We’re already 3 races into the 2014 FIA formula one world championship and the Mercedes AMG Petronas team is dominant. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have taken pole in qualifying and grabbed the checkered flag in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain. There is no sign they won’t continue and do the same in Shanghai, China on April 20th. Mercedes powered teams are killing it this year, much to the chagrin of teams using Ferrari and Renault power plants. However; the formula one season is 19 races long and 3 wins doesn’t make a formula one champion.
This is Rossberg’s 9th year racing in formula and for 8 of those 9 years his performance has been, let’s say….far from stellar. He earned his first win in 2012 at the Chinese grand prix where he finally shook the moniker “The Highest Paid Driver to Never Win a Race”. This year the relatively new Mercedes team (Started in 2010) and their F1 W05 chasis are providing him the ride that will change his fortune. He’s silenced long-time critics with this season’s performance and is the currently first in points for the drivers’ championship with 61 while his teammate Hamilton is nipping at his heels with 50.
Top 10 Passes in 2013 –Alonso v Webber at Spa coming into Eau Rouge is insane.
This season looks to shake up the same old routine we’ve seen since 2010 when Sebastian Vettel (the German wunderkind) and Infiniti Red Bull took over F1 and won the drivers championship and team championship 4 consecutive years. Reminds me of the days when Michael Schumacher owned Formula 1 when driving for Ferrari and the races became known as “the world’s fastest parade” as he never relinquished the lead and there was very little passing in the sport. As the season progresses and teams gather more data race after race, they will be improving their aerodynamics, mechanics, strategy and overall performance making the late season races more vital in determining the 2014 championship. In particular, the US Grand prix in Austin Texas at Circuit of the Americas will be pivotal as teams push to finish the season strong and clinch a championship or scramble for a share of the extremely valuable championship points. Gaining even 1 or 2 points can help catapult them higher in the rankings resulting in a much higher pay out come year end. Formula 1 only pays out the top 10 teams and with 11 teams participating this year, no one want to be the one team out of the money. The only other North American race this season remains the long-standing Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal.
I’m going to say that 2014 will be the best year to attend the US Grand Prix, whether you have or haven’t already been to the circuit and seen the race. The changes to the chassis have definitely mixed up the field, Circuit of the America’s has decided to continue offering single day passes to Friday Practice 1 & Practice 2, Saturday Practice 3 & Qualifying and of course Sunday race day. This was different from the inaugural race in 2012 when only 3 day tickets were sold and could artificially inflated the numbers. My guess is sales will meet or exceed 2012 which will lead to ticket prices rising as we approach race day so buy now to get best selection at the best price. I’ll see in you in the Turn 1 grandstands!