2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

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F1 Racer
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2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Did Ferrari really make gains on Mercedes for these three seasons in a fair and square manner? I mean whatever changes they've had to make have put them well back which now calls in to question the true competitiveness of those seasons compared to 2014 - 2016.

I mean Mercedes dominated 2014 - 2016 when their rivals took them on without bending the rules too much, then in 2017 - 2019 with Ferrari now resorting to intentional or unintentional cheating to improve their engine, Mercedes were still able to win both titles with 3 or 4 races to spare in each season.

Formula One really has become a joke now as it puts the 2014 - 2020 period into a different focus completely now in my mind.

At least in the old days, each season felt like its own beast where you may get the odd one-sided season here and there but there was always genuine hope for each new season that the order would be well and truly shaken up and we would have a close title fight, or at least a different team dominating.

For those that like some more proof to back up my assertion, over the last 30 years:

1990: Reasonably close title fight (titles decided at penultimate race)
1991: Reasonably close title fight
1992: One team domination
1993: One team domination
1994: Weird season but both titles were decided in the final race so very close title fight
1995: Reasonably close title fight
1996: One team domination
1997: Very close title fight
1998: Very close title fight
1999: Very close title fight
2000: Reasonably close title fight
2001: One team domination
2002: One team domination
2003: Very close title fight
2004: One team domination
2005: Different team domination
2006: Very close title fight
2007: Very close title fight
2008: Very close title fight
2009: Reasonably close title fight
2010: Very close title fight
2011: One team domination
2012: Very close title fight
2013: One team domination
2014: Different team domination
2015: One team domination
2016: One team domination
2017: One team domination*
2018: One team domination*
2019: One team domination*
2020: One team domination (let's not kid ourselves, even though the first race of the season has not even completed as I type this post and all teams and drivers are currently on zero points as it stands)

*These seasons were not close even before we adjust for Ferrari possibly making unfair gains on Mercedes during these years.

So yeah, I think by looking at that list it is clear to see that 'One team domination' was fairly sporadic up until 2012 or so, then since then it has been absolutely dire. People often say that we are looking back with rose-tinted glasses when we said F1 used to be a lot better, they counter with examples such as ''Refuelling made the races processional and DRS gives us more overtaking now'' but the simple reality is that F1 used to be much closer and far more competitive back in the day and the sport has regressed massively over recent times. I am close to giving up on it and that really worries me as I used to love it so much back in the 90's and even 00's for the most part.

Thoughts people?

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by schumilegend »

Completely agree..Mercedes has the longest stretch of unseen domination both in terms of years and races...Lewis has had a car for over a 100 races easily where he has been in prime position to take pole and victory..Never has a driver enjoyed this level of privilege in terms of car performance

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Johnson
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Johnson »

That’s re-writing 2017 and 2018, Vettel and Ferrari could have taken the title both years if they had made less driver errors and had better reliability.

It’s also ignoring all the other seasons in that list where a questionable car or rule change might have made a title closer or more dominated than it otherwise would have been. Such as 1994, 2003, 2009 to name a few.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Johnson wrote:That’s re-writing 2017 and 2018, Vettel and Ferrari could have taken the title both years if they had made less driver errors and had better reliability.

It’s also ignoring all the other seasons in that list where a questionable car or rule change might have made a title closer or more dominated than it otherwise would have been. Such as 1994, 2003, 2009 to name a few.
2017 and 2018 were not close objectively as Lewis had like 65 point leads with three races to go, (in a period where cars rarely DNF), so mathematically the titles were decided before the penultimate race, but realistically were over with like 5 races to go. You are talking about early in the season where things looked closer, but if the WDC is decided before the penultimate race then the season as a whole could not have been that close.

Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Jezza13 »

F1 Racer wrote:
Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.
2 problems with this.

1. The control teams, especially manufacturer teams, have over the direction of the sport is way more than in 1994.

2. Williams were never going to take their ball & go home if they felt the regs disadvantaged them. They participate because they want to race. For Merc, F1 is simply a marketing exercise & they can easily leave whenever they feel F1 no longer serves their purpose.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Jezza13 wrote:
F1 Racer wrote:
Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.
2 problems with this.

1. The control teams, especially manufacturer teams, have over the direction of the sport is way more than in 1994.

2. Williams were never going to take their ball & go home if they felt the regs disadvantaged them. They participate because they want to race. For Merc, F1 is simply a marketing exercise & they can easily leave whenever they feel F1 no longer serves their purpose.
For number 1, this just shows why giving them control is bad, it doesn't really reduce the relevance of my point.

For number 2, yeah, but Merc would leave by selling up, so the shell of the team would still remain. Who cares if its not called 'Mercedes' anymore?

The same way as Honda quit when F1 was not giving them what they wanted, but we got Brawn instead, and then Mercedes.

I guess the Toyota operation stopped because that was based in Japan? Not sure on that, but Mercedes are based in Britain and would likely continue on even if Mercedes wanted to withdraw from F1.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

schumilegend wrote:Completely agree..Mercedes has the longest stretch of unseen domination both in terms of years and races...Lewis has had a car for over a 100 races easily where he has been in prime position to take pole and victory..Never has a driver enjoyed this level of privilege in terms of car performance
Exactly, the Schumacher/Ferrari domination from 2000 - 2005 was seen as terrible for the sport, (which it was), but even that pales in comparison to 2014 - 2020 (and counting) Mercedes domination.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Flash2k11 »

F1 Racer wrote:
schumilegend wrote:Completely agree..Mercedes has the longest stretch of unseen domination both in terms of years and races...Lewis has had a car for over a 100 races easily where he has been in prime position to take pole and victory..Never has a driver enjoyed this level of privilege in terms of car performance
Exactly, the Schumacher/Ferrari domination from 2000 - 2005 was seen as terrible for the sport, (which it was), but even that pales in comparison to 2014 - 2020 (and counting) Mercedes domination.
The very, very obvious difference being that Mercedes allows its drivers to race, Ferrari of that era very much did not.
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Johnson
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Johnson »

F1 Racer wrote:
Johnson wrote:That’s re-writing 2017 and 2018, Vettel and Ferrari could have taken the title both years if they had made less driver errors and had better reliability.

