Hot Take: Formula 1
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to if I'm honest and welcome for the first time to my segment hot take. So in the previous three episodes, I have an overarching theme, I tell personal vulnerable stories and then share some of my takeaways that I hope were beneficial to you. But then for this hot take, I wanted to do something different. Sometimes there are just topics or events or things that I think are interesting that I feel a certain way about. And in those moments, I'm going to have a hot take episode with you. So a hot take is basically my commentary on a situation. It is my opinion, it might be a little emotionally charged, you might agree with me, you might think I'm full of it. And you know what you're right either way, because your hot take on my hot take is totally valid. And I do want to hear what you think about this. So let me know how you feel about this analysis. All righty. Let's jump into the first hot take, which is Formula One. So I love Formula One. I grew up watching Formula One, I started racing in Formula cars, I did road courses, I won Skip Barber Championship, which is kind of an entry level Racing School for Formula cars. You know, we had big dreams that I would be a Formula One driver and that didn't happen, but I'll get into that a little more later. But it's it's a really cool series when for people who are not racing fans racing. There are a lot of different types of motorsport series. There's Formula One, there's IndyCar there's NASCAR, there's world endurance challenge, there's rally car, there's drag racing. So there are a lot of different disciplines. The cars are different. The tracks are different. You know, NASCAR is a full body fender stock car that primarily races on ovals with some some road courses, Formula One IndyCarare Formula cars where the wheels are exposed skinny cars, high downforce, they do a mix of ovals and road courses for IndyCar and IndyCar is a North American Racing Series Formula One is exclusively road courses, and it's all over the world. So those that's kind of a breakdown of some of the kind of higher level motorsports series. And so Formula One is arguably the pinnacle of motorsports. They are the fastest road course racing cars in the world. They are some of the most technologically advanced and pushing the limits and you know, really incredible machines. And actually, a lot of the innovations in Formula One over the last handful of decades, have been used in consumer cars like hyperdrive trains or buttons on the steering wheel or adaptive suspensions. There's a lot of really cool technology that originated in Formula One, which I highly encourage you to research if that stuff is interesting to you. It's also the most expensive series now they have a budget cap for $135 million per team per year. And if you break that budget cap, then you know they're fine slap on the wrist. Red Bull had that last year, you know they do 20 to 23 races, the schedule has been fluctuating a little bit, but it's just it is so intense. There are 10 teams 20 drivers, all the teams are associated with different manufacturers and engine suppliers, some of them share engine suppliers. And it is so cutthroat from the drivers perspective, because there's a strict 20 driver limit, you know, up and coming drivers are waiting to pounce at the opportunity to get a ride in one of these cars. And unlike other sports where drivers can race part time, or you can have a one off deal. That's not the case in Formula One. So it's just so so competitive and the standards are so high. And it's just you know, it is a spectacle. Monaco is one of the most prestigious races and you see a ton of celebrities come out. But if I'm honest, hot take, I feel like Monaco has gotten kind of boring. Now. It's so iconic, but it's so hard to pass the modern nature of these cars and just how advanced they are and how hard it is to pass. It just doesn't thrive on Monaco. So my hot take is that I don't know that it should be on the schedule anymore. And speaking of the schedule, it's a very cool schedule. It used to primarily be raced in Europe, but now they race in the Middle East and Asia. They have three races in the US, Miami, Las Vegas and Austin. So they're just really hitting a lot of different markets. Although another hot take the f1 races in the US are so dang expensive. I mean, they are so much more expensive than the races in Europe. And it just makes it really inaccessible to a lot of fans. So I do hope that changes because it's just absurd. And I have been to a few races. I actually in 2007 when I was racing Formula BMW USA. So that was my second year racing cars, we were the support series for Formula One when they raced at Montreal and when they raced at the Indy road course again back in 2007. And it was so cool. I was part of the Formula BMW education and coaching program and that meant that we got coaching, we got media training, we got physical training and It also meant that we got to do track walks with some of the some of the officials to learn the track quicker. And when we were in Montreal, we were walking the track and Lewis Hamilton was also walking the track with his engineers. And we didn't say hi, like up close, but we waved and it was just really cool. That same year, Sebastian Vettel was racing for BMW Sauber at the time. But so he and Nick Heidfeld came and spoke with us. Super cool. So it was really incredible, for this 15 