Formula 1 is rich in history. Across 65 years of competition, the sport has seen some revolutionary machines grace the best circuits on the planet, with unlikely success stories and memorable characters providing the various plots and sub-plots. Last weekend, Brands Hatch provided the venue for a blast from the past, as cars from yesteryear pounded round the former home of the European Grand Prix. Fortunately, I was one of many enthusiastic fans who had traveled to Kent to witness the spectacle and I am pleased to report that F1’s past is just as breath-taking as the documentaries suggest.
McLaren and Honda need no introduction. Perfect partners since the first lap in 1988, the association produced one of the greatest machines the sport has ever seen in the MP4/4. Brought to life by Steve Nichols and Gordon Murray, the car took all but one race victory in the hands of Alain Prost and eventual champion Ayrton Senna. The first McLaren Honda certainly set the bar high. However, with one of the most technically advanced powerunits ever constructed providing the MP4-30’s roar, the partnership has reconvened and so far missed the sparkle in performance to match that of the paintwork.
But of course, everything is relative…
During the winter, two story-lines have dominated the headlines. Following their entry into administration at the end of last season, Manor Marussia’s hopes of making the grid have been a feature of the back pages, alongside the mystery surrounding Fernando Alonso, post second test shunt. However, one fundamental question has been at the forefront of all F1 related discussions; can Mercedes, who dominated the 2014 campaign with an unrelenting grip, be toppled in 2015? If so, which team is best placed to take the spoils?