The Roar
The Roar

Joshua Kerr

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Joined March 2019

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Roaring about all the grand prix action plus anything else that takes my fancy. I'm based in the UK so sometimes may not respond to comments promptly because it's the middle of the night here! Follow me on Twitter @Joshua_T_Kerr

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1. I found the stewarding a bit weird too this weekend. No penalty for Leclerc then a 15 second time penalty a few hours after the race. What are they playing at?! Vettel didn’t move out of the starting box and so didn’t get detected by the sensor and so didn’t get a penalty. Simple. He didn’t benefit at all because he was immediately overtaken by Bottas so he sort of penalised himself.

2. Bravo Mercedes. It looks easy to dominate the sport like they have but it definitely isn’t and a lot of credit should be paid to the people we don’t see working hard at the factory in Brackley. As usual, I’m torn. Yes, it’s great that they’ve won six successful driver-constructor championship doubles but we’ve had some excrutiatingly boring races over that period. Success and domination comes at a price, viewing figures tumble due to the predictability and I get ridiculed for saving 21 weekends, 22 from next year, for F1 armchair watching (and writing).

3. Albon’s great. I love his driving style. He’s been rather fortunate to be given grid penalties that relegate him to the back of the grid as he has proven that he can move through the field well when required. 4th place in Japan was helped out by his teammate retiring and Leclerc’s self-inflicted damage after contact with Verstappen at the start (plus post-race penalty). Still, compared with Gasly’s performance in the same seat in the first half of the season, I think Albon’s a shoe-in for the 2020 seat.

4. Renault did pull it out of the bag in the race. However, I think it’s only more impressive because they had to come through the field. They are still second-best to McLaren but don’t let this detract from a decent race from them.

5. So-called ‘Super Sunday’ was a nightmare for me here in the UK. Qualifying at 2am? No thanks! It’s bad enough that the race started at 6.10am. I think the idea of qualifying sprint races should be played with but the current qualifying format has been going strong for 14 seasons and shouldn’t be tampered with. Remember Australia and Bahrain 2016? I’d rather not. While I like your idea of the warm-up session, it’s not plausible for all grands prix, especially the European rounds. I fear that a warm-up session could come at the expense of support races, with them perhaps being moved to an earlier slot to accommodate the new session. I’m too young to remember when warm-ups actually existed and so cannot comment too much on the sessions themselves but I’d hate to see the support races get dealt a harsher deal than the mediocre one they have already. (What does the support race schedule at the Australian GP look like, Ben, and where would you put a warm-up session if you had the powers to do so? While you are lucky enough to have wall-to-wall coverage on Channel Ten, Sky Sports F1 refuses to show anything but the F1, although BT Sport sometimes decides to show the Supercars from Melbourne.)

P.S. Lovely to have you join the motorsport team. With Michael, Jawad, you and I, we’ve got a great mix of opinions suitable for such an opinionated sport!

Five talking points from the Japanese Grand Prix

No.1 reason to watch the rest of the season: my dad’s paid for the Sky Sports subscription so it would be wise to make use of it.

No.2 reason to watch the rest of the season: each track suits each car differently. Japan and Abu Dhabi suit Mercedes, USA and Brazil suit Ferrari and Mexico suits Red Bull.

No.3 reason to watch the rest of the season: RAIN IN JAPAN! (if the race gets underway – it all depends on the strength of this typhoon) I love me a wet race!

Finding a reason to watch the rest of the 2019 F1 season

I don’t think it’ll be 2-0 NZ, maybe 1-1 at least, but I agree that this does have the potential to be a bad tour if things don’t come together for this England side. But I have faith as you have to most days as an England cricket fan!

England have named a team that can really test the Black Caps this November

Certainly agree with you Paul. I still think this team is ready to play but then again I thought that when we went to the West Indies! You never know what to expect as an England fan.

Let’s not beat around the bush – England have gone all out in the past four years to win the World Cup so, of course, they’re going to be shattered but I don’t think that this should be an excuse for any substandard performances in NZ. Jofra Archer has been hit hard both mentally and physically because his skills are being negatively exploited – that is my only concerns in terms of being switched on after the tough summer.