It’s also ignoring all the other seasons in that list where a questionable car or rule change might have made a title closer or more dominated than it otherwise would have been. Such as 1994, 2003, 2009 to name a few.
2017 and 2018 were not close objectively as Lewis had like 65 point leads with three races to go, (in a period where cars rarely DNF), so mathematically the titles were decided before the penultimate race, but realistically were over with like 5 races to go. You are talking about early in the season where things looked closer, but if the WDC is decided before the penultimate race then the season as a whole could not have been that close.

Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.
2017/2018 was only not close due to errors from Ferrari/Vettel. Also comparing 16 race seasons to 21-22 race seasons, it’s not the same going to the last race.

It’s the same as Hamilton and Rosberg, 2014 and 2016 went to the last race because luck/reliability was in Robergs favour. 2015, when Rosberg drove at his best but had worse reliability was won with like 3 races to go.

Likewise 2010 for example, never should have been close but too many Vettel errors and reliability issues. It would have been like 2011 otherwise.

You also call 1995 close? Going into the final race Schumacher had 102 points Hill had 59. Hill didn’t finish ahead of Schumacher when both finished in any of the last 15 races that year and did it once all year.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Flash2k11 wrote:
F1 Racer wrote:
schumilegend wrote:Completely agree..Mercedes has the longest stretch of unseen domination both in terms of years and races...Lewis has had a car for over a 100 races easily where he has been in prime position to take pole and victory..Never has a driver enjoyed this level of privilege in terms of car performance
Exactly, the Schumacher/Ferrari domination from 2000 - 2005 was seen as terrible for the sport, (which it was), but even that pales in comparison to 2014 - 2020 (and counting) Mercedes domination.
The very, very obvious difference being that Mercedes allows its drivers to race, Ferrari of that era very much did not.
Well, they kind of do. But for example they tried to stop Hamilton playing dirty vs Rosberg in Abu Dhabi 2016 but if Rosberg raced for a different team and the points situation was the same they would have encouraged Hamilton to back Rosberg into the cars behind. That isn't letting them fully race in my book.

Then there are many occasions like today even, where they do not allow the trailing driver to try something different strategy-wise, and they instead just try to keep things even-stevens.

Ferrari could have let Rubens race Michael, but he very rarely had the pace to do it anyway even if he was allowed to, Rubens couldn't even beat Button with equal chances at the WDC in 2009... so yeah.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Johnson wrote:
F1 Racer wrote:
Johnson wrote:That’s re-writing 2017 and 2018, Vettel and Ferrari could have taken the title both years if they had made less driver errors and had better reliability.

It’s also ignoring all the other seasons in that list where a questionable car or rule change might have made a title closer or more dominated than it otherwise would have been. Such as 1994, 2003, 2009 to name a few.
2017 and 2018 were not close objectively as Lewis had like 65 point leads with three races to go, (in a period where cars rarely DNF), so mathematically the titles were decided before the penultimate race, but realistically were over with like 5 races to go. You are talking about early in the season where things looked closer, but if the WDC is decided before the penultimate race then the season as a whole could not have been that close.

Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.
2017/2018 was only not close due to errors from Ferrari/Vettel. Also comparing 16 race seasons to 21-22 race seasons, it’s not the same going to the last race.

It’s the same as Hamilton and Rosberg, 2014 and 2016 went to the last race because luck/reliability was in Robergs favour. 2015, when Rosberg drove at his best but had worse reliability was won with like 3 races to go.

Likewise 2010 for example, never should have been close but too many Vettel errors and reliability issues. It would have been like 2011 otherwise.

You also call 1995 close? Going into the final race Schumacher had 102 points Hill had 59. Hill didn’t finish ahead of Schumacher when both finished in any of the last 15 races that year and did it once all year.
2017 and 2018 could have had the Ferrari engine changes that were illegal maybe? Not sure about the ins and outs of it but they seem to be back to 2014 levels of performance after they had to change their engine back, so how much ground have they really made up since Alonso left?

Regardless, if it is not close due to errors or poor reliability (2017 and 2018), that still counts as it not being close as it's WDC and WCC points that ultimately matter. 2010 counts as being close because errors and poor reliabilty are all part of the game.

I agree with you about 1995, it was not actually close by my definition, the WDC was decided at the third to last round and the WCC was the second to last round so I made a memory recall error there thinking that Schumacher won the WDC at Suzuka when he actually won it in Aida the round before. It was at least a different team dominating that year with Benetton dominating instead of the usual Williams and McLaren before them.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Johnson »

Benetton won in 1994 with potentially an illegal car, Ferrari challenged in 2017/18 with potentially illegal car? What’s the difference? You discount one but not the other.

In that case then, Ferrari had there best season in 2015. Hamilton won the WDC from Vettel that year (not Rosberg) in USA with 3 races to go. So if when the WDC was won is the only measure, the Ferraris best year of the hybrid era is 2015?

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Johnson wrote:Benetton won in 1994 with potentially an illegal car, Ferrari challenged in 2017/18 with potentially illegal car? What’s the difference? You discount one but not the other.

