Tag Archives: Sergio Perez

Formula One: The Final Seats

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As the  F1 world rapidly heads towards the winter break. The sport finds its self in a highly unusual position of having for seats still to be confirmed on the 2017 grid.

Whilst it is not out of the ordinary for seats at the lower end of the field to still be open at this point on in the year, for a seat to be open with the championship winning team is almost unimaginable. Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement from the sport has effectively stalled the driver market with no driver or team wanting to make a commitment before Mercedes conclude a deal with whoever their new driver will be.

At the time of writing favourites for the drive alongside Lewis Hamilton with the Silver Arrows in 2017 are; Valtteri Bottas, Pascal Wehrlein, and my own favourite Sergio Perez. Which ever driver is awarded the drive will have a knock on effect for the teams they are currently or likely to be driving for.

Should Mercedes manage to agree terms with Williams and they release Bottas, the team will be left with serious lack of experience in their driver line up as they head towards one of the most technically challenging regulation changes in two decades., As such working with Pascal Wehrlein who has only taken part in 21 races in unlikely to be their first choice.  More likely would be development driver Paul Di Resta taking the role or recently retired Felipe Massa or Jenson Button making an unexpected return.

In the scenario in which Mercedes take the brave move of putting Pascal Wehrlein in the second seat of the W08, Manor Racing will be left with two seats to fill. The team are likely to be secure drivers with funding, which could lead to a return of a funded Rio Haryanto to the grid. Anther option could be Felipe Nasr should, a driver Bernie Ecclestone has commented he is keen to keep on the grid to assure Brazilian interest in the Championship. Manor Racing development driver Jordan King is likely to find a role within the team. Dependant on the budget he brings this could be in the role of reserve or second driver.

Moving to Sauber, with Marcus Ericsson confirmed the rejuvenated Swiss team have one seat still to fill. 2017 will be a season of rebuilding for the team, as such their focus will be on ensuring consistency and strong feedback. In an ideal world I can imagine the team would like to work with a driver already familiar with the world of F1. Critics may dismiss this option but I would not rule out Pastor Maldonado finding a new home in Hinwil. Should the team head down the rookie route GP2 vice champion Antonio Giovinazzi would be a bold move and one demonstrating the team’s commitment to the future.

Sergio Perez moving to Mercedes would cause Sahara Force India a great deal of pain. Of course Mercedes would compensate the team, but over the past 3 seasons Force India have focused the majority of their business development efforts around building a profile in Mexico. To loose Perez would be a major blow. As such I can see them looking to replace one Mexican for another and signing Esteban Gutiérrez to the team.

One thing is for sure, the F1 silly season is far from over and it still has a few surprises in store!

Formula One: Pérez for Mercedes?

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With the shock announcement from 2016 Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement last Friday, almost every driver on the grid has been named as a possible replacement for the German. Nico’s decision came as a surprise not only to media and fans of the sport, but to his employers and rivals on the grid. Had there been an inkling from anyone that Nico may have taken this decision the contractual status of a number of leading drivers may be looking very different at this point in the season.

The Mercedes board will be keen to install a replacement driver as soon as possible to minimise the impact on the teams 2017 campaign and maximise driver acclimatisation. That being said, should Mercedes opt for a driver currently under contract with another team it is highly unlikely they will be able to work with said driver until the new year.

From an ease of transition perspective Mercedes could opt for one of their junior drivers in Ocon or Wehrlein. Whilst kind on the cheque book and simplest to implement, Mercedes require a driver capable of performing from at the very top level from the word go, it is undeniable the potential of both drivers is without question,  but it would be a risk to place them with the team from the beginning of 2017.

Realistically, this leaves Mercedes with little option than to approach drivers with existing agreements for season ahead. Toto Wolff has intimated he is reluctant to poach drivers from Ferrari or Mclaren, acknowledging the damage this could cause to future team relations in the lead up to strategy group negotiations with Liberty Media over the coming 36 months. This in theory removes Sebastian, Kimi, and Fernando from the equation. Whilst Toto did not explicitly rule out either of the Red Bull Racing drivers, it is highly unlikely either would be released from what are understood to be long term contracts.