England have named a team that can really test the Black Caps this November

None of these players have played any matches whatsoever in October and I think they’re ready to play New Zealand. New Zealand themselves have just played a drawn series against Sri Lanka so they haven’t been out of the test game either.

I find this series difficult to predict and the 58 all out in the first innings at Auckland in 2018 sticks in my mind. It’s definitely going to be a close one and it’s definitely going to be unpredictable as well. We’ll have to wait to see what sort of squad New Zealand names before we can make comparisons.

The XI that I picked in my article is what I consider to be the REAL England that you talk about. The only niggles that I have is Burns opening the order (I want to give him another chance but he’s running out of chances) and Sibley and Pope (many English batsmen have found the jump from county cricket to test level too much). I hope they play their best games because they will have to with the South Africa tour looming as England have the capability to beat both New Zealand and South Africa away from home and need a strong team that will allow them to do so. I think England are beginning to solve their batting problems.

England have named a team that can really test the Black Caps this November

Agreed Simoc. I don’t think there will be an implosion as such, it’s just how it goes at Ferrari. Their attempted use of team orders in Russia was quite frankly ridiculous and Vettel wasn’t ignoring team orders because he told them that he couldn’t give the position to Leclerc because Leclerc was too far behind! This was an entirely different situation to multi 21 anyway seeing as Vettel was ahead of Leclerc whereas in Malaysia, Vettel overtook Webber whether the team liked it or not.

Leclerc’s just grumpy when things don’t go his way. His problem in Russia was physics – the car behind gets slipstream, goes faster and overtakes you. Simple.

Tensions may continue to flare for the rest of the season but, if Mercedes coped with Hamilton and Rosberg, Ferrari can. It’s just the culture at Ferrari to have a number 1 and a number 2 driver.

It’s just a nice bit of drama, that’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.

The impending implosion at Ferrari

Personally, I think five T20Is is a bit too much, considering that most other series in the 2019/20 season are only three matches long. It is good to see that T20 series are getting longer as most England T20 series only last one match.

England taking a strong team to New Zealand for their T20 series

Red Bull definitely elected to switch to Honda power on account of the unreliability of the Renault PU. The Honda PU has got much better in its fifth season of F1 but it holds teams back because of grid penalties that are incurred when trying to improve the PU. Other than that, the performance is great.

Can Mercedes take McLaren back to the top of Formula One?

You try living as a Verstappen fan in Britain – it’s Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton over here, as you’d expect.

It would be nice for Hamilton to clinch the championship in the States but he has that much of a points advantage that it is far more likely that he will clinch it in Mexico.

Lewis Hamilton wins a rather lacklustre Russian Grand Prix

Don’t worry Paul, I didn’t know too many of the players myself when they were unveiled a week or two ago.

Denly can score a few runs in the opening order and I’ve put him in the team because, if I was the selector, I wouldn’t be willing to put a few of the novices in the team just yet. I know he’s not the best option though. He could be replaced when England go to Nelson as their previous match is in Wellington and so they might want to rest some players in between the trip from the North Island to the South Island. That’s what I’d do anyway but whether the England selectors will do that, is another matter.

I’d bat Malan in the middle order (at 5 or 6). Malan has potential to go big, as proven by his innings v South Africa in Cardiff in June 2017 (his strike rate was 167 or something like that).

England taking a strong team to New Zealand for their T20 series

It is very difficult to predict how much McLaren will improve with a Mercedes power unit but there will be no loss of performance, that’s for sure. What will be interesting to see is how this move affects Renault’s performance as they will no longer have any customer teams to supply engines to, meaning they can put all their efforts into the works team. Considering no one expected Mercedes to be as dominant as they were in 2014, at the start of the turbo hybrid era, I am certainly not going to make a prediction as to whether or not McLaren will go back to the top of Formula One but wouldn’t it be nice if they did? Carlos Sainz is the smooth operator after all…

Can Mercedes take McLaren back to the top of Formula One?

Hi Ben,
First of all, Josh is fine and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. As I’ve probably said before, I can only report on what I’ve been given by what’s happened in the race.

Vettel’s retirement certainly put a spanner in the works for Ferrari because of the virtual safety car that was brought out afterwards and Mercedes pitting during that virtual safety car. Leclerc was ahead anyway after the pit stops so there was no need to make it a big deal but, come on, controversy is always interesting!

