It’s not our fault we’re dominant. At least that seems to be the refrain from Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and to that point, can you blame him? The fact is, Mercedes leveraged their place on the F1 Technical Working Group (Ross Brawn), got the regulations seated for a change to hybrid and then proceeded to pummel the stuffing out of the competition.
Now there seems to be some complaints about Mercedes domination and Toto has answered:
“Is it good for Formula 1 one team is dominant and that it’s pretty predictable, like it has been in ’14 and ’15?” Wolff said.
“It’s not good, but if you look at it historically it has always been like this, so the question is: what can I do?”
He’s got a point. Domination has been a part of F1 for a long time. Whether he meant it or not, McLaren’s Ron Dennis once said that it was incumbent upon them to catch Ferrari not for the FIA to make regulations to hobble the Italian squad so others can catch up. I had a lot of respect for that notion and still do.
I’m not sure the other teams are making too much of the domination although Red Bull’s Christian Horner has said that their 4-year domination was no where near what we’re seeing from Mercedes and to be honest, he’s right.
The fans are the folks that seem to be nonplussed with the Mercedes domination and to be honest this speaks to Horner’s comment. If they had won two titles on the trot but it was relatively close and they had to battle anyone but themselves, it may be another story. As it is, they are so comprehensively better that Ferrari is the only team in 2015 that has come anywhere close to resembling any sort of competition to Mercedes.
For Mercedes, they reckon in time other teams will close the gap:
“We expect the competition to grow stronger eventually, and we should stop romanticising the past, how great it was.
“I tend to see many of the historic stakeholders have forgotten we have moved on, that the product needs development.
“We haven’t blocked things like opening up the scope for the development of engines, for example, for next year.
“If we’d been pure opportunistic hardliners we would have stopped that, but we didn’t do that.”
He’s right. Engine development has been allowed and in time, the law of diminished returns will take root in the current engine specification meaning gains are harder to come by but that’s dependent on how well teams close the gap with each development cycle.
Then there are the rumored radical changes set for 2017 and beyond and it remains to be seen how Ferrari or Mercedes will take those proposed alterations.
Like many things in F1 right now, it’s not really just the Mercedes domination that is turning fans off, it’s a combination of things including prices, hybrid power units, lack of competitive inter-team battles and more. Mercedes just happens to be the team dominating in a time a serious quibble over the future of F1 and that’s not a fun position to be in.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT