That’s a Wrap ! 2014 Conclusions
That’s a Wrap!
2014 has delivered one of the most, and least talked about seasons in decades. The introduction of the politically correct 1.6 l “hybrid power units” has received some harsh crits by fans,teams and drivers alike. The soft lazy groans of an engine revving to around 15 000 rpm simply hasn’t tantalized the senses.
2014 was the dawn of a new era of Formula One, and quite likely the benchmark for future racing developements. It recieved critisism and praise. What exactly happened this year has been a milestone for the sport, be it good or bad, Formula One has certainly recieved a lot of attention for its efforts over the season.
This season also observed the rise of German works team, Mercedes with a duo of friends turned nemesis, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. This year Mercedes delivered the perfect package. Ferrari’s prancing horse will be licking its wounds after realising that the man they once fired, Aldo Costa, was responsible for the aero schemes on the W05 Hybrid. Realising the advantage of capitalising on the radical change of engine rules for 2014, Mercedes aimed to catch their competitors off guard and spent an estimated £ 100 million on their hybrid development. That in turn paid off, and left the rest of its competitors in its wake of a 90+ bhp advantage. Throughout the season Hamilton seemed to be stricken with poor luck, but his ‘Still I Rise’ attitude kept the Briton in the ring, ready to take the fight to his German competitor with each race that came. Hamilton’s flawless 11 race wins out of a calendar that hosts a whopping 19, seemed to antidote his ill fate with reliability. The arena in which the two Mercedes drivers fought was extended beyond the limits of the track, both literally and figuratively where mind games were at the realm of their competition. Social media, press interviews and “secret” conflict mediations were just some of the arenas used mutually by both drivers to support their challenge for the title. It would appear that Hamilton’s enlightened conscience and general aura had the edge over Rosberg. Lewis has been through the motions before. He understood the demands of winning a title in the last race of a season, although confessing it felt like he was fighting for his first. The title may have a been won through the fact that Hamilton had such a supportive background. It’s no secret that the champion has a sturdy relationship with pop star Nicole Scherzinger, better times with his father, and a wealth of British fans to back him. Since the banning of certain engineer to car telemetry, Rosberg’s race craft seemed to diminish. His only ally during a race weekend was consistency and his good one lap pace during qualifying.
Other teams such as Williams shone during the season. The rekindled British team that has only had one win in the last ten years has had an astonishing comeback this season, albeit with thanks to the assistance of Rob Smedley along with an inspired and energised Brazilian, Felipe Massa. Valtteri Bottas has quietly infiltrated the lower two steps of the podium and is now a regular protagonist in post-race champagne spraying.
Infinity Red Bull Racing experienced some rather turbulent times this past season. With a multitude of staff leaving for Mercedes, and Adrian Newey, the brainchild of many a car that has won and been worthy of winning championships has slowly been retracting his influences and efforts on the team. Christian Horner and company have surely rood the day they chose to utilised their Renault powered engines. The French engine maker has struggled to create a competitive engine regardless of their world renowned resources and facilities.A dreary Sebastien Vettel has been shadowed by the success of Mr. Nice Guy, Daniel Ricciardo. Seb’s altered performance has been speculated upon for much of the season. Questions of his motivation, skills of adaption and driver diversity has been asked. The 27 year old German has been in partnership and nurtured by the Red Bull family for roughly 15 years or so. Possibly Sebastien has been disheartened by the lack of thrill in F1 this season, and his motivation to adapt to unfavourable rules has been a bridge too far. Cars have never been so advanced and different to drive and to watch. The whole experience for driver and fan has changed. It would appear that driver demands have drifted from what they once were.
Just two years ago he was quoted that “it’s every driver’s dream to race for the red team”. And in 2015, he will be. Perhaps Vettel has picked his moment well. Like Schumacher’s successful 2X WDC with Renault powered Benetton, at the age of 27 he too moved to the Maranello based team. It was a tedious time for Ferrari as they had last won a drivers title in 1979 with South African Jody Schecker at the wheel. It was only in Schumacher’s fifth year that he scored his first title with Ferrari. For Vettel, success will be hard work to attain, but it seems imminent.
Ferrari’s dream team fairy tale with Fernando Alonso has finally come to an end. In the Spaniards five years at the team, he was in the running for the championship on three occasions. Not a bad statistic, but Ferrari’s lack of consistency dented Fernando’s hopes of a third title. Alonso has been tipped by many that he is the most complete driver on the grid and is able to scrape every ounce of performance out of a car, but it simply just hasn’t been enough. With McLaren’s Ron Dennis forever dropping hints at the double world champions return to the Woking based team, it would appear that a contract for Alonso to be wearing a Honda logo on his McLaren overalls in 2015 seems to be looming on the horizon.
This year has seen the demise of two Formula One teams, Marrusia and Caterham. The hardships of these teams echoes the financial strains of the sport. Although it is sad to see the struggles of the always upbeat and enthusiastic teams such as the two just mentioned, it has also raised many fun and intriguing questions and ideas, the main one being the possibility of three car teams in the future. That would mean talented drivers such as Hulkenberg, and Romain Grosjean could be brought into contention for some rather competitive drives.
Along with 2014 came the welcomed return of the infamous Red Bull Ring, or better known as the A1 Ring. For the first time in eleven years, F1 returned to Spielberg thus being a fantastic step forward in returning F1 home to its European roots. The track itself is embraced by the Austrian Alps, and favours deviating topography, making braking and accelerating zones unique from one another, each corner being a different tale. On the edge of Eastern Europe came the inaugural Russian Grand Prix. Tucked away in the most Western Corner of Russia, the Grand Prix was a total success, although there was no spectacular racing, drivers enjoyed the complex variety of fast and slow bends. However the race was shadowed by the absence of a French Jules Bianchi. The week before in a hurricane stricken Grand Prix at Suzuka, Japan, saw the accident that brought a definite end to the 25 year olds career. His misfortune brought much speculation to the safety of F1, arguing that the cars are the safest they have ever been but there is no correlation between them and the actual track safety. The event certainly shook the foundations of F1.
2014 has been an enthralling season for all. It has proven to be the year of the underdog where rising talents of Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas have taken the fight to the competitive teams. Williams’ steady but positive return to the top of the crop has been a welcomed and celebrated fact. The curious case of Fernando Alonso has given us some great and almost outrageous possibilities of where the Spaniard could be next year (although the rejuvenation of an Alonso/McLaren marriage seems to be most likely). Sebastien Vettel’s surprise departure from Red Bull to Ferrari caused a pronounced stir and is proposed to be the new hope for the renewal of the Scuderia. With four and a half months until the opening of the 2015 season in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, one can’t help the frivolous thoughts of next season’s potentials. The resurgence of McLaren Honda, the youngest driver line up ever at Toro Rosso, Vettel’s new quest for triumph at Ferrari, and of course, all the unforeseen dramas that await. Not a fan can hold their breath long enough to dig their teeth into next season.
Revs for though
Credit for pictures
Posted on December 6, 2014, in Currents News and tagged 2014 F1 Season, Abu Dhabi, Analysis, Bottas, F1, Fernando Alonso, Formula One, Grand Prix, McLaren, Motorsport, Opinion, Sport, Turbo. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.