This has left many to suggest Bottas has the most likely candidate for the seat. He is part managed by Toto Wolff and with Williams working in close collaboration with Mercedes a deal in theory could be easy to achieve. I see this to be quite unlikely. 2016 was somewhat of an underwhelming season for both Bottas and Williams. If the cliché of ‘you are only as good as your last race / season’ were to be applied. Bottas is not hot property and should not be regarded as the next best option.

Taking all of this into consideration I believe the best placed driver on the grid to replace Nico Rosberg for 2017 is Sergio Pérez. With 101 points, and 2 podium finishes in 2016 Sergio Pérez was the best performing non works Mercedes driver. He lead the Force India team to their most successful year in history, finishing 4th in the constructors championship scoring points in 16 events over the season. From a pure performance perspective Sergio Pérez has to be regarded as a genuine contender for the seat.

Over and above on track performance, Pérez is highly attractive from a commerical perspective. Mexico is a hugely important market for Mercedes, the car maker is looking to double car sales in the country by 2020. Having a national hero behind the wheel of a Silver Arrows would support this strategy.  Beyond this Sergio Pérez brings his own sponsors to a team. Mercedes are not a team struggling for budget, but opening doors to the Slim family (Telmex Group) will be more than welcome.

Of course Sergio recently signed a one year extension with Force India which in theory locks the Mexican in to the team until 2018, however were Mercedes to offer the services of Wehrlein alongside a discounted Power Unit I am sure an agreement could be found.

Sergio Pérez is a changed driver from the man who replaced Lewis Hamilton at Mclaren in 2013. He has proved his consistency and ability to work with a team during his time with Force India. He deserves another opportunity with a top team. He is the most logical option for Mercedes.

Would it prove to be a threat to Lewis Hamilton? Only time will tell. His has a unique ability to manage tyres and with the huge shift in regulations coming for 2017 this attribute could prove invaluable. At this time Sergio Pérez’s management have declined to comment on the possibility of such a move, but there should be no doubt they will be evaluating any opportunity should it arise.

Formula One: Sponsors will decide my future – Perez

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Speaking in the drivers press conference ahead of the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix, Sergio Perez gave comment on recent remarks from Force India Team Principle Vijay Mallya that both he and team mate Nico Hulkenberg would remain with the team for the 2017 season;

“I’m very lucky to have many sponsors behind me, so I’m not alone. I don’t decide my future on my own. I need to speak with my group of sponsors to see what is best for our future, and then we will decide. We have some time in the summer break, and then we will decided what is best for my career”

When pushed on the Mallya’s comments around his 2017 agreement with the team Sergio confirmed;

“What Vijay says is correct, but as I said, it depends on my sponsors as well. We will decide together what to do”

With opportunities at Ferrari, Red Bull Racing closed down for 2017 and Mercedes likely to retain it’s current line up, opportunities for Sergio Perez to move to a front running team appear limited. However, neither driver at Williams is confirmed for 2017, whilst this on paper in terms of 2016 standings would appear at best to be a lateral move. A team with the resources of Williams tend to perform strongly in a period of regulation change. The team could be an attractive proposition for the Mexican and is sponsors in 2017.

Formula One: Baku – Anyone’s Race?

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Nico Rosberg may have claimed pole position for the inaugural Grand Prix of Europe from Baku, but the race for the top step is far from over.

The street circuit, featuring a 2,2km flat out section followed by the tightest series of corners on the F1 calender only a few moments later has proved to be a truly unique challenge for drivers and engineers. In the quest for ultimate top speed teams have been forced into a low downforce set up leaving cars on the absolute edge. This coupled with high pressured , hard compound tyres from Pirelli, alongside a number of niggling 1st race issues around the Baku venue gives us a thrilling Grand Prix in prospect.

