Currently there is highly interesting driver market situation in Formula 1, because there are some drivers who are not happy with their teams but also drivers who are not performing as expected. This time not only small teams are affected but almost the whole F1 circus.
The most famous person who is currently struggling with his team is the two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, though he actually struggles with the engine supplier of his team, Honda, and not so much with his team McLaren itself.
Since Alonso swapped from Ferrari to McLaren two years ago, he hasn’t had any chance of competing for the championship and not even for the top five. The major issue is the engine. It has got about 20-40 HP less than Mercedes or Ferrari engines and has got a very bad reliability. This year neither Alonso nor his teammate Vandooren managed to finish a race in the points. Although in the last race in Canada Alonso was within the top ten (only the top ten scores points) two laps before the checkered flag when his engine brakes down again.
The race before, in Monte Carlo, Alonso did not drive at all because he participated in another race in America, the so-called Indy 500. He was a rookie and raced in an oval for the first time, driving with a McLaren entered Dallara powered by a Honda engine. Surprisingly, he was already able to fight for the pole position in the qualifying but in the end an over boost problem cost him the pole. In the race, he led more than twenty laps and had a chance to win the race but twenty laps before the end his engine broke down.
In the last press conference in Montreal, before the Grand Prix, he was asked if he would stay with McLaren for another year answered that he would think about it if he would get a car with which he is able to win by the end of this season.
But there are far more drivers who are struggling but mostly the teams are the ones who.
Renault is one of the teams has a problem with a driver, in this case Jolyon Palmer who is about 0.5 to 1 second too slow compared to his teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who just joined the team this year.
The team which is struggling the most with one of its drivers is Williams Martini Racing. The driver is Lance Stroll, an 18-year-old Canadian racing driver who won the European F3 championship last year by far. Although the main reason why he got his F1 cockpit is because his father paid about 20-30 million dollars to the team, people still expected him to perform well, because he was so dominant in F3. Unfortunately, he is struggling quite a bit and is about 1.5 seconds slower than his teammate Felipe Massa and Massa is about three tenth of a second slower than, for example, Alonso (in the same car). Actually Massa wanted to retire after last season, but since the current world champion Nico Rosberg retired, Mercedes signed Bottas, who was actually going to drive for Williams, and because Williams wanted an experienced driver next to the very young rookie, they got Massa back.
In addition, Stroll is crashing quite often, but I think you should definitely keep in mind that the new 2017 F1 cars are much harder to drive than the cars before, which makes it even more difficult for rookies. You can also look at Stoffel Vandooren who was very successful in the junior categories and performed very good last year when he was substituting for Alonso, who suffered an injury at that time, in Bahrein. That Stoffel is struggling against Alonso as well.
Another driver who is not performing as he should is Daniil Kvyat, who was downgraded to Toro Rosso in the middle of last year. Despite performing well in the qualifying so far, this season he is struggling quite a bit in the races against his teammate Carlos Sainz, who has got a very good pace at the moment.
Pascal Wehrlein is another guy who may not be too happy about his team Sauber. Because last year he was racing together with Esteban Ocon (for the second half of the season). Ocon was signed by Force India, one of the good midfield teams. Wehrlein, a former DTM champion, was only signed by a team which was almost last in the constructors’ championship.
This year Wehrlein wasn’t able to participate in the first few races because the suffered a neck injury in the winter in the Race Of Champions. However, in one of his first races he was already able to score the team’s first and only championship points, which puts them second last in the constructors championship, just in front of the multiple championship winner McLaren.
Written by Moritz Sager