© 2012 - 2020 F1 Armchair Experts

ACN-625-084-568                ABN-78-775-403-823

My Dream 2019 F1 Grid

17 Jul 2018

 


I am sure that, as F1 fans, we have all thought up our dream line-ups for favourite teams, eras and races. Designed for high drama, create amazing racing or simply to put our preferred man on pole week in and week out. Senna and Schumacher in the same team? You bet. But which car? A great British time-warp of Jim Clark and Lewis Hamilton? Yes! But it would be a Williams? Right? How many titles would Prost have won in the current generation Mercedes? A scintillating question...

This post is not quite THAT fantastical. But, I have been thinking about this for a while and wanted to write up a full 2019 driver-grid that I believe would provide passion, rivalries & epic driving! So, strap in for trips into alternate reality and bring grains of salt! Some teams, for the interest in this fictional season, will have better performance levels. Also, for your pleasure halo has evolved to a screen and the sound-levels of V10 engines (not their tech) are back! Adding drama and looks! Petty politics in
the F1 grid (drivers who veto quick guys from joining their own team) & team-orders at any occasion are banned! I will justify why I believe line-ups COULD and SHOULD happen. Just imagine, if you will, this list was confirmed by the FIA & teams after Abu Dhabi & promo shots have been released...even though stats are current (I'm not psychic!)...Ferrari, who lead the championship, are first in this fun list!
 

 

Sebastian Vettel

Age: 31

Nationality: German

Number: 5

Titles: 4 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014)

Wins: 51

Podiums: 105

Poles: 54

Fastest Laps: 34

Past Teams: BMW Sauber, STR, Red-Bull
 

 

Daniel Ricciardo

Age: 29 

Nationality: Australian

Number: 3

Best Season Finish: 3rd (2014 & 2016) 

Wins: 7

Podiums: 29

Poles: 2

Fastest Laps: 12

Past Teams: HRT, Toro Rosso, Red-Bull


Why Changes Happened & What To Expect

With Ferrari entering 2019, they have to contend with the retirement of dependable number 2 driver Kimi Raikkonen. The options were clear but both with various bad and good implications. Choose the promising Charles LeClerc who, in winning cars, could be a legend (with his epic, superior, pace in the Sauber-Romeo) bu is a relative F1 rookie with only one, low pressure, season. The other open option was to choose the vibrant Aussie Daniel Ricciardo, who has shown his pace and over-taking panache on many occasions with Red-Bull and chalked up 7 wins to boot.. With Raikkonen's retirement, Seb's contractual veto-grip on the number 1 slot has ended. Had it not then their move would have been different. But with that freedom re-established, the choice was clear for Ferrari management, who usually favour proven racers with an immediate title chance. So, in comes Daniel. Fireworks may fly....

The rivalry between these drivers from 2014 is well known, where Daniel beat Vettel (then the sitting Red-Bull champion) in the standings in his first year with the team. He really got under his collar too, he only finished 5th that year! This history might be cause for concern should they run close together on track, but Ferrari's prerogative was to be a much stronger team this campaign; as Raikkonen often languished behind and damaged constructor's bids. Ricciardo will be up to speed. Vettel's pedigree is, of course, without question. He has been with Ferrari for 4 years. So he remains the clear favourite between these two. But, history has shown that Ricciardo can rock the boat in unexpected ways and he, at the age of 29, is certainly ready and hungry for that title shot....
 

 

 

Lewis Hamilton

Age: 33

Nationality: British

Number: 44

Titles: 4 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017)

Wins: 65

Podiums: 124

Poles: 76

Fastest Laps: 38

Past Teams: McLaren
 

 

Fernando Alonso

Age: 36

Nationality: Spanish 

Number: 14

Titles: 2 (2005, 2006)

Wins: 32

Podiums: 97

Poles: 22

Fastest Laps: 23

Past Teams: Minardi, Renault (x2) McLaren (x2) & Ferrari


Why Changes Happened & What To Expect

Having beaten Schumacher to the WDC at only the young ages of 24 and 25, Alonso is now well known as being one of the best all-round drivers of his generation. This was later confirmed with his successful outings in IndyCar and the WEC championship in 2017 & 2018. Fernando could well be a five time champion in F1 too, having narrowly missed the title with both McLaren & Ferrari (missing by 1 point in 2007, 4 points in 2010 and 3 points in 2012)...His constant ability to thrash all team-mates, out-perform his current McLaren's problems, turn radios blue with funny complaints & make excellent over-takes as he is does it, means he is a fan favourite...or villain. It depends on your allegiance...

