2016 Formula 1 season review - Another year of Mercedes' dominance
The 2016 Formula 1 season won’t be remembered as one of the most interesting years in the history of the championship.
Nobody was near to the Silver Arrows
Just like the season of 2015, this campaign was all but not exciting. The Mercedes again confirmed its supremacy to the other teams and the deflating fact is that only Red Bull was able to break a dominance of Silver Arrows. Mercedes drivers won 19 out of 21 races and in those circumstances, there is no excitement but it’s not the fault of the German team. Some big changes will be introduced in 2017 but it is still unsure whether they make Formula 1 more interesting to the fans. What is definitely good is abandoning of some meaningless rules regulations about grid penalties.
The Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton won the pole position for 20 races and only Daniel Ricciardo once started from the top of the grid what is another disconcerting fact. Luckily, the Mercedes cars were less dominant in the fastest lap category as their cars set the fastest laps in ’just’ nine races.
It would be excessive to count all the Mercedes’ successes in 2016. Nico Rosberg won the title for the first time in his career and immediately retired from racing what was a shocking decision. Lewis Hamilton finished as a runner-up and the team again won the Constructors’ championship, for the third consecutive time. But what happened to the others?
Red Bull exceeded expectations, Verstappen is already the star
Red Bull is probably the biggest surprise of the season. After pretty poor 2015 campaign, the Austrian team did much better than anybody expected. Daniel Ricciardo proved that he is one of the best drivers on the grid, but the man who instantly became a fans’ favorite worldwide is Max Verstappen. The Dutch teenager arrived from the sister team Toro Rosso, replacing Daniil Kvyat, and won the race on his debut for Red Bull, at Spanish Grand Prix, becoming the youngest ever winner!
His appearance was something that Formula 1 needed. He has an enormous talent, but he also has that something of most drivers today doesn’t have – a willingness to do something unexpected. When we add youthful obstinacy and a pinch of arrogance, it looks like we can see some superstars of the Formula 1 stars from the 1970s and 1980s.
Painful year for Ferrari
When we talk about Ferrari, al we can say is that was another painful and disappointing year. The Scuderia is far from even from Red Bull and light at the end of the tunnel is still not in sight. Sebastian Vettel’s performances were especially poor even after he finished the season in front of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn was virtually written off before the start of the season but he proved that he still could be competitive if he is motivated enough.
Force India was the best of the rest
The Force India beat Williams in the Constructors’ championship and continued its growth. Despite operating with a tight budget, Indian team confirmed that work and commitment are still playing an important role in the battle with money. Williams surely couldn’t be happy with the outcome and only one podium finish scored by Valtteri Bottas.
It won’t be excessive to say that the others were there just to fill a number. The McLaren showed some small progress and the thing must be better in 2017. The only newcomer, the Haas F1 Team, can be partially satisfied. They picked a solid amount of points but all by Romain Grosjean, while Esteban Gutierrez hasn’t met the expectations.
Toro Rosso team had several flashes but we couldn’t expect something spectacular from that team, except producing some young lions. Renault’s return in the series was something below the expectations in the terms of results and they surely will make a step forward next year. At the end, Sauber and Manor despite many difficulties survived another year and they hardly could expect anything more than that.
Here are some key moments of the 2016 Formula 1 season:
- Nico Rosberg won four races in a row at the start of the season
- Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix on his debut with Red Bull
- Lewis Hamilton bounced back with 6 six wins out of 7 races in the middle of the campaign and had 19 points lead in the championship before the summer break
- Rosberg returns to the winning path with three consecutive victories and claimed back no.1
- Lewis Hamilton retired from the Malaysian Grand Prix because of engine failure and went 33 points behind his teammate in the standings
- Hamilton won last four races of the year, while Rosberg finished 2nd in each and clinched the title
At the end of the season, Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from Formula 1. A couple of weeks earlier, the 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button also decided to retire, just as 2008 vice-champion Felipe Massa.
Without German Grand Prix in 2017
The 2017 Formula 1 World Championship season kicks-off in March with 20 races on the calendar. Here is the full schedule:
March 28th: Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
April 9th: Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit
April 16th: Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit
April 30th: Russian Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom
May 14th: Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona- Catalunya
May 28th: Monaco Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco
June 11th: Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
June 25th: Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit
July 9th: Austrian Grand Prix at Red Bull Ring
July 16th: British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit
July 30th: Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring
August 27th: Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
September 3rd: Italian Grand Prix at Autodromo Nazionale Monza
September 17th: Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit
October 1st: Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit
October 8th: Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Racing Course
October 22nd: United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas
October 29th: Mexican Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
November 12th: Brazilian Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace
November 26th: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit
Photo: f1fanatic.co.uk thisisf1.com formula1.com eonsports.com.au