2014 Formula 1 Report: USA Edition
Drafting the Circuits
Grand Prix Date Tire Compounds
Belgium Grand Prix August 22-24 Medium/Soft
Italian Grand Prix September 5-7 Hard/Medium
Singapore Grand Prix September 19-21 Soft/Supersoft
Summer Break Season Review Part 1
Formula 1 has taken its annual mid summer break for the majority of August. With a return to racing three weeks away, it’s a great time to look back and see what has transpired in the first 11 races.
The New Formula and Lack of Volume
The 2014 formula has embraced a new 1.6 liter V6 turbo-charged power unit coupled with 2 forms of energy recovery. The new regulations presented a steep learning curve for the teams. Integration of chassis, power unit and aerodynamics is always important…this year even more so as all the technology is new. Mercedes created the dominant vehicle which Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have used to practically run the tables.
Rosberg and Hamilton have each won 4 races! That’s 8 Mercedes victories out of 11 chances. They have finished 1-2 6 times! They have a commanding lead of 174 points in the Constructors Championship over defending champion Red Bull Racing. A driver from Mercedes has been on every podium.
With the Constructors Championship practically in hand, that leaves one huge question mark.
Who wins the other large prize?
Who wins the Drivers Championship….Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg?
This is the story for the remainder of the year.
It may cascade into who stays a Mercedes driver for years to come. With Rosberg leading the points tally by a meager 11 points, it could easily be nip and tuck until the final race in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina.
And that last race features DOUBLE POINTS!
With the Mercedes drivers so closely matched, it is easy to forecast the final race deciding the 2014 champion driver. Hamilton and Rosberg have played the company line about as well as could be expected to this point. But expect the gloves to come off as we get closer to seasons end especially if they keep running nip and tuck.
Although Mercedes have DOMINATED the 2014 campaign, there are some interesting players who could sabotage this Mercedes party and steal a victory from the Silver Arrows.
Daniel Ricciardo currently occupies the third position in the drivers rankings, but it is Veltteri Bottas and Sebatian Vettel who could reach up and grab the spot should Ricciardo encounter any issues.
Truth be told, don’t expect Ricciardo to go anywhere but up. His driving has been superb, battling Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso and often coming out on point. Expect a lot from Ricciardo in for the rest of the season, but don’t count Vettel out!
Bottas is certainly being tabbed to grab his first F1 victory this season and it is only a matter of time before Vettel returns to form. Throw in Fernando Alonso from Scuderia Ferrari and it will be rough and tumble as these drivers all vie for 3rd through 6th position.
Why no mention here of Ferrari? Well quite frankly, Fernando Alonso has again carried the team with Kimi Raikkonen still trying to figure out the lack of front end grip in the 2014 F14 T. We would all like to see Ferrari and Raikkonen more competitive, but it is unlikely this season as Ferrari seem to be shedding their skin under new leader Marco Mattiaci. Ferrari will regroup for 2015, but will Alonso stay the course?
Felipe Massa has, quite frankly, under performed so far this season. Massa’s crash with Perez in Canada and with Kevin Magnussen in Hungary tap a driver who might be pressing just a bit much.
Still, Massa can easily catch fire with a
Williams car which is fast. It would be no surprise to see Massa light up the final segment of the 2014 season with multiple victories.
Massa has had 6 races where he failed to score points. Bottas, on the other hand, has scored points in every race except for one. If Williams is to make a run at Ferrari for third position in the Constructors Championship, Massa will have to improve his consistency and start locking up points each race.
The racing has been good so far this year but it is still important to realize that the new power package leaves out a huge part of Formula 1 and that is volume.
Although the discussion on this topic has taken a recent back seat, this should be one of the biggest research points over the winter break. Too many people make mention of the unimpressive sound of the current F1 formula. If there is one thing to return to the fans next season, it is volume. Mean, angry, snarling, spitting, volume. It is what everyone wants to see in Formula 1!
Stay tuned next week as we review the rest of the field to date.
For those who use twitter, you can follow me @steve_aibel or check us all out at Drafting the Circuits.