I estimate Hamilton will win the championship in Mexico, as he has done every year since 2017.

Lewis Hamilton wins a rather lacklustre Russian Grand Prix

Yes, we did have a good midfield race yesterday and I apologise that I didn’t give it fair attention.

There clearly was a plan at Ferrari, seeing as they tried to enact it on lap 6 of a 53-lap race. It doesn’t matter whether Vettel agreed to it or not as team orders do not go like that. P3 is not P1 and so, despite Vettel having the initial advantage, Leclerc had priority. As you say, though, Ferrari’s Ferrari and they’ll never stop doing this.

By the way, the BBC’s Andrew Benson, a very experienced journalist, wrote an article with a similar theme to mine. We’re only reporting what we get given by the race. And I’m sorry I’ve only been doing this for six months!

Lewis Hamilton wins a rather lacklustre Russian Grand Prix

Hulkenberg wouldn’t be able to get into the Red Bull circle because the team have already said that they will have Verstappen and either Albon or Gasly in the Red Bull seat for 2020. I also don’t think it would be right for Hulkenberg to race for Toro Rosso next year. I have written an article on the Red Bull Driver Programme and their current problem seems to be that they have a lot of teenagers on the programme at the moment meaning that it will be a few years before they can be picked to go into F1.

The Nico Hulkenberg question

If Hulkenberg can get a good opportunity in other top-profile series, then that won’t be so bad. JEV is now a 2-time defending Formula E champion and Wehrlein is also flying high in FE. These days, Formula 1 shares its spot as the pinnacle of motorsport with FE and WEC.

It’s a bittersweet situation for me because I was disappointed when Ocon didn’t get a drive for 2019 and I’m glad that he’s now got one. But the fact that Ocon’s new Renault drive has come at the expense of Hulkenberg’s gives me conflicted emotions. Hulkenberg could go to Williams but that would be a significant demotion for such a class driver as Nico. DTM springs to mind and that also wouldn’t be so bad and a new challenge for Nico.

FYI, the closest Nico got to a podium was the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, when he was leading the race before tangling with Lewis Hamilton and some lapped traffic and going out of the race.

The Nico Hulkenberg question

I must not have heard that, seeing as Vettel did come in before Verstappen, but it would be a fair reason for bringing in Vettel. The gaps were not that big though so it still brings into question why Vettel was brought in before Leclerc. However, the fact that Vettel was able to clear the traffic faster than Leclerc secured the German his well-deserved victory.

Vettel has said in post-race interviews that he was never really desperate for another victory so it was probably just a media thing to sell papers and get subscribers. I do agree though that he’ll have some confidence going into the rest of the season as he doesn’t have the ‘not won since Belgium 2018’ cloud over him.

392 days after his last victory, Sebastian Vettel wins in Singapore

His career was coming to a natural end. His performances were yo-yoing and there was a lot of pressure on him – double hundred the one test, barely into double figures the next. He continues to open for Essex so continues to accrue first-class runs and is a great commentator for Test Match Special.

Sir Alastair Cook Part 1: Rise of the chef

Peroni has fractured a vertebrae but is extremely lucky to come away relatively unscathed. Thank goodness for the halo!

Juan Manuel Correa’s condition is critical but stable. He is currently on a life support machine in a London hospital. His family hope that he can pull another one of his surprises.

Today’s F2 race has gone well with 17 out of 20 cars running. While it’s been emotionally tough on the drivers, they have put on a great show and they should be applauded for doing so.

Leclerc's bittersweet Belgium a reminder motorsport will always be dangerous

Both of you, just stop it! Stop trying to analyse the crash in a way that puts blame on drivers. Especially you Anon, trying to blame Hubert for his own death – how disrespectful!
The crash happened. Could it have been avoided? Maybe but now is not the time to discuss it!

Leclerc's bittersweet Belgium a reminder motorsport will always be dangerous

It’s not just Justin Wilson’s accident that makes Pocono more dangerous. Robert Wickens was launched into the catch fencing because of how tight the track gets on corner exit.

