Reflections on F1 2016 – Mercedes crowns a new champion, but ends with question marks
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Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Dec 2016   |  6:28 pm GMT  |  196 comments

Prior to the 2016 F1 season only Juan Manuel Fangio and Lewis Hamilton had won the F1 world championship at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix car, but Nico Rosberg added his name to that elite list, winning the championship by five points from Hamilton.

It was hard won, based on a determination to maximise every area after the humiliation of Austin 2015 and losing the title for the second year in a row. It was also a fitting reward for the work Rosberg had done for the team since 2010, helping it to build up to the dominant force in F1.

Nico Rosberg

But in suddenly announcing his retirement at the end of the season, he also threw the team into a difficult position. With fierce competition expected from Red Bull and other rivals next season, Mercedes has to move forward with a new driver who must score consistently from the outset or the Constructors’ Championship will be at risk.

The hot tip is that Valtteri Bottas will get the drive, providing a more or less like-for-like replacement for Rosberg in terms of driving level and consistency at this stage of his career.

Mercedes has dominated F1 in the hybrid turbo power unit era and this was arguably the most dominant season of all – they did not lose a single race where both their cars finished and of the two race wins that escaped them one was due to a collision between drivers in Spain and the other was Malaysia, where Hamilton’s engine failed while leading and Rosberg had a spin at the start.

Mercedes Pascal Wehrlein 2016 Pirelli Test 01, Circuit Paul Ricard

The car, designed under the guidance of former Ferrari designer Aldo Costa, again featured many aggressive design ideas, which pushed the rule book to the limit, showing that it wasn’t just because of the engine that the team was winning races. And they kept on bringing details to the car even relatively late in the season to keep the opposition at arm’s length.

They clearly had plenty of spare capacity to develop next year’s chassis to the dramatic new regulations.

The car’s raw pace was again the key; it took 20 pole positions from 21 races in the season, which set a new all-time record. Starting more often than not from first and second places on the grid, the Mercedes drivers were able to control and dominate the races, even when they had a slow getaway off the start line, which happened surprisingly often.

Winning in F1 is about taking care of all the tangibles on the car and in driver preparation as well as the intangibles, like competitive spirit and driver execution. To leave one of the key tangibles – the clutch at race starts – as a weakness for much of the season was strange, but it did allow some of the other teams to dream.

Daniel Ricciardo managed to split the Mercedes a few times, as did Max Verstappen while the Ferrari drivers also bagged a second place each early on.

Mexico GP 2015 Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton

But the championship was only ever going to be an in house Mercedes battle once again and this time Rosberg came out on top. We have written extensively on the championship outcome and the part that luck, reliability and consistency played in winning it for Rosberg and losing it for Hamilton, so there is no need to go over it again here.

Mercedes performed once again at a very high level as a team, but that’s what happens when a team has the winning bug. Race Strategy was generally well done, but again it is easier when you have a very quick car to work with. The one obvious aberration was the final round where the team management tried to intervene with team orders when Hamilton tried to back Rosberg into the pack at the end of the race.

They have since acknowledged that this was not the right thing to do and Rosberg retiring makes for a very interesting dynamic; they needed to patch things up with a disgruntled Hamilton before embarking on a new F1 season in 2017.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton had made some uncomplimentary noises during the season about reliability, aware that it was costing him in his title fight, as Rosberg got off to a commanding start. Several times he left the door open for conjecture that reliability issues only happening on his side of the garage meant that Mercedes was favouring Rosberg, without saying it.

Many of his fans were not so reticent.

With Rosberg gone, Mercedes needs Hamilton more than ever and he certainly has the upper hand for the 2017 season.

What did you think of Mercedes’ F1 season 2016? Leave your comments in the section below

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1

One thing that comes through in all Hamilton's interviews is a refusal to contemplate anything but his own supreme being. Great for winning world championships, bad for relationships. I find it curious that he even tries to defeat the team that gives him the winning tools.

2

I wouldn't be Hamilton's mechanic for long.

3

Are you any one's mechanic?

4

@malunda
👍😂😂

5

One thing that comes through in all Hamilton's interviews is a refusal to contemplate anything but his own supreme being

It doesn't at all. He's unusually aware of others, if anything. It's just that he has more status than some people are comfortable with.

6

Cause he's the man at the top

7

the swap of mechanics at the start of the season is very easy to forget, followed by a string of reliability issues and it all starts to look very fishy

even with all of that ham still ran nico to the final race of the season, any other driver in that car and the title would have been wrapped up in texas

Hamilton could make an argument for the team taking away a tool of his that he was using to win and point to the unreliability on his side of the garage as the evidence

very different perspective when you're on the ground and the little details aren't so easily forgotten

of course the mechanics that got moved around just want to put together a car their driver can perform in but seeing as ross brawn came out on why he left Mercedes anything is a possibility

ironically if the swap in race mechanics was to give nico a better shot at challenging Hamilton then merc have shot themselves in the foot cause they've lost a very valuable driver in exchange for giving him the tools to succeed

i'll let it be known that i believe the swap in mechanics was to try and make both cars reliable because nico suffered with awkward cases of unreliability more often than Lewis before this season

8

are you saying half the team's mechanics are crap or are you saying they swap those in to sabotage his car? if the latter, bear in mind you are also effectively saying the mechanics that serve rosberg last year will do anything for nico, whilst the ones serving rosbery this year has absolutely no loyalty to lewis. ah, the joy of slagging your team off then?

9

Did you know that Nico lost engineers from his side of the garage to Lewis upon Lewis's arrival at Mercedes? No one talks about that because Nico wasn't out there crying about it endlessly.

10

Sebee

It was apparently 2 engineers. Lewis lost 5😉

11

...wonder if the 5 contained the 2 he initially lost? 🙂

12

2 for 2 years vs 5 for 1 year?

Also, let's remember that quantity and quality are not same units of measure. How many times are 3 players plus draft pick traded for 1 player? If it was the right 2... 🙂

13

Sebee, I think it is worth remembering that Lewis never had a problem with the quality of the Mechanics and Engineers that he received in the shuffle, he just didn't like that the shuffle had taken place. No sportsman would want his support team changed in this way.

14

You mean like Nico had changed when Lewis arrived and took 2 of Nico's engineers?

15

Sebee, you make it sound like Lewis walked in the garage and said "I want him and him"! If Merc did it before, then they shouldn't have.

16
Martin O. Powell

Sever, You should know better, because none of Nico's engine failures, affected his title chances, give Nico back all the points he lost and Lewis would still be champion.

17

I hope you're not expecting me to argue that there was no Mercedes preference for a specific outcome this season. If you are, you'll have better luck with my good pal C63. 🙂

18

One thing that throws a spanner in your works.
Rosberg left. Why ?
Something to feel awkward about ?
I think so..
Never forget,if not for reliability issues,Nico was heading for another solid smoking.end of story.

19

No one saw that coming. It is possible that with 1 fewer PU, 2017 would have seen Lewis lose again. You guys make it seem like a forgone conclusion. It isn't. But most importantly from Nico's point, it will never happen. The only way in F1 to be undefeated is to retire as WDC.

20

Sebee. The only way to retire from F1 undefeated champion is to win every championship you enter. Nico entered 11, and win one.

21

@sirtease
Well sir, I suppose he's got his priorities right, when that's what he gets paid for😉🍻

22

You Lewis Angst are becoming dull.
Constantly having pot shots.
Maybe you'll feel better when an Aussie wins a world championship in a Red Bull..... DREAM ON !! It's gonna be the Dutch lad . The future is Orange.

23

interesting point sir tease, but please don't forget that rosberg was part of the mercedes team against whom hamilton competed over three seasons. the competition was just against rosberg and the rest of the f1 field but also against different elements of the mercedes team. there were and still are people in mercedes who go to work with one objective, to ensure hamilton doesn't win. all those working on rosberg's side of the garage certainly didn't go to work with the objective of ensuring hamilton won.
hamilton has raised the rent in his head to such heights that only "winning in f1 can afford" while he lives rent free in all those minds who wished him failure.
he understands how to challenge mercedes to raise their game in ways that his detractors find difficult to comprehend. but as we all know wicked tactics eventually are exposed.
hamilton at present left every f1 fan convinced that although rosberg was crowned champion, he's the best driver. me included, i recognise rosberg as a forever undefeated champion but find it difficult to remember more than one moment rosberg overtook hamilton on track....
he is so successful because he is able to challenge his team to do better. when he does that, some misinterpret that as bad for relationships. if it was "bad for relationships", he wouldn't be so highly praised by his team..

