Why F1 drivers’ roles are not often as very simple as ‘number one’ and ‘number two’


The Formulation one driver line-up for the 2023 period is edging nearer to completion, and it is now very clear quite a few new partnerships will be fashioned.

McLaren will companion newcomer Oscar Piastri with Lando Norris, acquiring dropped Daniel Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso was verified as Sebastian Vettel’s alternative at Aston Martin along with Lance Stroll. Esteban Ocon will thus have a new workforce mate at Alpine, as will Alexander Albon at Williams, as Nicholas Latifi has been demonstrated the doorway.

As workforce mates chop and adjust, how will the new pairings match up from each individual other? The fight for supremacy within just each individual workforce is important, as it can generally establish who gets the improved tactic and the more recent elements – and who is relegated to a “number two” part.

Of study course F1 bosses are adamant they do not established out to bestow preferential cure on possibly driver. Talking at Mercedes’ start before this calendar year, workforce principal Toto Wolff talked about the preparations for Lewis Hamilton and new workforce mate George Russell, who arrived in put of Valtteri Bottas.

Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2018Bottas handed Hamilton victory at Sochi in 2018“We under no circumstances experienced a condition of a ‘one’ and ‘two’,” claimed Wolff. “They experienced equivalent chances and identical and the identical auto.

“This calendar year, the fascinating condition is we have in George the up-and-coming star [in one seat], and certainly the very best Formulation one driver at any time in the other seat. So the dynamic is new and evidently it is a little something that we will consider to steer in a path that has the most beneficial outcome on building the auto and building us all round aggressive.”

Hamilton and Bottas experienced the identical auto, and the identical chances. Bottas was frequently out-scored by his 7-time planet winner workforce mate, and on far more than the moment situation the workforce gave Hamilton preferential cure in his endeavours to earn the title.

At Pink Bull, Sergio Perez experienced to choose on the variety two part early in the calendar year. Throughout the Spanish Grand Prix he was informed on two different events to shift apart for workforce mate Max Verstappen, who went on to earn the race. “That’s extremely unfair, but okay” Perez reluctantly agreed. Talking to the media later on he claimed there had been “a couple of factors that we will go over internally” at the workforce.

Perez experienced to give way 2 times to Verstappen in SpainRed Bull workforce principal Christian Horner defended his determination, indicating Verstappen experienced substantial tyre gain and the workforce desired to capitalise on the retirement of Charles Leclerc, who arrived at the race in the guide of the championship. “Both motorists labored alongside one another as a workforce and to get the highest factors was massively crucial when Ferrari experienced an concern,” claimed Horner.

At the extremely subsequent race Perez reminded anyone he was able of having wins for himself, saying victory in Monaco. At the race just after, he designed way for Verstappen once more. Pink Bull have arguably been a lot quicker to lean on Perez to enable Verstappen than, for case in point, Ferrari has been when Leclerc has observed himself driving Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Some motorists, having said that, really feel the relevance of ‘number one’ and ‘number two’ roles within just groups is generally exaggerated. Lando Norris, who will race along with a rookie for the initial time in his occupation subsequent period, states McLaren deal with him and Ricciardo similarly.

“I appreciate when folks imagine that they know what they are conversing about when essentially they’ve obtained no plan and it is occasionally the entire reverse,” he commenced. “Especially, from my place of look at, each and every solitary weekend just before the race we have a small assembly likely via how we can operate nicely as a workforce and how we really do not operate as ‘number one’ and ‘number two’ and strategies of me aiding Daniel in sure situations and Daniel aiding me in sure situations.

“Literally the reverse way of acquiring a variety 1 and variety two. It is far more how can we operate improved as 1 to have a improved end result by the stop of the working day. There is no precedence. I’ll have precedence 1 weekend, then Daniel will have precedence the subsequent weekend. It is entirely honest.”

Ocon, who is but to master who his workforce mate will be subsequent period, and is at this time up from 1 of the grid’s most aggressive motorists in Alonso, claimed significantly the identical.

McLaren’s procedure is ‘the reverse to acquiring a variety one’“I’m now primary my workforce in conditions of progress on how the auto feels,” the Alpine driver spelled out. “I’m just guiding the workforce to convey the subsequent updates and which spot they need to have to concentrate on, if it is the rears or the entrance or the trip. We are very organization, me and Fernando, on what the auto does but most of the time we have extremely related responses on how the auto feels.

“But with regards to subsequent calendar year I will be the most skilled driver in the workforce. So it is fascinating. And I’m completely ready to choose that part if that is the situation.”

There will often be events when situations dictate a workforce has to place 1 driver initial, these kinds of as when they only have 1 case in point of a main up grade. Haas equipped Kevin Magnussen’s auto with its up grade a race forward of Mick Schumacher. Likewise Williams upgraded Albon’s auto just before Latifi’s.

Even the top rated groups put up with from these kinds of complications. Pink Bull have been functioning distinctive flooring on Verstappen and Perez’s auto for the previous couple of races, which the workforce spelled out was partly down to the need to have to reduce fees to fulfill the funds cap.

Groups may well established out to deal with both equally motorists similarly but there will often be situations in which they have to select concerning 1 or the other. The pressures of a championship struggle make that far more probably, as we noticed quite a few moments previous calendar year, and the funds cap may well make these kinds of choices far more recurrent in the upcoming.

When that occurs, as heritage demonstrates, it is generally the driver’s efficiency that swings the determination on who will get what. In F1 the condition is very simple: Possibly verify you are the variety 1 or hazard staying specified the variety two.

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