year old racecar driver to kind of see those superstars who are bigger than the sport doing their thing, just like we were, we were doing our track walk. So that was really cool. Back to more modern day Formula One, you know, over the last eight or so years, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have totally dominated. And then you know, more recently, the past two years Red Bull and Max Verstappen, and Sergio Perez, they've been really dominant, the car has been really fast. There are technical specifications that teams have to meet, but every team is responsible for developing their own car and for developing the changes to the car. And so there are some that really just kind of get all the components together perfectly. And there are others that struggle a little bit. And actually, there are some teams that purchase their equipment from other teams. So in that moment, you just gotta hope that the team you're buying from is on it this year. Like most forms of motorsports, or, you know, any kind of league in general, there are the really dominant teams kind of mid pack teams and the lower level teams. There was one American team with Haas Formula One, and I'll go through all of the teams in the drivers in a second but back to overall, you know, what's what's going on with Formula One, like most forms of motorsports, it is open to men and women. But unfortunately, also like most top level motorsports, there hasn't been a woman racing in it consistently. And you know, NASCAR had Danica Patrick at the top level IndyCar has had a few women like Pippa Mann and Katherine legge and ana beatriz Sarah Fisher Simona de Silvestro Milka Duno Danica Patrick back in the day, and drag racing has had quite a few women as well with the Force sisters and some others, although I'm less familiar with drag racing, but Formula One has not had a woman compete in a Grand Prix race since Lella Lombardi in 1976. Now, for some quick history on the leadership of Formula One, in 1978, Bernie Ecclestone who would go on to become the owner and CEO of Formula One, he, in 1978. He was a team owner, but then he was starting to transition to having more of a say, and an active role in developing the series as a whole. And he was responsible for major TV sell, selling TV rights, brought in a lot of money to the sport. He started in 1978. I think he went through, I want to say 2016, when he sold it to Liberty Media, and I think 2017 was when he was officially done. But he had this long reign over Formula One. And Bernie's well known for a number of things, you know, obviously did a lot for the sport, all that. But he's also famous for a quote that he had from 2005. And he was talking about Danica Patrick, as she was racing in IndyCar. And he said, and I quote, you know, I've got one of those wonderful ideas. Women should be dressed in white, like all the other domestic appliances, no shit, there hasn't been a woman competing in Formula One under his leadership, because he doesn't think we're full people. Since 1992, there has been one female official reserve driver, and that was Susie Wolff. She was a reserve development test driver from 2012 to 2015. She'd already married Toto Wolff by that point, and she got on track to test a few times. But you know, she never got to run a race. And she retired from that effort. 2015 And now she's the Managing Director of f1 Academy, which is Formula One's most recent attempt at an all women's series, which I do have mixed feelings about. But that'll be another episode. So for women, it's just, it's been rough. So anyway, back to the Series overview, you know, like most forms of motorsports it is pay to play I mean, that in the sense of for the development series, you know, you don't just jump into Formula One, right? You start in go karts, most likely and then you move into other single seater Formula cars, and then, you know, maybe it's F4, F3, f2, and then eventually to f1. And all of those series costs money and that's that's pretty standard in most motorsports, right. The Development Series, the the minor league series, you know, it's you got to bring the funding. So that's the case with Formula One, and then you get signed to teams Formula One drivers have some of the highest salaries for racecar drivers, Max Verstappen is reported to be making $55 million this year and it trickles all the way down to like half a million a million for the for the lower lower teams. But that is a very rough overview of Formula One glimpse into its history and where it is now. Let's talk a little bit about what a lot of the general public know about Formula One which is the show drive to survive. I think that drive to survive helped the visibility of the sport I think that drive to survive obviously sensationalized as a little bit but I think they do a really good job of showing the personalities of these drivers and explaining through the different interviews how the sport works and motorsports is so foreign to so many people and you know, one way that I like to explain it is that you know, growing up you play soccer, you play baseball or softball, you play basketball, volleyball, whatever it might be. And so even if you don't go on professionally, you have a sense of what the sports are with racing. Unless you are put in go karts, it's really hard to get a sense of what it's like and so people only can relate it to their driving on the street experience which is super different than racing. So