In that case then, Ferrari had there best season in 2015. Hamilton won the WDC from Vettel that year (not Rosberg) in USA with 3 races to go. So if when the WDC was won is the only measure, the Ferraris best year of the hybrid era is 2015?
I said it was a weird season in 1994, and Benetton didn't win, Williams did so your point is moot. ;)

Yes, maybe Ferrari had their best season in 2015 but they were still far off winning the title if it was decided with 75 points still to play for.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Johnson »

Your list refers to WDC no? So Benetton won 1994 and in dominant fashion too.

So which season do you think Ferrari were closest to winning the title? You state in 2017 Mercedes dominated winning with 3-4 races to go (it was 2 races by the way). 2017 was very similar to 2000 in that it was close all year but one rival pulled away right at the end due to mechanical issues/crash. Vettel lead the WDC for the first 12 rounds, setting the record for the longest a driver has lead the WDC without winning it. But he wasn’t in the title race now? Seems very revisionist. A lot of people feel the 2018 Ferrari was the best overall package, as fast as the Mercedes and more reliable.

How would Leclerc/Alonso have done in those 17 and 18 cars? You are forgetting the drivers too it seems.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Johnson wrote:Your list refers to WDC no? So Benetton won 1994 and in dominant fashion too.

So which season do you think Ferrari were closest to winning the title? You state in 2017 Mercedes dominated winning with 3-4 races to go (it was 2 races by the way). 2017 was very similar to 2000 in that it was close all year but one rival pulled away right at the end due to mechanical issues/crash. Vettel lead the WDC for the first 12 rounds, setting the record for the longest a driver has lead the WDC without winning it. But he wasn’t in the title race now? Seems very revisionist. A lot of people feel the 2018 Ferrari was the best overall package, as fast as the Mercedes and more reliable.

How would Leclerc/Alonso have done in those 17 and 18 cars? You are forgetting the drivers too it seems.
The list refers to the WDC yes, and 1994 went to the final race right? But in a weird way involving plenty of domination and then driver bans to reel the points back in, hence why I said it was a weird season, but still more entertaining than any recent seasons that we've had in terms of the championship fight.

Pulling clear at the 'end' is still domination if they hauled a massive amount of points clear to be winning with two or more races to go. If as a rival you can't bring the fight until at least the penultimate round, you have not done a good enough job of challenging that makes the season as a whole entertaining for the fans. Vettel fell out of the title race in the end, falling massively behind Lewis with many mistakes and it was clear with about 5 races to go that realistically his goose was cooked. That is not what I call a close title fight.

It doesn't matter about whether Leclerc or Alonso were in the cars could they have done better, I am dealing with what actually happened, not ifs and buts about if a top driver could have had better equipment or not etc. Let's keep it to actuals please, you are trying to (unsuccesfully) deflect away from my point that F1 as a product is indeed getting worse.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Johnson »

So it’s either a close title fight or domination? Nothing exists between those two and if it’s won with more than 2 races to go it has it have been dominated? Even in 22 race seasons.

2017 and 2018 were very interesting for the fans. It was a title fight for the first 70-75% of the year unless you had a crystal ball and knew Ferrari would have weak finishes both years. So I can’t see how you can revise that and say it wasn’t interesting for the fans.

2009 had a title fight between teams for what, 3-4 races at the end when Vettel had a small chance to catch Brawn.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1 Racer »

Johnson wrote:So it’s either a close title fight or domination? Nothing exists between those two and if it’s won with more than 2 races to go it has it have been dominated? Even in 22 race seasons.

2017 and 2018 were very interesting for the fans. It was a title fight for the first 70-75% of the year unless you had a crystal ball and knew Ferrari would have weak finishes both years. So I can’t see how you can revise that and say it wasn’t interesting for the fans.

2009 had a title fight between teams for what, 3-4 races at the end when Vettel had a small chance to catch Brawn.
Correct, there has to be some kind of consistent measure, and seasons that felt close usually went until the final or penultimate race before being decided. Seasons that didn't feel close were when winning drivers had the kind of whopping leads that allowed them to mop up the title with two or more races still to go.

Seasons being 21 or 22 races long is irrelevant as a defence since while it makes it a bit less likely for the title to go down to the wire, this is a factor that F1's decision makers need to take into account when deciding whether to try and squeeze those extra races in and diluting the quality of the product. They go for quantity over quality and that is their choice and so they need to own it when we get a lack of final race deciders. Maybe 16 or 17 races per season is the sweetspot for exciting racing that goes all the way to the end.

For 2018 I recall Vettel and Ferrari being close points-wise until just after the summer break and then they collapsed spectacularly and blew the title within a couple of races by allowing Hamilton to outscore them massively and to kill the title race. For example going into Russia 2018 there was six rounds of the championship left to go, and Vettel pretty much needed to beat Hamilton to keep any remote title chance alive. He didn't and he came 3rd with Hamilton winning, so basically with five rounds left still, the title was realistically gone. To be realistically out of the title race with five races to go, that is not running someone remotely close to the championship.

In 2017 Vettel was looking good going into the summer break, but remember that there was still nine races to go at this point so the season was still at the halfway stage. Then in the first six races back after the break Hamilton scored 143 out of 150 points available, and Vettel took only 65 points from those races and that put him way out of contention with three races left. Realistically he was out of the title race with four whole races to go when he retired in Japan.

So yeah, just because 2017 and 2018 looked like they would be close title fights because they were close in the first half of the season, a close season long fight was still not guaranteed at that point and alas, those seasons did not eventually deliver a close fight throughout the whole duration due to Ferrari/Vettel's disastrous form during the third quarter of each of those seasons that rendered the final quarter of those seasons irrelevant. I am not 'revising' anything, I am merely pointing out that a close season long title fight can not be determined in the first half of a season, it can only be determined if the title fight does indeed go to the last one or two races so you have to wait until the end to actually see that. In 2017 and 2018 this did not happen and so these weren't season long entertaining title races, they were just entertaining for about two thirds of the season which is poor when judged against championship fights that very often went all the way to the last or penultimate race from 1990 to 2012.

