Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Baku City Circuit, 2016

Sauber must respond to Manor threat – Nasr

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In the round-up: Felipe Nasr urges Sauber to respond to the renewed threat from Manor.

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  • 41 comments on “Sauber must respond to Manor threat – Nasr”

    1. Vandoorne is absolutely right; he has proved himself more than worthy to drive for the team. Quite frankly, I’m a little baffled he’s not already in the driver’s seat for a team. A young, talented, aspiring driver would be a perfect addition for them is what McLaren need right now. (Apart from a competitive engine)

      1. I think it’s baffling how many people act as if McLaren should immediately dump Button to get Vandoorne. I think there is nothing wrong with him having a year in Japan, getting to know more of the vibe there.

        From what I have seen, McLaren is gearing towards having Vandoorne in the car next year. Maybe that car will finally be good enough at least for regular Q3 and solid points scores or even the odd podium by then. For now, I think it would be a waste of talent, ruining his reputation to be trundling around in a back-middle grid McLaren next to Alonso.

        And what other team would he be in? Mercedes have Rosberg and Hamilton, and Wehrlein in the waiting. Red Bull already promoted Verstappen, they are not going to gun for Vandoorne. Ferrari is sticking with a solid Kimi next to Vettel, Force India badly needs the money Perez brings, and they might get Stoffel to replace Hulk, but would it be the thing to do for Stoffel? STR is RBR’s play-do, Williams has Bottas and is getting solid money from Massa too, Sauber is no good without money to develop, Renault is too much of a work in progress to be really interested this year (possibly a step up for next year), Manor need the money their drivers bring (Rio directly, Wehrlein by giving Mercedes a reason to be nice on the engine bills) and Haas is dependent on Ferrari, they have Grosjean and Esteban is paying for a large part of the bills.

        Off course if McLaren would be stupid enough not to get Vandoorne for next year, he will surely be at least in something like the Renault or maybe the FI. But until that happens, being ready to step in at Woking is the best he can do.

        1. I guess Hulk has already been confirmed by FI for next year along with perez.

          1. AK, I believe that Hulkenberg was already under contract for Force India for 2017 (he signed a two year deal with them back in 2015).

        2. I think it’s baffling how many people act as if McLaren should immediately dump Button to get Vandoorne.

          @bascb The reason why so many act like that is because it should’ve happend two years ago, and if not at least last year. If it doesn’t happen this year McLaren have been effectively the birth and death of his career. He’s not getting any younger and F1 is a cruel world. Many teams will rather pick-up a half talented sponsored driver than a properly gifted driver like Vandoorne.

          Look at Vandoorne his junior record and tell me he wasn’t ready enough since the end of 2013.

          1. You present it as if a team should have an obligation to take a driver. I am sure that Vandoorne was happy to do 2014 and 2015 in GP2, and I do think it made him a better driver. I am note sure he was “ready” for F1 since the end of 2013, no. Then again, we can never be sure until it happens, can we.
            Sure, this year might have been a shot at F1, but I think he did a better thing for his career when he was NOT driving that McLaren @xtwl.
            I doubt that McLaren had been counting on managing to get Alonso on Board. If they hadn’t, and maybe they had decided against keeping Button, we could have had both Magnussen AND Vandoorne driving for Woking now. And no doubt many here and in the media would have made fun of how maybe their misery is not just the engine, not just the chassis, but maybe also the unproven drivers. At least now we know the drivers are the least of their problems.

            1. @bascb They do not have the obligation but I do see it as a slap in the face when they chose Button over Vandoorne for 2016. Drivers simply do not have the influence on development some attribute to them, Button is not the person who will make the McLaren a good car. In my point of view it would have been far more interesting to give Vandoorne a year in F1, get settled in and be ready for 2017 when top performances are needed. McLaren has the luxury to not be affected by a bad season as much as a Sauber or Manor so it wouldn’t even have hurt them had Vandoorne had a season to get ready. Rookies don’t have the luxury to drive a million miles like Hamilton did making the first season all the more difficult and at the same time they are judged tremendously hard on it.

              Sure his two GP2 seasons were great and without a doubt he learned a lot but it cannot be as valuable as an actual season in F1. Vandoorne is possibly not of the caliber of Verstappen but surely one of the more talented rookies in the past six or seven years.