it's I think drive to survive does a great job with with bringing that kind of awareness and education about the sport to a lot of people. All right, now let's get into my hot take on each driver and team. So again, this is a hot take. This is my opinion, you might think I'm full of it. You might totally agree with me slide into my DMs let me know what you think. But we're gonna get started with Red Bull. So Red Bull uses a Honda Red Bull engine and they have Max Verstappen, who's the reigning world champion, Max Verstappen is incredibly talented. I will never take that away from him. He is so good. We were watching. I think it was Jeddah where he was doing a qualifying lap. And as I'm watching it, I'm thinking oh my gosh, this is gonna be the most incredible out of body fast lap experience ever. And he hit the wall, but that's okay. I mean, it was just it was out of this world. And at the same time, I think he's kind of whiny as a driver. You know, he is so aggressive, borderline dirty, a little brutish, as a driver in my opinion. And yet when someone else races him hard, he complains about them not being fair. And so I kind of feel like he can dish it but he can't take it. And his teammate is Sergio Perez, Sergio Perez, kind of the opposite, you know, also really talented may or may not have the innate talent of Verstappen but he's super talented. He's very clean. He's considered the king of street courses. Street courses are the temporary courses that usually are built in cities and they have you know, much tighter walls and it's easier to make a mistake and he just maximizes them and he has won on them this year. He's really good. He's kind of playing second teammate to max and I'm I would be really frustrated if I was him because I feel like the team is unabashedly like Max's gonna win this championship. So we'll see how that plays out. Perez is definitely giving him a run for his money. But he is really clean, really great at defense and I have great things to say about him. Next, we have Aston Martin, who, which they race on a Mercedes engine and they have Fernando Alonso and Fernando is a veteran of the sport at this point. He has a few championships, he's 42 years old. I love that he got tied up in that Taylor Swift dating rumor. I don't know how that started, but I'm very into it. And I kind of feel like he just is out of shits to give and he's living his golden years and racing and just having fun. And he's bringing a lot of real value to Aston Martin because they are doing so much better this year, partially because of his involvement. His teammate is Lance stroll. Lance is the son of the billionaire team owner Lawrence stroll. And quite frankly, I'm not super impressed with him. It just seems like he is having fun racing cars with daddy's money. Next, we have Mercedes and they run a Mercedes engine. And they have Lewis Hamilton, who is my favorite driver on the grid right now. He is a seven time world champion. He holds records in wins in polls in number of fast laps, he's just so so impressive. It's like he's a machine. He is just so precise. He's also a really clean racer, and really is respectful on track, which I think is really great. And I prefer to race that way. And then on top of all of that he is the series only black driver. And he has been for a long time and throughout all of his accomplishments. He's also advocating for social justice. His teammate is George Russell. George Russell is one of the newer drivers on the grid, extremely talented, very classy, you know, he's, he's just as competitive if not sometimes a little more competitive than Hamilton in the current Mercedes car. And I'm just really impressed by him. And I think he is really good at wearing his emotions on his sleeves. And so I'm really excited to see how he does in the sport. Alright, team next we have Ferrari and they use Ferrari engines and oh my goodness, Ferrari. They are such an iconic team. They are such a historical team. They have so much prestige with their name, and excuse the crude language but they're just kind of shitting the bed this year. They make strategy errors, they have mechanical failures. It's just it's really odd and it's really sad to see as a fan of the sport, but they have Charles LeClerc who is I would say their golden boy at Ferrari and he's really good. He's so fast. He sets polls so much, but quite frankly, he's he I feel like he cracks under pressure like he has crashed in qualifying or in the race while up running up front, you know, a lot of times and it's just fascinating, I don't know if he really has what it takes to be champion material with with how he's currently dealing with pressure. So that'll be interesting to see if he grows out of that his teammate is Carlos Sainz and Carlos Sainz I think he's funny, I think he's a great personality. I think he's a little more consistent than LeClerc. And I'll be interested to see if he can come in to championship material. I don't see the sparks of brilliance as much as we see in some other drivers. But I think he's got potential. Next we have McLaren and they run a Mercedes engine. And McLaren is interesting because they are a team that's run partially by an American, Zak Brown. And they last year had Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo and Daniel Ricciardo, if you don't know who he is, you should google him watch some interviews. He was just on the Colbert show. He is so full of life. So enthusiastic, so