Alexey Popov: the Most interesting fight of the season will unfold in the middle of the peloton

Алексей Попов: Самая интересная борьба сезона развернется в середине пелотона

Russian commentator of Formula 1 Alex Popov on the eve of Sunday’s race FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIA GRAND Prix continues to familiarize fans with the new trends of the season-2017, talks about why you should pay attention to the middle of the grid, and does not lose hope to see in the “Royal races” strong Russian team.

Contenders for the title in fact already decided at the beginning of the season. It is obvious that the top positions will compete for Ferrari, Mercedes, and also in the top three, who will be able to periodically impose a serious struggle, – Red Bull. And on whom You rely in the number of teams-middle peasants? Who will be able to approach the leaders?

We all naturally hope for Toro Rosso. But when we talk about leaders, let’s not forget about Williams, which by the end of 2016 is in fourth position in the standings of the teams. Yes, they have not yet shown yourself to be young lance Stroll, who will debut in 18 years; he has never finished a race this season, by the way, it’s not always their fault.

Understandably, many are skeptical towards it, but he knew what was going on. His task now is to prove that it can meet the high level of F1. With all this, Williams power and potential still fourth. Especially here, at Sochi Autodrom, from the very beginning was a strong – Valtteri Bottas in 2014 he took the podium, then Felipe Massa in 2015 and 2016 finished fourth. At the Bottom, by the way, at the first Grand Prix of Russia was the best lap, he drove even faster than Mercedes.

The track in Sochi is always approached Williams. This year they have had a good start. Yes, there was a failure in the second stage in China, but the first and third race of the season Massa had a good run, therefore, answering the question of who will be able to get close to the leaders, then perhaps it will be Williams. But behind them (or almost level with them) is a very tight group in which we would like to see the Toro Rosso, and the prerequisites for this are considerable. Generally, there are teams that best qualify as Renault, there are teams that look better in the race as HAAS or Force India.

Force India, by the way, have worked a small miracle. They are not very effective machine this year, it is already understood on the tests. But since the beginning of the season both pilots regularly come to points, and at the moment they are in fourth place in the team competition. But until the update, it will be hard to hold this position. Here’s the fight in the middle of the peloton I would urge to wait very very sophisticated audience with even more interest than the fight ahead. Four or even five teams, ten pilots, in fact, fighting for one place. Here is a spectacular fight!

Alexey Popov: the Debut of Russian pilots in the Formula 1 first Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom is the events that mean a lot to me

Can McLaren return, if not leaders, at least in this second group of teams of which you speak? “Anatomy” for their failure analysed a lot of international Motorsport experts. I would like to hear Your personal opinion.

To the situation, which is now in McLaren, the team was a long time ago, and the reason – in a number of strategic mistakes, the main of which is that it is impossible to win the title, as the client team, that’s not true. Because even if you look at the last years, we will see a whole series of titles of client teams. This is the Brawn that was bought for one pound – without money, without staff, without wheels; they have the entire season passed with three chassis and became Champions in 2009. Is Red Bull. Many people think that they were a factory team Renault, but it’s not. They were a client team and won four titles in a row. Therefore, it is unclear why the McLaren could not continue to win with the Mercedes.

But they aspired to the status of a factory team and chose Honda based on the postulate that in the ‘ 80s scheme plus McLaren Honda was working really great, in the era of Simple and Senna. This time didn’t work, though, to their credit, they started to progress in 2016, but this season everything has fallen very sharply. Just for them the transition to the open development of the engine this year turned out a big failure (before that it was a certain number of tokens, and all teams could improve the existing engine within certain limits). This season has removed all restrictions, and almost all made new engines. Improved Mercedes, very seriously tightened Renault and Ferrari – percentage backlog from Mercedes has dropped very seriously. And Honda, however, have made it uncompetitive and unreliable engine. Hence all their problems today. Let’s see how they will help the updates they are preparing.

You comment on the Formula 1 more than twenty-five years. How has, in Your opinion, the audience of the “Royal races” during this time?

Formula 1 racing began to look more young and, if you compare the ratings of Formula 1 and other sports, the “Royal races” – a huge advantage in the percentage of the youth audience. It’s nice, of course. And in this regard encouraged by the policy of openness, given the new leadership of the Formula 1 – company Liberty Media. A greater presence of Formula 1 in social networks, the Internet will surely attract more fans of Motorsport.

What country would You personally include in the calendar of Formula 1?

I would be very happy to see the calendar as many of the CIS countries. Experience the Grand Prix of Russia and the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan shows that, if desired, and to build a professional race track, and organize at a high level, the Formula 1 race on a street circuit.

The dreams of many Formula 1 fans of the Russian team in the “Royal races” can become a reality?

If to speak about the Russian team from the point of view of engineering composition, and not just sponsorship money, I am an optimist and still hope in the future to witness the performances of the cars, designed by Russian specialists. Do not believe that we will be able to reduce in this area the technological gap, I don’t want. If, for example, in the aerospace industry we have competitive design of the world level, why in Motorsport may not be such a situation?

There is, for example, the Russian team “KAMAZ-master”, which had no equal in rally-raids. I understand that currently in Russia there are no people who are willing to invest in the project of creating a Formula 1 team, it’s big money and the program of participation in the Formula 1 is not a year or two, in motor racing it is pointless to come on such short notice. This is a long term project. On the other hand, I do not believe that in Formula 1 can be the Russian pilots, but now they are. The Grand Prix of Russia ten years ago seemed an impossible dream, and now we’re watching a racing event at Sochi Autodrom.

You follow other Motorsport series? Who is the favorite in your list after Formula 1?

Try to follow all the series, but most interesting to me the Australian V8 Supercars championship. In General, Motorsport is very little racing that I do not like.

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Source translated by Яндекс.Переводчик

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