The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could have been a huge climax to the 2014 Formula One season – and it was not necessarily the race we hoped for, but ultimately it was the result everyone wanted…
It was being dubbed by some pundits as the Desert Duel, with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in the same Mercedes car, fighting it out for not only victory of the race but the world championship.
With Rosberg’s mechanical difficulties that occurred about halfway through the race, a lot of tension was eased as Hamilton had a fairly easy end to the race, barring a late charge from Williams’ Felipe Massa.
It’s a shame for the fans that we didn’t get to see the showdown expected, but Hamilton walked away as a worthy champion after some amazing drives from down the grid earlier in the season.
Ultimately for Rosberg, it was a case of what goes around comes around. You never like to see any car have difficulties during the race, especially when they’re in the championship fight. But after the controversy caused earlier in the season at the Monaco Grand Prix with the qualifying incident, and the contact he caused at the Belgium Grand Prix – for me, his car failing at Abu Dhabi was justice.
And as I’m only 24, it is also great to see in my lifetime a British double world champion – well done Lewis.
Ferrari recently announced they are once again changing their team principal…
Marco Mattiacci has only been in the job for seven months after replacing Stefano Domenicali, but for next season the new Ferrari team principal will be Maurizio Arrivabene.
I can only think Ferrari were expecting an instant reaction from Mattiacci earlier in the season and to suddenly have a competitive car. It is all well and good for Ferrari changing the team principal, but the overall car performance isn’t down to him.
You still need the best people in other roles. Red Bull for example have Christian Horner – but does he deserve all the credit for their previous success? No. Adrian Newey was the long-standing chief designer for Red Bull and is ultimately responsible for the success of their car.
Unless Ferrari follow suit and employ the best designers for next season, I personally can’t see much change in the quality of their car.
Their new driver line-up was also recently confirmed, with Sebastian Vettel replacing Fernando Alonso to join Kimi Raikkonen.
It seems as though Vettel has joined Ferrari so he can follow in the footsteps of his hero, Michael Schumacher. If Ferrari do have a competitive car next season, then we could again see a fight with the Ferraris much like we saw with the Mercedes this season.
Schumacher had a lot of success at Ferrari from being their number one driver – but I can’t see Vettel or Raikkonen wanting to be driver two or if required, pull over for the other.
Next year will be extremely intriguing. With Williams looking to be competitive along with Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes, it could be incredibly close at the front.
And if McLaren’s new partnership with Honda flourishes, we could see five teams fighting for a grand prix win.
The drivers could be the big difference next season – and with the emerging stars of Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo, we should be in for some great racing…
Hopefully Lotus will enjoy a return to the front of the grid to join the battle too, after a torrid 2014. With the first test lined up for the start of February, it really isn’t long until F1 is back with new stars, new cars and a new race on the calendar.
♦ Richard Baxter is a member of the NRF1 Podcast crew. Follow Richard Baxter on Twitter @Bax_kid