F1 2020 Season Spoiler Filled Race Talk


*** As with last season's thread, we'll be talking freely about races without spoiler tags, so please beware if you watch races on a delay! ***

How to watch in the US:

- ESPN carries races live both on their various broadcast channels, but also on their various apps as long as you’ve got a TV provider login with the appropriate access to ESPN.

- F1TV is an official streaming service that offers two tiers. The “Pro” tier lets you stream races live for about $80 a year, but you can get on demand streams of all races for a much more reasonable $26 a year if you don’t fancy waking up at 5 AM or something for like 2/3rds of the races. There are also month to month subscriptions available, and if you sign up before the season starts you can get a 25% discount with the EARLYBIRD25 promo code.

- The official F1 YouTube channel doesn't offer full replays, but they do have great highlights packages for every practice, qualifying, and race session throughout the year, as well as great interview an analysis coverage throughout race weekends, and a variety of other miscellaneous interesting video clips in between.

Who are the teams?

Spotter's guides aren't quite available yet because Renault is still using a temporary testing livery, but here's a fun pixel art thing in the meantime.


Short team descriptions from the F1 Official YouTube channel (more will be added as they are published)

Other Useful Links:

GWJ F1 Fantasy League: https://fantasy.formula1.com/league/790
The invite code to join is: c5479a3832

Official Site
Drive to Survive, Netflix's excellent documentary series about the sport, an EXCELLENT way to introduced yourself to the sport. You'll learn all about the sport in general, meet the current drivers, and get a full recap of the 2018 and (once the second season is available at the end of February) 2019 seasons of the sport.
Shift-F1, a podcast about F1 hosted by video game media personalities Drew Scanlon (Cloth Map, formerly of Giant Bomb), Danny O’Dwyer (No Clip), and Rob Zacny (Waypoint).
Fantasy Formula 1
F1 Reddits: Formula 1 , Formula 1.5 , Formula 1 Posters, Inspector Seb

I'll be editing in more resources and links to this main post as we go along, but I figured that since preseason testing has started, we should get a thread going for the year.

Day 1 of testing is complete. Obviously it would be silly to read TOO much into the results, but there's still some interesting things to see here.


For example, apparently this year's Racing Point bears some striking similarities to last year's Mercedes, and at least at first blush that seems to be borne out on track. Reports have it that they've gone even further with the customer team approach than Haas has, and there are plenty of other folks in the midfield who are more than a bit grumpy about it.

Also worthy of note, Williams might actually be part of the midfield this year, rather than racing each other for 19th and 20th position. Here’s to hoping, I guess?

Rad. Testing sessions today were fun. Some items of note:

- The Williams livery is fantastic. What a turnaround from last year's garbage. Maybe my favorite?
- AlphaTauri livery is also fantastic, but man that blue just looks black.
- Ferrari is trying a new strategy this year - being slow. Oh wait.
- George Russell said that the FW43 feels drastically improved.
- Ocon says that the Renault has the most grip he has ever felt in an F1 car.

Completely agreed on the Williams and Alpha Tauri liveries -- those are some sharp looking cars. Also, the mild McLaren redesign isn't too bad either, although I quite liked the triangles on the fin of last year's car.

As for Ferrari, I suppose it's possible that they've totally flubbed their car this year, but I think it's more likely that they've just not turned it on all the way for day 1. Still a lot of testing to go, and then some time yet before Melbourne, but yeah, not a great foot to start on I suppose.

The new season on Netflix is coming at the end of the month, I'm looking forward to it.

Zero, what do you mean by 'customer team approach' for Racing Point?

Agreed, I like the McLaren a lot. One exception for me might be the papaya halo. I think it should either be blue, or be two-toned like the Williams / three-toned like the Racing Point.

I'm super excited already, though, for the season.

LeapingGnome wrote:

The new season on Netflix is coming at the end of the month, I'm looking forward to it.

Me too! Watching the first season last year was what finally pushed Lunabean and I over the edge into actually watching the sport rather than appreciating its existence from afar. Now that we've gone super deep on the sport I expect the second season will be a bit of a different experience, but it will still be a lot of fun to get the additional level of insight into what was happening throughout last season that we didn't get to see on track and in miscellaneous interviews throughout race weekends.

Zero, what do you mean by 'customer team approach' for Racing Point?

As I understand it, there are roughly three types of teams in F1. I could be totally off base here though, so hopefully more knowledgable folks will correct me where I'm wrong.

1. Works teams, owned by engine manufacturers who are generally fully designing and engineering their cars from the ground up. (Even works teams will source a variety of parts from third party manufacturers, but significantly less so than customer teams.) Currently, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault are this sort of team. Honda is also an engine manufacturer, but doesn't have a works team -- they supply the two Red Bull owned sister teams (Red Bull and Alpha Tauri).