24

Yes, well I've heard him criticised by his own team too so I guess although your summary mostly rings true, there is another side to the story.
I am sure those on his side of the garage appreciate the things he does to win. But who is on whose side now the mechanics have swapped over?
Thankyou for your considered response. Some people read the post as Hamilton bashing but really I just meant to make a comment on the psychology of an elite athlete.
You're right about Rosberg passing Hamilton on track. I know because I've been watching and waiting for the moment... Can't remember it. Max was his "pass for the championship" moment. Nevertheless, he's found other ways to get ahead.
Do you think there was any favouritism towards one or the other from the team? The impression I got at the start of the season was that Hamilton may have been neglected somewhat. It seemed the focus was on Rosberg. I've no evidence for that and maybe it was actually Hamilton out to lunch, or maybe it was the new engineers bedding in over a few races...
Regardless, you're right about the fans thinking him the best driver. Me too. But he doesn't have to convince us of that with a narrative or some dialogue reminding us of his woes or subliminally questioning the team. It's a special kind of character that takes up the psychological warfare immediately (after the championship is finished) in the post-race press conference. And then even when Rosberg retires, making pointed remarks about his inferiority. Strange that he should feel the need. That's competitor to the core, still going even when the competition is over. But I'm kinda glad he does behave that way because it's very interesting to watch.
Your initial point concerns me. How deep do you think any anti Hamilton element within Mercedes runs? Do you include any of the management in your accusation? I believe there is too much money and professionalism involved to allow driver bias within parts of the team. But as I mentioned before, less-than 100% support on Hamilton's side of the garage is achievable without much bias to point at.

MY point -that Hamilton has conflict with the team- stems from statements in the press similar to the phrase used in this report that Hamilton now has the "upper-hand" at Mercedes since Rosberg quit. It's combative language. Suggestive of a competitive situation. I guess there could be a simple explanation but what is there to be gained from having the upper hand? Does he have to fight for support from the team? Or is he just competing as is his nature?
Hardly like Schumacher and Ferrari or Alo and Renault, Seb and RBR (although that fell apart in the end too)
I am lucky, I'm ambivalent to Hamilton's success, so I can observe, appreciate and discuss without any emotional agenda or baggage. Despite all these accusations to the contrary.
And finally...

"hamilton has raised the rent in his head to such heights that only "winning in f1 can afford" while he lives rent free in all those minds who wished him failure."

This is nice language. Though I don't quite completely understand it. Please explain.

25

Sir Tease, well written, very reasonable comment. Would go along with all that.

26

You and a couple of others who post here are all very similar to how you view Lewis Hamilton. You all have to post on every article and believe other readers are interested in what you have to say. So much so, that you all find it necessary to repeat the same thoughts time after time. It's a new year tomorrow, how about giving the Lewis Hamilton bashing a rest. It has gone beyond boring after 10 years of the same rubbish.

Try getting this through your head. Lewis Hamilton is a world famous, popular, rich, multi-WDC - you are not and never will be. No amount of words can change that simple fact.

27

Toootally agree Rodger!!
Lets have NO MORE DIVERSE OPINION on this website.
Lets also make it so you are only allowed to have an opinion if you are world famous (or at least known by everyone in your street). You need to have at least one World Championship (anything except Ping Pong). Should we make it a drivers only forum? Keke might be the only one on here!
Alternatively, you could grab a set of MOD keys and sensor away!!!

28

Well posted Roger R .

29

Roger R
Top notch comment.
Well said .
It's incredible the amount of BS that eminates from some posters who continue to bark on about the same rubbish. They Regurgitate the same idiotic Mantra and then congregate like bottom feeders all sulking on the same morsel of anti Lewis claptrap.
Sadly nothing will change Roger R these numpties are so hooked on their hate that it's now imprinted permanently. Abit like a shell suit on a fascist.
But we'll said Roger R 👍👏✊👌

30

You seemed to be interested...

31

Tease pliz! What you want him to say? That he got beaten by the better man? That's never gonna happen because that's not true. Rosberg has admitted himself several times that Hamilton is the benchmark. What is true is that reliability had a large part to play in deciding the title.

32

Merc is above criticism and criticising? The team that didn't want to let him run his own race? The team that threatened to sack both drivers. Into the 70s drivers were powerless and were expected to keep their mouths shut. No more.

33

The story says "...they did not lose a single race where both their cars finished...". As I recall, Rosberg finished third, behind both Red Bulls, in Malaysia.

34

Rosberg also got punted into a spin by Vettel at the first corner. I'm surprised more wasn't made of that, last to third was a great drive and did just as much to sink Hamilton's title bid as the engine blow up.

35
Martin O. Powell

3rd is where both drivers were expected to finish!

36

Jnh. I guess it's because he wasn't last, when the race restarted after the SC for the first corner incident he was 15th. He got by the much slower cars ahead without too much trouble, as you would expect, but the only quick car he had to overtake was Kimi's Ferrari, and he drove straight into the side of him. He was making no impression on the Red Bulls and sitting fourth which became third when his team mate retired. When Lewis went from last to third at Spa, people didn't make much of a deal about that either.

37

Yes but Ham didn't finish, so that's not both cars finishing is it?

38

I know perfection doesn't exist, and there's no point in looking for it as you'll never find it, but along with Concorde SST, the Rolls Royce Merlin V12 aero engine and the McLaren MP4/4-Honda, this year's Merc W07-hybrid is about as close to perfection both mechanically 𝘢𝘯𝘥 visually as you'll get. Like Concorde gracefully slicing through the skies at *2 the speed of sound, the W07 was the epitome of high technology, elegance and style. 19 wins and 20 poles in one season? That's a record that in all probability 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 remain a record for many years to come.

Concorde - what an air liner. The Merc W07 - what a car. What a car.

39

When I first heard a Concorde take off, it was a bar setting one of a kind experience.

When I heard a V10 F1 car live, I was hooked before they could disappear from the end of the start finish straight.

When I look at the PU cars huffing and puffing, it just reminds me something very important is missing. And if something is missing, it ain't perfection.

40

And yet it still looks cumbersome and slides about all over the place in corners. Hardly the epitome of high technology IMO.

41

"Hamilton had made some uncomplimentary noises... Several times he left the door open..."

Hope he wasn't in the bathroom xD
...
Lewis had a quite big "shopping list of excuses" for losing the WDC.
Hamilton complained about his side of the garage causing the lack of reliability, but at the end of the year was begging Mercedes not to change them.
So does he want to keep bad reliability going on in 2017?
Or was it just a lame excuse?
...
It's gonna be interesting to see how Bo77as driving style matches Lewis' one.
One of the reasons for the success of the Ferrari "Dream Team" was the replacement of the 2nd driver - or 1B driver according to Rubinho.
Schumy couldn't use - or trust - Irvine's development job.
So after Irvine had done his job, Schumy had to do it all over again.
But when Rubinho joined the team, his car settings were useful for Schumy too.
So there was a synergy there.
I suppose ROS and HAM had it too.
Will BOT and HAM have it too?
...
Happy New Year !!!
Season Greetings Keke !!! xP

42

Hamilton's crew were new to him at the start of the year, which he worried was compromising his reliability. By the end of the year which he finished with a string of wins, he had become confident in them. His very reasonable concern now is that management might swap the garage round again for the start of 2017.

Stability is everything, for no one in their right mind wants 'unnecessary unknowns' thrown into the works.

43

No point swapping the sides of the garage over this time around. The other driver will be new to the mechanics so doing something to make both sides a new relationship would just harm Merc's chances. Seeing as HAM is happy with his current crew they should stay as they are and look at possibly making small change after a few races once all the new dynamic has settled.

