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THE MAGIC ROUND-ABOUT

 

Will Wehrlein stay on the Round-about by getting chumy with Vettel?  Ah it’s that time of year again. As Monza comes about so do the flashing lights of the magic round-about. Jason has bunged on his technicolour dreamcoat, Alice has noted that the days are getting longer in the Antipothies and for those trying to figure it all out the answer is 42, although the question is mired in a certain amount of obscurity. And then the Jabberwocky strikes. The great comeback story of the decade, Robert Kubica will replace Palmer at Renault in 2018. Errr – except that Carlos Sainz is being “lent” to Renault by Toro Rosso. Because another Spaniard (or Catalan – depending on how the revolutio…errr…referendum plays out) won’t stay at McLaren if they keep the Honda engines next year. King Fernando’s position is understandable as Honda haven’t produced a competent F1 engine since 1991. Or to put it another way, since King Fernando was a 10 year old Prince in waiting.

  So McLaren need to ditch Honda (and their $100 million) and find a new motor. Mercedes and Ferrari say no. So cap in hand to Renault who will not supply four teams but wouldn’t mind having Fernando back in front of one of their products and are getting jack of Red Bulls constant complaints so are open to a deal. Red Bull’s reserve grade squad, Toro Rosso, could use Honda’s dosh and hey, who knows, next years Honda might just work. But Toro Rosso have an engine contract with Renault, and Renault have wanted to have Carlos Sainz in their car for a year or two now (and are pissed with Red Bull – see above).

 

  So Fernando will stay at McLaren if it can have Renaults if Toro Rosso can have Hondas and all their yen if Renault can have Sainz (on loan of course) and Kubica can stick his Renault comeback chances far up his …well, you know. And so can Red Bull it seems for an engine supply by Renault from 2019 onwards. Which means that about this time next year Ricciardo and Verstappen will be vying for places at Mercedes and Ferrari and Red Bull will be promoting Gasly and Kvyat (???) to the top grade in Red Bull Hondas because unless Honda pull out a miracle, Sainz won’t be coming back from Renault for that combo, “loan” or not. And no other top line driver will want to join Red Bull that early and wait until the new engine regs in 2021 when they may have Aston Martins, or VWs, or Porsches. Or not.

 

  And now, the great comeback story of the decade. Robert Kubica will replace Felipe Massa at Williams. Or maybe Massa will stay. Or be replaced by Paul di Resta. You have to think though that; A) Kubica did a pretty decent job in testing the Renault at the Hungaroring and, B) Kubica would be a pretty good PR move for Martini. Although di Resta did a very good job on short notice for Williams in Hungary when Felipe got sick. And Felipe does want to stay, but only if he’s wanted. And Gasly replaces Kvyat it the Toro Rosso from Malaysia as Danii has scored far too few points this year and Leclerc looks likely to join Sauber so Wehrlein gets spat out the door. Will Ericsson join him in the spittoon and be replaced by Giovinazzi or will his backers remain firm and Antonio be reserving again? Who would end up at Toro Rosso in 2019? Will Ocon and Perez keep running into each other and therefore force a change at Force India? And so the Round-about keeps spinning, some jumping aboard, some hanging on for grim death and some being flung aside with gay abandon, as it always does. And your current interlocutor keeps grinning like the Cheshire Cat and may well just disappear straight up his own….well, you know.

 

Sam Snape

 

28/9/2017