            2. Hm, I guess the opinions might vary on the merits of Button (or Vandoorne) as a development driver @xtwl.

              In the end it was both Honda liking Button (as they know him very well from past experience AND for his marketing value in Japan) as other sponsors being in favour of keeping the more experienced driver on for a development drive where he was unlikely to achieve much with the car this year apart from that development anyway.

              Just look at the sheer amount of talented or even very talented drivers to lose out on an F1 drive for various reason. Not making it to an F1 drive is rather the rule more then the exception. Vandoorne certainly has the talent to get there. But there is no rush to get in right now. Another year won’t hurt that much, it’s not like a paffet who was contracted with McLaren JUST as a development driver for a decade!

              I think you have to be realistic and compare a not very much know driver vs. two world championship drivers that pull in a lot of attention and bring decades of experience. For me it’s quite reasonable that they opted to keep Button for another year next to Alonso. The partnership was working, engineers and the sponsors were happy (as far as the drivers are involved), so why change immediately.

            3. @bascb I agree with you. For McLaren and Honda, having 2 proven drivers and WDC is obviously much better than sacrificing one just for the sake of a rookie getting F1 seat. If they generous, they can buy a seat or lent him to another team, if not, well Vandoorne is not the only one who missing F1 seat and he still young. Without McLaren contract, I doubt other team will pick him up, and most likely he going to pay driver route anyway.

            4. @bascb Scoring a world championship point in a wheelchair on the first attempt is more than enough IMO.

            5. and most likely he going to pay driver route anyway. – @sonicslv

              Excuse me? Vandoorne has more talent in his little pink than Kvyat, both Sauber, Renault and Manor drivers together. Trust me if I say that if he was from Brazil, USA or the UK he would’ve been in F1 much sooner. He has the talent that warrants a top seat and it would be an utter shame if he has to rely on sponsorship (which a Belgian will never find) to get a seat at a midfield team.

            6. He might have more talent @xtwl, but just look at the grid and watch for teams NOT needing their drivers to bring the funding.

              You find out that apart from RBR, Mercedes, Ferrar and McLaren, even the likes of Williams and Renault need a budget to come with a driver and the rest are worse off. Saying that had he been from the US (huge market) or Brazil (getting some of the money that now goes towards Massa and Nasr?) pretty much shows you know it and understand it! Not sure what the UK has to do with it, they are nog going to sponsor any driver unless it’s their kid.

              It’s not as much about talent but about where to go in a really limited field.

            7. Petrobras is an Williams sponsor way before Massa arrives. Even when no brazilian driver was on the team. In the Nasr’s case Banco do Brasil is a direct sponsor.

            8. @xtwl Yes, pay driver route. I just saying the reality we lived in. Say Vandoorne cut his contract with McLaren today, which team you realistically expect will hire him next year or in 2018 without expecting getting paid for their seat?

        3. @bascb I agree. I remember the last few years how ppl have been desperately wanting to have JB continue seldomly talking about Stoffel back then. Suddenly the tones have changed and JB has become a problem as to not having Stoffel in his place.

          You see like they say….people have short memories!

      2. @smartez It’s no doubt that Vandoorne is talented enough to drive the McLaren. But so are Button and Alonso. I understand that in the process of developing the engine and chassis, you prefer experienced drivers. I hope that Vandoorne takes Button’s seat in 2017 and that Button takes Massa’s seat at Williams.

      3. @smartez More than worthy? McLaren is still regarded as top team with a good chance to win WDC. With their history, the worthy drivers are WDCs or consistently fought for WDC before or super special talent (Raikkonen and Hamilton), which all drivers bar Kovalainen (political fallout), Perez (Hamilton “defection” fallout), and Magnussen (another political fallout) are. Alonso and Button is more worthy than Vandoorne on that seat. If anything, rather than Button goes to Williams, it’s better for Vandoorne to be lent to Williams because even if they above McLaren in last few years, no one seeing them capable of fighting for WDC or WCC anytime soon.

        This is only 3rd year of non competitive McLaren and people already write them off as some mid-team that can’t break the glass ceiling anymore. Mercedes took 5 years after acquiring Brawn GP, likewise with RBR, and Ferrari goes to slump for over a decade. Heck, last Williams WCC is in 1992 and they go worse than McLaren but in 1995 they still regarded as top team and no one ever think a rookie deserves a Williams seat. When McLaren still failed to win race on merit on 2019, that’s when I accept they become the second Williams.

        1. McLaren is still regarded as top team with a good chance to win WDC. – @sonicslv

          Uhm, no. They have the budget and one of the biggest motoring companies support yet have achieved nothing and hardly booked any progress whatsoever. The car isn’t that much faster, it simply managed to finish now.