44

But at the end of the year was begging Merc not to change them

Well, apart from Malaysia, do you not think it went a little bit better towards the end of the year?

45

Perhaps some of Hamilton's mechanics were also annoyed at being moved around a year ago. Now they've settled into how Lewis likes things and don't wish to be moved again and he's spoken up for them. Should Tonto move the mechanic teams around again, we'll know he's being the bully boss again.

46

Sorry but Rosberg the one hit wet firework knew he had zero chance of defending a title he didn't deserve. He was crucified in the last race, begging for Mercedes to let him pass Lewis. Though he didn't actually want to engage in any racing himself. A cushioned safety first driver and not a Racer. A champion in its lowest definition, that will be diluted as the year days hours go by.
Nothing can hide that part of Rosbergs skill set. An average driver in a fast car.

47

Lewis didn't blame the crew switch for the lack of reliability on his car, in fact he said the exact opposite.

48

Big Question Marks !!
They backed the wrong driver.
Instead of backing a thorough bred out and out Racer. They backed Rosberg a one trip pony. (who is now chewing away on the winter hay like an old nag who's pulled too many carts around the sea shore).
Right from day one of 2016.
Swapping staff around then giving Lewis duff engines. Meanwhile Rosberg showed an inept ability to overtake anyone without hitting them and then pretending he had full lock or was turning into a corner and ended the slow motion replay shows he was trying to T bar or shove another driver off the track.
His only ever overtake was Max in the last race which he said was a monumental move he had never done before. So he was just a points totter hoping never to tussle with other drivers in his career.
Mercedes blindly gave Rosberg all the opportunity to win. Then he slams them with "I quit" move. Now theres a driver who likes to have all the cake and then run off without paying his dues.
Mercedes messed up they could've had a better driver in that car mid season there were more options. But now it's Bottas and that's all.

49

ROS "paid his dues" by being a team player for over 5 years. Working hard, not slagging off your own team, following team orders on track e.g. letting HAM pass in Monaco 16, NOT trying to pass HAM in Malaysia 13. Retired on his own terms - good on him.

50

Meanwhile Rosberg showed an inept ability to overtake anyone without hitting them and then pretending he had full lock or was turning into a corner and ended the slow motion replay shows he was trying to T bar or shove another driver off the track.

Can't believe I'm quoting you xD
Lewis failled to overtake Mad Max in Suzuka.
Lewis shove Nico out of the track in Barcelona.
...
Mercedes is the success it is today bcs it started back in 2010 as a little snow ball.
Rosberginho has been nurturing that snowball until it became the avalanche it is today.
And all along those years got a much smaller wage than Schumacher and Hamilton.
So yes, Mercedes was right on investing in Nico, and that bet got them big dividends.
...
2016 is over... let it go.

decom_af7f0f3c-32b3-47ec-883d-3113aca78a7d_5866f3cca225d.jpgdecom_af7f0f3c-32b3-47ec-883d-3113aca78a7d_5866f3cca225d.jpg
51

You think Rosberg was a vital part of Mercedes' success in 2014-16? Why would Brawn go for Hamilton in 2012, if he thought that Nico was the real deal?

Why did Rosberg need the dossier after Malaysia '14, to tell him where Hamilton was finding his speed? Rosberg gained a lot by being able to study Hamilton’s data, more than the other way 'round.

52

Utter dribble .
Lewis tried the overtake on Max and Max did his double move GP2 defense (which then Charlie Whiting for the next race made it known that anyone going that would be penalised).
In terms of everything else Debs you are swing a hollow bat as for your choice in your photo. I can only think that you and Danny La Rue would have got on like a house on fire. I assume you'll be wearing your pink shirt and lycra leggings at the next Karaoke sing along 😃😃😃😃

53

Got a smaller wage than Schumacher and Hamilton

And why do you think that was?
I certainly would feel something wasn't right if I got half of what my colleagues got. That would hurt!
But Merc were grateful, and he got his leaving present this year, did he not?

54
The Grape Unwashed

That's interesting, what great dividends did Mercedes get from Nico? He won them a championship, but then someone in that car was always going to win. They got a 'German' champion which most Germans don't relate to and a champion who immediately walked away from the sport, and so is of minimum marketing value. I'm struggling to see the upsides for Mercedes.

55

Mercedes needn't worry about too much for the other seat. Just get a solid driver to score big points in every round, that's all. They already have the best driver on the grid so it should be business as usual.

56

Nicely put Blackmamba. ✊

57

What a car (Gaz Boy's comment)... I do think if the bad rated Rosberg beat LH, the new team mate may do the same or close; and if close, hopefully another car RB or Ferari will win consistently spicing the races. What a great championship 2017 will be with somebody new winning the tiltle, be it MV or DR; or Ferrari ones. Story wise NR, MV, LH, DR, and SP is the peak order of 2016

58

@alanF1
We can only hope that it's more mixed this year. I think these new rule changes have got most fans looking forward to this season. Let's hope we're not disappointed😊 A mixed bag of winners through the season is just what the doctor ordered 👏

59

Looking forward to more 'conjecturables' from Lewis in 2017.
Keep us all in the spin.

60

What did you think of Mercedes’ F1 season 2016?

Where success in a team competition destroys the competition... ultimately undoing... the entire format.

Ironic...
... but far from unheard of.

So, acknowledgement of the extraordinary success is in order, but.....
.. the loss of the spectacle, outside the 'somewhat flaky' appearance of the intra-team battle.

Mercedes, with their overflowing 'bag of tricks' has to be considered the on-pole team for the start of 2017. Their proven in-season development capability is rivaled only by Red Bull, and it is not at all clear if RB actually has the measure of them.
Nonetheless, substantive specifications changes always leaves the possibility of the silver bullet genie-in-the-bottle innovation which could tilt the scales, notwithstanding, Merc is likely to be the team that finds it.

61

i think mclaren can match anyone in a development war tbh, same for a well managed ferrari but that one seems a while away at the moment

mclarens performance next season, and to be more precise hondas performance next season, is of vital importance to the future of this engine formula
if Honda can't produce a good engine by the end of next season then i expect to see no new/returning manufacturers make the plunge into f1 cause catching up is impossible no matter how deep the pockets may be and no matter how good the foundations of the racing team are

i don't see Mercedes transitioning well to the new regulations, they had 2+ years to develop for the v6 switch which no other teams used or respected
this time everyone has had 8 months, and there's no way anyone but mclaren had a headstart as far as design goes

if merc still have no equal in 2017 then we'll have to hope that they get bored of f1 money up in stuttgart sometime soon cause brawn would have laid the foundations for something ugly if merc are here to stay

62

Thank you aiyanah, for the thoughtful comment.
I agree with most of what you have written.
But I do think that Mercedes, as much as anybody else, has had the luxury to prepare for the 2016-2017 regulations change; I think RB will be, or there abouts, as well. McLaren seems to be making the structural changes within their organization, to be able to step up to the plate and hit a home run, but it is early daze, and they have had turbulance going through this past 18 months, critical to readying for the new 2017 car.
So, while I see McLaren coming up, maybe to 3rd in the constructors, maybe, unless they find that 'double-decker diffuser' of 2017, (and, it is not easy to incorporate to an existing car conceptual design), I don't see them higher than 3rd.
Back to the Mercs, I still believe that they ended this last era with a lot of things in the bag, which have, no doubt, been analyzed for applicablity to the 2017 conceptual design; many of them will still be 'in the bag' for the 2017 design.
At this stage of the game, your comment about the viability of F1 as a promotional platform (paraphrased) for Mercedes, must be nearing the negative returns margin; so, if that is the case for them, yet on top, the others must have severe headaches about why they are still in the game.
I would expect that the bean-counters at Merc have anaylzed the scenario of pulling out, after having been on top for (3-4) years. If they are, then it is incumbent to 'pull out' before 'blowing their lead', i.e. winning another WCC (and likely WDC).

