BlindCaveSalamander wrote:So, after watching some videos of Keke Rosberg in action, I've been wondering: What if he stayed at Williams for 1986 and 1987, when the Honda turbos finally came good?
Rosberg easily wins the 86 title, barely loses the 87 title to Mansell (who would I presume would not have been bothered at all by Rosberg seeing Piquet is nowhere to be found), and retires after 1988 due to how crap the Judd engines are.
His replacement in 1989 is Riccardo Patrese. He lives happily at Williams for the rest of his career, and nothing else changes. Piquet stays at Brabham for 1986 and stays there until his retirement in 1988.
Here's another question: What if Honda decided to power only Williams instead of McLaren in 1988?
Basically, I'd imagine Williams and McLaren's fortunes are switched. Mansell would easily win the 1988, 1989, and 1990 titles, though McLaren are a bit closer in those seasons than Williams were. Senna and Prost may or may not have their feud, depending on whether or not they can focus on their common enemy. 1991 becomes a fantastic season as Mansell fights off Senna and Prost, with Senna taking the title.
McLaren then go into ascendancy, and the Senna/Prost feud begins in earnest, as there is nobody else to challenge them. Prost takes his third title in 1992, while Senna wins it in 1993. Prost leaves McLaren for Benetton, with Mika Hakkinen partnering Senna. Senna takes his third title in 1994, before Prost winning it in 1995. Both then retire, leaving a relatively unproven Schumacher and Hakkinen to duke it out in 1996, with Hakkinen winning the title. Hakkinen wins a second title in 1997, while Schumacher leaves Benetton for Ferrari at the end of that year.
Meanwhile, after a couple of rocky seasons, Williams secure a tie-up with Mercedes, and rely on Damon Hill to try and drag them out of the doldrums. They finally do it in 1998, as McLaren falter without their Renault engines, with Hill winning that title and the 1999 crown, fending off Schumacher's Ferrari in 1998 and Irvine's in 1999. 2000 sees McLaren partner up with BMW, but with that partnership in its infancy, and Hill's Williams suffering reliability issues, the door is open for Schumacher to win his first title. The Williams-Mercedes in 2001 is a bit off the pace, but the McLaren-BMW of Hakkinen is not and gives Schumacher a real fight, but the Ferrari prevails. Hill retires after 2001, with Mercedes' Nick Heidfeld given the go-ahead to replace him after a superb season for Sauber, to partner Juan Pablo Montoya, while Kimi Raikkonen signs for McLaren to make it an all-Finn McLaren. Not that it helps against Schumacher's F2002.
Hakkinen retires after 2002, and is replaced at McLaren by Jenson Button, and both McLarens and both Williams put up a tremendous fight against Schumacher's Ferrari, with Raikkonen being the one to finally overthrow the German. Who promptly takes the crown back in 2004. 2005 sees Fernando Alonso surge to the front of the pack in his Renault, with Heidfeld and Montoya's Williams' his closest competitiors, but they can't beat Alonso, who goes on to take a second title from Schumacher in 2006. McLaren are a bit at odds as BMW's engines are a bit lacking, but they agree to redouble their efforts for 2007.
Schumacher retires after 2006, with Kimi Raikkonen coming in to replace him, paired with Felipe Massa. At Williams, Montoya leaves following a winless season, seeing Robert Kubica moving up from a superb debut season with Sauber to partner Nick Heidfeld. McLaren are still holding on to Jenson Button, with fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton making his debut alongside him for 2007. The 6 drivers put in stellar performances throughout the season to all battle for the championship, but the weakness of the BMW engine and Kubica's inexperience mean it's down to Heidfeld against the 2 Ferrari's come Interlagos. The German leads lights to flag and seals his first world championship.
In 2008, BMW has its engine issues licked, and with McLaren's strong design team, its an in-house duel between Button and Hamilton for the title, with Button winning in 2008. Massa puts up a decent fight, but his Ferrari turns out to be no match. In 2009, the field is shocked as out of the blue, Rubens Barrichello wins 6 of the first 7 races in an unsponsored car, and takes the title from perennial midfielders Red Bull. After a fruitless 2009, and seeing that they have already won a championship, and that a recession is under way, BMW pull out of F1, leaving McLaren to hastily sign up for customer Renault engines. Admist all this, Barrichello takes pole and wins the Brazilian GP that year, emotionally sealing the title in a show of waterworks easily eclipsing that of Hockenheim 2000, as Barrichello announces his immediate retirement.
In 2010, Mercedes take over Brawn, with Heidfeld moving over from Williams to partner Nico Rosberg. Kubica becomes Williams' focus, partntered with none other than Kamui Kobayashi, as Frank takes a shine to the fighty Japanese driver. Raikkonen leaves Ferrari for the WRC, with Fernando Alonso replacing him, eager to fight it out at the front again. Button and Hamilton remain at McLaren, while Vettel and Webber are ready to make a proper challenge for the title. The championship is one for the history books, although there is a little disappointment as it turns out Mercedes' car isn't quite up to scratch. The Red Bulls and McLarens are left to duke it out for the Constructors' title as Kobayashi is a little inconsistent, but does put in one hell of a drive to win the Japanese Grand Prix, while Massa has not recovered from his injury. However, it does mean that Kubica and Alonso have their teams wholly behind them, and they are the main championship protagonists, although Vettel, Webber, and Hamilton were also in the hunt. Kubica won out, however, with a gutsy drive from pole to win. Vettel, predictably, thrashes the field in 2011, but with Red Bull's car not quite up to scratch again, it could be anyone's title in 2012.
Here's a list of champions, in case you got a little lost there (I know I did):
1988: Nigel Mansell (Williams)/Williams
1989: Nigel Mansell (Williams)/Williams
1990: Nigel Mansell (Williams)/Williams
1991: Ayrton Senna (McLaren)/McLaren
1992: Alain Prost (McLaren)/McLaren
1993: Ayrton Senna (McLaren)/McLaren
1994: Ayrton Senna (McLaren)/Benetton
1995: Alain Prost (Benetton)/Benetton
1996: Mika Hakkinen (McLaren)/McLaren
1997: Mika Hakkinen (McLaren)/McLaren
1998: Damon Hill (Williams)/Williams
1999: Damon Hill (Williams)/Ferrari
2000: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)/Ferrari
2001: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)/Ferrari
2002: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)/Ferrari
2003: Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)/McLaren
2004: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)/Ferrari
2005: Fernando Alonso (Renault)/Renault
2006: Fernando Alonso (Renault)/Renault
2007: Nick Heidfeld (Williams)/Ferrari
2008: Jenson Button (McLaren)/McLaren
2009: Rubens Barrichello (Brawn)/Brawn
2010: Robert Kubica (Williams)/Red Bull
2011: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)/Red Bull
That went on for quite a bit longer than I thought it would. Anyway, expanding on your 'What If?', what if, instead of Honda supplying Williams over McLaren, they just dropped support for Lotus and supported both Williams and McLaren instead? And, for interest's sake, let's say Rosberg is also still at Williams.