For balance, I recall 2001 looking like it was shaping up to be a good battle between Schumacher and Coulthard and after six races it was Schumacher on 42 points and Coulthard on 38. However over the next seven races Schumacher picked up 52 points and Coulthard picked up 13 points so Schumacher was crowned champion after thirteen races with 94 points to Coulthard's 51 points, even though there was still four races left to run, and so this was a domination season, even though for the first eight or nine races out of seventeen, Coulthard looked like he was in a genuine title fight.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Charles LeBrad »

F1 Racer wrote:I guess the Toyota operation stopped because that was based in Japan? Not sure on that, but Mercedes are based in Britain and would likely continue on even if Mercedes wanted to withdraw from F1.
They were based in Germany weren't they? I thought the windtunnel was in Cologne

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1_Ernie »

F1 Racer wrote:
Johnson wrote:So it’s either a close title fight or domination? Nothing exists between those two and if it’s won with more than 2 races to go it has it have been dominated? Even in 22 race seasons.

2017 and 2018 were very interesting for the fans. It was a title fight for the first 70-75% of the year unless you had a crystal ball and knew Ferrari would have weak finishes both years. So I can’t see how you can revise that and say it wasn’t interesting for the fans.

2009 had a title fight between teams for what, 3-4 races at the end when Vettel had a small chance to catch Brawn.
Correct, there has to be some kind of consistent measure, and seasons that felt close usually went until the final or penultimate race before being decided. Seasons that didn't feel close were when winning drivers had the kind of whopping leads that allowed them to mop up the title with two or more races still to go.

Seasons being 21 or 22 races long is irrelevant as a defence since while it makes it a bit less likely for the title to go down to the wire, this is a factor that F1's decision makers need to take into account when deciding whether to try and squeeze those extra races in and diluting the quality of the product. They go for quantity over quality and that is their choice and so they need to own it when we get a lack of final race deciders. Maybe 16 or 17 races per season is the sweetspot for exciting racing that goes all the way to the end.

For 2018 I recall Vettel and Ferrari being close points-wise until just after the summer break and then they collapsed spectacularly and blew the title within a couple of races by allowing Hamilton to outscore them massively and to kill the title race. For example going into Russia 2018 there was six rounds of the championship left to go, and Vettel pretty much needed to beat Hamilton to keep any remote title chance alive. He didn't and he came 3rd with Hamilton winning, so basically with five rounds left still, the title was realistically gone. To be realistically out of the title race with five races to go, that is not running someone remotely close to the championship.

In 2017 Vettel was looking good going into the summer break, but remember that there was still nine races to go at this point so the season was still at the halfway stage. Then in the first six races back after the break Hamilton scored 143 out of 150 points available, and Vettel took only 65 points from those races and that put him way out of contention with three races left. Realistically he was out of the title race with four whole races to go when he retired in Japan.

So yeah, just because 2017 and 2018 looked like they would be close title fights because they were close in the first half of the season, a close season long fight was still not guaranteed at that point and alas, those seasons did not eventually deliver a close fight throughout the whole duration due to Ferrari/Vettel's disastrous form during the third quarter of each of those seasons that rendered the final quarter of those seasons irrelevant. I am not 'revising' anything, I am merely pointing out that a close season long title fight can not be determined in the first half of a season, it can only be determined if the title fight does indeed go to the last one or two races so you have to wait until the end to actually see that. In 2017 and 2018 this did not happen and so these weren't season long entertaining title races, they were just entertaining for about two thirds of the season which is poor when judged against championship fights that very often went all the way to the last or penultimate race from 1990 to 2012.

For balance, I recall 2001 looking like it was shaping up to be a good battle between Schumacher and Coulthard and after six races it was Schumacher on 42 points and Coulthard on 38. However over the next seven races Schumacher picked up 52 points and Coulthard picked up 13 points so Schumacher was crowned champion after thirteen races with 94 points to Coulthard's 51 points, even though there was still four races left to run, and so this was a domination season, even though for the first eight or nine races out of seventeen, Coulthard looked like he was in a genuine title fight.
Vettel collapsed in 2018, he should have won in Monza and Singapore before Russia, in Singapore he would have had a big points haul against Hamilton. Vettel just hasn't been good enough the last 3 seasons.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by KingVoid »

In Singapore Mercedes just had the best car, simple. However, Vettel should have won in Germany and Hungary but he failed to do so.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by F1_Ernie »

Got the wrong year regarding Singapore but Vettel should have won Monza 2018.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Johnson »

F1 Racer wrote:
Johnson wrote:So it’s either a close title fight or domination? Nothing exists between those two and if it’s won with more than 2 races to go it has it have been dominated? Even in 22 race seasons.

2017 and 2018 were very interesting for the fans. It was a title fight for the first 70-75% of the year unless you had a crystal ball and knew Ferrari would have weak finishes both years. So I can’t see how you can revise that and say it wasn’t interesting for the fans.

2009 had a title fight between teams for what, 3-4 races at the end when Vettel had a small chance to catch Brawn.
Correct, there has to be some kind of consistent measure, and seasons that felt close usually went until the final or penultimate race before being decided. Seasons that didn't feel close were when winning drivers had the kind of whopping leads that allowed them to mop up the title with two or more races still to go.

