For almost a decade, Mercedes in F1 was the dominant force. The Silver Arrows romped to eight consecutive constructor’s championships between 2014 and 2021, an unprecedented amount of success.
Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg also secured seven world championships between them, and it seemed like that Brackley-based outfit held a stranglehold on the sport, unlike anything we had ever seen before. But the beginning of the 2023 season has shown that Toto Wolff’s team is once again a million miles off the pace off the grid leading Red Bulls, for the second consecutive season.
We saw at the recent Miami Grand Prix just how dominant the Red Bulls are this year. Max Verstappen started ninth on the grid but he easily powered his way through the field to take his third win of the campaign and extend his gap to teammate Sergio Perez in the championship standings. But it wasn’t so long ago that it was the Silver Arrows who were Formula One’s dominant force.
Turbo-Hybrid Era Belongs To the Triple Star
In 2012, Lewis Hamilton shocked the sporting world when he swapped McLaren, the team that led him to his maiden world championship, for Mercedes. The Silver Arrows back then were considered a midfield leader, while McLaren was contending for race victories. However, Toto Wolff and his team had focussed their efforts solely on the 2014 season, which would usher in a whole host of regulation changes. Both his and Hamilton’s decisions were inspired.
Throughout that campaign nine years ago, Mercedes flexed their muscles and their superior engine on the rest of the grid. They won all but three races that year as LH44 claimed his second world title. The following year, they would once again win all but three races as Hamilton romped to a second consecutive title and third overall. In 2016, teammate Nico Rosberg finally got one over on Hamilton, winning the world title before retiring from the sport.
In 2017 and 2018, Ferrari attempted to provide competition to Mercedes, however, the Brackley team kept their cool on both occasions, dominating in the latter parts of the campaign to secure both constructor and driver’s titles. In 2019 and 2020, Mercedes was once again a million miles clear of their competitors as they stormed to further titles. In 2021, a ninth consecutive constructor’s crown was clinched, while Hamilton was controversially denied a record-breaking eighth driver’s title.
The gloomy shadow of Abu Dhabi 2021 still lurks over both Hamilton and Mercedes. The seven-time world champ hasn’t won a race since and the Silver Arrows have looked miles away from race-leading pace. But if they can channel the energy they showed in 2014, we may see them emerge as challengers once more.