I'm hoping for a silver-bullet '2017 double-diffuser-like disruptor' to shake the field up; who knows, maybe it'll be the young, efficient, innovative teams, i.e. Force I (I wish they would change their name), or Toro Rosso (but in which case, RB would absorb it and beat them anyway).

Have a good one.

63

They have done an amazing job yet again. The car has no weak point, strong in every area, it has to be a contender for best ever.
I am well aware how bored some are getting of this era of Merc domination, but it is worth remembering that this the fault of Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren, not Mercedes!

64

TimW:

"The car has no weak point, strong in every area...." Rosberg would go along with this but I think Lewis would only agree with some qualification. But yes in principal it was a marvellous piece of machinery.

65

Adrian, well yes reliability was a small factor....

66

Talking of boredom, has everyone forgotten the days of Ferrari domination with a certain M.Schumacher, when he could come in for a leisurely refuel and still rejoin the race way out in front of the rest of the field? We're far away from those days, thanks to current teams' willingness to see their drivers battling with each other.

Having two team mates aggressively competing with each other means that the other teams are much closer.

67

Quercus, I remember those days very clearly, as you say at least now we don't have a contractually enforced one driver must win system.

68

spot on timw. it's about time moans are directed at those responsible.

69

The car does have a weak point.
It's not Lewis-proof. xD

70

Let it go Dweberis.....

71

With fierce competition expected from Redbull and rivals next year

And I'm afraid that this is where Nico would have been found wanting.
I think even though Bottas is on the same level as Rosberg, his race craft is probably a little more fine tuned than Nicos.
But I'm still expecting wehrlien to get the call up😉😄
You can't fault Mercedes season, they've just been a cut above the rest. But just hoping that 2017 brings more closer racing with more teams in the running.

72

How weird for you to say "...you can't fault Mercedes season...".

One of their cars had 4 race weekends substantially affected by reliability problems and a fifth weekend ruined as a result of the resulting penalties! That's nearly 25% of the race weekends affected by reliability issues for one of their cars and the worst reliability for any car on the grid, with any brand of engine.

They also made what they now accept was a ridiculous decision in Abu Dhabi, when they instructed one of their drivers to adopt a strategy which could only result in ending his WDC chances. And that decision was not made in the heat of the moment by some junior member of the team. It was made in a situation that we all saw coming so they had plenty of time to consider the options/ramifications, and it was made by those the very top of the team.

All this has exposed deep flaws in the car/organisation, opening Mercedes up to accusations of conspiracy - not that I support those accusations - I believe it is cock-up rather than conspiracy but it's been a truly dreadful season for their PR and the general Mercedes brand image!

73

@tim e
Weird??? Not at all🤔
Even though F1 is a high tech sport, it's still run by humans. People make mistakes, that we can agree on I think?. And as you know, everything is relevant. One can still have a "faultless" season, even though there has been mistakes made on the way.
Some mistakes were made on the car, some were decisions made outside the car. If we liked these decisions or not, you can't take away the fact that once more, Merc wrapped up the WCC pretty easily, aswell as the WDC.
I believe Nico was earmarked for the WDC this year. But that's done and dusted, time to move on. But I don't think we've heard the last of "last season".
So yes, I believe Merc had a faultless season as a team.
Nico had a faultless season. Lewis did not.

74

I agree with most of what you at James, so I'm not asking to extend the debate endlessly, but let's not rewrite history. Neither Lewis or Nico were faultless I'm 2016. Being in the wrong engine mode for the start in Spain, a couple of poor starts, some rather clumsy overtakes and his wretched race in Monaco ask come to mind

75

Yep agree James k.

76

Wehrlein may the black horse, I'm for it. By the way Rossi and Ogier are invited for a test. A WRC man enrolment can be interesting.

77

Something seriously happened at that team that we haven't heard the real truth yet. Too many strange engine failure for Lewis among all the drivers running the Merc engine. Then on top of that Rosberg sudden exiting the stage after being helped to a WDC all smells of something bigger than we're being told

78

Rosberg ran off . Bottled it . Squeezed a turtle when he knew he would be swamped next year by better drivers and a team mate who will go for the jugular in every race. He had no option but to turn tail and run off into the hills.

79

martin brundle asked hamilton if it was true that he suggested to sit out the rest of the 2016 season after the spanish grand prix and hamilton said that was private and in the past. so question is which phrases motivated hamilton to adopt such a stance? were the plans for the season prematurely revealed to him?

80

The only plans are the ones in your imagination.

81

Mercedes carried Rosberg on a super soft bed all year. A watered down German winning a World Championship in a German car was the plan from the outset of 2016. However much they tampered with Hamiltons car. Lewis pulled it out the bag all the way to the last race. I can see Lewis in a Ferrari after 2018 (even though he wants to stay at Mercedes, he knows Marchionne wants him at Ferrari ).

82

I wouldn't mind seeing Lewis v Ric at either Mclaren or Ferrari in 2018 or 19.
That would be nice.

83

Well 2016 is over now and you don't ever have to watch the current WDC again so maybe you can take a break from your constant bash Rosberg narrative.

84

NickH. Are you sure we will never have to watch him again though? I can't help feeling we haven't seen the last of Nico Rosberg....

85

Perhaps Tim but not anytime soon I'd have thought.

86

Nick, I think he would have to stay away for the length of the contract he walked out on, but I think he will get bored of changing nappies and decide to give it another shot.

87

Karma, I think. Mercedes would be realy stupid to cheat.
Why not considering the missed points by LH failures, starts, Baku, Singapore, to name a few. He could have easily won the championship, just 5+ points, better difference than his first championship won by 1Point + Timo + Heikki. Karma again, rewarding a worthy man, Nico

88

Karma no way.
Karma bit Mercedes on the rear.
They backed a one hit runner.
He ran off. Bad Karma rebound.

89

AlanF1. All drivers make mistakes, they all get bad starts and they all drop points. No getting away from the fact that Lewis was the better Mercedes driver last season, but Nico had the better Mercedes.

90

Worthy man ?! 😂
Rosberg?! 😂
What a load of sanctimonious bilge.

91

Mercedes is the victim of their marketing department as in 2015 any technical staff should have been aware they don't need Hamilton to win so they could have teamed Pascal Wehrlein to Rosberg and still win the 2015 &2016 Championships, without too much drama.
Now they have some "two swords in the same sheath" problem but they have enough fat to survive any drought and since money is not an issue they will sort it by a contract annex probably. Every one will be happy until next on track collision anyways.

92

The question of need /no need for Hamilton to drive for Mercedes 2015-2016 will be never answered. If by (mal)chance he could have not drive for one of the races ( a bad cold i.e. ) and the third Merc driver would have finished 1st or 2nd then we have had our answer, in the manner McLaren had his answer about Vandoorne.
Because the second best car was so far behind in performance, that even Hamilton would not have got better than 3rd
So he should be eternally grateful to Mercedes for the chance they gave to him. Even as a bit "hollow" two WDC are two WDC.

93

i guess, now that they are aware they can win without hamilton they will go ahead and do just that, win without hamilton.

94

They can win without Hamilton in a car that is well ahead of the other cars. The gap may not be the same in 2017 and they might need a driver of Hamilton's skill to make the difference.

Also, don't forget that the driver does more for a team than just drive the car. Even at Mercedes.

95

@aveli
👍🏻 And think of all that money Merc seem to want to pay him! What a waste!
I'm sure GyuriO would do the same job for free😄

96

@jamesk....i have finished thinking of all the money mercedes seem to want to pay him..
what's your next instruction?

97

@aveli
What on earth are you talking about??🤔

98

JK, let me know when you find out?

99

Yeah, Mercedes are fools Gyuri0 you are the clever one. Meanwhile 3x champion and 53 grands prix winner Lewis Hamilton has just sent Rosberg running for the hills and Mercedes having to concede that their prodigy is not nearly strong enough to face the best driver on the grid unless he wants to commit career hari kari.....no other driver is scrambling to get into the best seat In F1 coz they are all unwilling to work that hard for a living, with the exception of the Red bull drivers who are comfortable in their cacoon and Bottas who lacks ambition

100

"...as in 2015 any technical staff should have been aware they don't need Hamilton to win so they could have teamed Pascal Wehrlein to Rosberg..."

