the sport, Mercedes have been left in the unenviable position of having to find a replacement driver as soon as possible. The only problem is that because Rosberg's announcement to retire came so late in the year, and was a total surprise to literally everyone - including Mercedes - the majority of the drivers have already signed contracts for other teams for 2017 and beyond.

    But is the lure of a Mercedes seat strong enough to lead a driver to break his ties with his current team in order to become a title contender over night? Well, so far the answer is no. However, Mercedes are currently in advanced negotiations with Williams and Valtteri Bottas regarding the securement of the Finnish driver in return for a substantial price cut (rumoured to be 50%) on their engine bill for 2017.

    Whilst Williams have thus far played hard ball over letting Bottas go due to the need of pairing their infant rookie with an experienced driver, reports have come out recently that indicate they are warming to the idea of letting him go. Not only that, but the ties with Bottas/Mercedes are strong as Toto Wolff has managed much of the career of the young Finn, making him an ideal choice for Mercedes.

    Given their relative failure in 2016, their share of FOM's pot of gold is considerably less than it was last season. So much so that a 50% discount on their engine supply courtesy of Mercedes is a big deal, and could save them tens of millions of dollars per year, making it an highly attractive offer.

    Enter Felipe Massa.

    The Brazilian announced his retirement from the sport in Monza earlier this year and has sounded as if he is content with leaving the sport and moving on with his life. With Williams offering him a handsome salary to stay on for 2017 and give Lance Stroll the ropes of F1, the door is now well and truly open for Valtteri Bottas to make the move to the Silver Arrows, and it would appear to be only a formality now.

    Pirelli Announce Compounds for First Two Rounds of 2017
    2017 Tyres.jpg
    Pirelli have announced the compounds they will bring to the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix. Now offering considerably wider and less temperature sensitive compounds, the tyres will most likely play the largest role in improving the cars lap times this season.

    The sport's official supplier of rubber will bring the Ultra Soft, Super Soft and Soft compounds to the Australian Grand Prix. The Albert Park not typically considered a high degradation circuit means the Italian supplier can afford to go a bit aggressive in the debut of these new tyres. For the Chinese Grand Prix, they will be bringing the Super Soft, Soft and Medium compounds.

    The choices seem to be the correct ones given the nature of the circuits and the direction change that Pirelli have taken to make tyres that "allow drivers to push flat out for the entire race". The new construction for 2017 is designed to substantially reduce the amount of thermal degradation (overheating) that has been seen in previous years, leading to periods during races where drivers are forced to drive to a predetermined lap time in order to make the tyres last the stint lengths.

    Whilst tyre management is nothing new in motorsport, the levels of tyre management seen in Formula One since 2011 and Pirelli's introduction to the sport, has been vastly greater than in previous eras, leading to many of the purists of the sport being turned off it.

    Hopefully these new tyres will allow drivers to push hard for the vast majority of the races, which should lead to better racing, even if the aerodynamics will play a larger role in 2017.

    Image 1 credit of FIA.com
    Image 2 credit of Motorsport.com
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
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  2. fortyfivekev

    fortyfivekev
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    He's a lovely guy but really it's time to do some Brazilian Stock Cars with his mates. They should have used the Mercedes money to buyout Sainz contract.
     
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  3. Dovi design

    Dovi design

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    I was really sad when watching his goodbye at the Brazillian Grand Prix. Now, I feel like someone cheated on me :p
     
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  4. Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

    Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

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    Between Di Resta or Massa, I would have picked Massa anyday...
     
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  5. Gopher04

    Gopher04
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    It's just embarrissing when this happens, he got such a good send off from the whole paddock, and then he does this, go away Massa don't make yourself look stupied.
     
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  6. Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

    Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

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    Or it'll be quite frankly rubbish, like I'm predicting it will be...

    Aero = Bad Racing
     
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  7. Rodent

    Rodent
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    While it's not exactly my dream scenario I guess it makes sense, he's familiar with the car, old enough for the sponsor and it probably can't hurt to have another year of selling Williams shirts in Brazil.

    At least I get another year of Kimi going bwoah and Massa giggling at it.
     
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  8. seanvdburg

    seanvdburg

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    He's going to be rubbish next year if he does this. Already he has been invisible during races and Bottas destroyed him in qualifying. Now add the faster cars which require more precision and a young hungry teammate.
    He's never been a good rain driver either.
     