2. Manufacturer teams, who source engines from the aforementioned engine manufacturers, but generally design and build the majority of the rest of their cars. Again, there will be a variety of miscellaneous parts that they source from third parties, but they still take pride in their car being substantially of their own design. Red Bull, McLaren, and Williams are generally considered this kind of team. McLaren will be using Renault engines this year, but starting in 2021 they will return to Mercedes as their engine manufacturer. Williams is also a Mercedes engine customer.

3. Customer teams, who lean much more heavily on partnerships of various sorts for the design and manufacture of their cars. There's a lot of variety in how these relationships are structured, and there are a variety of rules about just how much of a car's design can be sourced from elsewhere, and every step these teams take towards being more dependent on their partner (and in some cases, parent) companies is controversial.

- Toro Rosso (known as Alpha Tauri starting this year) is basically the Red Bull farm team for drivers, and for years was the primary subject of controversy about the independence of car designs. In recent years they've not been the biggest targets of ire in this conversation, although the 2020 Alpha Tauri is also apparently VERY similar in design to the 2019 Red Bull, as is maybe evidenced in Kyvat's strong testing results today.

- These days Alfa Romeo (who were Sauber until a few years ago) has a similar relationship with Ferrari -- I don't believe there is as complete an ownership overlap as with the Red Bull teams, but Ferrari basically has control over one of the Alfa Romeo driver seats, and they source more significant pieces of their car design from Ferrari.

- Haas was very controversial when they entered the sport a few years ago because at the time they took the customer team concept to levels beyond what Toro Rosso had settled on for the previous half decade or more, having a LOT more of their design and parts manufacture white labeled from Ferrari. This was especially controversial at first because they started very strong, but people care a bit less now that they've dropped down the standings a bit.

- Finally, this year Racing Point seems to have stepped up to new levels of design outsourcing with Mercedes. I'm not super clear where on the spectrum they sat previously, but the sense I get is that they were more in the realm of Alfa Romeo, or perhaps even closer to being a fully independent manufacturer like McLaren and Williams before the Force India collapse.

Just let it not be as much of a procession this year.

EDIT: r013nt0 beat me to the punch on item three, but more details on that development are at the end of the post here.

So, three more interesting things from yesterday and today’s testing.

First, Verstappen and Ocon can at least be cordial on day 1 on testing. We’ll see how long that lasts if Renault can actually get their car working this year though.


Second, sounds like Racing Point might have just done high quality job of copying (which is legal) rather than design sourcing from Mercedes (which is against the rules for many parts), making the decision to jump closer to what they think is a good car (particularly given the limitations imposed by the parts they ARE sourcing for Mercedes), particularly since it’s all going to be thrown away next year anyway with the big rule changes.

Here’s a five minute clip of the technical director chatting about it in detail, which I highly recommend.


And man, did they do a good job of copying that design:


And from early signs in testing, it’s working on the track. In fact, all the people who were curious to see sparks fly between Verstappen and Ocon might ironically get to see them between Verstappen and Perez instead, since that’s a car that could easily be up scrapping with Red Bull at the very least, if not Ferrari at times.

That said, apparently Red Bull isn’t even bringing out their full 2020 aero package until week 2 of testing, and who knows what’s up with Ferrari, but at the very least there’s reason to be optimistic that there could be at least one more driver chasing podiums regularly this year. (Perez, that is. Stroll, well, maybe we get to see whether he can actually drive?)

Third, there’s significantly less optimism this morning about seeing anyone having realistic chances of unseating Merc from their position of dominance, because I’ve totally buried the lead in this post. They apparently have shown up to testing with an innovative new steering system that allows the driver to adjust the toe angle of the front end by physically pushing the wheel in and out. The details are still very much in question, but this is what folks think is happening:


And here are a few more clips of commentators discussing both what’s being done and the potential legality of the system:


And finally, here’s a brief clip of an interview with Lewis Hamilton and James Allison (Mercedes’ technical director) where they confirm the existence of the system, then name it (“Dual Axis Steering” or DAS, although commentators are calling it “trombone steering” which is a bit more fun and illustrative), then confirm that it worked and felt safe from a driver’s perspective in testing, and finally confirm that they’ve been working within the proper FIA approval channels as they’ve developed the system and are confident that it’s legal and that they fully intend to use it.


Anyway, it’s maybe a bit of a doom and gloom situation if you work for any of the other teams (particularly those who had honest hopes of challenging for the title this year) or if you’re a fan who wants to see Merc stop Mercing the field — everyone seems quite convinced that the system will have a huge impact at the very least on race pace, if not perhaps even qualifying pace, and various engineers and technical directors are saying it’s a system that could take at least a few months (if not half the season or more) for them to catch up on. But at the same time, it’s pretty exciting that the team that could probably have just sat back and focused on next year’s car and cruised trough another dominant season is still cranking out crazy ideas for a car design that’s effectively going to be completely replaced next year.

