2014 Formula 1 Report:  USA Edition

Drafting the Circuits

Week 17

The Formula 1 season is essentially pieced into three segments.  An opening “flyaway” segment, a summer segment, based primarily in Europe, and a final segment that picks up after the August break in Europe and ends with another “flyaway” series of races.

This schedule is grueling and truly tests the teams.  The next race in Spain will be the first barometer of gains made upon the Mercedes Star Destroyer that is dominating Formula 1.  We are sure to see upgrades introduced in Spain and if a few teams do not make marked progress, the 2014 constructors championship will be over by the time to teams reach Canada.

The first flyaway races are complete and as the teams return to Europe for a three week break, it is a good time to review some major stories and look forward to the rest of the season!

Mercedes Utter Domination

LH helmet


Mercedes have done well…really, really well!

The landscape of the jungle has changed and the new king, by far, is Mercedes.  The changes put into place since Toto Wolff’s appointment to Executive Director in January 2013 began an overhaul of the Silver Arrows.  Wolff brought on Paddy Lowe, and with Niki Lauda as consultant, this Wolff Pack obviously targeted the 2014 Formula as the marker for their ascension atop the Formula 1 mountain.

There’s no one close!

The Mercedes package is head and tails above the rest of the F1 paddock.  With a massive 97 point lead in the constructors championship, Mercedes  have almost tripled the points tally of second place Red Bull Racing.  Unless Mercedes stumble like a drunken sailor, this point differential is almost insurmountable!

Australia win

Two questions, at this point, surround Mercedes.

Which pilot will take the Drivers’ Championship and perhaps the longer range question ….how much of this success is contributed to the recently departed Ross Brawn?  The answer to the second  question will determine how long Mercedes rules the F1 landscape.

Engine Noise…or lack if it

 The new formula has been the subject of much discussion.  Nothing has taken the forefront more than the volume of the new engine package.  The 2.4 liter V8 engines have been replaced by a V6 turbo with a large focus on energy recovery systems.

The problem?  Noise, or lack there of!

The uproar surrounding these engines has been around the volume.  They are just not loud enough for Formula 1!  That’s been the major complaint!

I am here to say, this is not the case and that volume is only a small part of the issue.  I would like to suggest that it’s NOT the volume that is the issue but the tone and texture of the engine noise that has turned everyone off.

And don’t get me wrong, people are turned off.

The engines just don’t grunt! They don’t even growl.  It is this element that has everyone in an uproar.  If the engines still sounded gruff and coarse, even if they were lower in pure volume, this debate would be closed.

But when the entire pack roars by on the opening lap of the greatest spectacle in motor sports, and the sound resembles a pack of scooters rolling along on a downtown city tour, it is time to find a some subject matter experts to amp up the volume.

Maybe AC/DC or Metallica are available for consult!

The King and his Court

Don’t blink, you’ll miss it!  Formula 1 is changing!

The new cars are based on emerging technology.  The pure animalistic roar of the engines are not present.  There are new teams entering the sport and in all likelihood, the final days of the Bernie Ecclestone are here.

Sure, Ecclestone will come out of his court case just fine, but the writing is on the wall.  The ruling body of the sport will change and the one man show will be just another good old story passed around the paddock.

This makes me sad!

I, for one, like Bernie Ecclestone.  He’s a racer at heart and a damn good businessman!  He grabbed a hold of a European passion and spread it to a worldwide audience.   He is entertaining in his own Bernie way, and his knowledge of all aspects of F1 would fill volumes.  Bernie has earned the right to go out on his own terms and it is my hope that he is able to do so.

The time has come for this change to proceed and for F1 to modernize its executive structure.  I hope that Bernie is a part of this transition team.


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