The second-coming of Pierre Gasly.
I really feel for Gasly. Thrust into the top Redbull team a bit too early maybe - in a car that really didn’t work for him - he couldn’t deliver what was expected. He specially looked bad next to his team mate of the time - Verstappen - who had unbeatable form in that RB15. But since then we’ve witnessed his rebound. Demoted back to Torro-Rosso/ Alpha-Tauri - he has gone on to deliver amazing performances - regularly finishing in top 10, too many times in top5 for a team of that caliber and even a few podiums. Gasly has been dominant in the lower mid field and given the equipment that he has - there’s no way it has come easy - which is the saddest thing about this whole deal. Because there is no way ahead. He isn’t going to win a championship in a team that is essentially a training ground for RB. He has to move to one of the better teams. Moving back to the senior RB team is not likely - with Christian Horner all but taking a literal shit on the idea. Mercedes is sorted for now - they have George Russel and Hamilton, who is going to stick around a few years. Ferrari isn’t looking for new drivers anytime soon and even when they do, Mick Schumacher has his name written on that seat. So what does that leave Gasly with- not much. Best case- one of the older WDCs retire and a team needs a replacement- Vettel or Hamilton. But moving to AM is a lateral move at best for now (unless they spend Daddy Stroll’s money to the top 🤞🏻). So it’s really only Hamilton retiring which gives him a chance- and that is not good enough, for someone so good. Maybe Ricardo retires, Mclaren gets back to the top and they get Gasly to be their smooth operator- driving them to a WDC. Far-fetched scenario aside- there is a good chance Gasly is not fighting for a WDC ever in his career.
Will we get the Ricardo WDC shoey?!
We all love Ricardo! He’s the best. He’s hard working, goofy and an amazing driver. He burst onto the scene with WDC potential and quickly landed in a team that was in dominant form. Things were looking good. But as the turbo-hybrid era began it became apparent that Redbull couldn’t compete. And he was stuck behind Mercs and Ferraris fighting for occasional podiums. He stayed long enough for a younger and at least equally talented (if not more) team-mate to arrive on the scene. And when he left- he left for a team which showed moderate upside at best. Even then- he couldn’t have chosen to leave at a worse time- Redbull were about to get back on the top by teaming up with Honda- a partnership which culminated with Verstappen becoming the WDC. 2021 was interesting for Ricardo too- he started a lukewarm season at Maclaren but improved in mid-to-late season - winning his first race since departing from Redbull. If Maclaren truly are resurgent - we might finally witness some Ricardo greatness. In Norris, he even has a team-mate who offers healthy competition. But my hunch is that all the wins that Maclaren has were a result of heavily optimising for the current regulations and they might be relegated to 3rd place (at best) in the next season. I want to hope that’s not the case - Ricardo might not be in the game long enough - but I’m not holding my breath.
Sainz and Leclerc 1-2 / 2-1
Leclrec, the F2 champion, seemed to be the next hot thing in F1 when he joined Alfa Romeo and everyone rooted for him. But the vetran Tifosi knew not to get too happy too quickly - they had seen many WDC capable drivers waste their prime years in Ferrari - battling team politics and a sub-par car - Vettel being the latest in the line. And three seasons down- we still see greatness in him but Ferrari are yet to deliver a championship capable car. Meanwhile, they drove away Vettel and have replaced him with Sainz- who was in undeinable form this season. Beating even Leclrec in points- Sainz was best of the rest after Merc and RB. But we’ve known Sainz is good for a while- he was great in Mclaren and he was good in Renault. Will he ever win a championship? I don’t know. Ferrari have a great driver line-up, an okay car and usually terrible strategy- so you never know with them. Maybe the Blan will work and we’ll get a car this year that Leclerc will drive to a constructors title- specially if their season ending performances in 2021 are anything to go by.
Alonso and Vettel - the race to retirement? :(
Alonso came back swinging - driving that Alpine to a podium in 2021. Vettel had two - even if one was taken away due to regulations. Both showed brilliant driving skills, driving far slower cars and overtaking like crazy - competing for the most overtakes in the season. And both have a huge fan-base who would give anything to see them at the top again. But it’s likely not going to happen. Alonso is probably in his last or penultimate season, at best. And the best I can see Alpine doing - even if all the stars align for them and one of the major teams have a stinker of a car - is best of the rest. It breaks my heart that a gem like Alonso has only two titles in F1 becuase he is absolutely one of the GOATs. Vettel might also be on his way out if this season doesn’t go this way - there is no way a 4-time WDC is content driving around at the back - no matter the overtakes. Maybe Aston Martin is able to give him the ride he needs- they have the Mercedes engine and the resources. The news out of Silverstone is optimistic- or maybe I am- I just want tile 5 for Vettel and the Ring-a-ding-ding.
What is the point?
Thank you for making it to this point in my rant. You might wonder what is the point - and there is one - believe me! The point is the world loves an underdog and Formula 1 is full of so many underdogs. Yeah we see teams going from 8th in the standings to 5th or 4th and that is great but it’s a race and
we I want them to fucking win. I want Alonso to win a title. I want Vettel to win 3 (yeah laugh). I want Pierre to win one too and Leclerc and Sainz. Why not Norris- he is such a good guy! Ricardo!? Russel? I want all of them to win. I am rooting for them all and the nature of this sport is they won’t and it won’t be becuase they were not good enough drivers. The mid-field fan in me will always be sad about any outcome for there can only be one champion.