The attrition rate seen in the GP2 feature race hinted at the spectacle we can expect in the F1 race. Overtaking is possible all over the circuit, T1 the most common. Run off zones whilst small are just about large enough for drivers to force competitors into them without risk of penalty. All in all, the F1 race really could be anyone’s. Judging by the GP2 race pole position or running in first place could actually work against a driver, expect oval racing levels of slipstreaming and overtaking along the main straight.

With this in mind bookmakers have been surprisingly generous in the odds being offered on drivers in the top ten.  It’s hard to pick out one specific driver to follow for the race, so I’m suggesting 5!

Lewis Hamilton -Dominated the weekend until  a shocker in qualifying, starting 10th on the grid. He is in the fastest car and Mercedes have introduced a low downforce wing which should mitigate the issues the team have had running in traffic in earlier races this season.  Winner odds 3/1

Sergio Perez – Second only to Nico Rosberg in qualifying. A gearbox penalty drops him to 7th on the grid, but after a podium in Monaco, and rumours of Ferrari considering him for 2017, Perez will be eager to impress. A great offering of 40/1 – consider an each way bet

Kimi Raikkonen – Yes Vettel out-qualified him, but he has been quietly doing his thing around Baku, and has engaged reverse far fewer times than his competitors this weekend. Also offering at 40/1

Max Verstappen / Carlos Saniz – How bold are you feeling? If Baku is to be a race of attrition, which may expect it will be. Max showed the world in Canada how calm he can be under pressure, at 80/1 the return could be great! More out there, but an even greater opportunity, Sainz. Arguably driver of the day in the last few races. With a new contract under his belt Saniz could be a great outside bet and a huge pay day at 500/1! Are you feeling bold?

Check out these odds and more at William Hill.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the live IN-PLAY odds available during F1 Races. In a race of attrition there could be some special odds availble for the fast fingered. To find out more about IN PLAY odds, check out my feature here.

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Formula One: VIDEO – Canadian Grand Prix Top Tips

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The Canadian Grand Prix, the 7th round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship, has all the makings of a potential classic. With mixed weather conditions forecast, a resurgent Lewis Hamilton, an angry Daniel Ricciardo, and power unit upgrades for most teams, this weekend’s racing is definitely worth getting excited about.

I’ve tried something a little (cringe-worthy) different for this weekend’ preview. Please let me know what you think in the comments section on here or You Tube. Don’t forget if you do think any of what I’m saying makes sense, head to William Hill for some of the best odds available on Formula One.

Lewis Hamilton

In earlier pre-race tips I’ve tried to avoid the obvious bet, but this weekend barring mechanical failure Lewis Hamilton looks very likely to be in a strong position to seal his 45th win. The odds being offered are not great for the customer, but at 6/5 you stand to make a return of 2.2 for every 1 (of which ever currency you use) you put down. Lewis would be a ‘safe’ bet for the weekend.

In addition to the high likely hood of a win, Lewis has to be a strong contender for the triple around Montreal. Setting Pole, plus taking fastest lap and the win. Odds of 11/2 are being offered on this. Lewis has a special relationship with the Canadian GP circuit. He took his first win in 2007 there and seems to be able to find that extra bit of performance when he needs it.

Weather

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Forecast predict that the Canadian Grand Prix is likely to be impacted by rain, an increasingly common feature of previews to Grand Prix weekends! Should rain hit the circuit, which at the moment it is forecast to do for Sunday only, focus, as in Monaco, should shift to the experienced drivers in the mid field. Again I would look toward Force India with odds of a win for Nico Hulkenberg being offered at 100/1 and Sergio Perez at 150/1. Whilst a win is unlikely, you can take an each way split on the bet and get 1/5 odds for a podium finish.

Red Bull Racing

I predict a tense weekend for the Red Bull duo. Daniel Ricciardo feels he’s been ‘screwed out’ of two race wins by the team. Max Verstappen had a shocker of a weekend in Monaco any other driver would be worried for their seat after such a performance. With both drivers receiving the upgraded Renault Power Unit they should be in the fight, I predict real hero – zero action from both the drivers. Look at a win or first retirement for either.

