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How Mercedes came to dominate Formula One

Post Date: 17th November 2016

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Mercedes are one of the most successful teams in Formula One history with a long line of titles under their belts. Recent wins include back-to-back drivers’ titles in 2014 and 2015, 11 one-two finishes (beating McLaren’s 1988 record of ten), and then trumping this a year later by producing 12 one-two finishes.

One top of this, Mercedes has collected 16 victories in 2014 and 2015 each. This again breaks McLaren’s record from 1988 as well as Ferrari’s in 2002 and 2004.

Just how has Mercedes achieved such consistent dominance in Formula One in such a short time?

Mercedes in F1

The 1955 Le Mans disaster prompted Mercedes-Benz’s withdrawal from motor racing. They finally returned to Formula One in 1994 as an engine supplier. While other teams have many decades of F1 racing experience, this alone makes the pre-eminence of Mercedes (known as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team since 2010) in F1 even more astounding.

Over the past few years, Mercedes have spent a lot of money on research and development. This R&D has helped them create new innovations in speed, down force, fuel efficiency and engine power. But the actions of their rivals have also helped Mercedes’ fortunes as well.

While much praise should be given to Mercedes Turbo-Engine layout giving them the edge on the track, and the fact that Mercedes started work on their hybrid engines a whole year before other competitors, they have also benefitted from some serendipitous timing.

There is an argument to suggest that Ferrari’s input in to the development of their new hypercar, ‘La Ferrari’ has driven brainpower away from their F1 projects.

The money that teams in Formula One can spend on research and development is set at the same level. This stops bigger teams from pouring their huge wealth in to one car and acts as an advantage to the smaller teams with fewer resources.

From the outsider’s perspective, Ferrari – with all their F1 history – would look like the clear victors in this race. However, Ferrari also needs to keep their non-competition reputation spotless too. Which means that once every ten years or so, they produce a car of such a high quality, it puts all other supercars in the shade.

‘La Ferrari’ is the car that the Italian manufacturers have consolidated all their engineering, design and technological power together to create. This means their F1 R&D teams have experienced a bit of neglect as the firm rushes to get the new hypercar out to promotion.

So while the new Italian model has a world-beating V12 and KERS system, Mercedes – with its unrivalled engine-chassis combination – has been able to benefit from its competitors distraction. All of which has resulted in consecutive wins on the track, and the team becoming an indomitable force in the competition.

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