After yet another accident, it's time for IndyCar to say goodbye to Pocono

I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted McLaren’s rise to the front of the midfield – it has been a pleasant surprise. I’m still not confident about any of these midfield teams going to the front in 2021 though but F1 can surprise us. Brawn GP, anyone?

Ricciardo's growing Renault reality

Clearly I don’t know as much about Renault as you so I’ll concede defeat on that front. The death of Sergio Marchionne last year comes to mind and how that and the leadership changes that followed affected Ferrari.

Nobody expected the Honda engine to do this well in the Red Bull so I agree with you that this would have greatly influenced his switch to Renault.

As for Max, who knows what Daniel was thinking. Their crash in Azerbaijan wouldn’t have helped relations between the two at all so maybe this was a factor in Daniel’s departure but, overall, Daniel had a race-winning car and seemed comfortable at Red Bull. I mean, yes, Red Bull looked like they were going to have troubles adjusting to the new Honda engine but to jump ship to a midfield team such as Renault as a result? That’s why I don’t think it was a wise choice. I just can’t understand how Daniel thinks that Renault are going to win world championships in the future. It’s going to take a massive shift for the top three to stop winning.

Ricciardo's growing Renault reality

I don’t think Ghosn’s removal from the company leadership has anything to do with Renault’s decline. Motorsport projects tend to be a different entity to the car manufacturing side.

Renault have just had a difficult season. They have suffered a lot from reliability issues in 2019 but this is nothing new as Renault engines in recent years haven’t been the best in the world. These struggles have been accentuated by the rise of McLaren to midfield leader.

I’ve said ever since Ricciardo moved to Renault from Red Bull in August last year that this was a risky move and, in the back of his mind, I think he might regret this decision seeing as his former teammate Max Verstappen is sitting pretty just seven points behind Valterri Bottas in the championship. This is why Christian Horner couldn’t actually believe that Ricciardo was leaving – it seemed then, as now, to be a ridiculous decision to make. Hopefully, this doesn’t ruin Ricciardo’s career completely but it has certainly dented it for the time being.

Ricciardo's growing Renault reality

Actually there’s been a fair amount of coverage of this in the UK. You’ve just got to know where to find it.

I live in Worcestershire so our local BBC News covered the Coventry City problems, following the story all the way to the bitter end. Plenty of newspapers and broadcasters are covering Bury and Bolton’s troubles as well.

As a side note, Sky and BT show the top five English leagues between them (PL, Championship, League One, League Two and the National League).

The Premier League is papering over the cracks in English football

Agreed. I hope that Red Bull do what they’ve done in the past which is to take their grid penalties at their weaker tracks in preparation for their stronger tracks.
If they had two ‘equal’ drivers (e.g. Verstappen and Ricciardo) then they would certainly be challenging for the constructors title and would’ve picked up some useful 1-2s along the way. Verstappen, I think, was hampered in Hungary by not having a teammate who could support him in trying to fend off Hamilton.
Spa – Mercedes (or Ferrari if they get their act together). It could be close. Red Bull will take their chance if it presents itself (Ricciardo’s win in 2014 comes to mind).
Monza – Ferrari could edge it (the track suits their car perfectly) but everything must fall into place (unlike last year).
Singapore – Red Bull will be strong if everything falls into place. Difficult to predict a top team.
Russia – Mercedes look like obvious favourites but Vettel did challenge Bottas for the win last year.
Suzuka – can’t really predict much as this has been the track when Ferrari’s season has imploded in the past two years.
Mexico – Red Bull – the signs are all there. Verstappen has won here for the past two years.
USA – Mercedes – Hamilton loves Austin and Austin loves Hamilton but if Ferrari can force Mercedes into a ‘mistake’ like last year, they could be in for the win.
Brazil – all dependant on weather. Mercedes look the strongest but Verstappen has a good record here, finishing 3rd in the wet in 2016 (although that doesn’t tell the full story) and almost winning last year (if it wasn’t for Ocon, he would’ve). Vettel did win here in 2017 though.
Abu Dhabi – count Red Bull out. Mercedes will be fairly relaxed having won both drivers and constructors titles. Ferrari have a slim chance but it’s still a chance. Pole man should win.

Ferrari, Red Bull and the tale of two contrasting constructors