tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Tech-know-crat 2018-11-09T05:15:10Z Ankush Ahuja tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1341259 2018-11-01T17:41:00Z 2018-11-09T05:15:10Z Paddock Club Diaries - 2018 German GP - Day 3

The Big day had arrived. It was the day of the 2018 German Grand Prix. Ferrari had one hand on the winner's trophy after Sebastian Vettel's brilliant pole on Saturday. So did they? Lets relive the day!


The Paddock on a Sunday Morning. The Place is abuzz with activity!


I went for a walk and bumped into some F1 Fraternity!

Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Alexandre Molina, the man who is a regular feature at the podium ceremonies :


Antonio Giovinazzi, Scuderia Ferrari F1 Reserve Driver :


I headed back to the Paddock Club and was just in time for Maurizio Arrivabene, the Team Principal's interview in the club :


Video Link of the Interview :



A Moment with the man, cordial and friendly as always :


I then ran across to the Club Suite and met Brendan Hartley, the WEC Champion and Toro Rosso F1 Driver!

Brendan Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


I got myself some lunch and as I walked back, was shocked to see Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari F1 Club. He had come to see us before the scheduled time.


Video Link of the Interview :



Digging into some food :


I was one of the winners of the Golden Ticket, a Ticket that is placed in some F1 Race Programmes, the ticket enables you to be on the Truck Tour at the same time as the Drivers' Track Parade!


We waited for the truck to arrive and had front row seats as the Drivers headed out for the Track Parade.


Drivers' Track Parade Video Link : 



Still waiting for our truck. The main truck developed a technical snag so had to wait for the back-up :


On our way! The Track is ready for some action!


A special mention to the fans of Max Verstappen ( mainly Dutch ), better known as the Orange Army seated in the "Max Verstappen Stand".


I had the privilege of taking a Friend along on the Truck Tour. Some photos shot from the GoPro with my dear friend Jos Matthews!


The Truck tour ended and I just about had time to take some pictures before the Pit Lane shut for the guests.


The Drivers heading back to the Garage for the final time after bringing their cars on the grid. 


Grid Kids make their way to the front :


National Anthem time :


Getting ready for the Formation lap :


Formation Lap Video Link :



The 5 red lights illuminate and as they go out, the 2018 German Grand Prix is a go!


Race Start Video Link :


Some shots from the Race :



Scuderia Ferrari F1 during the Race :


A light drizzle caused a lot of unrest. Sebastian Vettel crashed into the barriers while leading the race while Lewis Hamilton stormed from P14 to take an unlikely victory. A massive blow to Vettel's title chances.

I got the chance of being at Parc-Ferme below the podium and was able to see the Interviews up close. Lewis Hamilton took victory from Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. 


Parc Ferme :


Podium Interviews :


The Drivers headed for the Podium and the heavens opened. It was quite a challenge to take photos in the pouring rain but it didn't come off as bad as expected.


Mechanics busy covering the cars as the rain got harder :


Bucketing down!


Drenched :


Some more shots of a rainy evening in Hockenheim :


The Paddock Club was going to shut for the weekend and Ferrari were kind enough to give me Paddock passes for the rest of the evening!


Kimi Raikkonen also sent me a special gift, an autographed mini-helmet! Thank you Iceman!


Photos with the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Club Team! Great hosts!


The Paddock after a race Sunday, tear-down, pack and head out :


Sunday evening is another great time to meet the famous faces from the world of F1.

Grace Capristo, German Artist who had the honour of singing the National Anthem before the Race.


Toto Wolff, Team Principal for Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team :


Robert Kubica, reserve driver for Williams Martini Racing F1 Team :


Paul Ripke, Photographer for Mercedes AMG F1 Team :


Matteo Bonciani, head of F1 Communications for FIA :


Riccardo Adami, Sebastian Vettel's Race Engineer in Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :


Rosanna Tennant, presenter and host for F1 :


Lance Stroll, Williams Martini F1 Racing :


Nico Rosberg, 2016 F1 World Champion :


Will Buxton, Broadcaster and Journalist in F1 :


Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team :


Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 :


Bye bye Paddock, see you in Belgium :


Time to head back to Mannheim :


The German Grand Prix was a great experience. Sebastian Vettel's mistake which cost him a certain victory was a sad sight to behold, however a lot of races still remained to turn the tables. Kimi Raikkonen, my favourite stayed consistent as ever and I was happy to be under the podium under the pouring rain and celebrate his P3.