          This is only 3rd year of non competitive McLaren and people already write them off as some mid-team that can’t break the glass ceiling anymore. – @sonicslv

          And uhm no, it’s their 4th season actually. In the past four years they have failed to build one decent chassis and when they switched to Honda they basically killed themselves for another few seasons. I want Vandoorne in F1 and I want him to win and I was very happy when he was signed by McLaren however if I look at the state of that team now I’m rather pessimistic as to Vandoorne getting a proper car at the team.

          McLaren has bean praised by many as the team to out develop the others yet they haven’t done so since 2008.

          1. @xtwl Achieved nothing and hardly any progress? They have the most progress from 2015 to 2016, albeit considering the performance if 2015, it’s more a feat to do any worse than better. From the “GP2” engine, to their performance in Austria, that’s pretty significant.

            Also my bad, this is indeed their 4th non competitive season. But my point still standing, Mercedes is non contender for 4 year and finally won in 5th, RBR is non contender in 4 year, 2nd in 5th and won in 6th. Ferrari had not won anything for 16 years before, and practically they also in 4th year of not competing for WDC or WCC. For a team like them (especially Ron) I think it’s about winning the championship or not, not about finished in 2nd, 3rd, or below. What did he said, 2nd is the first of the losers?

            For outdeveloping others, well personally I just think that as a stigma. Same as Mercedes wins because their engines or Red Bull / Newey build the best aerodynamics chassis. It has some basis but in the end it’s an exaggeration and the truth is much more complicated.

          2. I know I’m about to play a few tricks with time, but if we look back over the last 35 years, which team has been the most successful? Answer: McLaren. Until Schumacher’s run at Ferrari McLaren was the team with the most Driver’s Championships under its belt. So eventually it should rebound, even if it takes nearly 20 years like Ferrari (I think it won the Constructor’s in ’82 and ’83 but didn’t win either championship until 1999). But it does also highlight that historical performance can be somewhat irrelevant. Over the last 35 years Williams has been the second-most-successful constructor (if you count 1980, otherwise it’s tied with Ferrari), but look at its up-and-down fortunes today. Benetton went ten seasons before winning another championship in Renault form. There are clearly long-term trends that occur in F1, and the real question is if the more frequent technical changes over the past roughly ten years do in fact give teams that have run at the front the chance to return to form.

            1. @wushumr2 I agree and want to add another important thing is if they still seriously aiming to win the championships or just be “good enough” (getting podium here and there and sometimes win with luck). Ron is ultra competitive man, and I’m pretty sure as long as he lived, McLaren will always have that spark. Ferrari will always their historical burden, even though their management prefer to get distracted by politics instead of finding solutions. I’m doubting Red Bull, current RB is still fresh from their dominant years, and last year fallout with Renault already shows some crack in their spirit. Williams I think already conceded to the “good enough” team. In 2014 they win engine lottery but not really capitalizing on that and their advantage is diminishing over time. I missed late 90’s-early 00’s Williams that actively trying to get Ford and BMW and courting JPM to F1. I think it’s not a coincidence that Williams becoming good enough team is when Patrick Head stepped down from technical director position.

              In short, as long as McLaren willing to take risk on their development (Honda partnership, size zero) and even though it looks like its not working, they still have huge chance to become champions again.

      4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        18th July 2016, 11:15

        @smartez – Would Helmut Marko have left such a stunning young talent out to pasture? There is much to dislike about Marko, and it will be very interesting to see if Kvyat keeps his seat even when Gasly is seemingly not his match, but at least he gives young drivers the opportunities they deserve.

        McLaren were allegedly lobbied by the sponsors in 2014 to re-sign Button on a multi-year deal; when the engineering staff were in unanimity over wanting to keep Magnussen. Button was never going to be around to enjoy the fruits of the McLaren-Honda reunion, so why would they deny the team’s own destiny? McLaren-Honda cannot attain championships simply by referencing past glories, it needs to take active steps towards a better future, and Vandoorne has always been a large part of that future.

        1. The real question is would the car be better developed if Magnussen had been the choice. Unless McLaren would have been at least one, if not two, championship places ahead of where they were last year and this year by choosing K-Mag, Button probably brings way more revenue to McLaren directly and indirectly.