positive, and he isn't a time race winner, and he's so successful in the sport. But last year, McLaren really struggled. And he was doing kind of worse than his teammate Lando. And so they McLaren ended up buying him out of his contract. So he's now a reserve driver. So that's kind of the backstory of McLaren from last year. So this year, they have gotten maybe a little better, but not really. I mean, they brought on oscar piastri, who is a young guy who's been touted as the next superstar of the sport. And, quite frankly, they're just not doing well. They're not doing well. Piastri isn't Lando Norris isn't doing well, they're always at the back. I can only imagine that Daniel Ricciardo was a little like, Haha, you know, not doing well without me. This was a mistake. So anyway, that's them. Lando Norris. I think he's a little goofy. I think he's quite talented. I don't really get like star power out of him. But he clearly clearly can drive a car well, and it would be really interesting to see what he could do in a better car. Next, we have Alpine. They have a Renault engine. There's my little French team. I'm an honorary French person at this point. So Esteban Ocon look, ocon, to me is kind of one of the few people who have been able to climb the ranks of Formula One without having just like massive amounts of funding. Lewis Hamilton is the same way some of the older generation is like that. But other younger guys, you know, really seems to have done well was coming up with Max, I think he's really talented. I would love to see a little more personality out of him. Alpine in general is not like a top notch team. So I don't think that he or his teammate, Pierre Gasly, have really had their chance to shine, and Pierre Gasly. I think he's grown a lot. And I think he's been able to get better in this past year. But again, it's kind of like moments of really good driving, and then other sloppiness. So I'd love to see if these guys could could really break it up a notch in the rest of the season. So Haas, which is the lone American team, they run a Ferrari engine. And Haas I think, is just such a cute little little engine that could right. A US team, their team principle, Guenther Steiner is hands down the star of drive to survive. He is so quirky, and you know, focused and passionate. He is known for one of his quotes in drive to survive, he basically makes a comment that he would, oh, let's just say be intimate with every person on the grid, if it resulted in a point for the team. But he said that in other more aggressive words, and that's just the kind of like no shits to give personality that he has. He has a house in Lake Norman and so I tried to tweet at him that I'd like to buy him a beer and Hey, Ben can cook for him too. So if anyone's got the connection there, let me know because I'd love to buy Guenther Steiner beer. So anyway, he's running Haas. And they have Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen. So with Haas, they lot for the last two years before this, they had a lot of funding from Nikita Mazapin, who was a Russian driver. And when Russia invaded Ukraine, the FIA said that there were no Russian athletes allowed so they weren't allowed to race with you know, the kid Nikita Mazapin or his dad's money. So that was a whole battle in terms of who got to keep what funds but anyway, they brought in for this year. Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen replacing Mick Schumacher, who is Michael Schumacher's son, and they you know what, they overall don't do the best. And with that, though, anytime they get a little bit of luck on their side, like if they do a good first run in qualifying, and then maybe it gets canceled due to a red flag. They'll take those little victories like oh my goodness, we qualified for it. We don't deserve to be here, but we're gonna take it and it's gonna be great. And I just liked the enthusiasm from both their drivers who both kind of are getting a second shot at f1 careers, which is really cool. Alfa Romeo is the next team and they run a Ferrari engine and they have showed when you and Valtteri Bottas, Zhuo Guanyu is I think an underrated driver. I think he's super talented who hasn't been in great cars. I do wish That we could see what how brilliant he could be, you know, I just I don't get a big sense of what his driving style is like he kind of stays mid pack sometimes goes a little higher sometimes goes lower, but we'll see if more comes out of him this year. Valtteri bottas What a sweetheart so Valtteri bottas used to be Lewis Hamilton's teammate at Mercedes and he was such a good second teammate. He definitely put the team first he was really beneficial for Lewis in terms of winning some of his championships. He, you know, sometimes you get a little frustrated of putting Lewis first and he sometimes put his own needs first, but he was just so gracious and, and kind and he says great things about Lewis and the team even though he was let go. I love that we're seeing more of his personality this year. So big Valtteri fan, no, no bad things here. alphatauri, which runs a Hondo Red Bull engine. They are the sister team to Red Bull. And so a lot of those drivers that go through alphatauri then potentially get considered for the Big Red Bull team. And they have Nick De Vries, who's a new driver. And Nick De Vries has, you know, good racing history. But last year at one of the Grand Prixes Alex Albon, had had surgery and so he couldn't race in