Five races, five double successes for Mercedes: The Formula 1 2019 wanted to be exciting, but was monotonous.
Adrian Newey has recently described how a person comes to dedicate his life to the task of constructing racing cars, in which other people rush from title to title and become so famous that humanity has not forgotten their names even decades later , Unlike your own name. Not only did Newey tell this story, but wrote it down, his biography bears the wonderful title "How to build a car".
Wonderful is the title because it expresses something that is referred to as understatement in Neweys home, the English county of Warwickshire. Newey does not just build cars. He designed the world champion racers for Alain Prost, Mika Häkkinen and Sebastian Vettel. His race cars won ten driver and ten constructors' championships. He created all his works with such meticulousness and assurance that the American magazine The New Yorker referred to as "Michelangelo of Motorsports".
For Newey, it started when he grew up at the end of a rural side street in a suburb of Stratford-upon-Avon. The property bordered on the back of a stinking pig farm, where Newey's father ran a veterinary practice. He treated small animals, as well as the livestock of the surrounding farms. Newey was used to teaching as an assistant the bucket and the calf ropes. "I've seen so many newborn calves and lambs that it has been enough for my whole life," Newey writes. Much more exciting was the five-year-old the things his father made in the garage. He screwed on old cars there and prepared the camping trips to Scotland meticulously: The father built a scale a month before departure and saved weight with packing so much passion that he thought it was a good idea to give the toothbrushes the handles to cut.
In Formula 1, there are always times when one team drives away from the other. Almost always, these teams have their dominance thanks to brilliant designers like Newey. The men in the background whose names are known only to freaks. For the motorsport athletes who do not lag behind in non-competitive cars, such phases are an extremely frustrating experience. But it does not help, Formula One is not unlike the pig farm near which Newey once grew up.
Ferrari dominated Formula 1 from 2000 to 2004, McLaren in 1988 and 1989, Williams in 1992 and 1993, Red Bull in the years 2011 to 2013 – and now there is the team of Mercedes, which dictated the series for the sixth consecutive year and in each of the previous five races of the season has achieved a double success. Such a monotony as 2019 has never been in the history of the series. This development is a narrative catastrophe for the American entertainment company Liberty Media, which will be able to realize its status as the rights holder of Formula One for the third year.
Much more than once the one-man operation Bernie Ecclestone is the Americans yes to storytelling. To simple stories so whose headlines can be reduced to the so-called Küchenzuruf. That's why they gave access to the pit lane to a Netflix camera crew last season. They want to carry the racing lives of their pilots home to the TV couches, they want to reach the relevant target group via Netflix. Of all the stories that F1 would have to tell, one plot would outshine everyone else: Sebastian Vettel and his duel with Lewis Hamilton – a four-time world champion this year is beating a five-time one! Only: Unfortunately he does not drive. Because his car by design does not come close to that of Hamilton. Because the Ferrari SF90 loses too much time in the turns on the Mercedes W10.
Of course, this story – the story of a duel that did not become a duel – can not be told so well. And much worse pictures. With what? With a zoom on the front wing of the Scuderia? With infrared images of Vettel's glowing tires?
Ironically, Formula One has become boring this year, too, because it wanted to get more exciting. In order to offer the spectators more overtaking maneuvers, the aerodynamic regulations were reformed in 2019. The idea was that the introduction of simpler wings should change the air turbulence so that it would be easier for the car behind to get into a position from which it is easy to overtake. Newey writes: "Today, in Formula One, year by year we study every detail of the technical regulations for the coming season, and one of my tasks – perhaps even my dearest – is to translate into practicality what the rules actually do – not what the regulators want to achieve with it. " Even better than Newey, who works for Red Bull, this time his Mercedes colleagues translated the new regulations into the opposite of what the regulators wanted to achieve. The secret behind the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas is a fabulous downforce of their racing cars. While Vettel slips into the corners in the curves, the Mercedes stuck on the asphalt like a bumper car. For Hamilton his way to the sixth title is likely to feel very soon as a journey in the gently sprung mobile home. He regrets this almost as much as Vettel.
Once, Hamilton had described his rivalry with Vettel as an epic one. She was like Federer against Nadal. And now? "It's not so much fun," he told Sunday in Barcelona. "What Formula 1 is about are the moments when you fight one or two other teams, when the cars have different strengths and weaknesses and it's about playing the strengths." This year it is again like Federer against Nadal. Only Nadal plays with a wooden racket.