McLaren have done well since Hamilton left....oh wait...that's not right is it?

101

This has been the last season where people can claim the car was influenced by Ross Brawn. The team he put in place will have changed too. I can't help thinking that had the same clutch problem affected the cars, Brawn would have fixed it much faster than Paddy Lowe. I doubt Brawn would have played around moving the mechanics, he never needed to prove his power.
2016 has gone, can Mercedes maintain the same level next year. If Paddy Lowe does move teams, is it because he's been found out.

102

nonsense Rosbergs mechanics were given to Hamilton when he joined the team in 2013 you never hear nico cry about it

103

Mechanics? I read that it was 2 engineers. What's your source? Link please.

104

do not underestimate lowe.

105

How low can he go?

106

You only know Rosberg lost 2 mechanics in 2013, because he's mentioned it since he ran away from F1. Hamilton had 5, over half, of his team moved, after being with him since he joined Mercedes.

107

and hamilton is now happy with the performance of his new team of mechanics and doesn't want them to be changed again.
he has transformed them into a winning team and wants to keep them.

108

Tend to agree. Don't think Paddy Lowe is on Brawn's level and never will be.

109

Brawn said that without the input from Schumi Mercedes wouldn't be so good.
So with a change in rules and driver feedback really needed, which driver at Mercedes will be able to do it?
A ever whining Lewis who probably destroyed too many bridges to the engineers he claimed for foul play?
A new driver to the team? Even if he would be really good in car knowledge and helping engineers - they first have to know each other and trust each other. This can't be done in a few weeks.

The best option for Mercedes would be to give up 2017 and build a team from junior drivers to attack again in 2018.
No constructors title and WDC while having one of the best drivers of all times? This would make people think that Mercedes wasn't able to build a good car and Lewis probably leaving anyway.
But with junior drivers no title would be okay, would buy time to build a better atmosphere at the team and revive the old Mercedes family feeling of the old and glorious racing days.

With Lewis Mercedes is just another bunch of mercenaries.

110
Martin O. Powell

seifenkistler, I bet you said 'what was Spartacus 'Whining' about?

I'm sure that deciding not to win championships and races when you clearly can, would go down very badly with team bosses, engineers, mechanics, drivers, fans, the board, sponsors and shareholders.

111

"The best option for Mercedes would be to give up 2017 and build a team from junior drivers to attack again in 2018."

No. That would be a very very stupid option indeed.

112

Truly bizarre suggestion. Will file this alongside Jackie Stewart's silly suggestion for Mercedes to pack up and leave F1, from earlier in the season.

113

Well we will know if at Williams. The new cars end up mid season having clutch problems, then that'll be Paddy changing the clutch to Mercedes one he developed.

114

What's the delay with announcing Bottas? Mercedes is milking this publicity way too much now.

115
Thread the Needle

Aldo Costa another designer Ferrari felt they didn't need

Bottas probably the best driver available for next year, interesting to see if Mercedes want to change again in 2018

116
Clarks4WheelDrift

I don't think they really need Lewis more than ever. I think he is on thinner ice than ever with Merc.

Ok, they have little choice for '17 as Nico beat Lewis to the title, fulfilled his ambition and retired at the last minute, because he couldn't be bothered with further mental stress of racing and dealing with Lewis week in week out.

They have Lewis for 2017 and if their car, with PU turned up, is even half as dominant then they'll have the pick of the grid for 2018. A team with Dan Ric and Alonso, or Alonso and Sainz, Vettel and Sainz, or Vet and Alo, would give them a far stronger lineup. Plus a far more grateful lineup, with less ranting on about how hard done by Lewis is when he drops a run of races to a teammate or loses the odd pole. Heck, by 2018 a Vandy/Ocon lineup will be stronger than Lewis/Lewis's Number 2 just to keep their team running smoothly.

Interesting to hear Toto in the end of season review saying how much of a team player and gent Nico was for Monaco VS how Lewis in Abu Dhabi said he'd dominate the final race in style to make sure the team wins before backing their cars up to be undercut and messed with. (Twas entertaining though, wondering if he'd move from extreme slowdown to brake testing Nico on the final two laps.)

Wondering one thing though. When Lewis whinges about not changing anything for 2017 and keeping his guys for 2017, does he mean getting back 'his guys' from 2015, or keeping 'his guys' (that he slagged off) from 2016?

Or will it not matter if it's easier to beat Bottas 😉

117

Clarkes, Lewis' contract runs until the end of 2018. Fernando will be 37 and hardly a good long term bet. Dan the man will have either resigned with RB or gone somewhere else by then. I doubt your "thin ice" claim is anything like accurate, seems to me like the Merc/Hamilton relationship is stronger now than it ever was?

118

"Ok, they have little choice for '17 as Nico beat Lewis to the title, fulfilled his ambition and retired at the last minute, because he couldn't be bothered with further mental stress of racing and dealing with Lewis week in week out."

Let me rephrase that for you so that it's accurate:

"Ok, they have little choice for '17 as Nico lucked into the title, fulfilled his ambition and retired at the last minute, because he knew he couldn't compete with Lewis week in week out based on skill."

119

@jim
Way to go👍

120

"A team with Dan Ric and Alonso, or Alonso and Sainz, Vettel and Sainz, or Vet and Alo, would give them a far stronger lineup. Plus a far more grateful lineup, with less ranting on about how hard done by Lewis is"

RIC - Yes I think he's bloody good, but the toys came out of the pram at Monaco, and Spain from memory.
Alonso - GP2 engine, Spygate, leaving Ferrari, etc, etc, etc.
Sainz - Seems to have been calm as far as I can remember, and decent speed, but hasn't had the chance to prove himself in a great car yet.
Vettel - Tell Charlie to f8ck off, and numerous other complaints about other drivers this year. One trick pony (albeit a 4 times WDC one) and is either not as fast as he was, needs a car to suit his style, or suffers motivation problems.

These guys are all bloody good, and they're all hyper competitive and will lose the plot, or demand answers as per pretty much all the very good drivers before them. So not sure of your point as all except Sainz will "moan" based on previous knowledge. Speedwise we know Alonso and Hamilton were pretty close in 2007 (a long time ago), I don't think Vettel's that fast (he was out qualified by Kimi this year) and also had had ass handed to him by RIC in the same team (if anyone uses lack of motivation as an excuse then that says a lot about Vettel). Sainz is unproven.

I qualify this with my own statement - these guys are all spectacularly good by any standards, and it's very small differences between them that differentiate a great from a legend.

121

@clarks
"That he slagged of"???
I've never heard Lewis slag his mechanics of🤔🤔

122

Yes Mercedes did an outstanding job in 2016 and the continuous improvement to the W07 but I will ask this of you all.. was there a better chassis than the RB10 ?.. can anyone imagine what may have happened with 40bhp more from the Renault PU?? If Renault can be within 20bhp of the Mercedes theres going to be a hell of alot Dutch / Australian celebrations

123

Gosh I hope you're right Elie!
There might be something else to write about other than conspiracy theories against the marginalised minority!

124

providing a more or less like-for-like replacement for Rosberg in terms of driving level and consistency at this stage of his career

at this stage of his career

Seriously, James? I really don't think Bottas would've been able to pull off some of the great quali laps that Rosberg has over the years. And I don't expect ballsy passes like the one on Verstappen in Abu Dhabi or even Hockenheim from Valtteri, because he is less of the last-minute-lunge drivers and more of the wait-for-the-best-timing drivers. I do agree on the consistency part though. But not driving level.

125

I agree Sravan, I would estimate that Nico is the most "hated" driver in this forum. The reality (for those able to concieve it) is that despite his one shortcoming as a driver (he lacks agression and finesse in wheel to wheel combat), he was clinical in qualifying, consistent in starting, and focused for 21 race weekends, and thats what won him a championship!
I don't estimate that Bottas is at his level, but he may develop.
If he is, then it will just confirm that it's more about the car than anyone thought.