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  9. Kakusso

    Kakusso

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    The problem with massa is that his ambition levels are low. Even when he qualifies well for a race, he always ends up losing places after the pit stops. If Bottas goes Williams would be left without an experienced driver. I remember the time when Williams could afford to buy the absolute top drivers, but unfortunately that time is gone.
     
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  10. Chris

    Chris
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    Well, yes, when it's put simplistically, but that doesn't tell the whole story.

    The current tyres didn't help the current aero regulations. If the tyres aren't so sensitive to temperature fluctuations, then the drivers won't feel so obliged to keep out of the dirty air as they'll have the confidence to continue pushing.

    Turbulent air has always played a significant role in Formula 1. But if you've got tyres that melt when you push them, then throwing turbulent air into the mix is only going to exacerbate things.
     
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  11. Constantin Grimminger

    Constantin Grimminger

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    Massa's been racing actively in F1 since 2002, so in how far would Williams lose an experienced driver if Bottas leaves?
     
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  12. Runic

    Runic

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    When cars have less downforce, they don't get as effected by dirty air, allowing them to push behind someone they're racing and have less tyre wear. The drivers don't get challenged enough nowadays, the car will not challenge them like they did in the 1950s - 1990s. So really anyone could drive a Formula One car.
     
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  13. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
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    I'm not going to say hooray for having a Brazilian back on the grid (IF IT HAPPENS) but Williams need someone with technical expertise to help on car development. Well if Massa indeed signs, they got their guy because one of the reasons why the 2014 and 2015 cars were somewhat good (especially the '14 car) was Massa's feedback.
     
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  14. Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

    Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

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    But big tyres and wider cars don't exactly solve the problem. I mean can you imagine Monaco with the new regs... That would be awful....

    The solution is to reduce aero. Again, sounds simplistic but it's a hell of a lot better than the current regulations. The FIA have become almost obsessed with making the cars faster that they've almost forgotten about what truly matters and that's the racing...
     
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  15. Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

    Andy 'Mars Bar' Graham

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    As motorsport fans, I think we are terrible for focusing on very minor things. I mean remember when everyone was complaining about the sound of the V6's? I found that an utter pointless complaint. Like should the sound matter more than the racing?

    The same thing applies to these new aero regulations. There is way too much focus on how fast the cars go and how good they look, which is why there is hype over these regulations. How fast they look and and the cars actually look should not be more important than the racing

    I think it made racing worse in IndyCar, and F1 is falling into the same trap
     
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  16. oorjit07

    oorjit07

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    F1 did a piece on this a week ago, and according to Brundle, Wadwick, and Symmonds, today's cars are not as physically demanding but still very difficult compared to the 90's driver aids cars and the physical cars of the 50s-80s.
     
  17. Chris

    Chris
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    That's not exactly what I was saying but I see your point regarding aero, and I agree, however less downforce also results in more sliding, which means greater tyre wear, however there is less force going through the tyre.

    But you can look at 2010 where the Bridgestones had a very wide temperature window and the cars were producing prodigious amount of downforce, yet the cars could race considerably closer than the cars from the 2011-2016 era because the Bridgestones did not overheat with a single lap of pushing. Drivers could afford to try and fight the dirty air.

    I don't agree with your latter point when you say that anyone can drive an F1 car. That simply isn't true. The vast majority of the viewers do not realise just how violent a current day Formula One car is. The forces that go through the drivers is stunningly immense: They are fighter pilots on the ground. No, not "anyone" can drive an F1 car. In fact the layperson who wins a hotlap in the Minardi two seater regularly results in that person throwing up at the end of the lap because they're not accustom to such g-force, and this is in a car that is travelling far slower than an F1 car in race trim.
     
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  18. burrito

    burrito
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    You are aware that F1 cars from the 80's and 90's actually had more downforce than today's F1? At their peak they were producing 5CL+ compared to 2016 that is estimated to be around 4CL. A 20% increase but the cars could still follow each other because they had flat profile wings and much larger diffusers.

    I'll say it for the last time. Aerodynamics are not bad, multi element wings and appendages are.
     
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  19. Runic

    Runic

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    What I meant was that most racing drivers could drive an F1 car nowadays. You would've of needed more skill to be good at driving
    An 80s F1 car than a car in 2016.
     
  20. Runic

    Runic

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    Back then, the cars where more challenging (mentally and physically) to drive. Which helped make the racing more entertaining to watch.


    We don't need more aero and wider tyres; we need simple F1 cars. When the driver made the difference, not the car.