(Granted, they probably also see this as an important innovation to add to next years car as well, and particularly since the new rules offer much less latitude to play with external aerodynamics, finding new avenues of technical development to play with and being ahead on them is going to be key to getting off to a good start on the 2021 rule set.

That's what you get for actually putting effort into your posting.

Today's testing results:


Merc seems to have been doing race simulations and testing their new trombone steering system today. Ferrari seems to have turned on their customer engines today, but probably weren’t pushing for top speed themselves (that, or they’re just really set on not letting anyone see their full speed in testing this year). Good signs elsewhere that the rest of the field might be reasonably competitive though.

EDIT: Adding cumulative results across both days.


Holy sh*t, Hamilton's lap was on hard tire compounds. (Kyvat's too.)

Oh, and Haas clearly wants to be sure their car works for more than one lap this year.

While we wait for the season to commence, may I recommend the wonderful world of Marbula One in the meantime?

The official F1 Fantasy system has been activated for the year. I created a GWJ League, if anyone is interested. It can be found here:


And the invite code to join is: c5479a3832

Hey Kubica fans:


zeroKFE wrote:

Hey Kubica fans:


We're back!

And, full results for the day:


Still doesn't feel like Red Bull and Ferrari are interested in showing their full pace. More good signs for Racing Point and Alpha Tauri, though.

Kubica gonna get a real seat with Alfa next year assuming Kimi retires?


There's also the question of what happens if Gio doesn't maintain his positive momentum from the end of last season, but Ferrari controls that seat if that happed it would likely go to one of their juniors currently driving in F2.

I hope Gio continues to improve. Seems like a good dude.

Today's testing results:


Not a lot of folks doing glory runs, and unfortunately since that chart doesn't show the tire compounds it's missing some of the interesting details -- Vettel's time was on softer tires I believe, but Stroll's time there is even more respectable since he was running on mediums. Also, a very solid showing for the Williams car, although that was also on softs.

Unrelated to testing, here's a cool thing someone posted on Reddit today. They did some charting of various statistics over the past ten years of the sport related to the competitiveness of the field, which showed some encouraging trends (which seem to be continuing from what little can be told from testing). The short version is that even though 2019 might have seemed like another year that Hamilton and Mercedes ran away with it, it was a much less predictable and more competitive year by far than many recent years, trending upward in most respects from what seemed to have been the doldrums on most fronts around 2015 or so.

Mercedes seems to be having some reliability issues with their ICEs this year. I'm sure they'll get it sorted, but it seems unusual.

r013nt0 wrote:

Mercedes seems to be having some reliability issues with their ICEs this year. I'm sure they'll get it sorted, but it seems unusual.

Yeah, it has seemed a bit dicey for them, hasn't it?

They've been talking a lot about how they made unexpectedly large gains in closing the performance gap on the engine side this winter though, so I wouldn't be surprised if those unexpected gains also came with an unexpectedly large amount of new reliability issues as well.

If you'd like a solid explanation of Mercedes' mystery wheel, Chain Bear has a good one (as usual).

Happy Drive to Survive Season 2 day, everyone!

Cannot wait to get involved.

Cannot wait to get involved.
zeroKFE wrote:

The official F1 Fantasy system has been activated for the year. I created a GWJ League, if anyone is interested. It can be found here:


And the invite code to join is: c5479a3832

Results for the final day of testing:


More encouraging signs for Williams, and a surprisingly strong showing from Ricciardo today as well.

Also, while all the of the top three have clearly been sandbagging hard all throughout testing (and only Ferrari actively denying it), Max's runs this afternoon were incredibly transparent about it since he was clearly doing quali style testing. He did at least three runs where he threw down dominantly purple times in the first two sectors, and then visibly lifted on the final straight only to still deliver lap times in the mid 16s.

Anyway, still really no way to say with confidence the relative positions of the top three teams, but I certainly wouldn't try to dissuade anyone who was feeling bullish on Red Bull for the year.


Also, here's the best laps for each team across both weeks of testing:



Some interesting data analysis:


Notes on how it was created here: https://www.reddit.com/r/formula1/co...

I am really enjoying Jolyon Palmer on F1's YT channel thus far:

Palmer has been a great addition to F1's YT channel. I hope they do even more content with him this year.

More Jolyon, More Will Buxton, less of the "talk us through it" lispy guy they started having do driver interviews in Paddock Pass. He's terrible.

Finished DtS Season 2. Really good stuff.