Belgian Grand Prix was the next race that I got a chance of attending. The experience will be documented soon. Once again, thank you to the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team and the hosts in the Ferrari F1 Club for the all the love and hospitality. Thank you to Edge Global Events for ensuring that nothing was out of order over the weekend. 


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Ankush Ahuja
tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1309219 2018-10-20T11:45:00Z 2018-11-07T05:53:49Z Paddock Club Diaries - 2018 German GP - Day 2 Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers



Saturday morning at the 2018 German GP began at 7 in the morning. I got out of my room, rushed to the Elevator and bumped into Bernd Maylander, the Safety Car Driver! 


Soon enough, I hailed a taxi for Hockenheim and I was on my way.

Way to the Circuit :


I was in time for the Saturday Morning Paddock Club Track Truck Tour! Our guides all suited up for a hectic day :


Shots from the Truck Tour :


Some stills with the GoPro Hero 5 Black :


The Truck Tour done, it was still a bit early for the Paddock Club to open and welcome its guests. I chose to stand outside the Paddock Entrance where Mechanics were waiting for the FIA Curfew to be lifted.


Beat Zehnder of Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team ( Kimi's close friend ) :


Peter Bonnington, Race Engineer for Lewis Hamilton :


Norbert Haug, a legend from the Kimi years in McLaren and Former Vice President of Mercedes Motorsport :


Mattia Binotto of Scuderia Ferrari, Gene Haas ( Team Owner ) and Guenther Steiner ( Team Principal ) of Haas F1 Team :


Shots from the Pit Lane in the morning :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team Mechanics doing some stretching exercises before practicing some pit-stops.


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Pit Stop Practice ( Video Links ) :




Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Pit Stop Practice ( Video Link ) :



Pierre Gasly's car being fired up before FP3 ( Video Links ) :

 



The Paddock Club opened for the guests and the first interview of the day was of the Honey Badger Daniel Ricciardo!

Daniel Ricciardo, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing F1 Team :


I was trying out some simulators when I suddenly saw a legend from the corner of my eye. It was Mika Hakkinen! The man who made me fall in love with F1. The Man whom I adored before Kimi Raikkonen. It was a great conversation with him as he shared a lot from the past. One of the friendliest people in the Paddock.


Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team :


The heavens opened before FP3 and we had a totally wet session before qualifying with limited running.


Some shots from FP3 :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team during FP3 :


Chequered Flag :


Antonio Giovinazzi, Scuderia Ferrari F1 Reserve Driver joined us after the session for a quick Q&A :


Video Link to the Interview :



Antonio returned to the Paddock Area and it was time to head down for the final pit lane walk of the day. Some stills :


McLaren 720 S, a Masterpiece on 4 Wheels, one of the cars used in the Pirelli Hot Laps Experience :


We headed back to the Paddock Club and Lunch was served.

Lunch! The Chocolate Mousse is so good!!


A quick meal and it was time to get prepped for Qualifying!


Shots from Q1 :


Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest in Q1 from Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

Shots from Q2. 


Q2 was stopped due to a Red Flag and a major upset had occurred. Lewis Hamilton suffered from a Mechanical Failure on his car during his outlap. A big blow to his chances for the weekend. He eventually started 14th on the grid alongwith Daniel Ricciardo who started at 15th. 


Valtteri Bottas set the Fastest time in Q2, Verstappen and Raikkonen hot on his heels.


I spent the rest of the Q2 Session and a major part of Q3 in the Garage.

Some shots of Q3 :


Sebastian Vettel came to the fore again and grabbed pole at his home race. Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 3. It would be a good place to start from on Sunday.


Kimi Raikkonen visited the guests in the Scuderia Ferrari F1 Club for a quick Q&A :


Video Link of the Interview :



There was no F2 in Germany and after some nice evening tea, it was time to head back.


The Paddock on a Saturday Evening after a frenetic qualifying :


I made my way back to the Transfer point and happened to meet a few faces from the F1 circus!

