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I'm Matthew Somerfield, a freelance journalist focused on the technical elements of Formula One. It has been a pleasure to provide content via this site for the last 5 years, which has led me to several paid freelancing jobs along the way. I'm currently plying my trade with Motorsport.com and working alongside the legend that is Giorgio Piola.

This has seen the content here diminish as a result and I'd like that to change. In order to accomplish this I need your financial support, as I need to break free of the shackles of doing this part time. If you like the content I've been producing and want more of it I'd ask that if you can spare some change each month it'd go a long way towards transforming this site into the technical behemoth I know it can be.

As such I've set up a 'tip jar' over on Patreon and will continue to set goals and rewards based on our success - www.patreon.com/SomersF1

18 Sep 2017
The Singapore Sling

A race that was supposed to swing the title in Vettel’s favour couldn’t have turned out any worse for the German, as his title rival swooped in to claim a Grand Prix victory that didn't look remotely on throughout the weekend.

Most of the time It’s hard to say what goes on in the mind of an F1 driver, such is their hyper focus on the job at hand. However, it’s easy to be reminded that whilst we often consider them to be robots sent from the future, they too make mistakes in the heat of the moment. Their ability to process information and react to it within milliseconds is what sets them apart from the average jo(e) that thinks he or she could do from the comfort of his or her sofa. 

On the grid

The tension was palpable at the start of the race given it was the first time that any session, let alone a race, had been run in the wet at Marina Bay. A voyage into the unknown then, no data, no reference points just experience and wits - no pressure then.

Adding to the suspense was the fact that there was a split decision in terms of tyres to be used within the field, the top six - Vettel, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Bottas all opting for the intermediate tyres, whereas Hulkenberg, Alonso, Vandoorne in 7th to 9th went for the wet tyre. Meanwhile, the spread was just the same further down the field as Sainz (10th), Kvyat (13th), Grosjean (15th), Stroll (18th) all ran the intermediate, whilst Palmer (11th), Perez (12th), Ocon (14th), Magnussen (16th), Massa (17th), Wehrlein (19th) and Ericsson all started on the full wet tyre.

It became clear pretty early on, sans first corner accident, that the difference between the inter and wet tyre, at least in the early stages, was minimal. A strange occurrence given the supposed ability of the wet tyre to clear more water than its lesser trod brother but mirrored the events of qualifying at Monza.

‘A racing incident’


I’m sure you’re sick of seeing or hearing about it but we can’t really pedal on any further without covering it here. The collision that took out the top three contenders and unceremoniously lifted Fernando Alonso into the air was a racing incident - six of one, half a dozen of the other as all three tried to occupy the same space before they even reached the first corner. 

The Ferrari twitter handler, clearly aggrieved with the loss of both drivers decided to blame Verstappen for his role in events but might have done well to have watch the clash more than once or from various angles. The faster starting Ferrari’s pincered Verstappen, as the Dutchman cleary stayed true from his starting position, aside from some opposite lock to correct the greasy getaway. I’ve also heard from aggrieved Ferrari fans about how the Red Bull driver should have jumped on the brakes. It’s likely that they’re the same people who misquote the great Ayrton Senna, so I’ll use that against you

“Being a racing driver means you are racing with other people and if you no longer go for a gap that exists you are no longer a racing driver because we are competing.”

Having said that, despite protestations otherwise, I’d argue once he saw the Ferrari pair beside him he did his level best to avoid them, backing out of the throttle. Conversely, had he not backed out his left front wheel might not have collided with the right rear of Raikkonen’s.. que sera, sera.

The interesting element of the accident comes from Vettel’s side, as had he not used his tried and tested start tactic of crossing half the track to crowd a competitor he might have avoided any potential collision altogether. It’s a moment that reminds me of a scene from the Matrix, you know the one, with the Oracle, where she tell’s Neo not to worry about the vase, only for her action to cause him to knock it over.
I wonder if that's a Malboro being smoked by the Oracle? The lack of packaging might not be enough to dissuade me otherwise...

“Ohhh, what's really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything?...”

That’s the thing, even with foresight of the incident and given clashes between these drivers before it still wasn’t enough to dissuade any of them from getting involved in what was always going to amount to a tussle...

