MATTEO DALL'OMBRA

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Another One Bites The Dust

November 24th, 2014

Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat

The Queen were singing this in 1980 and this is how I was feeling in March before the start of the 2014 F1 Championship. Over the years F1 has always been a passion for me, but this year in particular I made it a “mission” to watch as many GP as possible. 19 races after, I’m year to reflect on that choice.

After Sunday’s race Hamilton was crowned World Champion for the second time, after managing to successfully beat his team-mate Rosberg in the race for the prestigious title.

Was it a deserved win for Hamilton? Absolutely.

Despite the technical superiority of Mercedes, both Hamilton and Rosberg had to deal with quite a few issues along the way that prevented them to score any points. On the other hand the British driver always made the most of any chance that came his way. Every time he was behind Rosberg he always tried to overtake the German any almost every time he had been successful in doing so. Rosberg instead only managed to win if he was already ahead of his team mate, never managing to overtake him from behind.

Was it an enjoyable win for the spectators? So-and-so.

Thanks to the technical superiority of Mercedes the Constructor Championship was clearly headed toward the Silver Arrows after the first two races. Combine the technical factor with having two of the best drivers around will give you a team that on average was a second faster a lap compared to everybody else. Only Williams was able from time to time to stick around generally for the third place or a second if something went wrong with one of the Mercedes.

All of this meant that from a spectator point of view, there wasn’t much to see. I can hardly remember any memorable over take, if any at all and even in the back rows the fight wasn’t there (if you exclude the truce battle for the 18-19th place).

This wasn’t new. If you have been following F1 you know that this happen periodically. We saw it with Ferrari and Schumacher, Brown GP and Button, Red Bull and Vettel and this year with Mercedes and Hamilton/Rosberg.

When any team gets its magic formula right, there’s nothing the competition can do to fight back. Everybody else on track is simply a spectator to other’s wins. The difference that I feel compared to the past is that nowadays there’s no fight at all. The only real competition you see is during the Qualifying sessions. Chances are that you are going to finish around the same position you’ve started from.

Of course it’s easy to complain as I’m doing right now without offering a solution in return, but I feel that recently I’m not the only one bringing this issue forward. The very same Bernie Ecclestone, the head of F1 operations, complained few times over this year about the lack of excitement. F1 is made by drivers, mechanics and cars as much as it’s made of its public. Without one of the two components the show wouldn’t go on.

Will 2015 be different? Maybe.

There aren’t massive changes in regulations as wed had for 2014, so teams should now be better prepared for next year, which might improve their competitive levels.

In addition to that, few surprises have already been unveiled for next year.

  • McLaren will go back to its historical partnership with Honda for the engine. Great things were achieved by the two together (1988 F1 Championship with Ayrton Senna behind the wheel), so we might see a new spark of life from that team.
  • Speaking of McLaren, many rumors are surrounding next year’s drivers line-up. There was a sense of farewell from Button and many think that Abu Dhabi was his last race with the team and possibly in F1. With him out there would be space to welcome Alonso who has officially left Ferrari without announcing a new destination.
  • Big changes in Ferrari as well. With Alonso out, it’s time to welcome the four-times World Champion Vettel. As of today, the Scuderia has also a new boss: Marco Mattiacci (brought in 6 months ago to replace Domenicali) has been officially replaced by Maurizio Arrivabene (VP Consumer Channel Strategy and Event Marketing at Philip Morris and part of the F1 Commission).
  • We still don’t know what will be of Catheram and possibly of Marussia for next year. The former came back in the final race after missing the US and Brazilian GPs while the latter is still under administration, without a bright future ahead. This could also trigger a clause in some team’s contract to bring in a third car to avoid running the season only with 18 cars.

These changes, plus other I’m sure will come before next March have the capability of giving us a good 2015 for F1.

I know that I’ve only complained so far, but despite everything I’m sad the Championship is over and I can’t wait for the 2015 season to start.

Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat