Is Mercedes AMG the most dominant F1 team of all time?

Jawad Yaqub Roar Guru

By Jawad Yaqub, Jawad Yaqub is a Roar Guru


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    In what might be their most rewarding season yet, Mercedes AMG have for the fourth consecutive year clinched the Formula One constructor’s championship – this time with three races to spare.

    11 wins and 14 pole positions from the 17 races contested so far has yielded an unassailable 575-points for the Silver Arrows.

    Rather than discuss how the competition lost grip on the championship in 2017, it is pertinent to celebrate the era of dominance that the powerhouses at Brackley and Brixworth have brought.

    2017 saw a massive overhaul in the sport’s regulations, a change many hoped would dethrone the reigning world champions, as was the case with Red Bull in 2014 when they were brought to their knees with the introduction of the hybrid power-unit.

    Initially, the Silver Arrows were challenged by a revitalised Ferrari, who appeared to have at last bridged the gap between the pivotal power-units and had chassis that, under the new aerodynamic specifications, was far stronger than the ‘diva’ W08 EQ Power+.

    From a team perspective, the losses of 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg and technical director Paddy Lowe were nullified by the appointments of Valtteri Bottas and James Allison in the respective roles of driver and technical chief.

    Bottas put a swift end to the chatter surrounding his position at the team, taking his first grand prix victory in Russia, admirably defeating Sebastian Vettel in the charging Ferrari. The Finn achieved a similar result in Austria from pole position, where he as the supposed ‘number two’ driver.

    Supplementing his two wins, Bottas has stood on the podium on eight occasions in 2017, often scrounging results when his championship-leading teammate, Lewis Hamilton, struggled in the early part of the season.

    Valtteri Bottas

    GEPA pictures/Red Bull Content Pool

    Russia, Monaco and Austria aside, three-time world champion Hamilton has enjoyed perhaps his strongest season in tandem with Mercedes AMG.

    The challenge from an opposing outfit appears to have reinvigorated the Briton, following a shaky 2016 campaign which saw a more complete Rosberg win his maiden title.

    Now, Hamilton stands too on the precipice of a fourth title, which would be his third with the Brackley squad and the icing on what has been a brilliant year for the team.

    Winning a fourth straight constructor’s title, and in such comprehensive fashion, means Mercedes AMG may be the most dominant team in Formula One history.

    When looking back in the archives, the era of McLaren and Honda in late 1980s and early ’90s stands out, as does Ferrari’s dominion at the turn of the millennium with Michael Schumacher.

    However, since 2014, Mercedes have won 81.5 per cent of races contested, with a 92.1 per cent strike rate when it comes to pole positions.

    Compare that to Ferrari’s run from 2001 to 2004, when the Scuderia won 69.1 per cent of races and were on pole 60.2 per cent of the time. McLaren’s figures from 1988 to 1991 also hold up strongly, with a 60.9 per cent winning ratio and an impressive 81.2 per cent strike rate for poles.

    While there was no significant regulation changes during Red Bull’s period of domination between 2010 and 2013, it is still worth illustrating their numbers, winning just 53.2 per cent of races, with a 67.5 per cent pole position ratio.

    What these figures highlights is the Silver Arrows’ peerlessness, above outfits who in their own time of ascendency were considered to be in another league.

    Teams can fall into complacency, especially when it comes to a change in landscape with the regulations. Mercedes AMG still have the strongest power-unit of all the competition, though the proficiency of their chassis this year has also humiliated the likes of Ferrari and the so-called ‘aero kings’ at Red Bull.

    And it all comes back to their no-nonsense approach to the introduction of the hybrid power-unit in 2014. Rather than bemoan the eco direction in which Formula One had decided to go in, as their rival constructors did, Mercedes pooled together the best team; with the sharpest engineers, world-class drivers and all led by firm leaders.

    In a world where manufacturer involvement in motorsport is fickle, there is no guarantee that the Silver Arrows will remain involved in Formula One beyond 2020, as seen with the exodus of prodigious marques in the World Endurance Championship in favour of the all-electric Formula E.

    Though, as with Audi and Porsche in Sportscar racing, Mercedes-Benz have achieved enough to earn the ‘dynasty’ moniker. Sealing the title in 2017 in a different Formula One to the previous year has only further cemented their legacy.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • Roar Guru

      October 25th 2017 @ 10:08am
      Bayden Westerweller said | October 25th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      Nobody can begrudge Mercedes for prioritising the hybrid era upon entering the sport in 2010, whilst its opposition chose to focus on the rules of the day. That Ferrari has only presented legitimate competition in the fourth season of these regulations speaks to the lead time necessary to thrive, this is how long the German marque had to invest for their results.

      Regarding Mercedes’ standing amongst other dominant eras, if it hasn’t already solidified its reputation as the greatest, one more title whilst countering multiple threats season long would legitimise its claim, though again, it’s testament to the Silver Arrows that it can endure over the course of a campaign whilst others wilt.

      • Roar Guru

        October 25th 2017 @ 5:29pm
        Jawad Yaqub said | October 25th 2017 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

        For the competition, yeah it sucks that they are dominating. In the same way that certain viewers dislike the Melbourne Storm for their stranglehold on the NRL and being a class above the rest, Mercedes AMG are unpopular because they are the best. Not their fault though, if their rivals can’t get their acts together.

        Forgive me for saying this, but I’m starting to believe that we will have more of the same in 2018. Ferrari just have no hope of stringing together a campaign, whilst Red Bull again won’t have the car to achieve regular victories. I hope for the sake of the competition that I am wrong, but it’ll only highlight how far ahead these guys are.

    • October 25th 2017 @ 8:36pm
      marfu said | October 25th 2017 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

      Good piece. Where Merc seem to have really excelled is in marrying the KERS in with their brilliant split turbo ICE. I thought that Honda may have given them a run for their money as they had the benefit of learning from the others mistakes together with all their turbo experience but apparently they have struggled with the KERS side of things. Mercedes’s ability to achieve outstanding performance with incredible reliability at the same time is quite remarkable.

      • Roar Guru

        October 27th 2017 @ 8:52am
        Jawad Yaqub said | October 27th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        The reliability this year has been the best it has been since 2014, which proves that if done right – these hybrid power-units are quite bulletproof.

    • October 25th 2017 @ 11:49pm
      Dexter The Hamster said | October 25th 2017 @ 11:49pm | ! Report

      Regardless of how good the Mercs are, and how much respect they deserve, this is still an entertainment business. Having one team win over 80% of the time (in a sport with 2 teams that’s too much, let alone in a sport with 10 teams) is not good for the entertainment side of things. Its also a sport that due to the global nature of F1, it requires fans to stay up late, or get up early to watch the races. That’s hard to do when you feel the result is foregone.

      The FIA continually knobbled Red Bull to bring them back to the field during their dominance. That’s the reason between the 50% Red Bull win rate against the 80% for Mercedes.

      Anyway, good luck to them, it just gets hard to watch.

      • Roar Guru

        October 27th 2017 @ 8:55am
        Jawad Yaqub said | October 27th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Yeah, it is frustrating from a competition and spectator point of view that they remain unchecked with their stranglehold on the championship. The renewed optimism at the start of 2017 from everyone when Ferrari won the first race, has all fizzled away and the onus does come down for top teams such as Ferrari and Red Bull, who have the same resources available as Mercedes AMG, to be able to get themselves on a level playing field.

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