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OPINION: Stop Blaming Mercedes for F1 Becoming a Boring Sport

OPINION: Stop Blaming Mercedes for F1 Becoming a Boring Sport

Mercedes AMG F1 team are enjoying their time in Formula 1, having commanded the entire grid for the past 7 years and are still going strong.

Meanwhile, the fans ended up showing hatred towards the team for being too dominant and spoiling the competitiveness of the sport.

However, is it fair to lay such accusations against the defending champions? Well, it definitely is not fair. Mercedes, like other teams, started as a mid-field team. But the way they carried themselves to the top is certainly commendable.

Possible reasons behind Mercedes’ success in Formula 1

There are certain noticeable reasons behind Mercedes’ establishment of such dominance in the sport, and it is not just the car.

One is the way the team have backed each and every person who was responsible for the team’s achievements. Toto Wolff has proven the statement to be true on multiple occasions.

He has always credited the entire Mercedes’ crew over himself for any milestones that the team have reached so far. Such support towards the staff definitely pushes them to work even harder, and the outcome has been nothing but positive.

What’s more, one can notice the fact that different faces can be seen on the podium following a Mercedes driver’s race win.

Lewis Hamilton crosses the line to win the Turkish GP race
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton crosses the finish line to win the race REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

Apart from backing their crew, Mercedes have also been open to suggestions from the others. Following Toto’s entry into the team in 2013, he noticed the lack of communication within the team to an extent where their Stuttgart headquarters never even realized that the team was lacking in funds.

Toto apparently pointed out the same to Mercedes, and the team’s growth was more than significant over the following years. The fact that Mercedes have always remained open to changes within the team will definitely be one of the reasons behind the team’s success.

Finally, the drivers. Mercedes made a mistake by teaming up Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. However, beyond that, the team learned from their mistakes and placed Valtteri Bottas as a replacement for Nico. They remained very loud on their priorities as a team.

Hence, their opposition towards rivalry between their drivers helped Mercedes focus more on achieving greatness as an entire team rather than just the drivers.

Why have Red Bull and Ferrari failed to produce a car capable enough to fight the Mercedes?

When the pre-season testing in Barcelona began earlier this year, the expectations were too high as the fans anticipated closer racing between the trio of Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull.

However, the reality was more of a disappointment for them. While Red Bull were lagging a few tenths behind the Silver Arrows, Ferrari were nowhere to be seen. One might have assumed that Mercedes took a huge step forward, but that’s not the case.

The only difference between Mercedes and the other two is that the former have always addressed their weaknesses spontaneously, while the latter never did. Let’s talk about Ferrari first.

Where did Ferrari go wrong?

Consistency has been the major reason behind the team’s disappointing run over the last few years.

Unlike Mercedes, Ferrari have seen 3 different Team Principals lead the team in a span of 7 years. Hence, such frequent changes meant that Ferrari never had the chance to pull off to a better position.

Moreover, the Maranello-based outfit appear to have prioritized national pride over the team’s absolute growth in Formula 1.

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton during the Turkish GP main race
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey -Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Ozan Kose

Although they have a wider range of people to choose from for managing their team, Ferrari have remained adamant in handing the responsibility to Italians in specific.

The politics within the team ended up affecting the Formula 1 team considerably and are now in a position where they don’t have a boss to lead them in the right direction.

Consequently, this affected the team’s on-track performance. Over this season, Ferrari have struggled in providing their drivers with decent strategies. When they do get their strategies right, it has been restricted to just one driver, while the other driver is left to handle the race on his own.

Hence, Ferrari’s attempt at managing two drivers simultaneously took a big hit this year, mostly with Sebastian Vettel at the receiving end.

Why have Red Bull struggled to keep up with Mercedes?

Red Bull have at least been the third-best team over the last 7 years. However, they never had that push to reach the level of Mercedes. The primary reason, as the fans know, is that Red Bull have been racing with just one driver for the past few seasons.

The team never managed to get the perfect drivers’ line up. They kept changing the drivers and now, with no more drivers to choose from their academy, they are left with no other option but to lay their hopes on a struggling Alex Albon.

Valtteri Bottas during the race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2020
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during the race Pool via Reuters/Miguel Medina

Apart from the lack of drivers, the fact that Red Bull are not their own engine supplier has kept their hands tied. Red Bull are aware that if they could build their own engines, they can take their fight to Mercedes.

However, the fact that Honda designs their engine meant that Red Bull had to make some compromises in their chassis to suit the engine.

Hence, Red Bull are in a difficult position where they can see themselves on top of the championship table, but their inability to design an engine has remained an obstruction for the team.

Therefore, on the whole, it is unreasonable to show hatred on Mercedes for commanding the entire grid. Instead, it is Red Bull and Ferrari’s failure to address their problems within the team that led to the Silver Arrows’ triumph in the sport.

 

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