Jacques Villeneuve, 1997 F1 Champion and Sky Italia F1 Co-presenter :


Joe Saward, A renowned and respected F1 Reporter :


Mervi Kallio, the presenter for Finnish TV MTV F1 :


Mara Sangiorgio, Sky Italia F1 Co-presenter :


The Folks at Do&Co, offering us great hospitality always :


Federica Masolin, Sky Sports F1 Italia Presenter :


On the way back to Mannheim :


It was a long but very enjoyable Saturday at the German Grand Prix. Saturday was good, Sunday should be even better!

I would like to thank the folks at Scuderia Ferrari F1 for the Hospitality extended to me over the weekend. A big thank you to Edge Global Events for the organizing of the passes. 

A lot happened on the Sunday..will be documented soon!

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Ankush Ahuja
tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1308997 2018-09-03T18:51:00Z 2018-10-16T18:24:42Z Paddock Club Diaries - 2018 German GP - Day 1

The German GP returned to the F1 Calendar after a hiatus in 2017. Hockenheimring, the circuit in the region of Baden-Württemberg hosted the race. I had the privilege of being there in 2014, my first race as a guest of Ferrari and with Kimi leaving for Sauber in 2019, it was befitting that I be here as a guest of the team again. 

The German Grand Prix was held from the 20th to 22nd of July and this year I chose to stay in Mannheim, a city that is just a 30 minute drive from the circuit. Mannheim and Heidelberg are both great towns to stay over a race weekend. Frankfurt is a 75 minute drive from these cities / towns. 

I drove to Heidelberg for my race passes.

The Race Passes for the Weekend :


An early morning start on Friday to make it in time for the First Pit Lane walk of the weekend.


Enroute to the Circuit :


Friday Morning Pit Lane Walk :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 getting ready before FP1 :


Shots with the GoPro Hero 5 Black :


Kimi Raikkonen Car's Systems Check ( Shot with Samsung Note 8 ), Video Link :



Kimi Raikkonen Car's Systems Check ( Shot with Nikon B700 ), Video Link :



The Pit Lane walk done, the Paddock Club was ready to usher in the guests on the Friday.


Entering into the Paddock Club :


The Ferrari F1 Club, our race weekend abode :


Chase Carey, CEO & Executive Chairman of F1, he is a regular in the Paddock Club maintaining a keen eye on how the product is running:


Soon enough it was time for the start of Free Practice 1.

Pit walls occupied by the top bosses of the teams :


FP1 underway :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team during FP1 :


Chequered Flag :


Daniel Ricciardo was the fastest of the session, four thousandths of a second separating Lewis Hamilton and him. Max Verstappen was third with the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen in 4th and 6th respectively.


Marc Gene joined us to brief the guests after FP1 and explore the team's prospects for the weekend :


Lunch is served, I prefer sticking to the tried and tested!


Ice Cream anyone?


A fun feature happening in the Media Pen with Sky Sports F1 :


The 2nd pit lane walk coincided with the First Track Truck Tour of the day and I didn't wanna miss the opportunity of exploring the challenges the circuit poses for the drivers.


A Selfie with legends - James Towers, Sam Powers, William ( Hosts of F1 Paddock Club with a fair bit of racing history under their belts ), Philipp Frommenwiler ( Endurance Racing ) and Jos Matthews, my dear friend and a thorough Tifosi at heart.


Track Truck Tour ( Video Link ) :



Free Practice 2 commenced and I was in the Garage for most of the session. Some stills from FP2 :


Max Verstappen was the fastest in FP2 from Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Vettel and Raikkonen were P4 and P5 respectively.


Ferrari were kind enough to let us be in the Paddock after the session and roam in the most coveted area for a couple of hours!


Soon enough, I got to meet some F1 Fraternity!

Charles Leclerc, Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team :


Dr. Helmut Marko of Red Bull Racing!


The cars from Pirelli Hot Laps and a Porsche Racing Simulator in the Paddock Club! Wow!


We had to wait before heading to the 2nd truck tour of the day due to cars from the Boss GP Series making their way back after qualifying. These are Old Vintage F1 race cars privately run by their respective owners in the series!



Shots from the Evening Track Truck Tour :


Tour done and it was time to head back to the Radisson Blu in Mannheim!

Returning to Mannheim :


It was a pretty hot Friday at Hockenheim but an enjoyable one nonetheless! Ferrari looked off the pace on Friday but mainly because they were sand-bagging. 

Thank you to Edge Global Events for arranging the passes for the weekend and Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team for their Hospitality. Saturday and Sunday Experiences to follow soon.