Mirror, mirror on the wall…
I’ll just douse this fire with one last can of petrol and make another suggestion before I move on -  mirrors. In 2010 the FIA regulated the position of the mirrors to an inboard location, as teams had for aerodynamic reasons moved the mirrors outboard, placing them on top of airflow conditioners and the like (see Ferrari’s F10, above). As the cars have been widened from 1800mm to 2000mm this year I’d argue that the placement of the mirrors should be a consideration of the regulator, especially as aero still trumps visibility in their placement. Again it might not have been a factor that helped in this scenario but certainly one I’d be interested in knowing if it was.

I’ve recovered from here before…

So desperate was he to get on with the job at hand that even with a mortally wounded car, Vettel tried to soldier on, in a display similar to his awe-inspiring drive in Brazil 2012 where he struggled back through the field in his damaged RB8. His problems were two-fold though, with a punctured sidepod leaking fluid out of the left hand side of the car and half of Kimi’s front wing lodged in the same sidepod inlet he spun the car on the next straight, handing the lead to Hamilton, as the Mercedes driver had made his way through the carnage and past Ricciardo into turn one.

The melee prompted the first of three safety cars that afternoon and led to demise of Fernando Alonso who’d also tried to trundle around unaware of the absurd amount of damage that had befell his MCL32. The team were in the dark too, with various sensors and electronics destroyed along with the impact and awaited the Spaniards assessment before calling it a day.

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

At least he saw the funny side of it though….

Settling Down

The safety car allowed the drivers a few moments of reflection, as the circuit was returned to its former glory and most of the carbon shards swept away. Wehrlein and Ericsson, with nothing to lose, seized on the opportunity to change tyres but rather than switching to inters opted for a fresh set of wet Pirelli rubber.

The second safety car came not too much further into the race, on lap eleven when Kvyat who’d not long dispatched of the Haas of Magnussen decided to snatch a brake and poke his car into the barrier. It was the opportunity that the wet shod runners had been waiting for, diving into the pits to collect a new set of inters, whilst Ricciardo, on the right part of the track when it occurred, seized on the opportunity too collecting another new set of inters.

A discussion heard on the world feed, a little before Kvyat’s crash, between Hulkenberg and his engineer suggested that the German was not yet ready to give up his wet tyres in favour of a new set of inters. As such, when those around him decided to pit immediately he and Jolyon circulated for another lap before making the change, which although this confused both the SKY and Channel 4 commentary teams they didn’t actually lose out position wise, other than to Bottas and Sainz who’d started on the inters and didn’t change for fresh ones.

Who’s gonna roll the dice?..
The next big question mark, and one that had been looming since the race got underway really, was when was someone going to gamble on the slicks. On lap 24 Kevin Magnussen made the call to switch to Ultra soft tyres, with plenty of new sets in his allocation, the Dane was hoping he’d be able to make up some time whilst everyone else deliberated whether it was worthwhile.

Sure enough, as soon as the Dane fired a decent heat cycle into the dry weather tyres, tip toeing around the dry line that had started to form, he became the fastest man on the circuit and started a sequence of pitstops that culminated in Hamilton and Palmer’s stops on lap 29. The leaders with no fresh ‘Ultras’ at their disposal went onto used sets, whilst a canny Carlos Sainz Jnr and his strategist opted for a new set of the ‘Supers’, expecting a challenge from his soon-to-be teammate Nico Hulkenberg toward the end of the race.

It wasn’t to be though as the Hulk continued his dismal luck of not finishing on the podium, having been as high as second during this race, as he suffered an oil leak that was masked by his pace in the early stages of the race but culminated in a prolonged stop to try and top up reserves and his eventual retirement. Meanwhile, his teammate he ran a steady race picked up the scraps on offer taking a well deserved sixth place - well deserved as Jolyon has had a heap of bad luck this year and also read about the fact that he’d not drive for Renault next season on the internet.

No siesta here my friend

The decision to take the Super soft tyre over a set of the used ultra’s (all that Carlos had left in his arsenal) was to be inspired, as the Spaniard defended fourth position from a hard charging Perez at the end of the race. The Mexican, armed with a faster car and new ultra soft tyres came out just behind Sainz as they all switched onto the dry weather tyres but couldn’t make it pay, as the Spaniard defended for his life and made his feelings known on the radio at the end of the race.

Boxed in

Ricciardo, a shoey in for the race victory when Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen played skittles at the start of the race never really looked like he had the pace to trouble Hamilton and whilst everyone assumed that he’d turn it on when on the dry tyres, he and his crew knew otherwise. The Australian’s race was dogged with a gearbox issue from the first safety car onwards, with an oil pressure issue resulting in him having to short shift and run in a less aggressive engine and ERS mode.

