The sobering side of the 2014 F1 season

As we get set to close the book of 2014, we are reminded of the sobering reality of Formula 1’s more unfortunate and tragic stories. As the anniversary of Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident brings the thought of those who are suffering more deeply into focus, the German 7-time champion’s manager says that he faces a long fight to recovery telling Reuters:

“We need a long time. It’s going to be a long time and a hard fight,” Sabine Kehm said. “He is making progress appropriate to the severity of the situation,”

The situation is grimmer than what may have been previously reported in the papers but if that were not sobering enough, there is little news regarding the health of Marussia driver Jules Bianchi who suffered a horrific accident in this year’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The team scored two points this year and thanks to Bianchi, it was the first points ever scored since the team entered F1 five years ago. While reeling from the accident, the team suffered the unenviable position of having to enter into administration for insolvency.

The team’s demise is also a big impact for Ferrari and McLaren as they were suppliers of engines and technical assistance respectively. Ferrari will be left holding the bag for £16.6 million while McLaren will be nursing a £7.1 million receivables wound.

As unsecured creditors to the team, Ferrari and McLaren will face a serious shortfall and this has led to a rash of discussions about lowering the cost of F1—namely the hybrid engine expense the smaller teams are paying for in order to compete.

The 2014 season was a season of highs but it also was pockmarked with serious and life-threatening lows. I will always wonder what Jules may have achieved as Kimi’s replacement at Ferrari in 2016 but perhaps the 2014 season has left us all wondering if tractors on live track corners is truly the best method for stranded car recovery.

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