National Motorsport Academy

The Changing of the Guard in F1

We are a few races into the F1 season and the Young Guns are ruling the roost. Is this a coincidence or are we really seeing the old timers moving on and the F1 youth consistently on the top 3 steps? For those that suggest I am a heretic and should be connected to an MGU/ERS, fried, then dowsed in fuel and burnt on a carbon fibre stake, for suggesting that Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel  are now past it, give me a chance to present the story and have a look at history for some backup.

Back to the 90s

It is the start of the 1990’s and Prost, Mansell, Senna, Patrese and Piquet have been around for years, winning pretty much all the races and championships at the time. In 1992 a young upstart called Michael Schumacher appears and just does it better – he raises the fitness game, he would’ve tested 24/7 if he could have, he spent more time with the engineers – he just did “it” differently…and he started winning. None of the others were slower; sure they may have been getting a touch older, possibly one or two of them may have been losing the ultimate in motivation but fundamentally they hadn’t changed from the season before. The game had moved on.

Image: LAT / Renault

In 2003 when MS had been at the top of his game for more than a decade some young blood started winning, by 2005 he was world champion, I am of course talking about Fernando Alonso. In 2006 MS was put out to grass and new, younger drivers came through. Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel. Nothing much had changed but you must ask whether age, a slightly lesser car than before and some hotshoes that wanted it more spelled the beginning of the end and finally the end.

Vettel’s run of 4 world championships didn’t take him to an age for retirement but he moved when a hot young thing called Ricciardo bested him in a car that didn’t suit him as well.

Very Ordinary

Moving to now – the new Mercedes is not the all-conquering beast that its predecessors have been, yet the young, super motivated, driver on a mission, Russell, has made his 7 times WC team-mate look very ordinary. Leclerc, Sainz and Verstappen, with the old hand and nearly man Perez have left the old boys of Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso behind.

So is the guard changing again? Will LH get that 8th title – I don’t think so; a dire 2022 campaign will open his eyes to a world outside F1and he will walk away, possibly tarnishing his legacy with complaints of 2021 being a stitch up.

Looking at the opposite point of view where it could be said that a slow start to a campaign does not mean it is lost and I would have to call B/S. LH has given in; he is already talking of no championship in 2022 and his out of the points finish at Imola was painful to watch.

This blog may become completely academic and destined for the editors rubbish bin if the much touted upgrades land Lewis on pole and he canters off for another win – but I don’t think so. If the upgrades are good, I think that his hungry team mate will outshine him again.

Let’s wait and see shall we?

Moving On..

Moving to another subject – that is the subject of these blogs. In one of those new fangled “brainstorming” sessions, some of the most influential people in NMA worked long into……..their lunchbreak, to look for some new, non F1 subjects for blogs.

We have some titles, we have some thoughts, so I shall now have to put some words to them – keep tuning in!

Roger has decades of motorsport industry experience and teaches the Mathematics for Motorsport module on the BSc Motorsport Engineering degree. An ex-amateur racing driver, Roger understands the industry from a petrol head perspective and from a commercial and technical angle. He’s also just got his racing license back, so watch out at tracks around the UK!  

Ready to Accelerate Your Motorsport Career?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this Blog

Recent Blogs

We place cookies on your device to help make this website better and improve your experience. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Please see our data protection policy for full details.