Seasons being 21 or 22 races long is irrelevant as a defence since while it makes it a bit less likely for the title to go down to the wire, this is a factor that F1's decision makers need to take into account when deciding whether to try and squeeze those extra races in and diluting the quality of the product. They go for quantity over quality and that is their choice and so they need to own it when we get a lack of final race deciders. Maybe 16 or 17 races per season is the sweetspot for exciting racing that goes all the way to the end.

For 2018 I recall Vettel and Ferrari being close points-wise until just after the summer break and then they collapsed spectacularly and blew the title within a couple of races by allowing Hamilton to outscore them massively and to kill the title race. For example going into Russia 2018 there was six rounds of the championship left to go, and Vettel pretty much needed to beat Hamilton to keep any remote title chance alive. He didn't and he came 3rd with Hamilton winning, so basically with five rounds left still, the title was realistically gone. To be realistically out of the title race with five races to go, that is not running someone remotely close to the championship.

In 2017 Vettel was looking good going into the summer break, but remember that there was still nine races to go at this point so the season was still at the halfway stage. Then in the first six races back after the break Hamilton scored 143 out of 150 points available, and Vettel took only 65 points from those races and that put him way out of contention with three races left. Realistically he was out of the title race with four whole races to go when he retired in Japan.

So yeah, just because 2017 and 2018 looked like they would be close title fights because they were close in the first half of the season, a close season long fight was still not guaranteed at that point and alas, those seasons did not eventually deliver a close fight throughout the whole duration due to Ferrari/Vettel's disastrous form during the third quarter of each of those seasons that rendered the final quarter of those seasons irrelevant. I am not 'revising' anything, I am merely pointing out that a close season long title fight can not be determined in the first half of a season, it can only be determined if the title fight does indeed go to the last one or two races so you have to wait until the end to actually see that. In 2017 and 2018 this did not happen and so these weren't season long entertaining title races, they were just entertaining for about two thirds of the season which is poor when judged against championship fights that very often went all the way to the last or penultimate race from 1990 to 2012.

For balance, I recall 2001 looking like it was shaping up to be a good battle between Schumacher and Coulthard and after six races it was Schumacher on 42 points and Coulthard on 38. However over the next seven races Schumacher picked up 52 points and Coulthard picked up 13 points so Schumacher was crowned champion after thirteen races with 94 points to Coulthard's 51 points, even though there was still four races left to run, and so this was a domination season, even though for the first eight or nine races out of seventeen, Coulthard looked like he was in a genuine title fight.
Why is season length not relevant? If 2017 was 16 races then it would have been one at the penultimate race and meet the “close title” set by OP.

So was 2009 a close season fight? You say “season long” Because that was not close for the first 70% of the year and only became slightly interesting during the 70-90% period of the year. For about 3-4 races there seemed a slight chance of a Red Bull taking it. 2009 has the most dominated start in F1 history. 6 wins and P3 but you call that a close season but it’s not season long as you insist it needs to be. It only looks close at the end as Vettel finished ahead of Button in all of the last 5 races.

If a football game goes 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2 at HT. 3-2 in 60 minutes, 3-3 at 70 minutes. Then 4-3 at 75 minutes and finally 5-3 at 80 minutes are you saying it was dominated by the winning team? Of course it wasn’t it was a close thrilling game that appeared throughout could go either way and it was only In the last 25% of it that one team pulled away and that’s exactly what happened in 2017 because Vettels horrible run from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan.

You also call 1991 close season long fight. Senna won the first 4 races, Mansell had 3 DNFs .Senna was 22 points clear with 5 races to go. That is pretty much title over territory you describe above. That’s 55 points in the current system. Hamilton was 34 points ahead of Vettel with 6 to go in 2017 and 59 ahead with 5 to go, same ballpark as Senna in 1991. 1991 appeared to be a title fight for about 4-5 races in the middle of the year, that is not a season long title fight. But I agree the title was essentially done with 5 to go in both seasons. But you are applying the rule differently here.

Other seasons that ended up close did no start that way, for example the first 1/3 of 1998 was completely dominated by Häkkinen and the title fight ppeared over before it begun. It only got interesting when he had a bad 3 race mid season spell and Schumacher won 3 consecutive races. Similarly 2000 looked down by mid season but then Schumacher had 3 consecutive DNFs and 4 in 5 races and Häkkinen got back in it at mid season. 2000 was nowhere near season long battle, Schumacher won the first 3 races, both McLarens DNF’d the first 2 races. 2000 was a title fight for about 40-50% of the year.

Coulthard was not a serious title contender in 2001. He stayed close in the early year because Schumacher had a mechanical DNF in San Marino. He looked close for again about 4-5 races. Race 3 to about race 7. By mid season, race 9 he was already out of it, 24 points behind and Schumacher dominating and Ferrari stronger.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

F1 Racer wrote:Did Ferrari really make gains on Mercedes for these three seasons in a fair and square manner? I mean whatever changes they've had to make have put them well back which now calls in to question the true competitiveness of those seasons compared to 2014 - 2016.

I mean Mercedes dominated 2014 - 2016 when their rivals took them on without bending the rules too much, then in 2017 - 2019 with Ferrari now resorting to intentional or unintentional cheating to improve their engine, Mercedes were still able to win both titles with 3 or 4 races to spare in each season.

Formula One really has become a joke now as it puts the 2014 - 2020 period into a different focus completely now in my mind.

At least in the old days, each season felt like its own beast where you may get the odd one-sided season here and there but there was always genuine hope for each new season that the order would be well and truly shaken up and we would have a close title fight, or at least a different team dominating.

