We have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by how much we are enjoying Formula One in 2017.
Minus Manor Racing, we believed our interest in Formula One would dwindle massively this season. Whilst it is clearly still not the same for us not to have mine and your favourite underdogs to cheer on, the actual on-track entertainment has been sufficient enough to keep us watching. At the back the grid, McLaren and Jolyon Palmer have provided us with a belly full of laughs and reminded us no matter how despondent we are that Manor Racing collapsed, it could always be worse. The re-emergence of Ferrari has provided genuine interest at the front of the grid, The shock retirement of Nico Rosberg has catapulted Valtteri Bottas to the front of the grid and he is now more than holding his own against Lewis Hamilton. No matter who the driver is, it is always great to see a new race winner in F1.
Talking of which, I don’t think we are going to have to wait too long before Manor Racing can boast it gave a debut to a F1 race winner. Both Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein have been in outstanding form since leaving Manor Racing showing exactly why Manor Racing showed faith in their abilities and gave then their chance to shine. If they keep this up, we are sure Mercedes are going to have a bid decision to make maybe as early as 2018.
Esteban Ocon has had an incredible start to the season and is currently sitting in 8th in the F1 standings after the first five races having scored points in every race of the season so far. Force India continue to impress us. They are the model than Manor Racing should have followed and any new team that eventually does enter F1 must follow their model which is not only continues to yield fantastic results but continues to pay the bill. It goes to show that spending that little bit more cash on two drivers that can do the job.
Compare them to Williams and Renault, Force India have went all out and opted not to hire a driver thatcomes with a big cash advance and unlike those two teams, hare currently not lingering at the back of the grid. The money Williams and Renault will get from Stroll and Palmer for the next 3 year will a lot less compared to what Force India are about to receive as they will almost certainly lose out a lot in the prize funds given out from the FIA at the end of each season. Looking at our favourite betting top 10 site we quite like the odds of Force India finishing ahead of a few of the manufacture teams.
Further down the grid at Sauber, Pascal Wehrlein was always likely to struggle given the machinery at his disposal. His challenge was further hampered by missing the first two races of the season due to injury but since his return he has comfortably shown his steady team mate Marcus Ericsson a clean pair of heels. His outstanding drive at Barcelona last weekend, where he finished an impressive 8th position, catapulted Sauber ahead of McLaren in the World Constructors Championship. With the Woking outfit hoping from one disaster to the other, Wehrlein may very well have earned the Swiss based team an extra few millions dollars they were not expecting come the end of the season.
Having two young, exciting and super talented drivers in Ocon and Wehrlein on the grid adds to the overall product of the sport and leads us to conclude that in-terms of future race winners, the future is very bright indeed. However, it just goes to highlight the job that smaller teams serve in providing a proving ground for young and up and coming talent. Where will the next Fernando Alonso who started his career at Minardi or Daniel Riccardio who started his career at HRT be allowed to hone his skills before they get the call up the grid? As we said at the time, the loss of Manor Racing Team was a disaster not only for us fans, but to for the sport as whole.