Ever since F1’s regulations were overhauled ahead of the 2014 F1 season, Mercedes have been the class of the field. A brace of Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles have been achieved in dominant fashion, with 701 and 703 points amassed by the team in 2014 and 2015 respectively. While 2016 has seen Nico Rosberg claim four victories from a possible four and Mercedes secure two one-two finishes, unreliability has hindered them, particularly on Lewis Hamilton’s side of the garage.
Following accusations that the team are deliberately favouring Rosberg this season, Mercedes have written an open letter to the fans looking to quell the speculation.
Nico Rosberg is the man you want picking your lottery numbers at present. The German was once again imperious out in front, taking a dominant fourth win from four races in 2016. Yet again though, his chief rivals were heavily compromised, with Lewis Hamilton battling back to second after enduring yet more unreliability in qualifying, while Sebastian Vettel filled the swear box to the brim on lap one, as he was punted out of contention by none other than Daniil Kvyat.
Littered with spikes of drama, the Russian Grand Prix threw up plenty of talking points.
F1 is adept at shooting itself in the foot. Following a 2015 season admittedly lacking in intrigue, the winter has been filled by discussions regarding how to improve the sport. The F1 Commission unanimously voted for a new elimination qualifying format three weeks before the start of the season in an attempt to spice up the action on a Sunday.
With today’s qualifying session being the debut for this new idea, it is evident that a rethink is required. Missing a crescendo, void of surprises and short of laps, calling it a shambles would not be too far from the truth.
The first of 63 days of competitive on-track action this season was somewhat of a teaser. Limited running in Melbourne due to inclement conditions has meant that the pecking order remains a mystery for yet another day.
As such, it is still unclear whether Mercedes will have enough of an advantage over Ferrari in order for the 2016 title fight to be a third straight tussle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – a duel in which the latter has emerged as second best in both 2014 and 2015. In short, if the W07 is the pre-eminent force of the 2016 field, Rosberg must win his maiden title this year.
Mercedes have been the dominant force on track during the past two years and this week, they have managed to take a stranglehold on the pre-season discussion with an excellent launch of their 2016 challenger, the W07. An on-board video recorded and published on a filming day, followed by an inventive “hyperrealistic” drawing published online and concluding with images of the car posted online this morning marks a long W07 launch campaign.
It has been quite the build up to the unveiling of a car which Mercedes hope can guide them to a third successive constructors crown.
After months of speculation, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have confirmed today that they will continue their partnership, post 2015, with Hamilton signing a contract extension which will keep him at Brackley until the end of 2018. Ultimately, this announcement was rather a matter of when rather than if, particularly following Hamilton’s title success last season and the strength that Mercedes have shown under the sport’s current technical guise.
Breaking his 2015 victory duck was critical for Nico Rosberg. Taking the chequered flag ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton yesterday has reduced his arrears to 20 points and now means that the Briton can be caught and usurped from the championship lead in one weekend. After a succession of four straight pole positions and 93 points from a possible 100 in the opening innings of 2015, Hamilton seemed unstoppable until Nico finally achieved the perfect weekend – and not before time. Now, the German seems ready to take the fight to his chief rival.