For those that like some more proof to back up my assertion, over the last 30 years:

1990: Reasonably close title fight (titles decided at penultimate race)
1991: Reasonably close title fight
1992: One team domination
1993: One team domination
1994: Weird season but both titles were decided in the final race so very close title fight
1995: Reasonably close title fight
1996: One team domination
1997: Very close title fight
1998: Very close title fight
1999: Very close title fight
2000: Reasonably close title fight
2001: One team domination
2002: One team domination
2003: Very close title fight
2004: One team domination
2005: Different team domination
2006: Very close title fight
2007: Very close title fight
2008: Very close title fight
2009: Reasonably close title fight
2010: Very close title fight
2011: One team domination
2012: Very close title fight
2013: One team domination
2014: Different team domination
2015: One team domination
2016: One team domination
2017: One team domination*
2018: One team domination*
2019: One team domination*
2020: One team domination (let's not kid ourselves, even though the first race of the season has not even completed as I type this post and all teams and drivers are currently on zero points as it stands)

*These seasons were not close even before we adjust for Ferrari possibly making unfair gains on Mercedes during these years.

So yeah, I think by looking at that list it is clear to see that 'One team domination' was fairly sporadic up until 2012 or so, then since then it has been absolutely dire. People often say that we are looking back with rose-tinted glasses when we said F1 used to be a lot better, they counter with examples such as ''Refuelling made the races processional and DRS gives us more overtaking now'' but the simple reality is that F1 used to be much closer and far more competitive back in the day and the sport has regressed massively over recent times. I am close to giving up on it and that really worries me as I used to love it so much back in the 90's and even 00's for the most part.

Thoughts people?
*It doesn't matter the bottom line is that it made Ferrari competitive so don't be re-writing Mercedes domination for these years.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

F1 Racer wrote:
Johnson wrote:That’s re-writing 2017 and 2018, Vettel and Ferrari could have taken the title both years if they had made less driver errors and had better reliability.

It’s also ignoring all the other seasons in that list where a questionable car or rule change might have made a title closer or more dominated than it otherwise would have been. Such as 1994, 2003, 2009 to name a few.
2017 and 2018 were not close objectively as Lewis had like 65 point leads with three races to go, (in a period where cars rarely DNF), so mathematically the titles were decided before the penultimate race, but realistically were over with like 5 races to go. You are talking about early in the season where things looked closer, but if the WDC is decided before the penultimate race then the season as a whole could not have been that close.

Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.
2017 and 2018 seems to be a case of all drivers are created equal in your eyes with zero credit being given to Hamilton, also we clearly had quite big rule changes in 2017 and 2019 with the cars needing major redesigns, Mercedes have also had things banned on their cars that in previous years was alright like FRIC suspension, so the idea that nothing has been done to try and slow Mercedes down is quite false.

The present level of Mercedes performance is not unprecented either, Ferrari ruled F1 for almost a decade from 1999-2008, Schumacher would have had 6 straight titles if he had not broke his leg in 1999, 2005 was a blip, then they had title contending cars for 3 years after, given the drivers they had then they had the best car in 2007 and 2008.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

F1 Racer wrote:
Jezza13 wrote:
F1 Racer wrote:
Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.
2 problems with this.

1. The control teams, especially manufacturer teams, have over the direction of the sport is way more than in 1994.

2. Williams were never going to take their ball & go home if they felt the regs disadvantaged them. They participate because they want to race. For Merc, F1 is simply a marketing exercise & they can easily leave whenever they feel F1 no longer serves their purpose.
For number 1, this just shows why giving them control is bad, it doesn't really reduce the relevance of my point.

For number 2, yeah, but Merc would leave by selling up, so the shell of the team would still remain. Who cares if its not called 'Mercedes' anymore?

The same way as Honda quit when F1 was not giving them what they wanted, but we got Brawn instead, and then Mercedes.

I guess the Toyota operation stopped because that was based in Japan? Not sure on that, but Mercedes are based in Britain and would likely continue on even if Mercedes wanted to withdraw from F1.
I believe Honda pulled out because of the global recession?
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

F1 Racer wrote:
Flash2k11 wrote:
F1 Racer wrote:
schumilegend wrote:Completely agree..Mercedes has the longest stretch of unseen domination both in terms of years and races...Lewis has had a car for over a 100 races easily where he has been in prime position to take pole and victory..Never has a driver enjoyed this level of privilege in terms of car performance
Exactly, the Schumacher/Ferrari domination from 2000 - 2005 was seen as terrible for the sport, (which it was), but even that pales in comparison to 2014 - 2020 (and counting) Mercedes domination.
The very, very obvious difference being that Mercedes allows its drivers to race, Ferrari of that era very much did not.
Well, they kind of do. But for example they tried to stop Hamilton playing dirty vs Rosberg in Abu Dhabi 2016 but if Rosberg raced for a different team and the points situation was the same they would have encouraged Hamilton to back Rosberg into the cars behind. That isn't letting them fully race in my book.

Then there are many occasions like today even, where they do not allow the trailing driver to try something different strategy-wise, and they instead just try to keep things even-stevens.

Ferrari could have let Rubens race Michael, but he very rarely had the pace to do it anyway even if he was allowed to, Rubens couldn't even beat Button with equal chances at the WDC in 2009... so yeah.
More pertinent to say perhaps is that Mercedes didn't have a #1 driver policy unlike Ferrari.
Last edited by pokerman on Sat Jul 11, 2020 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

F1 Racer wrote:
Johnson wrote:
F1 Racer wrote:
Johnson wrote:That’s re-writing 2017 and 2018, Vettel and Ferrari could have taken the title both years if they had made less driver errors and had better reliability.

It’s also ignoring all the other seasons in that list where a questionable car or rule change might have made a title closer or more dominated than it otherwise would have been. Such as 1994, 2003, 2009 to name a few.
2017 and 2018 were not close objectively as Lewis had like 65 point leads with three races to go, (in a period where cars rarely DNF), so mathematically the titles were decided before the penultimate race, but realistically were over with like 5 races to go. You are talking about early in the season where things looked closer, but if the WDC is decided before the penultimate race then the season as a whole could not have been that close.