Over the line

A defining moment in the championship then, as Hamilton now finds himself 28 points clear of Vettel with six races left on the board. As fans of the sport, can we feel aggrieved of being robbed of what was essentially going to be a titanic battle between the Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes drivers? The collision, fault aside, took out four drivers who could have battled for the coveted podium places, with Alonso having had a fabulous start also forced to retire having soldiered on initially.

The race, which finished on the clock rather than by lap count, was a tense affair and one of attrition more than anything else - as Ferrari will head off to Malaysia licking their collective wounds, knowing that their task has now been made more difficult in the closing races, but will go to Malaysia with not only the promise of a new powerunit at their disposal but now a new pair of gearboxes, that should see them out to the end of the season. 

Meanwhile, Mercedes played devil's advocate throughout the race taking the opportunity, when it presented itself to turn the powerunit down and save some mileage for the forthcoming events. Without the threat of serious challenger, given the early loss of the Ferrari and Red Bull trio and Ricciardo’s gearbox issues, Lewis Hamilton simply drove it home, but not without some tentative moments I’d imagine as even the W08 twitched around on the greasy Marina Bay surface.
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13 Sep 2017
The Formula One powered road car - Mercedes-AMG Project:One


Mercedes unveiled their highly anticipated hypercar ahead of the Frankfurt motor show and it's a huge display of how Formula One and the road car industry can blur the lines.  Built around the MercedesAMGF1 powerunit the Project One hypercar will offer the lucky few that can afford it to indulge an assault on the senses that few will ever get.

It’s easy to draw comparisons with the original F1 crossover - the McLaren F1, from the gull-wing doors - now stablemate of the genre, to the racer focused cockpit (albeit not the central seating position that the F1 owned) but, the Project:One is unique in its own ways, taking a huge amount of what has been learnt in the sporting arena and transferring it to the road.



The car, like many hypercars, is a refined example of the direction engineering led projects are taken, each and every detail put under the microscope and so whilst it isn’t as brash as Pagani or Lamborghini, it isn’t supposed to be. Instead it has hints of other current and classic machines about it, as I’m minded of a Porsche 918, McLaren P1, Ferrari 360 and even a Saleen S7.

From a styling perspective the lower bumper intakes bear a resemblance to other AMG models and whilst DRL’s caress the upper outer quarter of these the LED headlights have been split into three above. Clearly form has played a role in the car's overall silhouette but it’s not defined by styling choices, rather seen as a secondary consequence of the car's aerodynamic performance, which is improved further when the car squats in track mode.  

Rearward facing vents break up the bonnet and dispense with any heat being generated by the electric wizardry beneath them, whilst active aero is present above the wheel arches, as three panels swivel to release pressure built up in the arches as speed builds - which as we know can be problematic at high speeds.

The car is flanked by what are becoming customary on hypercars - displaced skirts and are much like we’ve seen used in LMP1 design for some time, managing the airflow along the side of the car. An F1 inspired intake dominates the roofline and delivers a supply of air to the hungry turbocharger below, whilst the F1 inspiration doesn’t end there as a shark fin is connected to the intake improving the car's stability in yaw. Of course an F1 inspired car would be useless without dollops of downforce and the Project:One delivers with a monumental diffuser and retractable rear spoiler. 

F1 Power


The project’s beating heart is a direct transplant of the powerunit that has helped Mercedes to three back-to-back constructors titles but there’s a twist, as without those pesky FIA regulations the manufacturer has been unshackled, delivering even more toys than even Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have on hand.

The Formula One department - HPP - High Performance Powertrains, have been pivotal in the development of the powerunit for this project, having already taken the thermal efficiency bar and raised it above the 40% threshold the Project:One uses a heavily reworked variant of the PU106 to suit its new environment, as it uses all of the ingredients that have made the W05-W08 so special and remixed them to provide a mouth watering experience.

 


The direct injection, 1.6 litre V6 internal combustion unit is complimented by a single turbocharger coupled to which we find a motor generator unit - MGU-H. Attached to the crankshaft and responsible for beefing up performance by up to 120kw is the MGU-K found installed as part of the F1 unit but added to the mix are a pair of hub motors that are capable of delivering 120kw to each of the front wheels. Again, without the FIA’s regulatory framework to consider the energy store has been broken up into several components, giving the Project: One four times the storage capacity of its F1 brethren delivered through an 800v system, rather than a 400v one.





For those unfamiliar with the packaging and hybrid technology at hand let’s have a short refresher course...