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Ankush Ahuja
tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1310235 2018-08-09T18:52:39Z 2018-11-07T05:55:22Z The Driver Merry-Go-Round...As Unpredictable as it can get Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Drivers, one of the most important assets for a team to attain success in F1. A team can have state of the art facilities, great financial resources, a very talented bunch of engineers and mechanics who can build a race winning and probably a championship winning car; but all this comes to naught if the man behind the wheel cannot bring home the desired results. Sometimes a car is only as good as its driver and we have seen instances in the past when good drivers drove mediocre cars and produced decent results.


This year, the Driver Markets Scenario can be termed the silliest of them all. There are various theories circulating in the paddock and barring 2 teams, each team has at least one seat on offer for the 2019 season. 

I shall make a conscious attempt of exploring the possibilities of driver lineups for 2019 based on all the information that I could glean off team insiders, reporters and friends from the F1 paddock, but first those who have locked down their drives for 2019.


Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team :

Mercedes is in a fierce contest with Ferrari for supremacy this year. Their focus is solely on retaining both the Drivers' and Constructors' Titles; so its no surprise that they announced their driver lineup with no changes fairly early in the season. Drama due to media speculations can become a big distraction for a team in a highly stressful environment so kudos to them for steering clear. Valtteri Bottas will partner Lewis Hamilton for 2019 with an option to extend for another year for the Finn.


Renault Sport F1 Team :

Nico Hulkenberg is on a long term contract with Renault but the team from Oxfordshire acquired one of the hottest properties of 2019 - Daniel Ricciardo! His acquisition left the entire F1 Community in shock and awe. What triggered this decision? Will it prove to be a masterstroke or a debacle? Lets try to answer these questions.

What triggered this decision?

Daniel Ricciardo is a successful product of the Red Bull Driver Program and enjoyed a fair amount of success with the A team since 2014. However he is yet to win a Championship with them and with the arrival of a much younger Max Verstappen ( almost all believe he will be a World Champion eventually ) maintaining parity is becoming a challenge. The Biggest Factor that has triggered this decision though is that Red Bull switches to Honda power for 2019. Honda's return to F1 is a fiasco. The situation hasn't changed much in 2018 and Toro Rosso has suffered their fair share of retirements. Will Red Bull be a force to reckon with in 2019? Aerodynamically yes, in power hungry circuits, an emphatic no. I would be surprised if they even manage to be on the podium regularly. Mercedes shut the door and Ferrari refused to offer Daniel a drive. Only one Works Team remained. A team with the resources to return to the top end of the grid, win races and even challenge for Championships - Renault F1. 


Will it prove to be a masterstroke or a debacle?

Red Bull are 3rd in the Constructors' at the summer break, 141 points ahead of Renault. Renault is yet to score a podium since their return to being a full works team while Red Bull notched up 3 victories this year. Statistically its a howler of a decision; for many it is like going from a front running team to a mid table team. However 2019 and 2020 will give us a very different story.

Let us look at 2 recent examples of such decisions : Lewis Hamilton's switch to Mercedes in 2013 and Fernando Alonso's switch to McLaren Honda in 2015. 

Mercedes were nowhere near the front in 2012 or 2013. McLaren was one of the cars that could challenge the dominance of Red Bull but come 2014, the advent of the 1.6 V6 Turbo era and the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team were untouchable. They have won 4 titles on the trot while McLaren have slipped back into oblivion. Lewis' decision to switch at the end of 2012 was viewed as a disaster by some, the results thereafter suggest a totally different story.

Alonso tried to win a title at Ferrari for 5 years. It was not to be. He chose to return to McLaren in 2015 with the hope of returning to the top step of the podium and rolling back the years to the golden era of Senna and Prost ( who ran Honda Powered engines ). The result is a disaster. Honda struggled to find their feet and the alliance was terminated at the end of 2017. Fernando Alonso has not been on the podium for 4 years. The biggest difference between the 2 decisions is that Mercedes was a full works team ( chassis + powertrain ) while McLaren are only chassis designers. A good chassis working in tandem with a reliable and quick powertrain can win you races, titles. Hence in the case of Lewis, it was a masterstroke and in the case of Alonso, a debacle.

Renault build both and are expanding their personnel and R&D facilities with every passing week. They are not there yet but have taken giant steps in that direction. Their results in comparison to last year's speak volumes of the progress made. 2019 will see him as a regular on the podium. A win? Probably not...but come 2020, Ricciardo will be in a Championship winning car ( in my opinion ).



Now onto the teams that have a seat each on offer!


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :

Sebastian Vettel stays with the Prancing Horse for 2019 and that is no surprise. Its an excellent alliance and they should lift the title this year...a long wait but worth it. Kimi Raikkonen's seat, like every year is the hot topic of discussion. Rumours that Charles Leclerc will replace Kimi Raikkonen in-season gained a lot of traction. Some even claimed that Kimi would return to Sauber and finish his career where he started it. This really is the most retarded theory out there. Another publication claimed that Kimi would return to McLaren to replace the outgoing Alonso ( Another fictitious theory ).  Then the Iceman upped his game and silenced all critics. He finished on the podium 5 times in a row, the only one to do so in both the Triple and the Double Header. Suddenly news that he was being offered another contract extension started doing the rounds. Nothing is official yet and the 2nd seat at Ferrari is still up for grabs.

Its no secret that Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari Academy Driver is destined to occupy this seat. When rather than whether is the question. He has been a revelation in Sauber, comprehensively beating his more experienced team-mate Marcus Ericsson. Is he ready to step into the big league? I don't think so. He has the talent but rushing him into a top seat with only a one year experience in F1 might turn out to be a disaster. It would be better for Leclerc to go to the stronger customer team Haas F1 for 2019 and then join the A Team in 2020. Kimi is having his strongest year in Ferrari since his return to Maranello in 2014 and is the perfect team-mate to Vettel. They share a no-nonsense, friendly and transparent relationship; both push each other to their limits and when needed, Kimi is a true team player. His experience in the sport cannot be matched. He definitely has another year of racing in him and as most experts agree, his recent performances and his current position ( 3rd ) in the Drivers' Championship has earned him the right to be a Red for another year. 

Ferrari, like Mercedes must lock down their driver lineups soon to eliminate unnecessary media attention and the drama that comes with it. They are in the Driver's seat so their focus should be on winning the title rather than addressing issues for 2019.

I expect Scuderia Ferrari to announce a contract extension for Kimi Raikkonen in Belgium. GO ICEMAN!!



Red Bull Racing F1 Team :

Red Bull will lose a star in Daniel Ricciardo for 2019. Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal, thought Ricciardo was joking when the latter expressed his desire to leave the team at the end of the season. Well a seat is vacant and Red Bull are spoilt for choice for 2019. Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz Jr, Fernando Alonso are all vying for this seat. ( Brendan Hartley, former WEC Champion won't make the cut ( below par debut in F1 ) and hence not in the reckoning ) 

Carlos Sainz Jr. was loaned to Renault for 2018 and considering the fact that he started his F1 career with Max Verstappen, he would be the logical choice to jump into the seat next year. Astonishingly Red Bull are not in a hurry and will bide their time to make their choice. It leaves Sainz in a very unfortunate position. If he were to not be the chosen one, he could find himself out of the sport. McLaren seem one destination but that would mean going backwards on the grid. No disrespect to McLaren but they are a shadow of their former self. Sainz is a talented driver and deserves to be on the sharp end of the grid. Sainz has a sponsor in Estrella Galacia and that can be a trump card.

Pierre Gasly another Red Bull Protegee is having a strong year in F1. He is already working with Honda at Toro Rosso so that is a bonus. His relative inexperience is a negative and having 2 young drivers can be a recipe for disaster.

Fernando Alonso, the opportunist, a man who can move mountains in order to have a winning car under him. He is believer to be one of the contenders for the seat but will he team up with Honda again? Considering his rants in races in years that Honda raced with McLaren, it doesn't seem that Alonso and Honda have an amicable relationship. Red Bull is a team that practices parity between team-mates but should Alonso join, will this practice continue? Politics come into play too and the atmosphere within the team might not stay healthy. In my opinion, Alonso will stay put to head to WEC next year. 

I really wish that Sainz Jr. gets the Red Bull drive in 2019 but Gasly seems the favourite according to experts. It might turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Sainz Jr. if he opts to go Renault Powered McLaren and it ends up beating a Honda Powered Red Bull!

Time will tell...