126

Lkfe. I would have said that Lewis still wears the "most hated" crown. Nico's clumsiness in close quarter combat is only one of his draw backs as a driver, and only one of the reasons I don't like him. I didn't like what he did in Austria, that wasn't clumsy, it was deliberate. To then lie about it straight after the race was insulting to the people who just watched the incident. I didn't like Monaco 14 either, or Spa 14. Some put these incidents down to ruthlessness, I say it shows a man prepared to cheat to get what he wants.

127

Tim,
While I agree there is a fair bit of vitriol directed at Lewis, on a net basis he has a massive fan base that offsets it well and truely -on top of the fact that there are very few (even amoungst the haters) who question his talent.
Conversely, I don't reckon Nico could phone a friend if he had to. He doesn't seem to have any nationalist backing (from wherever he's actually from), and he is regularly marked down (sometimes fairly), by many super fans of other drivers -most notably by those of his team mate.
He's the fall guy of the F1 grid -without an army to defend him!
With the possible exception of Monaco (which on the face of it looks pretty dodgy), all of the other incidents are him just getting his elbows out and showing that he's there to race as well (albeit without the finese of the top notchers). It's nothing Lewis or Seb, or Nando haven't done.
If the roles had been reversed in Abu Dhabi and it was Nico backing them up, i guess you would have added that to your list as well?

128

LKFE, yes in terms of net fans, I guess Lewis does win that contest! Of the three incidents we spoke of, Monaco is for me the easiest to understand. The BBC interviewed Toto and Niki for their 2014 end of season round up programme, and while it was clear that they both thought it was deliberate, Niki made it even clearer that he thought it was ok, and he would have done the same in Nico's shoes! For me Monaco 14 was like a footballer taking a dive in the box, cynical and against the rules, but it's what happens. Spa and Austria were much more like a two footed, studs up tackle from behind in my view, deliberately initiating contact is never ok, giving the other guy a choice of wether to back out of the move or risk contact is one thing, but to deliberately drive into a rival is quite another. Seb in Turkey with Mark, and Lewis in Canada this year, or Nico in Canada 14 are examples of "giving the other guy the choice", and hard but fair racing. Maybe you shouldn't be that tough on your team mate, but the drivers think of themselves first and the teams know this. It's a fine line sometimes, but I genuinely cannot think of an example of Fernando, Seb or Lewis crossing it. Michael did, Ayrton did, but this doesn't make it ok.
backing up in Abu Dhabi? if it had been the other way around I wouldn't have thought there was anything wrong with it, it's a rarely used but legitimate tactic and if Nico didn't like it he should have passed him.

129

Given the utter dominance of the Mercs for the last 3 years, there accomplishments don't seem as great at the Red Bulls 4 previous years but does cement ROS as a great driver to overcome HAM and his brilliance.

But credit due to getting the regs in their favour, starting earlier on their engine development before regs introduced and being too control F1 to its detriment.

130

Even though the domination of Mercedes has made the sport less of a spectacle, and more predictable, (leading Mercedes into the first corner wins) one can't help but marvel at the incredible job they've done as a team, from pit stops to strategies, management, etc.
The W07 was a masterpiece, the only weakness I can think of is that it seems fares worse than its rivals in dirty air.
For the last 3 years, the Mercedes has been the only car that could have won the Championship, it wasn't even possible to split the drivers in the standings as was done in every year of the Red Bull domination era.
Frankly, I don't think the car gets enough credit, even from Mercedes, too much emphasis on the drivers.

131

Firstly congrats to NR.
You cannot blame him for doing the job.
The same cannot be said for the Merc management. They tried at every corner to disrupt LH in his per suit of the WDC. Even in the closing stages of the last race they showed ,amplified their lack of racing aptitude. I was most disappointed with Paddy Lowe. His "instruction" could not have been done at a worse time and he knew it!
Lauda released a statement that LH had wrecked his room after a race just when he had the momentum in the championship and was told to retract the statement and apologise to LH.
NR,s retirement just proves my point. He has dropped the team in it from 40,000 ft without bothering to look back. This shows a complete lack of respect. I can only imagine the headlines if LH had done the same.
Don,t be surprised if LH wins next season then returns to Maclaren or finishes his carreer with Ferrari.

132
The Grape Unwashed

Arguably, Mercedes has always tended to side with the driver who looked most likely to win the championship. In previous years when Hamilton had the upper hand it wasn't much of a problem because they were defending both their brand image and their star driver, but last season - thanks to a succession of lucky breaks - that meant preferring the stalwart over the talent, the most shocking example being Spain where the team seemed to place the blame overwhelmingly at Hamilton's feet (especially Lauda) by defending Rosberg's crude block. And of course Abu Dhabi, where they used a cock and bull excuse to demand that Hamilton speed up.

Perhaps if Rosberg had stayed on, Hamilton could have demolished the German in 2017 and seen the team support swing fully behind him once more, which would have gone a long way to patching things up; but as it stands, there is likely to remain a lingering sense of distrust between the two parties.

The irony is that Mercedes didn't really need a Hamilton level talent over the past three seasons - any quality driver (including Rosberg) was more than capable of securing them three titles on the trot. But now, with the competition closing in, they need the best driver they can get, just at the point when the relationship is at its lowest point. Hamilton's contract is up at the end of next season, if McLaren or Renault can demonstrate real potential, they might secure a huge scalp for 2018.

133

His contract goes to 2018. It's not option-activated either, afaik.

Meanwhile, we have Seb and Fernando's contracts expiring next year.

134

Nobody will touch Seb he is loosing his mojo. Maybe Mclaren will.
Alonso may go to Renault but he didn't do a good job at Ferrari and is now an the oldest man on the grid. Unless Massa comes back. Which is a weird choice.

135
The Grape Unwashed

My mistake KRB, another year will be helpful for Mercedes to patch up the relationship. Regarding Vettel and Alonso, both are high maintenance and temperamental: the first seems to get into sulks which cause his form to drop (e.g. his last season at Red Bull, this season at Ferrari), the other has shown that he will go to any lengths to nobble a teammate - including shopping his own team to the FIA! The sport's most in demand drivers have always (well, for at least the last 30 years) been ruthlessly self-centred. Still, a proper German star may appeal to the team.

Mercedes' management might be getting sick at Hamilton's disloyalty, but when has any big star placed the team's interests above his own? If this is becoming a problem (and some of Wolff's comments in his final Channel 4 interview suggest it might be), then I'd suggest it's a problem with the team's unrealistic expectations, not with the driver! Wolff in particular seems to expect his drivers to act as loyal and subservient employees, but top drivers simply don't work that way: if you want the big name drivers to work for you, you have become slaves to their talent - Dennis, Todt, Horner all did this.

I hope McLaren and/or Renault hit a rich vein in 2017/2018, because Hamilton needs a change of scenery - his time at Mercedes has profited both, but he needs to move on to a team which doesn't micromanage behaviour on track.

136

Lewis will end up at Ferrari.
Marchionne wants him in his team.

137
The Grape Unwashed

Big Vern, I can't see that happening. Ferrari is in such a mess and it looks likely to remain that way... Unless Hamilton has expressed a desire to drive for Ferrari one day, but I can't remember him saying so. To me, Ferrari just doesn't look capable of getting its act together.

138

With Rosberg Mercedes lost the better of the two for testing and car development. Something which is needed with new rules.
Speed is not all. Being able to work as a team to develop the car is a big part of the game.
If Mercedes did two different setups to test which is best: if the one of Lewis would have been better he would claim the other for copying it.
If the other driver asked the engineers to do a certain setup he thinks is good and it proves to be better than the one of Lewis - Lewis will demand fairplay and having the same setup.
This year without an experienced driver at his site Lewis will have to show if he is at the level of the best drivers, ones which can put high input to development like Schumi was able to do.

139

Selfenkister, where did you get this idea that Nico was the best at testing and development? Wanting something to be true doesn't make it so....

140

@seifenkistler - admit it, you're making this up as you go along. With limited testing, drivers cannot develop cars any longer. Car setups are shared by both drivers in all teams. During practice one driver will do high fuel runs with one tyre, the other driver will test a different tyre, etc, etc. You conjecture is simply rubbish from the bottom of a glass.

