Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Taking My Lumps: 2014 Predictions Revisited

So it is a little later than November, but still enough time to revisit my predictions for 2014 so that people can get on with the requisite pointing and laughing.

Your Manufacturer's Champion: I said: Mercedes. Score: +1.

Your World Champion: I said: Jenson Button. Score: +0. Mercedes had their act together and McLaren didn't, to the point where Williams was the Mercedes B-team.

I said:Ferrari might be third in the manufacturer's title. While I could hang my hat on might, I'm going to be honest and say when you score 60% of what the team ahead of you scored, you were not close. So score +0 for that one.

I said: Alonso if the car is fast and reliable, and Raikonnen if it isn't. Well I was right about Alonso but wrong about the circumstance. Alonso kept showing up and getting the job done, while Raikkonen seemed constantly mystified as to why his car didn't change direction in a timely manner. So I'll score myself +1 here because I'm falling behind.

I said I think Lotus will start the best, but Red Bull will overtake them by year's end. I'll count that as +3/4, since I was right about Red Bull at the end, and that Lotus would be scrabbling for finance all year.

I said: [...]the 2013 champion will be conspicuous by his absence at the sharp end for much of the year. Nailed it. +1.

I said: Williams will enjoy (relative) success for the first third of the year, then the bigger teams will improve faster than they do and they will fade down the stretch. Had that upside down. Williams came on strong at the end of the year as other Mercedes cars faded. Score +0.

The Mid-Field: I said: Williams, Force India, Lotus, and Sauber -- in that order at the end of the year. I got the order right, but Williams was higher up, and I didn't slot STR in anywhere. Still, I'm going to score myself +3/4.

I said: Force India might actually see a change of ownership this year -- wrong, this owner somehow keeps holding on with his fingernails, I really don't know why. Score +0.

I said: for Catarham and Marussia it is a pure lottery, one that will be driven by random unreliability between them and ahead of them on the road. That's a non-prediction, but still kind of true. I score myself +1/2.

I said: The FIA will go through all kinds of contortions to avoid granting the proposed entry for 2015 to the Haas team, perhaps even going to the extent of pushing the entry back to 2016. Haas isn't showing up until 2016, and the Romanians have vanished from the news. Score +1.

I said: With Ecclestone finally gone [...] yeah stop it right there, Ecclestone is still here. Damn it. Score +0.

Your 2014 Deadpool predictions:

  • Bernie Ecclestone no.
  • Force India ownership -- no.
  • Lotus ownership -- this one is trickier, since there was a large cash infusion. 1/2.
  • Marussia -- nailed it. Caterham is probably done, but they showed up for the last race and that counts at this point.
So our grand total: 6/12 for predictions, and 1 of 4 for the deadpool.

I know next year I don't put Ecclestone in the deadpool and he'll be gone. Just my luck.

So tune in again in the next forty days or so when we do this again for some reason.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Vettel: A Downgrade

I think when you line them up one to one, in equal cars, the driver you are always going to take is Alonso over Vettel.

I have not seen Vettel work in a struggling car, trying to get the most out of a car which can't win. Now he's clearly very tallented and has been well suited to the cars that Red Bull have provided him with over the last few years (excepting 2014, of course). But those cars have been winners.

Meanwhile you can't claim that Ferrari's offerings have been championship-winners-in-waiting. The engine in 2014 was a disappointment, the F138 looked gorgeous but couldn't deliver. A couple of cars have taken the championship to the end, but we can all agree that this was Alonso and not the car that was the foundation.

Alonso never looks like he's just circulating, he's always got his head down and his turn-in sharp.

There was a meme circulating around the beginning of the year which showed Vettel sitting in the 2012 car, and he had this look on his face like Alonso almost beat me in this piece of shit?! Surely taken out of context, but funny to think about. But probably not that far from the truth.

All in all, this driver swap is a downgrade for Ferrari.