Decisions such as banning active suspension for 1994 helped slow Williams down much sooner and allowed them to be challenged by Benetton in 1994 and 1995, and Ferrari in 1997, so the sport should be more proactive in slowing Mercedes down with quicker rule changes that throw a spanner in the works that allows rivals to close the gap.
2017/2018 was only not close due to errors from Ferrari/Vettel. Also comparing 16 race seasons to 21-22 race seasons, it’s not the same going to the last race.

It’s the same as Hamilton and Rosberg, 2014 and 2016 went to the last race because luck/reliability was in Robergs favour. 2015, when Rosberg drove at his best but had worse reliability was won with like 3 races to go.

Likewise 2010 for example, never should have been close but too many Vettel errors and reliability issues. It would have been like 2011 otherwise.

You also call 1995 close? Going into the final race Schumacher had 102 points Hill had 59. Hill didn’t finish ahead of Schumacher when both finished in any of the last 15 races that year and did it once all year.
2017 and 2018 could have had the Ferrari engine changes that were illegal maybe? Not sure about the ins and outs of it but they seem to be back to 2014 levels of performance after they had to change their engine back, so how much ground have they really made up since Alonso left?

Regardless, if it is not close due to errors or poor reliability (2017 and 2018), that still counts as it not being close as it's WDC and WCC points that ultimately matter. 2010 counts as being close because errors and poor reliabilty are all part of the game.

I agree with you about 1995, it was not actually close by my definition, the WDC was decided at the third to last round and the WCC was the second to last round so I made a memory recall error there thinking that Schumacher won the WDC at Suzuka when he actually won it in Aida the round before. It was at least a different team dominating that year with Benetton dominating instead of the usual Williams and McLaren before them.
It doesn't matter if the Ferrari engines were legal or not it stopped Mercedes from being dominant in 2017 and 2018 and also enabled Leclerc to have the most pole positions in 2019, you seem to want to completely ignore driver peformance when saying the Mercedes was better/dominant because titles were won early.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by tootsie323 »

I'd side with Poker on this. Given a choice of car between 2017 and 2019 I'd pick the Merc. However, I would not call it dominant by any means. That Ferrari was there on pace for much of the time and it was largely down to the team (some horrendous calls) and drivers (LeClerc inexperience and Vettel mistakes) that it didn't run Merc / Hamilton much closer to the title during this time.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Mercedes-Benz »

Ferrari definitely seem much worse this year. They seems to be in midfield 8O They used to make lot of time on straights. I think they were 10kmph up and now are 10kmph down. So 20kmph difference is pretty big downgrade for whatever reason and still are lacking on downforce :?

RBR car used to work well in high altitude tracks like Austria, Brazil and Mexico. But this time Mercedes seems strong in Austria as well. I do not think Mexico and Brazil will be this year. So it is looking like an easy championship for them. I do not think it is the engine. Mercedes simply have the best car and this team has to be the best team ever.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by JN23 »

Mercedes-Benz wrote:Ferrari definitely seem much worse this year. They seems to be in midfield 8O They used to make lot of time on straights. I think they were 10kmph up and now are 10kmph down. So 20kmph difference is pretty big downgrade for whatever reason and still are lacking on downforce :?

RBR car used to work well in high altitude tracks like Austria, Brazil and Mexico. But this time Mercedes seems strong in Austria as well. I do not think Mexico and Brazil will be this year. So it is looking like an easy championship for them. I do not think it is the engine. Mercedes simply have the best car and this team has to be the best team ever.
We'll find out next week how much is the car and how much is the engine as Hungary is more about the car.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Battle Far »

The cynic in me would suggest that the difference between Mercedes & Ferrari is that Mercedes haven't been caught...


Yet...

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

Mercedes-Benz wrote:Ferrari definitely seem much worse this year. They seems to be in midfield 8O They used to make lot of time on straights. I think they were 10kmph up and now are 10kmph down. So 20kmph difference is pretty big downgrade for whatever reason and still are lacking on downforce :?

RBR car used to work well in high altitude tracks like Austria, Brazil and Mexico. But this time Mercedes seems strong in Austria as well. I do not think Mexico and Brazil will be this year. So it is looking like an easy championship for them. I do not think it is the engine. Mercedes simply have the best car and this team has to be the best team ever.
Just want to point out that Brazil and Mexico are not going to happen this year even though it doesn't really change what you are saying.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

Battle Far wrote:The cynic in me would suggest that the difference between Mercedes & Ferrari is that Mercedes haven't been caught...


Yet...
No it couldn't be as simple as Mercedes are just doing a better job, I mean Mercedes didn't even have the best engine the past 2 years so what ever else are you implying?
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

JN23 wrote:
Mercedes-Benz wrote:Ferrari definitely seem much worse this year. They seems to be in midfield 8O They used to make lot of time on straights. I think they were 10kmph up and now are 10kmph down. So 20kmph difference is pretty big downgrade for whatever reason and still are lacking on downforce :?

RBR car used to work well in high altitude tracks like Austria, Brazil and Mexico. But this time Mercedes seems strong in Austria as well. I do not think Mexico and Brazil will be this year. So it is looking like an easy championship for them. I do not think it is the engine. Mercedes simply have the best car and this team has to be the best team ever.
We'll find out next week how much is the car and how much is the engine as Hungary is more about the car.
Yeah apparently Mercedes have a better ERS system which compromised Red Bull in Austria making the Honda engine down on power and slower on the straight, this will not be a problem at the other tracks that are to be used this year.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by Battle Far »

pokerman wrote:
Battle Far wrote:The cynic in me would suggest that the difference between Mercedes & Ferrari is that Mercedes haven't been caught...


