Another Merc domination? Where’s the diversity?

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I said it on our latest season review podcast and now, not surprisingly, Lewis Hamilton is saying it. The difference is, Lewis knows and I’m guessing.

“There is at least another year of this strength we have,” Hamilton said.

“Of course there is a slight unknown because the car can shift. It could dip.

“But we have a much, much stronger foundation in this team and that is not going to be the case.

“I’m so confident that is not going to be the case.”

Another year of Mercedes domination and our own Dave tried to show that this domination is not unlike other dominating periods in F1 here (although it certainly feels different to me).

In fact, team boss-turned quote machine, Sauber’s Monisha Kaltenborn, seems to think Mercedes domination is perfectly fine.

“For me actually, that’s [domination] never been any negative point in our series, because all of us have been in that situation,” she said.

“If you go back to the years of Michael Schumacher, how many years did [Ferrari] dominate?

“And look at all the things which were attached to it – tyres were developed for one team, for one driver basically, and you never had these kinds of discussions.”

Now the interesting part of Monisha’s commentary over at Motorsport is that she does slide in a warning about dominance and it could easily be construed as an implication of Mercedes when she said:

“Every team plays their role in F1,” she said. “To a team like ours, it doesn’t really affect us in that way if one team dominates.

“But it is important that you don’t use that dominance to push the sport in a direction which is maybe not good for the entire sport.

“You have to respect all teams, be it number one, number two or number 10, because everybody has their part to play and everybody contributes to the F1 show.”

To be fair, that kind of control via dominance has been ascribed to Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull in the past when those teams were dominating the sport.

It’s also an interesting admission that teams such as Sauber, Force India, Williams et. al. are businesses and their racing efforts generate cash and employ people and make owners some decent dosh in the process. They aren’t fighting for the title, their fighting for an occupation int he long term.

That’s not why Mercedes or Lewis are there and if they are correct, and I believe they are, you’ll be looking at another Merc domination in 2016. how many wins can Ferrari snipe this year? Four?

If everyone is wrong and Ferrari make serious gains and start winning regularly, will F1 fans be happier? I think Monisha sums up the current sentiment of younger F1 fans when she says:

“Why do we have so many issues? They say it’s because of the dominance of the team, but in fact it’s because the diversity is not there,” she said.

“It didn’t matter if, in the time of Schumacher, that he won the title in Magny-Cours [in 2002], and you still had so many races to come.

“It was the fact that more teams could be on podium, more teams could deliver that kind of result [that made it interesting].”

It’s the ability for more than one team to fight it out. Think Ferrari and McLaren in the late 90’s. Think Red Bull and Ferrari or Renault and Ferrari n 2005-06. The ability for inter-team battles, not just intra-team battles. That’s what fans would like. They want a few teams capable of winning races, but realistically not all teams, their not that daft.

hat Tip: AUTOSPORT and Motorsport

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Paul KieferJr

2013 was a good example. Dominance by Red Bull, but Ferrari made it interesting. That kept the eyes glued to the TV.

dima-f1

Yeah, nine in a row victories of Vettel, what can be more interesting?

Sakae

You may not like Vettel, but at least he got his points under contested conditions. How much contest was there for Mercedes? They all got the same chance to beat Seb. In contrast, considering different baselines when in Feb 2014 cars hit the track, there was not contest, just painful and slow process applying remedial measures under very tight conditions for them all.

Open mind and little understanding what goes into making a car goes long way in this sport.

MIE

Why is finding an aerodynamic advantage fairer than finding a power advantage?
All teams have the same opportunity to work with their power unit supplier to produce the power unit. At least Mercedes supply three other teams with their power units, unlike Red Bull who kept their aerodynamic advantage to themselves. While in 2014 no in-season changes where allowed to the Power Units, this was overturned last year, and development will again be allowed this season.

Angela

Why is finding an aerodynamic advantage fairer than finding a power advantage? When the engines are fully developed then the “advantage” has to come from somewhere. I don’t understand your point with this comment as it has no bearing on 2014/15 All teams have the same opportunity to work with their power unit supplier to produce the power unit. No they don’t. Are you saying that Williams or Force India can develop their PU with the help of Merc or Sauber can get more power by asking Ferrari nicely? At least Mercedes supply three other teams with their power units,… Read more »

