- Mercedes are already 96 points ahead of Ferrari after just 5 rounds in 2019.

Is Formula 1 being damaged by the dominance of Mercedes?

After 5 consecutive 1-2 finishes at the beginning of 2019, fans and critics are growing tiresome of the Silver Arrows.

1y ago
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One thing is for certain, Mercedes are doing something that's never been seen in the 69-year history of the Formula One World Championship. No team has ever scored a 1-2 finish at the first 5 rounds of the championship before. After mesmeric races in Melbourne, Sakhir, Shanghai, Baku and this past weekend in Barcelona, you have to wonder - Is Mercedes' performance really something to marvel, or actually something to worry about for their competitors, and most importantly, the fans of the sport?

We've seen similar periods of dominance in the sport before however, such as McLaren's 1988 season, where the stunning MP4/4 won 15 of the 16 races at the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Or in 2002, where Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello combined to win 15 of the 17 races, thus sealing Schumi's historic 5th World Championship, equalling the great Juan Manuel Fangio in the process. Even in 2013, Sebastian Vettel singlehandedly won the last 9 races of the season for Red Bull Racing, breaking the record for most consecutive wins by a single driver.

But the current dominance shown by Mercedes feels somewhat, different.

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH FERRARI IN 2019?

After what appeared to be the fastest team when pre-season testing ended in Barcelona just two months ago, many people anticipated one of the most hotly-contested championships in years. However, when the circus arrived in Melbourne, Australia for the season opener, we saw something completely different - a race dominated by Mercedes, with both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc trailing home in 4th and 5th respectively. The paddock was shocked, but Melbourne is an oddity, and never a true barometer for performance, so we looked ahead to Sakhir for more answers.

Ferrari looked to have a stronger car in Bahrain, especially at the hands of Leclerc, who could've, and certainly should've won his first Grand Prix had it not been for an engine failure. Vettel found the race much harder, struggling with overall pace, and even succumbing to a spin when in wheel to wheel combat with his arch-rival Lewis Hamilton. They ended up beating themselves with strategy and then eventually reliability, not for the first time.

After having the better car in Bahrain, Ferrari still couldn't stop Mercedes recording their 2nd 1-2 of the season.

After having the better car in Bahrain, Ferrari still couldn't stop Mercedes recording their 2nd 1-2 of the season.

As we entered the 1,000th Grand Prix in China for round 3 of the championship, many would romantically have linked Ferrari to winning that race. After all, they are the most successful team in the sport's history, so it would've been fitting. But once again, after the team from Maranello showed pace on Friday, it was the Mercedes drivers that locked out the front row for qualifying, and scored another 1-2 finish at a canter. You could say that the Red Bull of Max Verstappen has been occupying the Ferrari's just enough this season to stop them from focusing on Mercedes.

Another perfect qualifying for Mercedes in Baku, followed by a quiet race and a seemingly simple 1-2 finish had people wondering what was happening to the Scuderia this season. But the next race was in Barcelona, the track that Ferrari owned in pre-season testing, so they should be more of a match for the Merc's. Along with an engine upgrade, it should've finally been their week to strike back. But more of the same was soon to come.

If yesterday's race in Barcelona taught us anything, it's that Ferrari don't appear to have the best car in 2019. It's now clear that Mercedes have the best overall package, and with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in imperious form, this championship could be over quicker than most people thought when we touched down in Australia back in March.

Lewis Hamilton is chasing his 6th World Championship, whereas Valtteri Bottas is looking to claim his maiden title.

Lewis Hamilton is chasing his 6th World Championship, whereas Valtteri Bottas is looking to claim his maiden title.

WILL MONACO BE ANY DIFFERENT, OR MORE OF THE SAME?

Since the major aerodynamic rule change in 2017, Mercedes haven't won a race at the historic principality. They've adopted a longer wheelbase chassis in the last three seasons, and this doesn't usually help with the kind of direction change required to be successful in Monaco. Historically, Ferrari and Red Bull have always been quick on the streets of Monte-Carlo, so Mercedes' current streak of 1-2 finishes could well come to a close in 2 weeks time. Max Verstappen will be looking for a redemption of sorts after crashing out in qualifying last year, making his Sunday harder than it should've been. As for Ferrari, Charles Leclerc will be looking to rubber stamp his intentions with a debut win at his home race. Sebastian Vettel also needs a strong weekend in order to justify his number 1 status for Ferrari. Either way, it could be the most intriguing race of 2019 so far.