So, despite big spicy history between these two drivers (during a season where they fought off track, drew on points, wins and second places in the 2007 McLaren) Mercedes finally did the right thing and offered Fernando his final shot at a title (as they should after Rosberg retired) whether Lewis Hamilton agreed or not. Esteban Ocon can wait. Now, as both men are older, Mercedes are taking the chance that matured minds and cooler heads will propel the team back to the dominance enjoyed in 2014.

With Fernando at the wheel, instead of the oft-unlucky, oft-outpaced Bottas, it is probable we will see an improved output in terms of points and reclamation of a control over constructor titles. Whether or not the driver's egos will get in the way of progress, it yet to be seen. Hamilton, for one, will not be ready to re-hand Alonso the crown of Formula 1. The Brit's talent is supreme but has, on the whole, gone unchallenged. That alone means we are in for a great treat as his resilience & ability is tested to the limit. Strap in! This will be great racing and brilliant media, but it could get very messy, very fast!
 

 
Max Verstappen

Age: 20 

Nationality: Dutch

Number: 33

Best Season Finish: 6th (2016)

Wins: 4

Podiums: 15

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 4 

Previous Teams: Toro Rosso 

 

Carlos Sainz

Age: 23 

Nationality: Spanish

Number: 55

Best Season Finish: 9th (2017)

Wins: 0 (Best Finish Of 4th) 

Podiums: 0

Poles: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

Past Teams: Toro Rosso, Renault


Why Changes Happened & What To Expect

Sainz, who has been on loan at Renault, has been instantly promoted (within his parent team) to the Red-Bull car after Ricciardo announced his move. The Spaniard has a tough season ahead of proving himself, despite doing very well in the yellow team. He will join up once again with his ex-Toro Rosso team mate and F1's apparent "wonderkid" Max Verstappen.

Their last outings together provided more than a fair share of controversy, with both of the drivers disobeying team-orders and scrapping in the media as well as on track. But with team-orders of all kinds being irrevocably banned, the politics of the situation will be limited. Instead we will get two young drivers promising to prove themselves a-new to the racing world with no restrictions. 

But, with the team moving over to Honda engines for the first time this year, it is an understatement to say that all aspects of their set-up are young and inexperienced. If you look at the struggles of the McLaren team and also the Toro-Rosso team, both one-time Honda partners, then it might be logical to suggest things will get worse before they get better. A temporary drop down the grid might be in order for Christian Horner's men. But, they are certainly building toward a bright future. 
 

 

Valtteri Bottas

Age: 28

Nationality: Finnish

Number: 77

Best Season Finish: 3rd (2017)

Wins: 3

Podiums: 26

Poles: 5

Fastest Laps: 6

Past Teams: Williams, Mercedes
 

 

Nico Hulkenberg

Age: 30

Nationality: German

Number: 27

Best Season Finish: 9th (2014 & 2016) 

Wins: 0 (Best Finish Of 4th)

Podiums: 0 

Poles: 1

Fastest Laps: 2

Past Teams: Williams, Sauber, Force-India


Why Changes Happened & What To Expect

After learning he was to be dropped by Merecedes, Valterri Bottas faced an uncertain future in F1; especially as the Scuderia had already sourced a replacement. So, Ferrari was off-limits. But Daniel's move meant Carlos Sainz was instantly pushed into Red-Bull, thus clearing a place within Renault. The French Team were happy to oblige. Whilst his time at Mercedes was not overly rosy, Valtteri is exactly the kind of driver they are wanting in their quest to rise up the grid and take advantage of hiccups in the new RBR-Honda relationship. He is fast & dependable in equal measure and can always put in a quick lap when needed. With 3 wins and 28 podiums now under his belt he also knows more of the kind of pressurised driving that Renault are hoping to target in the future.

He also shares many similarities with his new team-mate, Nico Hulkenberg. Both drivers have now reached a stage in their career where they are chasing lost potential. Despite some excellent solo performances the German is still yet to score a podium. He will hope that an improved car and the pressure of a quicker driver in Valtteri will push him toward that goal with renewed purpose. The team will hope that things don't get nasty as their racers scrap to fulfil their promise. Everyone in team and cockpit will keep fingers crossed the grand stride made in 2018 continue to deliver him a title-winning car within the next 4 years. A lot of work needs to be done by all to realise their dreams.