Next weekend, the talking will stop and the racing will start. Waking up on the first Grand Prix Sunday of a new season is like Christmas morning for motorsport fans.
Aside from the new look cars, harder tyres and perhaps heightened competition for top honours, this season’s curtain-raiser will be the first since 1994 that doesn’t feature the reigning world champion.
It takes quite a news story to stop the F1 world spinning mid-week. For the second time in 12 months, F1 fans were sent into a frenzy of discussion and debate without even having a race to watch. Max Verstappen replacing Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull seemed set to be 2016 biggest bombshell news story until Nico Rosberg raised the bar, announcing his retirement from F1 just days after clinching his maiden title in highly dramatic circumstances.
A news story with an extraordinary amount of layers that has sparked widespread debate. Here is my take on the decisions and resultant shockwaves that could shake F1 for a while to come…
“I hope the team provides me with reliability the way they do with the other car,” a defeated Lewis Hamilton stated when speaking with Sky Sports F1 yesterday.
The Briton has clearly cited his unreliability this season as the main reason for losing the title to teammate Nico Rosberg. Three headline car failures this year have unquestionably hindered him, with the most significant failure coming in October’s Malaysian Grand Prix, where he retired from the lead resulting in a 28 point championship swing from which he never recovered.
However, Hamilton is missing the bigger picture. Here’s why it’s more than just reliability that dashed his 2016 title hopes.
Never give up. That is one of the prevailing messages after an intriguing 2016 F1 season. After being humbled by teammate and arch-rival Lewis Hamilton in 2015, losing the title and race victory on a day in Austin when he had the win sewn up, belief must have been in short supply.
However, Nico Rosberg used the disappointment of that day in October 2015 as a springboard. The German has finally beaten Lewis Hamilton over the course of a full season, taking the title in dramatic circumstances, as a desperate Hamilton did everything to spoil Rosberg’s coronation day.
Nico Rosberg is the 2016 World Champion and enters the sport’s Hall of Fame.
Ever since Lewis Hamilton’s engine spluttered to a stop in Malaysia, Nico Rosberg has been staring at the prospect of his maiden championship crown. To the extent that, for the last three rounds, the title fight has been out of Hamilton’s hands, and it remains so as the pair head to the finale.