Since the Pac-12 Conference has announced that all sports would be cancelled through the end of the 2020 calendar year, what fans of the league can now follow on daily basis is becoming harder and harder to find. One sport that some of the staff here at BTD have a passion for is Formula 1 racing, which is currently operating around different courses internationally. An easy look into the sport would be a glance at the Netflix show “Formula 1: Drive to Survive”, but we also decided to show you our little guide to how fans of different Pac-12 football fan-bases can decide what Formula 1 team just might be for them. Enjoy sports fans, it’s going to be a long fall and winter.
1. Mercedes - Oregon Ducks
Mercedes is the team that everyone loves to cheer against, simply because they’ve been winning way too much and they don’t mind telling you about it every chance that they get. Their drivers are actually likeable (as I’m sure many of Oregon’s players are), but their team overall is the largest operation that has the resources to stay atop Formula 1. Ducks fans could trade in their neon/highlighter yellow cleats and helmets for the beautiful and calming teal/turquoise accents of Mercedes’ Petronas partnership.
2. Red Bull - USC Trojans
Red Bull is the team trying hardest to regain past championship glory, as they picked up four-straight Formula 1 titles from 2010-2013. Yet since, have been struggling to regain their spot near the top. How very USC like of them. Just as the Trojans planned to place their College Football Playoff hopes on the shoulders of rising sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis, one of college football’s brightest young stars, Red Bull has hands down the best young driver in the sport in 22-year old Max Verstappen.
3. Racing Point - Arizona State Sun Devils
Depending on how you view the sketchy history of the now-extinct Force India side, the team essentially became Racing Point before the 2019 season, making the UK-based outfit a quick competitor to rise out of the midfield. In 2021, the team will change names again to Aston Martin, but that’s a conversation for another day. Yes, their color scheme is horrible (just like maroon and gold), but they really could be a trendy riser in the Formula 1 discussion both in 2020 and going forward into the next decade.
4. Ferrari - Utah Utes
Besides the obvious red color scheme lining up, the consistent success of Utah and their ability to become a Pac-12 Championship contender at any moment draws the easy comparison to that of Ferrari. Consistently in the mix at the top, Ferrari currently boasts a fierce young gun in Charles Leclerc and an aging veteran in Sebastian Vettel, which has their team sitting in fourth place in the standings. They finished second to Mercedes four times since 2015, but will have to make up ground for that mark again.
5. McLaren - California Golden Bears
Something about McLaren and California just fit, as they’re one of those teams that constantly is being discussed and analyzed whether-or-not they want to be, but probably hasn’t lived up to the hype in recent seasons. This time around though, they very well could be like what the Golden Bears were showing signs of this fall, as 20-year old phenom Lando Norris sits fifth in the standings, with teammate Carlos Sainz six spots back after two rough weeks at Silverstone.
6. Renault - Stanford Cardinal
Just like Stanford views itself as the academic and athletic standard in the Pac-12, Renault sure has a hard time claiming that it’s simply not the best in the business anymore. While the team tallied back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 in the midst of Fernando Alonso’s prime, they haven’t finished higher than 4th since back in 2007, just one year removed from their title run. The new era of Mercedes and Red Bull taking over has left Renault trailing behind in the dust.
7. Scuderia AlphaTauri - Oregon State Beavers
Another team that technically is “new” to the scene in 2020, Scuderia AlphaTauri is no longer being viewed as the “junior side” for Red Bull’s Formula 1 racing endeavors and instead, as a group out to make their way through the midfield on their own. Both their drivers in Pierre Gasly, who held a quick run at Red Bull, and Daniil Kvyat snagged a podium finish in 2019 and are only getting better. A team to watch indeed.
8. Alfa Romeo - Washington Huskies / Washington State Cougars
Alfa Romeo is one of the stranger sides in Formula 1, as they sometimes seem to lack direction and focus heading forward, especially in a sport with such a fluid landscape. At the moment, the team boasts 2007 championship driver Kimi Raikkonen, who won that title at Ferrari but is now 40 years old and his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, a mid-twenties racer who hasn’t shown too many flashes of brilliance. Alfa Romeo are odd customers to gauge each week.
9. Haas - UCLA Bruins
One of my favorite personalities in Formula 1 is Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, who has the task of pushing a five-year old, American-owned team up through the ranks of the midfield. So far into the young 2020 season, things aren’t looking too good. Despite being a Haas fan myself, both drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are a perfect fit for a UCLA comparison because of their self-destructive tendencies on the course. Think of them as the team that could best fit a reality show.
10. Williams - Arizona Wildcats / Colorado Buffaloes
For some fans of Formula 1, the spiraling downturn of Williams Racing is a hard thing to watch, considering the team has operated continuously since 1977 and holds the second-most constructor titles all-time behind only Ferrari. The golden days of Alan Jones, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill may be long gone, but die-hard fans have found some solace in the youthful energy and excitement of drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.