So after a dominant start, are Mercedes really damaging for the sport? Or do we need to applaud what the team from Brackley are achieving at the moment?

I do know however, that someone needs to react very quickly, otherwise this championship will over before we leave Europe for the fly-away races.

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Comments (99)

  • Mercedes is trying to beat Audi in the unofficial "how-many-racing-series-can-we-dominate-till-destruction" competition.

      1 year ago
    • Yes they are! Eventually they’ll succeed in Formula E, and then they’ll go back to WEC. Maybe try they’re hand at WRC? Use the A-Class.

        1 year ago
  • It's not really Mercedes' fault that they're the best team is it? If you were a police officer for a year and you bumbled around for 12 months solving no crimes whatsoever and the guy at the next desk solved 50 the chief of police wouldn't turn up and fire him for being a better police officer.

    The blame for the lack of competition can only be placed squarely at the door of the teams who are failing to keep up.

      1 year ago
    • Great analogy! While I agree that the teams do need to catch up, it’s also important for the prize money system to be changed, as well as a budget cap.

        1 year ago
  • No, on the contrary, F1 is being damaged by the absence of competition. Ferrari have a privileged position in F1, they have great political power, “history” and “passion” (for whatever they’re truly worth) and a huge budget partly made up of a disproportionate and unfair share of the teams’ F1 revenue allocation. The real question is, “is F1 being made boring by Ferrari’s embarrassing, pathetic failure over the last 11 years” with a supplemental question of “were their last successes more to do with their arrangement with Bridgestone?”.

    Red Bull isn’t much better, I’ve got bored of the number of times they’ve threatened to leave - fine, go!

    Mercedes have done a spectacular job in recent years and they deserve their success. When their engine was a step beyond anyone else’s, that drew the ire of commentators. This season, that is certainly not the case, they have a complete package, not just in terms of the car but the whole team. They have moved the game on, just like Chapman did with the monocoque chassis, the DFV (with the tiniest of help from Cosworth, of course) and ground effect, or like Navratilova and Federer did in tennis.

    It’s not their job to ease off and be like everyone else, it’s for everyone else to up their game.

      1 year ago
    • I wholeheartedly agree with everything you just said. It’s up to everyone to try and match Mercedes’ excellence. I’m sure Ferrari will find something soon!

      Thanks for reading, and also a fantastic response.

        1 year ago
  • I can understand why people are getting bored of Mercedes keep winning but if you think back to when Mercedes rejoined F1 again in 2010 they were awful but instead of trying to catch up with RBR and McLaren they put everything into designing a new engine for the hybrid era and took a few years of loosing massively in the sport. They gambled massively and in a way so did Lewis by moving to Mercedes but it paid off, by playing the long game Mercedes have become a credit to themselves. However i do believe that if RBR had been given the chance to use Mercedes engines from the beginning of the hybrid era it would have been them dominating the sport for much of the early years maybe even up until now. I still think RBR have the best chassis and looking at Seb and Daniel who have now changed teams they struggle with the chassis and handling as i think they became accustomed to the way the RBR car behaves and being able to brake so late and apply full throttle so early with the sheer grip of the Red Bull cars. I can't see the other teams catching Mercedes until the rules all change again and everyone has a fresh start. That's just a thought though and i don't claim anything I've said to be the truth it's just what i think. Maybe if there was a choice of tyre manufacturer for the teams it would change things and make the racing less predictable. Also refuelling during the race could make a difference.. Only time will tell i guess.

      1 year ago
    • Yes! One thing I would love to see return is a tire war. Not just two suppliers like Michelin and Bridgestone of yesteryear, but maybe Goodyear, Hankook and Pirelli too??

        1 year ago
  • Remember when Williams was untouchable and won everything? How about when McLaren won almost every single race? When Ferrari were at lengths ahead of everyone else?

    There is always going to be a dominant team and there will always been another team coming up. At some point they’ll switch positions and the cycle repeats.

    Did the Lancia Integrale make rallying boring? Did the Alfa 155 make BTCC boring? Not in the slightest.

      1 year ago
    • Exactly! Formula 1 dominance is cyclical. Eventually Mercedes will topple or leave the sport. Then it’ll be someone else’s time to shine.

        1 year ago
    • Willoams was not untouchable for 6 consecutive years. And they never began a season with 5x 1-2

        1 year ago
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