Every once and again in motorsports, there arises a team that is so dominant that they afford no one else any chance of success. 2014 was one of those years in Formula 1. Pursuant to which, Mercedes dominated the grid in a fashion not seen in quite a while. In fact, the season reached a point where it became not a question of which team would win the Constructor’s World Championship, but rather, which of the two Mercedes drivers was poised to take home the Driver’s World Championship.
Yesterday, at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, that question was answered. Lewis Hamilton took home the championship with 384 points to fellow Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg’s 317. The Mercedes team took home the Constructor’s World Championship with a total of 701 points, blowing out the second place Red Bull, who only managed 415; most of Red Bull’s points came by way Daniel Ricciardo’s three impressive Grand Prix victories. Also of note was the fact that all races were won by one of only three drivers- Hamilton, Rosberg, and Ricciardo.
With it being impossible for any other manufacturer to win the Constructor’s World Championship several Grand Prix before the end of the season, most turned their attention to the heated competition between Rosberg and Hamilton. With Rosberg’s victory at the penultimate event of the season in Brazil, it would have been possible for him to win the Driver’s World Championship assuming the proper conditions at Yas Marina, by virtue of Formula 1’s new policy of awarding double points for the last race. Rosberg needed to finish first, while Hamilton would have needed to finish third or worse.
Rosberg took the pole position during qualifying, and hopes were running high for the German. However, a series of mechanical failures precluded him from holding the front spot, with Hamilton clinching the race victory. Rosberg finished a paltry 14th, while Hamilton took home the Driver’s World Championship. Though it’s a moot point now, many contended that a Rosberg victory would have been undeserved, given the fact that a Driver’s Championship victory only would have come by way of the controversial double points policy.
Whether or not the Mercedes dominance will continue next season remains a matter of debate. Most would contend that their superior performance comes by way of their innovative turbocharger design. The design sees the turbocharger’s compressor moved to the front of the car’s engine, allowing for better lag reduction, smaller inter-coolers(hence a narrower horizontal profile,) and a better center of gravity, among a host of other advantages. Whether or not the rest of the Formula 1 community will adopt this design remains to be seen. Notwithstanding, the pressure is on for the Silver Arrows to maintain their dominance in the 2015 season.
The unsung champion of the season, however, was the Williams team. Finishing a respectable third place with less than half the funding of many manufacturer and privateer rivals, such as Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull, the Williams team proved that superb engineering and skillful driving can surmount lesser financial resources. This is particularly worthy of note, given the heated controversy regarding the financials of the sport, which has culminated in two bankruptcies and a threat of boycott from several teams leading up to the United States Grand Prix.