Daniel Ricciardo Win – 7/1 | first to retire – 25/1

Max Verstappen Win 12/1 | first to retire 22/1

Mclaren 

I have a feeling Mclaren could be in for a very strong weekend. Honda are bringing upgrades to the Power Unit, both Alonso and Button thrive in mixed conditions, the team are rebuilding in confidence. If the rain comes on Sunday, I would take a look at a long shot Each way bet on the drivers making the top step. Alonso is currently offered at 200/1 and Button 250/1.

It is a longshot, but who can forget Jenson’s incredible 2011 win. He knows how to win in Canada.

Strategy

Strategy options for the Canadian Grand Prix look likely to be something of a non starter. The Ultra soft Pirelli tyre is lasting much longer than many anticipated. the longevity of the tyre makes a one stop strategy pretty much inevitable for all teams. One possibility to look out for could be opportunities arising from an early safety car which could see drivers switch to the Soft (Yellow) compound tyre with a view of completing the entire race distance on a single set of tyres.

History suggests a safety car around Montreal is highly likely. As such the odds available are 1/3.

Power Units

Renault, Ferrari, and Honda, are catching Mercedes… … Quickly. With upgrades from all manufacturers expected over the Canadian Grand Prix, the teams most likely to shuffle back are the customers. Expect the performance gap between ‘Works’ and ‘Customer’ teams to start to increase as the season progresses.

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Formula One: Perez “The racing is never boring in Bahrain”

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Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Vijay Mallya preview the Bahrain Grand Prix:

Sergio on Bahrain
Sergio Perez is determined to shine again under the lights in Bahrain.
 
Sergio: “Australia didn’t bring the result I was hoping for so I am targeting a better outcome from Bahrain. Getting a bad start really compromised my race last time out because I got stuck in the middle of cars on different strategies and I couldn’t recover. However, it’s a long season and I have an opportunity to get back in the points in Bahrain.
 
“The racing is never boring in Bahrain so fans should enjoy some good entertainment. There are long straights and sharp braking zones so it’s great for overtaking, but the big tractions zones make this a tough track for the rear tyres. I think tyre degradation will be a key factor in the outcome of this race. The track evolves a lot as the race goes on, as the cars sweep away all the sand and dust that the wind has blown onto the track.
 
“I have some very good memories from Bahrain – the race in 2014 was just fantastic when I celebrated my first podium with the team. I am confident we can be strong again this year and get back all the points I missed in Australia. Even in Melbourne, there were lots of positives we can build on, such as our strong qualifying speed and race pace. The team is doing a great job back at the factory and we should have some interesting new bits on the car, too, so I am feeling confident.”
Nico on Bahrain
Nico Hulkenberg hopes to build on solid start to the season with more points in Bahrain.
 
Nico: “We’ve started the season in the right way by getting some points on the board, even though we had the potential to come away from Australia with many more. The red flag came out at the worst possible moment for our strategy and that cost us some positions, but we still managed to fight back and come away with an important seventh place: I am happy with that.
 
“Next up is Bahrain, which is a special place. As a circuit, it’s very different to Melbourne: it’s not bumpy at all; it’s very smooth and it’s full of slow corners. There are a several overtaking spots and the whole track, with long straights and big braking zones, makes for some great wheel-to-wheel racing. It’s a track that rewards attacking, so hopefully we will see lots of action in the race. And of course, it’s a night race so the atmosphere of the whole event is very different!
 
“One of my favourite things about Bahrain is the paddock. It looks like it’s straight out of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, with the lights and buildings all adding to the atmosphere. It’s one of my favourite events of the season. We will arrive there in a good place and we have the potential to get another strong result.”
Vijay Mallya, Team Principal
Vijay Mallya expects another strong performance in Bahrain this weekend.
 