Yet...
No it couldn't be as simple as Mercedes are just doing a better job, I mean Mercedes didn't even have the best engine the past 2 years so what ever else are you implying?
All F1 teams cheat (or to put it another way for those who like sugarcoating, try to get around the regulations to their advantage), there's a great deal of money involved, doing the right thing is low on the priority list.

Catching them at it is the problem, for example Ferrari would still have bendy floors if someone hadn't leaked what they were doing, Red Bull would still have bendy wings if someone hadn't confirmed the trackside observations from inside the team, Bennetton would still be winning races with traction control if someone hadn't spilt the beans and drivers would still be wearing lead thread overalls in pre-season weigh in if someone hadn't twigged the advantage they were gaining.

BTW this is a personal view, I don't have any insider information on how Mclaren have improved so much in the past couple of years...

Like many things in life 'there are them that have and them that are going to', in this case get caught.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by cmberry20 »

The thing is there is a big difference between out rightly cheating knowing full well that what you are doing is wrong and if found out you are going to be in a lot of trouble.
And the other, which is bending the rules which isn't necessary wrong, but might upset other teams that might try to get it banned or copy it. This is why you keep it a secret.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by JN23 »

pokerman wrote:
JN23 wrote:
Mercedes-Benz wrote:Ferrari definitely seem much worse this year. They seems to be in midfield 8O They used to make lot of time on straights. I think they were 10kmph up and now are 10kmph down. So 20kmph difference is pretty big downgrade for whatever reason and still are lacking on downforce :?

RBR car used to work well in high altitude tracks like Austria, Brazil and Mexico. But this time Mercedes seems strong in Austria as well. I do not think Mexico and Brazil will be this year. So it is looking like an easy championship for them. I do not think it is the engine. Mercedes simply have the best car and this team has to be the best team ever.
We'll find out next week how much is the car and how much is the engine as Hungary is more about the car.
Yeah apparently Mercedes have a better ERS system which compromised Red Bull in Austria making the Honda engine down on power and slower on the straight, this will not be a problem at the other tracks that are to be used this year.
I was more thinking about we’ll see how the cars perform at a higher downforce tracks. Being down on power will still be a problem at most tracks.

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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

Battle Far wrote:
pokerman wrote:
Battle Far wrote:The cynic in me would suggest that the difference between Mercedes & Ferrari is that Mercedes haven't been caught...


Yet...
No it couldn't be as simple as Mercedes are just doing a better job, I mean Mercedes didn't even have the best engine the past 2 years so what ever else are you implying?
All F1 teams cheat (or to put it another way for those who like sugarcoating, try to get around the regulations to their advantage), there's a great deal of money involved, doing the right thing is low on the priority list.

Catching them at it is the problem, for example Ferrari would still have bendy floors if someone hadn't leaked what they were doing, Red Bull would still have bendy wings if someone hadn't confirmed the trackside observations from inside the team, Bennetton would still be winning races with traction control if someone hadn't spilt the beans and drivers would still be wearing lead thread overalls in pre-season weigh in if someone hadn't twigged the advantage they were gaining.

BTW this is a personal view, I don't have any insider information on how Mclaren have improved so much in the past couple of years...

Like many things in life 'there are them that have and them that are going to', in this case get caught.
If you honestly think that Mercedes are only winning because they are cheating then I don't know why you would watch given you wouldn't be a fan as such.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by pokerman »

JN23 wrote:
pokerman wrote:
JN23 wrote:
Mercedes-Benz wrote:Ferrari definitely seem much worse this year. They seems to be in midfield 8O They used to make lot of time on straights. I think they were 10kmph up and now are 10kmph down. So 20kmph difference is pretty big downgrade for whatever reason and still are lacking on downforce :?

RBR car used to work well in high altitude tracks like Austria, Brazil and Mexico. But this time Mercedes seems strong in Austria as well. I do not think Mexico and Brazil will be this year. So it is looking like an easy championship for them. I do not think it is the engine. Mercedes simply have the best car and this team has to be the best team ever.
We'll find out next week how much is the car and how much is the engine as Hungary is more about the car.
Yeah apparently Mercedes have a better ERS system which compromised Red Bull in Austria making the Honda engine down on power and slower on the straight, this will not be a problem at the other tracks that are to be used this year.
I was more thinking about we’ll see how the cars perform at a higher downforce tracks. Being down on power will still be a problem at most tracks.
I was just pointing out that Honda will not have the same power issues at other tracks, Austria has to be seen as being a bit of an outlier and Honda'a weakest track.
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Re: 2017 - 2019 just an illusion after all?

Post by tim3003 »

It's all about money. As the costs and the technical excellence required of F1 teams rise every year the number of teams able to spend at the highest level is reduced. In the past few years 'the big 3' have had it all their own way as we know. And the momentum generated by the huge investments needed takes a long time to erode. So Merc have been able to maintain their lead for 7 years now. It will take a monumental effort for another team to catch up.

The elephant in the room is improved reliability. In the '80s a top team's car might finish 75% of races, and the average was 50%. Now a top car finishes 95%, and the average is 75%. Since the best car is usually the most reliable that makes for greater one-make domination.

If we are lucky, the budget cuts coming in soon will be part of the answer, as the big teams won't be able to outspend the others so greatly. Also, the new aero regime should make racing better.

I also think the philosophy of making power units last ever longer needs to change. The more components are stressed by shorter lives and the higher performance thus available, the more they break.

Covid-19 delays notwithstanding, the next few years could herald a rennaissence. So I'd say, don't give up on F1 just yet! :-)

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