Now onto those who have both seats up for grabs!


Sahara Force India F1 :

Force India F1 isn't Force India anymore but will have a new name after a consortium headed by Mr. Lawrence Stroll got them out of administration today. Both seats are available for 2019 but after Lawrence Stroll, Lance Stroll's father acquired the team, the Canadian will ply his trade there. ( Official announcement pending ). Esteban Ocon, Mercedes backed and part of their informal program should stay. Any speculation linking him with Renault is now over and Mercedes will ensure he stays at their strongest customer team. This means Sergio Perez will be without a drive. Perez too has a sizeable sponsor in Telmex backing him and as per his recent admission, his future in F1 lies elsewhere. McLaren is the best option, Haas an alternate. Williams also might not be a bad choice if they are able to improve their performances.  

Force India will retain Ocon and Lance Stroll will be his team-mate for 2019 according to me.


Haas F1 Team :

Haas F1, like Red Bull is spoilt for choice for 2019. Magnussen is having a great year and Grosjean the complete opposite. The general consensus is that Grosjean is set to lose his drive. Charles Leclerc is the ideal replacement. Ferrari would want him there to assess him in a faster car and if he can better his performances, Haas F1 will cherish this decision. Magnussen, also without a contract should end up renewing with Haas since the team will want an existing driver to help with the development for next year. Perez has an outside chance but its a very slim one. 

Haas will field Magnussen and Leclerc in 2019.


McLaren F1 Team :

McLaren's status in F1 is now reduced to a mid-field runner. Its embarrassing to see a team with such a decorated past to be struggling with mercurial performances week in week out. The patience of their Spanish Matador Fernando Alonso is also running low. He is exploring the possibility of joining WEC next year ( someone close to the team confirmed the same ). Many predict a career in Indy but Honda might be the roadblock in that endeavour. It would be a major setback for the team if he were to leave F1. Stoffel Vandoorne has been a disappointment this year and his lacklustre performances leave his drive in jeopardy. He might be retained if Alonso leaves. The options available are many for 2019 and the team must bide their time before zeroing in on their lineup. Landon Norris, a part of their driver program is performing well in Formula 2 but it might be an year too early to rope him in into F1. The team must do everything in its capacity to hold onto Fernando Alonso. Carlos Sainz Jr is one of the frontrunners for a race seat, a move that will be effected if he is left high and dry by Red Bull, albeit a second time. Sainz Jr will be delighted to partner his hero in 2019. He also brings a sizeable sponsorship in Estrella Galacia as mentioned earlier. However if Sainz does go to Red Bull, then Sergio Perez is a good option. Financially, he has an equally strong backing. He drove for the team in 2013 but was ousted in a not-so-amicable way ( much like Fernando at the end of 2007 ). 

Factoring in the current situation, its safe to say that McLaren will end up having an all Spanish lineup with Alonso and Sainz Jr in 2019.


Alfa-Romeo Sauber F1 Team :

Sauber F1 are extremely pleased with the performances of Leclerc this year. Marcus Ericsson like his previous year is nowhere in terms of performances. Astonishingly he retained his seat in 2018 and he might in 2019 as well! Leclerc is bound for Haas according to me and Antonio Giovinazzi Ferrari's Reserve Driver ) is a regular feature in tests and practice sessions for the team this year. I believe he will make a return to the grid in 2019. I don't see Sauber going outside the Scuderia Ferari Academy umbrella to hire a F1 Pilot. Antonio Fuoco ( from Charouz Racing Team in F2 ) will have to wait another year, maybe he will be roped in as a reserve driver this year.

Marcus Ericsson and Antonio Giovinazzi is the lineup for Sauber according to me.


Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :

Toro Rosso is in a serious dilemma. Gasly ( according to many ) is set for the Red Bull Racing seat in 2019. Brendan Hartley was slated to be replaced but the Red Bull Driver Program has no one ready for the big jump into F1. The man closest to the seat is Dan Ticktum who is plying his trade in Formula 3. The biggest hurdle will be that he will not gather enough superlicense points ( even if he wins the F3 championship ) to warrant a drive next year. However the FIA reviews its points criteria every year and maybe they might have modifications made that will enable him to enter F1. Hartley, if Gasly was to leave might just be retained for another year ( I am being a bit biased towards him here ). He is a great guy and a genuinely quick driver but for