The introduction of new regulations for 2014 forced Formula One’s engine manufacturers to not only consider the design of the powerunit but also how it impacted on the how their packaging choices impacted the team's they’d supply.

The reintroduction of the turbocharger, a single, centreline mounted one at that likely led to much head scratching as they defined their designs. Tantamount to those decisions was the installation of a motor generator in sequence with the turbocharger that can both harvest and deploy energy, depending on the prevailing conditions. Mercedes took the more complicated but holistically better packaging option of splitting the turbocharger and placing the turbine at the rear and compressor at the front of the engine's Vee. Between the two we find the MGU-H, slowing the turbo to harvest energy and assisting it to keep it spooled up.

The turbine and compressor are pancake shaped, in order that they’re housed in the face of each end of the block, giving them the desired shape to produce the requisite boost but outwardly giving the impression that the turbo is bigger than it actually is. Like its forefathers the Project:One uses a liquid-air chargecooler mounted in front of the engine, giving the shortest possible boost tract to the inlet plenums that enclose the variable length trumpets that respond to the given throttle demand.

Bolted to the side of the engine block you’ll find an MGU-K which is mated to the engine's crankshaft through a reduction gearset and able to deliver up to 120kw to help propel the car forwards over the course of entire lap. This is an example of the development posed by the new for 2014 regulations, as previously KERS had only supplemented their FO range of V8’s with 60kw as more of a push-to-pass system for roughly 6 seconds.

The MGU-H and MGU-K work together as part of a complex energy scheme, which is regulated to an extent by the amount of energy that can be stored per lap. However, one of the key ingredients and which has been pivotal to Mercedes success is the way in which energy can be shared between these motor generators without the need to store it. The energy scheme permits the MGU-H to deliver energy via the control electronics to the MGU-K, missing out the AC/DC conversion needed for storage in the complex array of lithium-ion battery cells and visa versa.

This means that at any time numerous energy flows can be occurring, such as the MGU-H recovering energy and sending it both to the energy store for later use and directly to the MGU-K for instant use. Or the MGU-K recovering energy under braking and sending it to the MGU-H to keep the turbo spooled, whilst sending any residual energy captured to the Energy Store.

Of course in the case of the Project:One there are now two additional MGU-K’s at the front of the car, able to harness energy under braking or deliver up to 120kw each. This really changes the car's energy throughput and further complicates how energy moves between each of the motors. However, what it does mean is that when the driver stamps on the brake or loud pedals the car reacts accordingly, with torque vectoring giving the driver a huge performance boost from the front axle through the corners.

No replacement for displacement?..

It must be said that whilst the use of these four electric motors is a fascinating prospect, one I’d love to see first hand - even on a dyno, the internal combustion engine still plays a pivotal role in delivering the circa 1000bhp that the car is putting out. The inclusion of the Petronas livery/branding on the car also plays into the story of how the lubricant giant has partnered with HPP and Mercedes to deliver huge thermal efficiency gains and helped to drive forward a lean-burn combustion revolution.

For those unaware of the regulatory side of Formula One the teams are restricted to a maximum of 105kg of fuel to cover a race distance (100kg at the start of the regulation set in 2014) of which a fuel flow restriction of 100kg/hr must also be maintained. This led to an arms race at the beginning of the hybrid era of which Mercedes and Petronas were already ahead of the curve, with their own turbulent jet ignition technology and fuel blends helping them to circumvent the burn rate issue created by limitations in the regulations.

Having nailed these issues it’s of no surprise that they are able to extract a four figure sum from a toned down version of the F1 powerunit in their road car but whilst the F1 engine revs out to around 13,5000rpm at absolute full-chat the Project:One is restricted to a more sedentary 11,000rpm. Now that’s not because they’re scared of what joe public will do with more power in their hands it’s about the resources available to them, afterall it will need to be run on pump fuel - 98 or even 95 Octane. So, for those questioning the claims that Formula One powerunits are running close to the 1000bhp holy grail and wondering why a car with an extra 320bhp from the front wheels is only claiming the same, this is the key and shows just how much more can be gained.

Boxing clever

Like their four F1 challengers since the start of the hybrid era the Project:One utilises an 8-speed gearbox. However, this is not a direct transfer from the design desks of Formula One, rather a bespoke unit better suited to the rigors of life on the road.

Keeping it green

The Project:One is going to be a ballistic missile out on track but the efficiency garnered through the various powerunit elements should make it relatively frugal whilst out and about on the road. However, should the owner find the need, or indeed themselves in a spot of mechanical bother the ERS can run in electric mode, via the front hub motors, around 15 miles before fully depleting its energy stores.