MIE

While Ron Dennis has a valid point, Mercedes customers get identical hardware components to the works team (or they did until Renault and Ferrari insisted on in-season development, which allowed the works teams to argue that the latest developments were insufficiently reliable to provide to their customers). What they don’t get is the software that controls how the energy recovery systems are used. There is therefore the potential for a customer to develop this software independently of the manufacturer which could result in more power than the works team. Unlike aero development (which is strictly controlled by CFD processing time… Read more »

Angela

What they don’t get is the software that controls how the energy recovery systems are used. There is therefore the potential for a customer to develop this software independently of the manufacturer which could result in more power than the works team. As I understand it, the control electronics are supplied by the engine manufacturer and are part of the homologation of the PU so the customer teams cannot do there own software for the deployment and energy harvesting. Although they can tweak the program maps to suit different tracks, they are not given the source code for this software… Read more »

MIE

My understanding is different. The customers get the control electronics, but this is the hardware only. The software is not fixed by the regulations, so it is free for development.

Sakae

“Why is finding an aerodynamic advantage fairer than finding a power advantage”? That’s a not question I would ask, for it may have multiple answers and none of those actually grasping core issue of problem in hand. Mercedes was on hybrids for many years, developing technology, whilst other were focused on racing, something CA bind them to do. Mercedes not only did get away with this neat tactics, but got rewarded by lock of new technology in its first year. Why this would be important? Because this alone contributed to a shift in development time lines, and where each of… Read more »

MIE

The difficulty for 2016 will be the big regulation changes due in 2017. If a team is not realistically fighting for the title in 2016 they may decide to switch more effort to the 2017 design to get a head start on the opposition. This may hamper Ferrari, Renault and McLaren in their attempts to keep up with Mercedes. Other teams (using customer power units) will be at a disadvantage as we have seen so far during this period of regulations. With luck, some of the teams will catch up sufficiently over the winter to keep them interested through this… Read more »

Sakae

Kaltenborn is a good one to speak about diversity, until one realizes, that she belongs to the group of teams, for whose benefit cost down regulations were instituted, and precisely a reason why diversity is now dying IMO. Sure, people can still change a bit here or there on the car, but process si slow, limiting, and uncertain, whilst time is constant. Dynamos, wind tunnels, supercomputers with fancy software, and whatever else aren’t substitute for track testing, with huge amount of work behind it. As someone pointed out the other day, if a team wants to have a door to… Read more »

geeyore

“everybody has their part to play and everybody contributes to the F1 show.” It’s not diversity or dominance that gets my attention, because these are the known and actual outcomes of all motorsport and racing. Rather, it’s competition, driver and racecar performance, and the more visceral aspects of any competitive sport. It most certainly is not “the show.” In fact I can’t think of any other motorsport where principals, stakeholders, and sometimes ever drivers regularly refer to their sport as “the show.” Even NASCAR – which is designed to be a spectator motorsport – has enough respect for fans that… Read more »

Sakae

An article written in a competing web site – dated Aug 2015 – was quoting Ron Dennis:

“That isn’t what F1 is about. F1 is about competition, not about handicapping. And perversely the biggest handicap in F1 is no testing.”

Sakae

Maybe somebody can explain this to me, but why, in competitive environment where winning is linked to winning share of money earned, it would be duty of an engine manufacturer support their own foe to winning ways? In which sport this would be a rule? People talk about engine manufacturers in really bad terms, but try to see the issue from their side. Mercedes, Ferrari, and now Renault have to invest into comprehensive development of their contender (PU, chassis, etc.), whereas teams like RBR will focus only on chassis, and then they want to pay fully developped engine at a… Read more »

Angela

Maybe somebody can explain this to me, but why, in competitive environment where winning is linked to winning share of money earned, it would be duty of an engine manufacturer support their own foe to winning ways? In which sport this would be a rule? People talk about engine manufacturers in really bad terms, but try to see the issue from their side. Mercedes, Ferrari, and now Renault have to invest into comprehensive development of their contender (PU, chassis, etc.), whereas teams like RBR will focus only on chassis, and then they want to pay fully developped engine at a… Read more »

Sakae

I have not problem with position taken, however with each new day I am more and more perplexed over whole situation. Where was due diligence done by FOM/FiA in 2010 to secure engine cost limit, or even prevent V6 hyb. development altogether? They couldn’t figured out financial impact that will have on small teams? There are 18 votes in The Strategy Group, and we are suppose to believe that customers has not done their homework, and have CA amended for their protection because of two teams? Sure there is conflict of interest, but someone for some reason permitted this to… Read more »

WHASSA-MADDA-U

What do F1 and Hollywood have in common? No diversity…..Boo Hoo:(