Will Mercedes be the “Top Gun” in 2016?

top_gun_title.jpgAfter two years of domination in Formula One Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team are raking up wins like they grow on trees. In both 2014 and 2015 Mercedes won 16 of the 19 races in the season, and either car has taken pole in every single race over the two years, bar two. However the real question is will they continue this form for the third year running in 2016?

In the words of Johnny English, “a simple question, which I think has a complex answer”. If we go on reports from pre season testing, Ferrari certainly proved that they have truly stepped pace up with their 2016 car. But the purpose of pre season is not about going quick, but gathering the most amount of data, something which Mercedes were the most successful at. They clocked up the most laps over the 8 days with 1294 at an average of 161.75 a day. Ferrari didn’t match that performance with only 891 at an average of 111.3 a day. So if you want to say who was more successful at pre season testing, by definition it was Mercedes, even though they weren’t the fastest.

However this may not be all about the car, lets look at the drivers. Mercedes have Lewis Hamilton, 3 time world champion and Nico Rosberg. Ferrari have Sebastian Vettel, 4 time champion and Kimi Raikkonen, 1 time champion. In terms of experience its 5 – 3 in Ferrari’s favor. This difference wasn’t as noticeable in 2015 as Mercedes genuinely had the better package, but there was definitely points in the season where it was noticeable. Take Hungary for example. When Ferrari were 1 -2 in that race, Kimi Raikkonen acted as a layer of protection for Sebastian Vettel as Ferrari proved they could get their drivers to work together to achieve the result for the team. In China Mercedes had both drivers squabbling over each others driving and caring more about where they individually finished than working as a team. In simplistic terms, Mercedes have tension and two drivers who care about themselves, Ferrari have two drivers who will work together to make a team result. If the playing field is even with car performance in 2016 then these qualities which Ferrari have found in their drivers could be the difference between winning and losing. Mercedes will have to control their drivers a lot more than previous years if Ferrari post an honest threat.

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To analyze. Ferrari are a team which is better organized, has a greater fanbase and have the advantage of being the underdog. I think lap 1 at Hungary proved Lewis Hamilton doesn’t quite know how to lose anymore as he made wild acquisition and went from bad to worse because of them.

To be honest, I have no clue who on earth is going to be faster, but I think many people believe that Ferrari will be the one. Ferrari have both drivers happy, as well as a competitive, reliable engine and chassis. Mercedes have scrappy drivers and I really think that is going to be their downfall.

The first true look at either team will be at the Australian Grand Prix on the 18th of March to the 20th.

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Steven Walton is a 18 year old student currently attending St Andrews College in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was bought up with two older brothers and his big passions are sports (especially motorsport), people and writing.

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