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Prost’s F1 dilemma

Ex- Formula one driver and four time world champion Alain Prost has spoken out regarding the current state of motor racings top tier. It is no secret that since the introduction of the hybrid engines in 2014, a move that prompted the complete domination by Mercedes, formula 1 has been anything but viewer friendly.

The team has triumphed on thirty two occasions out of a possible thirty eight races and their driver Lewis Hamilton secured the drivers title in both years. Whilst there was partial resistance from other teams, Red Bull in 2014 and Ferrari in 2015, the majority of the time both the silver cars were left alone to battle it out on track. On some occasions their drivers would qualify over one second ahead of third place on a Saturday. With such a gargantuan winning margin over just one lap, with events lasting between 40-70 it soon becomes clear how large the difference between the best and the rest truly is.

This combined with the fact that in 2015 Hamilton wrapped up the title with three races remaining, has culminated in dwindling viewing figures and former senior drivers voicing their concern at the future of the sport.

Lewis should be the favourite for the championship again. But what would be good for Formula one is a big fight between Lewis and Nico (Rosberg) with maybe (Sebastian) Vettel in the middle. 

Prost’s assertion is absolutely correct, there is nothing better for fans than a three or even four way driver battle for the championship. The last time this occured was in 2010, when with three races remaining five drivers could still mathematically win. Although in that year Jenson Button’s title charge would diminish, approaching the final race in Abu Dhabi four drivers could still claim motor sports ultimate crown.

YEONGAM-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 21: (L-R) F1 World Championship contenders Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes, Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari, Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing, Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing pose for a photograph during previews to the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 21, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lewis Hamilton; Fernando Alonso; Mark Webber; Jenson Button

At the Korean Grand Prix in 2010 five drivers were in contention for the world championship. Left to right: Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. Alonso was leading into the final race but a pit stop error allowed Vettel to triumph. 

The other famous occasion when this occurred was in 1986 (the featured image for this article). In that year Nigel Mansell should have been victorious but thanks to a puncture at the final race, Prost unexpectedly won. This is what fans desire from motor sport: competition; drama and above all the unexpected.

These seasons are few and far between, however, and one car dominance has become more common than ever. With the imperious performance of the Mercedes engine showing no signs of impairment it would seem that this will be the case for the 2016 season.

With testing about to commence, it may shed some light on the performance of the cars. The optimistic view would be that Ferrari have continued their improvement from last year and that Red Bull can provide Daniel Ricciardo with equipment worthy of his immense talent. That way Hamilton and Rosberg will not only compete with each other but with Vettel and the Red Bulls, creating a situation similar to the 86 and 2010 seasons. In reality though I would not bet on it.

 

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