In Conclusion

Mention the word hypercar and everyone immediately think of the bonkers machines built by the more niche car makers and in fairness when you consider the hype that has surrounded Project:One, given its use of an F1 powerunit, you might be a little disappointed. However, much like the world of F1 you have to really get under its skin to appreciate the finer details of what will be an awe-inspiring thrill ride.

Only 275 of these cars being built and reportedly all of them have already been sold (even with a €2.3 million price tag) which means that it’s unlikely that someone like myself will ever get to sample the car's credentials but if they do I’ll all but guarantee it’ll be a once in a lifetime experience.

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10 Sep 2017
Somers on Missed Apex Podcast 7/9/17



 

I joined Matt Ragsdale, aka Matt Trumpets, for the first of his new wafflecast shows on the Missed Apex feed. It's more of a laid back feel than the shows I normally engage in with Missed Apex but was great fun to be a part of and felt more like a chat with a mate in a pub. Of course any pub chat wouldn't be the same without a few burps, so watch out for those as Matt forgot he was doing the recording this time and muted his Skype rather than the mixing desk ;)



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The McLaren, Honda, Toro Rosso and Renault deal that could change everything

The McLaren-Honda partnership is one that seemed doomed to fail since the Japanese marque arrived back in Formula One in 2015, the brainchild of Ron Dennis who firmly believed, rightly so, that in order to beat the likes of Mercedes in the hybrid era it would require ‘works’ status.

Of course just like any story in Formula One it’s not as cut and dry as this, with numerous behind the scenes machinations leading us down the the rabbit hole. A divorce from Mercedes, who’d been their engine partner since 1995 and granted them ‘works’ status of their own, was on the cards as soon as McLaren started their own road car division, of which the 12C was the catalyst. Martin Whitmarsh’s play fair approach of allowing the Mercedes-Brawn tie-up was just the nail in the coffin as it gave the Mercedes board a way of entering the sport as a constructor in their own right - buying up BrawnGP at the of 2009.

The way in which Mercedes went about their 2014 project - the all conquering W05, was the straw that broke the camel's back for Dennis who had begun to step back into the Formula One spotlight, having spent time overseeing the road car divisions ascent. His notion that only a ‘works’ team had the ability to challenge another ‘works’ team was starting to come to fruition and with no other options on the table (Red Bull were essentially a works team at that point) he thumbed through his rolodex for Honda’s number.

It wasn’t such a bad idea, the pair had a huge amount of success at the end of the last turbo era (1988), with one of the most dominant cars in the sports history - the MP4/4. They followed this up with another three titles, as Honda’s V10 helped them to stamp their mark on history.

The problem that Honda faced this time was the staggering technological challenge, something both parties clearly underestimated and with such a short lead time it was gamble that hasn’t paid off for either party. We all know of the woes that the ‘size-zero’ concept caused in 2015, as the RA615H’s performance was primarily dictated by its architecture - too small a turbo between the engine's Vee, leading to a huge hole in the energy map as the MGU-H simply couldn’t recover the level of energy required. On top of this the rushed to market powerunit was more than a little unreliable and with the homologation process and token system in place at that point making wholesale changes was almost impossible.

A softening of the regulations and abandonment of the token system has since made life much easier for Honda, with an entirely new concept run during the 2017 season and whilst penalties for failures remain commonplace the manufacturer does at least appear to be getting on top of the performance aspect.

Not enough data…

One of the main issues that Honda have faced in their quest to improve their powerunit has been raw data. Whilst other manufacturers have supported upwards of three teams they have only McLaren with which to garner information, an important factor when we consider they were already several years behind the development curve, as the likes of Mercedes began their R&D in the early part of the current decade.

One of the major stories for 2018 was that Honda had secured a second team with which to supply their powerunits. It was initially thought to be a win for Sauber as they’d have a huge chunk of their budget written off, as Honda desperately wanted to resolve their issues and having two extra cars giving them usable data would assist them in the long run, meaning the Japanese marque would pick up a large portion of the bill - a massive saving when compared with the Ferrari deal. McLaren were also expected to see some financial rewards, with Sauber set to purchase gearboxes from them as part of a similar technology tie-in to the one they’ve enjoyed with Ferrari.

As we know the deal between the three parties has since been torn up, as Longbow Finance - Sauber’s new owners, felt that it wasn’t in the best interest of their team and becomes yet another footnote in a long line of exasperating moments between Honda and McLaren.

Illien in the frame

It seems the Japanese manufacturer has finally decided to put their cultural differences aside and have started to take help from outside too, as Ilmor Engineering are now believed to be helping Honda, in much the same way they attempted to help Renault. The Renault and Ilmor partnership was a muddy one though, with Red Bull first instructing the latter to work alongside the French manufacturer, as they were unhappy with their progress. It’s understood that whilst there was a difference of opinion between Renault and Ilmor on the overall direction of the project, the performance of the Ilmor iteration met expectations during testing.

This bodes well for Honda as they go in search of extra performance, better fuel economy and improved life expectancy for the parts.

Alonso the catalyst for change


Zak Brown, now in charge of steering the McLaren ship and looking to right its course has been tasked with remedying an untenable situation that has seen Fernando Alonso switch to Indycar once this season and has angered the Spaniard to a point that he has intimated he may leave the team for a second time, such is his desire to be part of a more competitive outfit.

Having touted their wantaway desires around the entire paddock and having been rebuffed by both Mercedes and Ferrari it only had one more option available - Renault. The problem for Zak is that in order to get the Renault powerunit and fulfill his team's contractual commitments to Honda he’d need to create a deal consisting of numerous moving parts.

Firstly, to save their blushes and make good on their investment he needed to find another home for Honda, not an easy task given their own problems with the Japanese manufacturer. However, an accord seems to have been struck with Toro Rosso, a team able to take a punt on Honda turning things around, given they are a second string team. Furthermore, from a financial aspect the deal will be beneficial for the Anglo-Italian minnow as Honda will inevitably foot at least the supply cost and perhaps even offer up a substantial development budget for their chassis.



The big obstacle in this mega deal is that in order to release Toro Rosso from their contractual obligations it would appear that the Renault have decided to play their hand. Not content with having Nico Hulkenberg and hype train surrounding a possible return for Robert Kubica, they’ve turned their attention on prying Carlos Sainz Jnr away from Toro Rosso and the Red Bull junior programme. It’s a move that could actually play out as early as Malaysia, with Pierre Gasly deputising for the Spaniard the rest of the season and most likely into the 2018 campaign - luckily he’s just started to hit his stride in Super Formula too.

What does the future hold?

A Renault deal for McLaren is going to put immense pressure on the Woking outfit, strain the relationship with Red Bull and potentially see the ‘works’ outfit get beaten by two of its customers. The pressure for McLaren comes in several forms, firstly it means they’re going to have to rethink the MCL33’s layout, with the powerunits architecture and cooling requirements different to Honda’s. Secondly, such is the long lead time of an item like the gearbox they may have to purchase next year's from Red Bull Technology, who’ll have been developing one for Toro Rosso (similarly Toro Rosso will likely run the McLaren gearbox for 2018).

Lastly, McLaren have been boasting about how great their chassis has been for years, with the Honda powerunit the only thing holding them back. A deal with Renault could see them found out and whilst my expectations would be very low in the opening part of 2018, I’d expect them to make good on their promises later in the season, especially as McLaren have a reputation for delivering strong in-season progress. It must also be pointed out that McLaren had the best powerunit in 2014 too though and whilst their relationship with Mercedes was extremely tarnished at that point and Prodromou hadn’t yet arrived from Red Bull, they still had a woeful campaign by their standards.

McLaren could also end up with egg on their face, jumping out of Honda’s frying pan into Renault’s fire, as the Japanese manufacturer improves it could propel the STR13 past them in the Championship - an unlikely scenario but a satisfying one for many if it happens. The likelihood is also increased by the mere fact that Fernando Alonso is involved, the Spaniard always seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Should Honda finally get all their ducks in a row, we might even see Red Bull get the ‘works’ style deal they’ve been looking for since they set fire to their Renault one. I’m sure they’ll be keeping one eye on progress at Toro Rosso, with Honda’s satellite operation in Milton Keynes now looking extremely well placed too.

"Whut?!, come again? Just make it simple, what's happening?"

So, in simple terms the deals set to play out are as follows:

Sainz > Renault (Could be as early as Malaysia, with Palmer removed but most likely 2018)
Gasly > Toro Rosso (Could be as early as Malaysia but most likely 2018)
Honda > Toro Rosso (2018 - Toro Rosso Honda STR13)
Renault > McLaren (2018 McLaren Renault MCL33)

Honda > Red Bull (Could happen in 2019 if Honda get their act together - Red Bull Honda RB15)

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