Vijay, did the team’s performance in Melbourne live up to expectations?
“After a race like Melbourne you always come away wondering what might have happened without the red flag, but I think we left Australia with our fair share of points. We had a mix of good and bad fortune, but I think that’s true for quite a few teams. Ahead of the season I said the team’s goal was to qualify and race in the top ten at every race, and we certainly achieved that in Melbourne.”
 
Were there any surprises?
“I think that the winter tests had already given us a good indication of what to expect. What is clear is that the grid is more competitive and closer together than it has ever been in the recent past. There are four or five teams who are all performing at a similar level, which made for a tight squabble in qualifying and the race. That can only be good for the fans; it’s what the sport needs and I think Melbourne showed that it’s the middle of the grid where most of the entertainment is being generated in terms of wheel-to-wheel racing.”
 
What can we expect from Bahrain?
“On paper Bahrain should be a strong track for us so I’m optimistic we can deliver a similar level of performance to that which we showed in Melbourne. We will have some new aerodynamic developments, which will add some performance to the front of the car, so we will work hard to optimise those during the weekend.”
 

Formula One: Sergio Shines under the Yas Marina lights

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Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM08. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Saturday 28th November 2015. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sahara Force India shone under the lights of Yas Marina as Sergio Perez qualified in a season-best fourth place ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg in seventh for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
P4        Sergio Perez              VJM08-02
Q1: 1:41.983                 Q2: 1:41.560                 Q3: 1:41.184
Sergio: “Fourth place on the grid is a great result for us and I’m very pleased with our strong performance all the way through qualifying. We’ve made some good decisions this weekend with the changes we have made to the car and it’s taken us in a very positive direction. I think the analysis we carried out after the weekend in Sao Paulo has really paid off and we’ve learned a huge amount. All of my laps this evening were very clean and tidy, and we managed to get the maximum from the car. The challenge tomorrow will be keeping some very quick cars behind me, but I also think we have a good chance to make up some positions at the start. I have the confidence in the car to really push and there is definitely the potential to come away with a great result this weekend. In many ways it’s a shame that tomorrow is the final race of the season because the car is working very well at the moment and I’m enjoying the racing so much.”
P7        Nico Hülkenberg       VJM08-03
Q1: 1:41.996                 Q2: 1:41.925                 Q3: 1:41.686
Nico: “It was a good qualifying session for the team, although I feel I could have been higher up the grid. I was pretty happy with my laps, especially the one in Q3, so to find myself in seventh actually feels a little bit disappointing. We need to look at the data and figure out where we lost time and what we can do to recover it. Looking ahead to the race, we’ve been working hard to improve our race pace and hopefully the changes we have made will pay off tomorrow. The car is quick on the straights and the balance has felt good from the start of the weekend. Starting from the fourth row, we have every opportunity to score a good result tomorrow.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer:
“We’ve looked competitive in every session leading up to qualifying, so I think tonight’s strong showing is a fair reflection of our performance level at this circuit. Both Checo and Nico did a great job this evening with clean laps in all the sessions to secure fourth and seventh on the grid. It gives us a good opportunity to end the season with an equally strong race result, especially as we can race relatively free from pressure having already secured fifth place in the championship. The big question tomorrow is how our race pace will compare to our competitors because we saw on Friday that there are very small margins between all the teams. Whatever happens we will fight hard to sign off 2015 with a good helping of points.”

Formula One: Sochi Stats & Round Up

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What a difference a year makes! Formula One returned to Russia this weekend and for most fans it was fair to say expectations of a great race were pretty low. Thankfully the second running of the Sochi GP proved to be a huge improvement, with excitement through to the final lap.

Congratulations to Lewis on his win, to Mercedes in clinching their 2nd successive constructors crown, and a huge congratulations to Sergio Perez and the Force India team for a well deserved podium. Gambling on an early pit stop during the send safety car period Sergio kept his calm despite huge almost overwhelming pressure to claim his second podium for the team

Congratulations also to Pirelli on the extension of their sole supply agreement to F1 through to 2019. Further details to follow in due course. In the meantime enjoy this inspired Ushanka (pictured) look Pirelli bought to the podium and these fantastic info-graphics!

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