141

Don't know where you get your ideas from. If anything, Hamilton raised Rosberg's level in the past few years, by showing him what was possible in those cars.

Rosberg-Schumi didn't move that car forward. It didn't advance in 2010 or 2011, relative to others, and went backwards in 2012.

142

The raise of Mercedes was because of Tyregate. The only influence Lewis had was because with two german drivers Mercedes would have been punished way harder. But with an british hero at Mercedes the punishment was close to non existent.

143

Seifenkister, you really think it was that one test that solved all of Mercs tyre wear issues?! Still waiting for you to inform us all of why you think that Nico was the better development driver....

144

KRB, if i recall -at the end of the V8 era, the Merc was plenty quick, but it just burnt through it's tyres?

145

Hamilton's contract is up at the end of next season....

Polite correction - his contract runs until the end of 2018.

146
The Grape Unwashed

Thanks C63, quite right.

147

Read between the lines about what Niki Lauda said;, if they'd known Rosberg was going to retire, they wouldn't have concentrated on him so much. Hmmm, so much said and not said at the same time

148

@richardd
Did Lauda say that?? Where did you hear that? Interesting 🤔

149

Fantastic season, even if it was a pitty that the drivers were very rarely fighting againt each other and also Hamiltons very poor reliability. A bit overshadowed also by Rosbergs retirement and the very obviously poor relationship between Hamilton and the team management. A team management, which - while certainly there is no conspiracy - made it very obvious on many occasions which driver they prefered to win this year, which contributed to their relationship with Hamilton breaking down (it's not just Hamiltons fault, far from it). It will be interesting to see if they will try to patch things up on a long term bases with him or if nothing can be repaired and they will just try to get 2017 done and dusted and approach for 2018 a new leading driver.

@DeWeberis Hamilton never said that his side caused his reliability issues, but that he didnt understood why they shuffled the mechanics around, which undoubtely can mess up initially existing procedures and may have contributed to some issues, which is exactly the reason why he doesnt want another change in 2017.

@Sir Tease He is praising in every interview his team though, even after losing.

150

Hit the nail on the head Simon!

151

@simon
Well said Simon, and welcome to the hornets nest😉
And a happy new year🍻

152

Great season apart from the pr disaster at the last race. They should have been given total free reign

153

"We have written extensively on the championship outcome and the part that luck, reliability and consistency played in winning it for Rosberg and losing it for Hamilton, so there is no need to go over it again here."

People still don't seem to have grasped it though, so why don't we have a recap 😀

154

Hamilton, a fine driver, needs to grow up and stop the petulant child routine. It's frankly boring!

155

Guy Brown, I think he is doing just fine as he is, don't you?

156

...yet, he is an idol to so many here....

157

Lkfe, I think that is because most F1 fans concentrate on what happens on the track, rather than getting bogged down with (and wildly over reacting to) what he just said in an interview, or who he just got photographed with....

158

Whether you like it or not Nico Rosberg put together a superb season and remained focussed on achieving his dream. His team mate appeared flustered and unfocussed a lot of the time, distracted by his own celebrity as well as that of those he hung out with off-duty. When things didn't go his way Lewis Hamilton cried foul and looked for people and things to blame, rather than keeping his head down and staying focussed like his team mate.

As far as I know F1 is still a sport, and a TEAM sport at that, i.e., you win and lose as a team. Anyone who thinks a major manufacturer would seek to sabotage one of its drivers in such a public arena is, I'm afraid, not paýing attention.

Rosberg was a loyal member of Mercedes Benz F1 team for seven years, and a rising star with Williams for four years before that. There is no law that says a driver must defend his title and I don't blame him for deciding to quit at the top having achieved his goal.

2017 sees a brand new F1 which in essence means a level playing field for all. In reality the richer teams will fare better than their poorer competitors, but Mercedes remaing top dogs is by no means certain. I find it amusing that rule changes over the last 10-20 years have been designed to slow the cars down, but now we are told lap times could be up to five seconds quicker than last season.

Whoever gets the vacànt Mercedes seat will, I'm sure, rise to the occasion, and hopefully keep Hamilton on his toes.

159

I can't quite put my finger on why but if Toto were replaced completely by Lauda I'd be much more drawn to the Mercedes team.
Of course it's unknown whether they'd be the same mighty force they are were it so?

160

Can you imagine Lauda in charge?... it would be more of a comedy act, he would be apologised much more than he currently is for comments made to the media regarding members of the Merc team 😂

I think Toto is a very tiny piece of the puzzle that has made Merc so great over the past three years, Andy Cowell, Aldo Costa and Ross Brawn are the main protagonists to the success of Merc. Toto is a facilitator who creates an environment for the great work to happen but doesn't actually get involved (sorry Toto), Christian Horner and Franz Tost are impressive in this area also.

161

You need to read Ross Brawn's book to get an understanding of why Lauda is at Mercedes. It has nothing whatever to do with his ability to run a team, more to do with who his friends are. In 2001 Lauda ran the Jaguar F1 team for a short time, he made a complete horlicks of the job and got the boot.

162

Some of these comments about Mercedes not needing Hamilton make me laugh.

The simple fact is Hamilton sells cars for Mercedes, he gets them a great deal of publicity along with their various sponsors Petronas, Bose to name but a few. He's even on the cover of Time magazine.

As regards his attitude I daresay his attitude to racing/winning and maybe the arrogance that goes with it is no different to many other top sportsmen which is reflected by the marmite attitude from the public. He's still had a fantastic year and in his mind he will undoubtedly feel that he is still the best driver by far.

What's Mercedes to do? get rid of him, its never going to happen they simply need a top class driver who when the going gets tough can continue to operate successfully. Of course he's going to have his "off" days every professional does.

Remember it wasn't too many years ago when Hamilton was hauling a McLaren around the track that most commentators indicated was virtually an undriveable car especially for the first half of the season.

163

To be fair, i think Bernd Maylander sells more Mercs than any of the F1 drivers.

164

Their dominance was so great, that it made the sport predictable and boring 😪
Even more than the Ferrari/Shumi eara. It is so clear, that it is as if they using a loophole some where that noby knows of.
Good for them, bad for the sport.
Just praying we get closer competition, and actual racing in 2017, else it will be the last year i am watching/following F1 😐

165

@Mike - As Noby knows, can he tell us about this loophole?

166

Mike, more boring than Ferrari and Schumi? At least we don't which Merc driver will win, Schumi's team mates were not allowed to beat him.

167

So everyone is happy with the current closeness of the competition ? Great keep enjoying a one team championship 👍

168

Mike, I'm not suggesting that everyone is happy, I'm sure we all want the competition to be a bit closer. I'm just saying that knowing a Mercedes is going to win, but not which one, is preferable to knowing a Ferrari will win, and which one it will be.

169

Slightly poetic justice really. Mercedes had the tyre load data in Monaco 2014, as Mark Hughes very discreetly reported, so they knew Rosberg went off deliberately at Mirabeau, but they supported him and renewed him. Then they had Spa, fined him but kept him, a couple of doubtful incidents in 2015, then Spain this year and renewed him again.

Now the unscrupulous driver they kept choosing has been a bit unscrupulous with them. Signed a 2-year contract and done a runner, dropping them in it for a driver and also for the reigning WDC promotion.

170

@barryF - Because Rosberg is the reigning champion, he's going to be paid by Mercedes to do PR stuff for the coming year. I hope they do a Bernie and keep him waiting for the cheques.

171

Rodger, he has left the company, those promotional duties are just one of the many responsibilities he walked out on.

172

Lol, yes @Rodger R. And smaller cheques perhaps, because he's going to become less famous rather quickly, with not being a driver or exactly a racing hero.

173

So let's just utilise the Hamilton brigade for a moment.
If, as is occasionally suggested that the Mercedes mechanical/electrical engineers let Lewis down and cost him the title,then this is perhaps recognition of the inequality seen throughout the world today.where clearly the success of a multi billion dollar organisation is as fragile as the ability of a grease monkey who is paid next to nothing compared to those above in the organisation to do their job correctly.
Therefore the role of a successful driver,CEO,team principal or mechanic holds equal importance to success and therefore should recognise equal status and finally an equal financial share in the spoils..............
Sounds familiar in a very communistic kind of way.
Middle ground is needed by all.