one of the races. And so Nick De Vries came in and was the substitute driver. And he did brilliantly he finished eighth which to finish in the points which points are awarded to one through 10. To finish in the points in your first race is incredible. And people had so much hype around him this year. And he's not doing well. There are rumors that he might be let go like halfway through the season if he doesn't start to perform, which is interesting, because he's only two points behind his teammate up Tsunoda but apparently the on track performance is just not not doing well. And Yuki Tsunoda is has been racing for a couple years. He's a hothead, let me tell you, he gets super emotional, he will sometimes make mistakes because of that emotion. He's a he's an interesting character on the drive to survive show and you see his kind of mental development and trying to be more in control of his emotions. But you know, I am not super optimistic about his future in the sport either he you know, can make some mistakes, doesn't have those really brilliant drives. So we will see. And the last team is Williams and they run a Mercedes engine. Williams has the lone American in the field, Logan Sargent and Logan Sargent is the brother of Dalton Sargent, who raced k&n east and some of the minor league NASCAR series a little before I did, but they both come from, you know, a very prominent Florida family. And he hasn't been doing well, you know, he didn't do well in Miami, which everyone was hoping that the American would do a little better on the American Grand Prix. And I think that one is really hard your first year, but he's not not thriving. And Alex Albon. You know, in general, I have really good vibes from Albon. But I don't necessarily know that he's a super brilliant driver. He got fired and then rehired. And, you know, we'll see I don't necessarily feel like he has a long tenure in his future. So those are my hot takes. Let me know what you feel about that. I'm super interested to see who agrees with me, who doesn't agree with me and who your favorite drivers are. Now, let's get into the 2021 drama. And if I'm honest, I still feel a certain way about it. I still feel bitter is not the right word, because I don't have any skin in the game, but just it definitely played out poorly, in my opinion. So the whole 2021 season was super close between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton and and they went into the last race equal on points. And so the championship was going to be determined solely by that race. They had gotten into each other they throughout the season, they had crush each other out sometimes Max one sometimes Lewis one. And it was just you know, again, as a Lewis fan, I was hoping he would get his eighth championship. He didn't spoiler if you haven't seen that season. But what the drama was, was that they they had the last race in Abu Dhabi and Lewis Hamilton dominated for most of the race, it was looking like it was just going to be a walk away. And then with like four or five laps to go, Nicholas Latifi, a guy running in the back crashed into the wall, causing the safety car to come out so they couldn't race. And even though the safety car was out, Lewis Hamilton strategically couldn't pit because then he would lose the lead whereas Max's positioning on track compared to the other cars meant that he could pit so then the championship leaders were on totally different situations. And Lewis Hamilton had old tires Max Verstappen was able to pit and got new tires. And basically the the story is too complex to get into on this podcast, but you can go read about it basically the race director made a call change his mind deviated from the race protocol. In his final decision, the race was restarted with one lap to go there were lapped cars mixed up in there, Hamilton tried to hold Max back and wasn't able to and then max passed him and one now Max was super deserving of the championship. Don't get me wrong, they were both so talented Max is extremely talented. They both deserve to win it would have been great and fair regardless of who won but The fact that such a high stakes, high effort high financial investment event and sport and season was determined because of messiness, subjectivity, indecision and straying from the from the protocol. It just, it sucks. That's a terrible way to end a season to feel that outside influences impacted the outcome. And that is partially why I feel strongly about that. But we cannot go back, we cannot fix the past. And I'm just hoping that in the coming races in the coming seasons, we're able to see more of those really close battles right now Red Bulls super dominant. And I think most sports are more fun when it's a closer competition level. So I'm really hoping that that the teams will be able to find a little more equal playing ground so that we can regularly have you know, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 people who could win that would be very exciting. So that is our show. Thank you for joining me for my first hot take on Formula One. And if you like this episode, please share with your friends get into a debate with me, right? Like if you disagree with me, or if you feel a certain way about something I said, slide into my DMs tweet at me whatever. I love to talk about all things racing, obviously. So we'd love to hear your thoughts. And thank you for letting me be honest with you and I look forward to seeing you next week.