It’s taken some time, but Thursday brought the confirmation of a story that has been brewing for several weeks. James Allison, former Lotus and Ferrari Technical Director, is to fill the void left at Mercedes by the departing Paddy Lowe.
On the face of it, Allison’s signing seems to be a like-for-like substitution. In reality, it has several significant plot points.
It’s the day after deadline day and the rumour mill is just as rampant as you would expect. Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement announcement has given Mercedes a problem. Not only do they have to fill a World Champion’s shoes, but also find a driver who can cope with the formidable force on the other side of the garage, all while potentially having to consider the possibility of throwing money at a team for a driver already signed for 2017.
I wouldn’t want to be in Toto Wolff or Paddy Lowe’s shoes. But, if I was, here’s who would be on my shortlist.
It takes quite a news story to stop the F1 world spinning mid-week. For the second time in 12 months, F1 fans were sent into a frenzy of discussion and debate without even having a race to watch. Max Verstappen replacing Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull seemed set to be 2016 biggest bombshell news story until Nico Rosberg raised the bar, announcing his retirement from F1 just days after clinching his maiden title in highly dramatic circumstances.
A news story with an extraordinary amount of layers that has sparked widespread debate. Here is my take on the decisions and resultant shockwaves that could shake F1 for a while to come…
“I hope the team provides me with reliability the way they do with the other car,” a defeated Lewis Hamilton stated when speaking with Sky Sports F1 yesterday.
The Briton has clearly cited his unreliability this season as the main reason for losing the title to teammate Nico Rosberg. Three headline car failures this year have unquestionably hindered him, with the most significant failure coming in October’s Malaysian Grand Prix, where he retired from the lead resulting in a 28 point championship swing from which he never recovered.
However, Hamilton is missing the bigger picture. Here’s why it’s more than just reliability that dashed his 2016 title hopes.
Never give up. That is one of the prevailing messages after an intriguing 2016 F1 season. After being humbled by teammate and arch-rival Lewis Hamilton in 2015, losing the title and race victory on a day in Austin when he had the win sewn up, belief must have been in short supply.
However, Nico Rosberg used the disappointment of that day in October 2015 as a springboard. The German has finally beaten Lewis Hamilton over the course of a full season, taking the title in dramatic circumstances, as a desperate Hamilton did everything to spoil Rosberg’s coronation day.
Nico Rosberg is the 2016 World Champion and enters the sport’s Hall of Fame.
Ever since F1’s regulations were overhauled ahead of the 2014 F1 season, Mercedes have been the class of the field. A brace of Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles have been achieved in dominant fashion, with 701 and 703 points amassed by the team in 2014 and 2015 respectively. While 2016 has seen Nico Rosberg claim four victories from a possible four and Mercedes secure two one-two finishes, unreliability has hindered them, particularly on Lewis Hamilton’s side of the garage.
Following accusations that the team are deliberately favouring Rosberg this season, Mercedes have written an open letter to the fans looking to quell the speculation.
Nico Rosberg is the man you want picking your lottery numbers at present. The German was once again imperious out in front, taking a dominant fourth win from four races in 2016. Yet again though, his chief rivals were heavily compromised, with Lewis Hamilton battling back to second after enduring yet more unreliability in qualifying, while Sebastian Vettel filled the swear box to the brim on lap one, as he was punted out of contention by none other than Daniil Kvyat.
Littered with spikes of drama, the Russian Grand Prix threw up plenty of talking points.