Is Mercedes killing F1?
When a team assumes a position of unrivaled dominance, it is usual for fans to complain about lack of competition at the front. When Michael Schumacher chalked up 5 consecutive drivers title with Ferrari, there was endless complaints of how boring f1 had become. But even in that era, Hakkinen and Alonso managed to win double driver titles each. Hence, there were teams close enough to Ferrari to give Ferrari a good run for their money each season. The team dynamics was centred around Schumacher with the second driver providing support and ensuring a Ferrari one two finishes occur, hence team orde was regularly used to ensure the desired results are achieved
The Redbull era was the next wave of unrivaled dominance that saw another brilliant German; Vettel chalk up 4 consecutive drivers title. In this era, Mclaren and Ferrari were winning races. Ferrrari were close enough to steal a driver title but botched it with poor pit strategy, much to Alonso's annoyance. The Redbull team dynamics was clearly centered around Vettel who was largely seen as the best chance for Redbull to win those championships which he did spectacularly. Webber was mainly there to win when Vettel falters and ensure one two finishes. Team orders were regularly used to achieve desired results but only worked when in favour of Vettel. The car supplied were clearly not in parity as Webber tend to have all the DNFs due to part failures.
We are now in the Mercedes era of unrivaled dominance which so far has seen Lewis Hamilton win two consecutive world championships. Two seasons in, Ferrari has managed to win three races with Vettel. Williams, Force India and Lotus have managed to attain podium positions when Ferrari faltered.
Unlike the previous, the gap between the top three teams are quite considerable. Mercedes was significantly ahead of the Ferrari in second place. Ferrari was in turn significantly ahead of the Williams in third, scoring almost double the Williams constructors points. This disparity of performance of the top three teams has been responsible for the poor entertainment at the front of the grid and the source of most fans disillusion with current F1. Obviously, this was largely due to the highly restrictive FIA engine rules that has unwittingly created this disparity. Whatever the case, can we rightly begrudge Mercedes from taking full advantage of the situation. Possibly not.
But what are the gripes with Mercedes? With dominance, Mercedes would naturally inherit the section of fans disillusioned with unrivaled dominance. But Mercedes had won most of those fans over, particularly in 2014 when they allowed both or their drivers to race each other without interference. A year that wholly made up for the lack of competition from other teams. However, in 2015, Mercedes may have lost most of the fans won over in 2014 as they have been seen to exert more noticeable control on the outcome of races. Many remain quietly unconvinced of Hamilton's drop of form since Singapore to be driver related. Other conspiracy theorist have suggested that Ferrari's 3 wins were pre-arranged. Others have suggested that Williams are debarred from beating Mercedes in their engine supply agreement.
The disparity between the performance of the Mercedes and the Ferrari would to some extent give cause for wonder how Ferrari came to win 3 races in 2015. Three races where tyre performance were real problems for the Merc team. The ferrari in Vettels hands were clearly dominant of those occasions, thus well deserved wins.
The disparity between the Mercedes and the Williams cars, coupled with Williams chassis defficiency and operational problems would certainly dispell any suggestion that Williams are debarred from beating the Mercedes in races. They just don't have what it takes to beat the Mercedes, even on their best days.
The main cause for disquiet is, most are quietly wondering based on what has transpired since singapore if Mercedes would attempt to manufacture a world championship for Rosberg in 2016. Is what we are seeing, a dress rehearsal of sorts? Can we trust Mercedes not to interfere with the raw racing between their drivers in 2016? On hindsight, one would expect Mercedes not to jeopardize their season by handicapping the driver that has proven without any doubt, the ability of delivering world championship. Mercedes must at least match Redbull's four consecutive driver and constructors world championships, to earn the respect that Ferrari and Redbull enjoy in F1. As it stands at the moment, they have a great engine, but are not yet a great team in the vain of Ferrari or Redbull. Hence are they going to risk it? Especially knowing the racer in Hamilton would do what it takes to ensure he is in front, given the same equipment to race.
Pondering this over and over, l wonder what you guys and Gals think about this?