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Formula One whatifs

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
#1
I've discovered that stupendous website last month and I can't get my mind out of it.

https://www.statsf1.com/en/default.aspx

There are trillions of whatifs hidden in that site guts.

Gilles Villeneuve, for a start. At the time of his death (May 8, 1982) he was completely disgusted with Ferrari and Pironi and was negociating with Ron Dennis / McLaren for 1983. Lauda / Villeneuve 1983, whew. Mclaren still lacked the all powerful TAG Porsche V6 and even Lauda OTL could do nothing against Renault and Brabham. 1984 will be different, but where will Alain Prost go in this case ?
And imagine, this train wreck - Monaco 1984 - with Villeneuve battling Senna (and Bellof). Oh dear. https://www.statsf1.com/en/1984/monaco.aspx

Stefan Bellof https://www.statsf1.com/en/stefan-bellof.aspx

He was bound for Ferrari in 1986 and he was to meet Enzo Ferrari in september 1985. Alas, he crashed his Porsche 962 in Spa Francorchamps and was killed.

Ferrari in 1986 would have been Alboreto and Bellof, at the expense of Stefan Johansson. OTL Alboreto and Johansson did not won any races but got a lot of podiums. Bellof would destroy Alboreto and probably get a couple of victories (as Berger did that same year driving for Benetton).
Then the 1986 championship was so close (with Prost beating Mansell and Piquet devastating rivalry with an inferior car) that even a lone victory by Bellof could change the outcome.

Elio de Angelis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elio_de_Angelis

His death was completely unfair. And he was very young (born 1958) nearly as young as Senna (1960). So his career was barely halfway, although stuck with a fast declining Brabham team... if he can sneak to Williams in place of Patrese in 1988, then he might be world champion in 1990 or 1991, when Williams got the Renault V10 and all the advanced technologies, and only Senna supernatural talent managed to snatch a pair of titles for McLaren.

Farther in time (1978), the respectives fates of Ronnie Peterson, his wife Barbro, and his fellow swede pilot Gunnar Nilsson, are a total heartbreak.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnar_Nilsson

Nilsson won a single race in 1977 and saw himself as Peterson heir in F1. And then Peterson died in Monza 1978 thanks to a stupid accident and stupid doctors; his wife never got over his death and committed suicide ten years later; while late 1977 Nilsson found- too late - he had testicular cancer and died one month after Peterson, just in time to go to his funeral, ravaged by his terminal illness.Within the span of a month, Sweden lost his two F1 stars and two gentlemen drivers.
Sickening.
Peterson was bound for McLaren (like Villeneuve !) when he died. With hindsight, the last years before Ron Dennis (1979 - 1981, despite pilots like Watson, Tambay, Prost and De Cesaris) where hopeless. By contrast in 1982 both Watson and Lauda were contenders for the title. Maybe Peterson could have pulled it.
 
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Stateless

Skinny, born in '87, therefore my username is -
#5
My favourite one is to ask, 'What if Kimi Raikonnen had not signed for Sauber and not entered F1 in 2001?'

  • Enrique Bernoldi signs for Sauber because of sponsor (Red Bull) pressure.
  • When Mika Hakkinen takes his 'sabbatical' at the end of the season, Nick Heidfeld signs for McLaren (thanks to previous test driver relationship and Mercedes pressure for a German driver).
  • Red Bull do not break sponsorship arrangement with Sauber, who do not turn to BMW to replace this income.
  • BMW maintain relationship with Williams rather than buying out Sauber, or buy out a different team (e.g. Jordan).
  • Without Red Bull sponsorship (via Bernoldi), Arrows go bust earlier.
  • Red Bull (thanks to their relationship being with Sauber) do not buy out Jaguar when Ford pull out of the sport.
 

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
#6
A great whatif is also "Jean Alesi to Williams in 1991" in place of Mansell. Would he have been world champion in 1992 and 1993 ? This removes Mansell lone title, and Prost fourth. It also probably butterflies Senna death and all the shock that went with it.

Some whatif about Michael Schumacher.

One of fascinating tidbit hidden in Formula One history... in a brief period between September and November 1991 Schumacher, Hakkinen, Piquet, Senna, Mansell and Prost were all present in F1.
Competing for the same races.
Which mean no less than 4 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 7 = 19 - 19 pilot titles were on the track at the same time, the oldest being Piquet (1981) and more recent, Schumacher (2004) - spread over a quarter of century ! Only lacking were Villeneuve and Hill (Hill come with Brabham the next year, 1992).
Schumacher ended as Piquet team mate at Benetton and destroyed it within three months, causing Piquet to go to CART and out of F1.

Well, had Bertrand Gachot not spread pepper mace on that London taxicab in december 1990, then he would not had ended into a jail, leaving Jordan without a pilot at Spa Francorchamps in August 1991. Schumacher replaced him and blew everything standing right from the beginning - 7 on the grid, just like that.
Schumacher evidently would have entered Formula one sooner rather than later.

And then Flavio Briatore shamelessly screwed Eddy Jordan and Schumacher was at Benetton for the next race and until 1997.
Had Schumacher stayed at Jordan, he would have endured their 1992 car which was an absymal disaster thanks to the worst F1 engine in history - the Yamaha V12.

