Part 2: Five lows from 2019 F1 season
We summarise the 2019 F1 season through five highs and five lows.
The 2019 F1 season was diverse where on-track action varied heavily, and the favored team was never the same as it was a few races prior, barring the first several grand prix. Even though Ferrari looked good but Mercedes had everything under their control still.
The season has had ups and downs as it's gone by, and with that, here we try to sum-up five highs and five lows, which covers the whole season. Some lesser magnitude highs and also lows is also carried here - does the list matches with yours?
Here's the list of highs:
Here's the list of lows:
Ferrari's stumble, Sebastian Vettel's misses:
Whether you wear the scarlet red of Ferrari, or the whites of Mercedes, Ferrari's failed F1 2019 run was painful just the same. In pre-season, it seemed the Italian team were the ones to beat, but come Australian GP, they were far off the pace.
They seemed like themselves in Bahrain GP but reliability issues cost them as it started a chain of mishaps. Whenever they were competitive against Mercedes, they lost the lead due to poor strategy or bad luck, or even driver error.
In the latter half of the season they recovered to some extent. However, the lead Mercedes had acquired by this point was to great for Ferrari to put up any real challenge, costing us a chance at a thoroughly exciting F1 constructor's championship.
While Leclerc managed to be the one shining light for Ferrari, senior pro Vettel had another difficult season, even though it was better than 2018. The German racer looked in control in certain F1 races but comparing Hamilton's consistency, he felt short.
Lack of close F1 title fight:
Continuing with Ferrari's misses, it led to the biggest source of disappointment in F1 2019 as it resulted in a lack of a close title fight. In the early races, it seemed one would take place between the Mercedes teammates, but as Hamilton found his stride, it was all one-sided then.
Red Bull provided some dramas but then they fell short in certain races with Honda which limited their play as Mercedes flew by. The lack of Top 2 fights were made up by some of the tussles between the other teams, such as Ferrari and Red Bull, but it remains 2019's major weak point when compared with other strong seasons.
Another sob-story to come out of the 2019 F1 season was the demise of Renault, who lost out to their customer team McLaren in their quest for best-of-the-rest, resulting in them falling one position, in a year when they hoped to challenge the top three teams on occasion, and perhaps even fight for podiums when given the chance.
This was especially hard for the French manufacturer, as it meant that they were the only major factory team to have not prospered in 2019, as even Honda scored podiums in several races, and wins in Germany, Brazil, and Austria, while Renault's best result was a fourth place with Daniel Ricciardo in Italy.
Haas' strange drop, Williams struggles:
Two other F1 teams to suffer severely in 2019 were Haas and Williams. The situation was difficult for both teams, but it came more suddenly to Haas, who had a spectacular 2018 season, in which they battled Renault for fourth, and put up a valiant effort to boot.
In 2019, though, they struggled in the early stages of the year, and were unable to pinpoint the issue. The result of this uncertainty held them back hugely as their upgrades didn't work and they faltered to finish ninth from fifth in 2018.
Meanwhile, on the Williams front, they were just unable to compete at any point in the season, as they continued to drift further from the leading and midfield F1 teams. The 2019 was, in fact, their worst, in terms of points, since their first season in F1.
Straightforward grand prix races with no real fights:
For many races prior to Austrian GP, Mercedes domination left little racing at the front of the field, and often times, dirty air and other factors limited passing in the midfield as well. Extreme cases of this were the French GP, Azerbaijan GP, and also Spanish GP.
F1 received much criticism for these poor shows, but the sport's reputation has since recovered due to a thrilling latter half of the season, which also had some low-key races but not as much as the first half.
Notable mentions which missed the cut:
Pierre Gasly's tenure at Red Bull:
Gasly was promoted to Red Bull from Toro Rosso at the end of 2018, but once in the top team, the Frenchman was unable to replicate the outperforming-the-car trait he had at Toro Rosso, with him consistently running far behind Verstappen.
He finished quite far off from the Dutchman, except the British GP, which was one of his better races from the season. He certainly had the talent but it just didn't click at Red Bull which cost him his seat but he was able to fight back in Toro Rosso.
Change of hands affects Racing Point:
Following an excellent year in 2018, which nearly resulted in fourth place for Force India/Racing Point, had it not been for turmoil involving the team's sale, they dropped many positions under new ownership this season.
In fact, the pink panthers found themselves in seventh in the 2019 F1 standings, which was the same position they were in 2018 but in reality, they lost performance due to the change of ownership and a late start to their new campaign.
[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This story was also written by Duncan Leahy with my help on FormulaRapida.net]