174

only if the same tools and effort were applied to influence those successes.

175

Andrew Benson had a piece about F1 mechanics, and I was flabbergasted at what they made (i.e. not that much, less than expected). Maybe it wasn't the full picture, who knows, but it seemed a life only appealing to unattached twenty-somethings. Yet there are quite a few older guys in there, most with families one would assume.

176

I'd have done a year in my mid-twenties....what a way to see the world!
Actually, I could take off now too?

177

Everyone has a right to their opinion.
However I'd like to point out a simple truth for the poor deluded Hamilton was sabotaged brigade.
It is so unbelievably hard to manufacture every single component on a F1 car.
Do any of you seriously think that anyone in the entire multi billion dollar operation would think even for a minute about not making something to the exacting standards expected?
If you had any idea how a big end bearing is made you'd be intelligent enough not to suggest something as stupid as someone deliberately making it wrong!
Lewis indirectly stirs up the conspiratorial hot pot due to his absolute inability to accept that he also lost a hat load of points by not being as good as Nico last year.

This inability to see yourself as anything but perfect is of course at the the heart of many top sports people and even top business people.

178

That type of common sense will get you nowhere fast f1canmaker!!

179

another one for the conspiracy theories, after Malaysia where there was a 27 point swing in Nico's favor F1 went to Japan where Lewis had his worst start of the season without contact with another car dropping him down to eighth, even though he cut his way through the field to finish third it meant that the WDC could not be won by Lewis without some sort of failure on NR's part, it was then announced that Merc had got to the bottom of the bad start issue's Lewis were having and that they had sorted it out, from the last 4 races of the season we saw that that was the case, my questions would be "how did it take Merc so long for them to realise what the problem was with Lewis's starts" and "why did they leave it to the point where it was mathamatical impossible for Lewis to win the WDC under his own volition"?

If you want to believe in these conspiracy theories then you could suggest that Merc basically got Nico into a position that he couldn't lose the WDC unless there was driver error and if that was the case then he didn't deserve it anyway.

I for one are looking forward to the book coming out in 9 years time, I'm sure it will be an interesting read.

180

Another interesting tidbit. The streak for consecutive wins by a team is 11 by McLaren in 1988. Mercedes got to 10 straight twice in 2016. Those streaks were ended in Spain, and at Malaysia.

181

I heard Bottas went to Brackley for a seat fitting last week, does that mean something?

182

Yes, he's going to drive for Mercedes

Wehrlein at Sauber, Massa at Williams for one more year

183

James, isn't it weird that Wehrlein a Merc Protoge joins Sauber that use Ferrari engines? Stroll is a Ferrari Guy hopping into a Williams which use Merc engines ... Just seems odd the way the cards fell

184

James, maybe a bit early, but any whispers on who will replace Felipe for 2018?

185
Clarks4WheelDrift

Keke Rosberg comeback, fully supported by Papa Stroll. 😉

I guess their 2018 pilot will depend on how they improve the car in 2017.

After giving over Bottas at short notice, plus chat of the Paddy thing, it still seems strange. Perhaps Williams have negotiated better 'tuned' PUs with the latest Merc sofware to jump them forwards.

It'd be nice to see a decent aero Williams that could work the tyres better, drive well on slow tracks, well in the cold and wet and not need to run skinny wings.

186

Clarkes, possible I suppose, although I think Keke might need to join his local weight watchers group first! Nasr seems the more likely route though, he will be old enough to flog Martini by then, and Bernie likes his Brazillians...

187

Rosberg said a few odd things immediately after he won in the WDC.
He really didn't enjoy that last race and the pressure clearly became too much for him.
He's done the right thing in terms of leaving us all guessing as to how he would have performed in 2017 but deep down, he knows he got massively lucky.
Come Melbourne, Rosberg will be forgotten

188

Nico said from kids age that he wanted to be a WDC once like his father.
Lewis wants to be a GröFAZ, grösster Fahrer aller Zeiten, greatest driver of all times.
So it is a difference in the goals here. The difference is that Nico knew and said that luck and hard work is a part of the game and all must come together which happens rarely. Lewis in his GröFAZtism thinks that he is the best and not winning must have any reason but not himself. So he gets rid of the pressure by claiming bad luck, car, engine, tyres, weather, sabotage, not being liked, ... Do you really think there is no pressure on Lewis? Are you ignoring the changes in Lewis' behaviour? Lewis seems like he broke already. Gone are the times of a boy having fun in racing when Lewis' subconsciousness decided to flee more and more into paranoia.

Nico decided to do a cut and flee into the peace of family. He is not alone with such a decision. Many sportsman did like him, quitting after gold medals, world championships, ...

189
The Grape Unwashed

Come on seifenkistler, all the planets aligned for Rosberg in 2016 and he won a lucky WDC. Sure he worked hard, raised his game, but he benefited massively from good luck. Rosberg is smart enough to realise that he'd been trounced in 2015 and was likely to be trounced even more severely in 2017 (as Hamilton was bound to bang home the fact of his superiority like never before).

In short, there were no upsides to Rosberg defending his title, he'd just end up cheapening his achievement of the previous year - and the resultant press would have made his life a misery. Why would anyone put themselves through that? So good luck to Nico, he worked really hard to achieve his life's ambition, but let's not pretend he isn't scarpering ahead of an otherwise inevitable (and prolonged!) humiliation.

190

Hear, hear! I began to lose respect for Lewis Hamilton when he started going on about how Nico Rosberg was privileged, living in Monaco with a World Champion father, while he was just a poor boy from Stevenage whose father held down three jobs to finance his son's karting. He should be well pleased that he overcame his 'lowly' start to win three titles instead of moaning about how unfair it all is. Mechanical failure has been part of motorsport since the first two cars lined up against each other and, last year, Hamilton drew the short straw.

191

Cashpoor, so when Lewis was asked about the contrast between his and Nico's upbringing, and he answered honestly, you lost all respect for him?! I can't help feeling that your dislike for Lewis pre dated that interview.....

192

Another email notification while your comment hasn't appeared yet! OK, Lewis Hamilton is a great driver. There, I said it!

It bothers me that he seems to have an enormous chip on his shoulder that manifests itself in what I consider to be rather immature behaviour. The guy's in his 30's and a triple WDC, having won at every level on the way up, and should maybe relax a little and accept that he got beaten last season. My comments have been about his apparent loss of concentration on the day job, not helped by mechanical gremlins and the odd poor start, while his team mate upped his game and reaped the reward.

Here's to a fresh start for all in 2017.

[All comments go through moderation before appearing on the site, hence the delay - Mod]

193

Tim W.

I get emails telling me about your replies but they don't appear on the website, so:

1. I have no problem that Lewis Hamilton won one more race than his team mate. Over the season, Nico Rosberg scored five points more than Hamilton. QED.

2. I though Lewis was a breath of fresh air when he arrived in F1, having followed his rise through the ranks. I only changed my mind about him when he began slagging his team mate off and appearing to become distracted by his other activities. You never saw his hero, Ayrton Senna, getting involved in, for example, making music, although he was very good at the mind games!

194

Cash poor. And I have no problem recognising that Nico won the championship, or how it happened for him.
Why is it a problem for you that Lewis likes music, so did Villeneuve, so did D'Ambrosio, did it bother you that they did it? Are you sure that Ayrton never slagged his team mate off? He never took a swipe at Gerhard, but he did nothing but slag Prost off!!

195

Every one who watches F1 knows that Mercedes wanted a German driver to win the championship so they did something to 🇬🇧Lewis's car scuppered it so nico could win, 🇬🇧 lewis could have wiped the floor with Rosberg so come on we know what was happening

196

Oh please! We all know and understand how tricky a business and sport F1 is with all sorts of mind games and politicking going on. So for Mercedes to have engineered this outcome - which came down to the very last race - is pretty much improbable if not impossible.

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