          The second part of the question is are McLaren losing anything by not necessarily putting Vandoorne in next season. Will he never reach his peak if he doesn’t start racing in F1 next season? There’s pretty much nowhere else for him to go, and McLaren’s not going to pay for him to be in the other Manor seat since that would cancel out most if not all of the financial benefit Button brings in. So as far as McLaren as a whole is concerned, it probably doesn’t matter much whether they keep Button or they keep Vandoorne.

        2. @william-brierty, with regards to the question of whether Red Bull would throw out a driver seen as a stunning talent – a lot of people complained that Marko’s decision to throw António Félix da Costa out of Red Bull’s Junior Team was an example of just that.

    2. @Myxtiom

      Hahahahaha! what a great caption! well done, man!

    3. Finally, a perfect caption!

      1. You can say that again! But don’t say it again…

    4. One of Renault’s biggest failing this year is that they’ve hired two relatively inexperienced drivers. JP has been pretty poor, he could probably argue some misfortune, but the results dont read well. K-Mag came in with a good reputation, his results havent been stellar, but he’s at least put a number of good drives in.

      I havent been reading a whole lot about Renault, but on the surface, it seems like a team with no real direction on track. Perhaps an experienced safe set of hands in one of the cars would have been a better choice?

      1. Until their chassis is within 3 tenths of the leaders no driver is going to make a difference.

        Thier biggest failing this year is lack of technical talent recruitment. They have no mastermind and we should fully expect them to compete with the midfield until this happens. You don’t accidentally build a championship chassis.

        No driver will deliver the seconds and tenths someone like Brawn/Newey/Allen/etc would.

        Then you worry about drivers. And even then not so much.

        1. Allen? Who’s Allen? Did you mean Allison or is it someone I don’t know about? :/

          1. @sravanpe Joe Allen obviously…

        2. I think this is even more true considering the fairly narrow operating window within which the tires work very well. Even before the Pirelli era, there were four car types I’d say:

          1) Quick and easy to drive (Ferrari 02-04, Renault ’05 ’06, McLaren ’07 ’08, Brawn ’09)
          2) Quick but tricky to drive (McLaren ’05 and ’09, Blown exhaust Red Bulls)
          3) Slower but easy to drive (I feel like most Force Indias and Saubers have been this way for donkey’s years)
          4) Slower and trickier to drive (Easy to point to the HRT and Manor in the early years…apparently the HRT didn’t even have adjustable brake bias for a long time)

          If you have a car that is #2 or #4, then the right driver really matters. If you’ve designed a fairly benign chassis, and just need to develop it, then exactly right, you really don’t need to focus on the driver.

      2. It’s very likely they just quickly put something together for 2016 and focused on 2017 right from race 1. Their return will not be relying on good results in 2016, or even 2017.

        1. From what I recall of the pre-season comments, that is indeed the case – the current car is a modified version of what would have become the E24, had Renault not bought the team over, which had originally been designed around the Mercedes power unit.

          In one sense, Renault’s current problems are in part down to the fact that they took so long to negotiate the purchase of the team. As the team had well known cashflow issues, development of the 2016 car was much slower than usual – a problem that was exacerbated by the fact that, fearing for their jobs, a sizeable chunk of the workforce chose to walk out of the team and moved to rival teams, leaving the team understaffed.

          With the team already starting from a poor position, they then had to modify the car to accommodate Renault’s power unit – although the process is easier these days due to the standardisation of the engine layout, they did have some issues with accommodating the ancillary components and had to slightly compromise on the installation as a result.

          For now, 2016 and 2017 are planned to be seasons where they simply try to get the team back up to strength and refurbish the facilities in Enstone. They were looking to 2018 at the earliest, if not 2019, before they hope to begin pushing towards the front of the grid.

    5. @Myxtiom that was probably the best caption ever :D Kudos!

    6. I can understand why Vasseur and Abiteboul would want to come out and say things like that, it is probably largely just to appease the Renault board. But I think it is patently obvious to everyone in the sport and all the sport’s fans what Renault are doing this season. Their focus is 2017, that’s where the potential for big gains is, so this season is just about laying the groundwork and getting the organisation of the team right before going at it full tilt next season. Renault will come right, I have no doubt about it.

      1. @geemac That doesn’t like an excuse too. On engine department, Red Bull results confirmed there is progression and they not that much behind or maybe already on par with Mercedes and Ferrari. On Enstone, whatever hard work they do won’t / can’t be shown this year, we can only judge it next year.

    7. Great caption. Funniest I’ve seen.

      1. Agreed. Funniest caption ever! I love it.

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