Yet Benetton already had a formidable pilot and team mate for Piquet: Alessandro Nannini even won a race after Senna and Prost destroyed each others. Unfortunately Nannini crashed his helicopter on October 2, 1990 and his forearm was severed, ending his F1 career.

Remarquably...

October 2, 1990 Alessandro Nannini helicopter crash mean Roberto Moreno will be Piquet team mate at Benetton. Moreno is Piquet best friend. This cause old, cynical Piquet to mock Flavio Briatore, and soon Briatore had enough of both... by July 1991 Schumacher is coming and will destroy these two. Moreno is first to go, then Schumacher destroys Piquet.

December 10, 1990 Bertrand Gachot spray pepper mace on a London taxi cab driver, and 8 months later he is thrown in jail. This free a Jordan seat for the same Schumacher.

Had Gachot and Nannini not screwed up two months apart, Schumacher debut in F1 would have been markedly different.
 
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AgentRudda

Not a real agent
#7
What if Schumacher was healthy enough to return with Ferrari in 2009 after Massa's accident? Could butterfly his move to Mercedes, depending on the length of the contract. Could even try to force his way back into the team on a permanent basis if he won races at Ferrari. And of course, would butterfly his skiing accident.

Another Big What If is if the Grand Prix World Championship breakaway had taken place as proposed around 2009.
 

Guernsey Donkey

Kimi No Sei
Patreon supporter
#8
A good modern one is either what if Ross Brawn failed in rescuing the Honda team/ What if Honda. Cause it would be interesting to know what Merc does, as i seem to recall that there relationship with Mclaren was already deteriorating. So i wonder if they would by the other Merc engined team pf that year in Force India or maybe they just would have had to have doubled down with Mclaren.
 
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AgentRudda

Not a real agent
#9
A good modern one is either what if Ross Brawn failed in rescuing the Honda team/ What if Honda. Cause it would be interesting to know what Merc as i seem to recall that there relationship with Mclaren was already deteriorating. So i wonder if they would by the other Merc engined team pf that year in Force India or maybe they just would have had to have doubled down with Mclaren.
The thing with Brawn is that the team were convinced (rightly so) that their 2009 car would compete for the title, based on their interpretation of the new regulations. And they were right, their blown diffussr was miles ahead of what other teams, and once the FIA allowed it for the rest of the 2009 season the other teams easily caught up.

So if Brawn couldn't save the team, it'd be interesting to see how the season would've progressed without a car that was two seconds a lap quicker than the rest of the field. Red Bull were already starting to do well; maybe Vettel would've won a title even earlier than he did.

If Mercedes had decided to double-down on McLaren, though, perhaps they would've still been competitive during the Red Bull domination era. Or, if a lack of a Mercedes factory team, Hamilton might've gone to Ferrari or Red Bull, since the reasons for his departure from McLaren were more than just the cars' unreliability and lack of speed.
 

Guernsey Donkey

Kimi No Sei
Patreon supporter
#10
The thing with Brawn is that the team were convinced (rightly so) that their 2009 car would compete for the title, based on their interpretation of the new regulations. And they were right, their blown diffussr was miles ahead of what other teams, and once the FIA allowed it for the rest of the 2009 season the other teams easily caught up.

So if Brawn couldn't save the team, it'd be interesting to see how the season would've progressed without a car that was two seconds a lap quicker than the rest of the field. Red Bull were already starting to do well; maybe Vettel would've won a title even earlier than he did.

If Mercedes had decided to double-down on McLaren, though, perhaps they would've still been competitive during the Red Bull domination era. Or, if a lack of a Mercedes factory team, Hamilton might've gone to Ferrari or Red Bull, since the reasons for his departure from McLaren were more than just the cars' unreliability and lack of speed.
Vettel would have won a year earlier, if the team had vanished. Arguably Honda staying would produce a really interesting season as i don't think the Honda engine was as good as the Merc, so it might not be as dominant at the start be there would be development over the season as the second that Honda discovered they have a WCC I imagine money will come pouring in.


Looking up, 2010 is when Mclaren bought the 40% share of its self back from Merc so I guess there could be a big turnaround and have Merc buy Mclaren out right, just as they where getting into the supercar game. But there where systemic problems in the McLaren structure which would need to be sorted out quicker than they have been in OTL.
 

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
#11
Currently working my way at a story involving stefen Bellof and Elio de Angelis surviving in 85-86. Those two end at Williams in 1989-90 in place of Riccardo Patrese and Thierry Boutsen (good pilots, but not agressive enough to become world champion).
Much like Mansell and Piquet, or Senna and Prost, they become fierce rivals.
Imagine, another pair... many people remember Senna and Prost, but Piquet / Mansell in 1986-87 was epic, too. My goal is to create another boiling rivalry.
Later on, Schumacher and Nannini enter the fray, at Benetton, in 1992. Alesi is also coming. Oh boy, so many talented pilots, so few top teams... it is a crying shame that Lotus, Tyrrell and Brabham declined and died after 1987...