It is pretty obvious that Mercedes will win both F1 titles in 2014. It might seem rather gloomy to already be accepting that the championships are settled, but with the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set to serve up a thrilling climax to the race for the drivers’ title, 2014 still has a lot to deliver.
However, on a UK F1 programme last night, one of the pundits made a throwaway comment and said: “Oh Mercedes will probably wrap up the constructors by Hungary or something.”
This got me thinking: just when will the Silver Arrows be crowned champions? After correctly working out that Sebastian Vettel would win his fourth world title in India last year, I’ve crunched the numbers once again and come up with a few possibilities.
Let’s set the scene for the here and now. Currently, Mercedes leads the constructors’ championship by 141 points, with a score of 240 to Red Bull’s 99. We must assume that Red Bull will be the closest challenger for the teams’ title, given its form in recent years and quite simply the fact that it lies second in the standings.
On average, Mercedes has scored 40 points per weekend (out of a possible 43), whilst Red Bull has scored 16.5. That’s a net gain for Mercedes of 23.5 points per race weekend. For the sake of argument, we’ll round that to 24.
Going on the ‘averages’ model, Mercedes will have a 285 point lead after the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August, with 301 points left to play for.
Therefore, by this model, Mercedes will win the constructors’ championship at Monza on the Italian Grand Prix weekend. After the race, it will lead by 309 with 258 points remaining
Of course, this is heavily based on the assumption that the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field will remain constant. Instead, it might be better to have a ‘results’ model.
With this, we’ll assume that each race ends with Mercedes finishing first and second, and Red Bull will be third and fourth. 43 points plays 27, giving us a net difference of 16 points. Of course, there will be races where Mercedes doesn’t score a one-two, and races where Red Bull doesn’t finish third and fourth. If we assume that these occurrences are roughly even, we can use the 16 point net gain as a good base.
By this model, after the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes will have a 237 point lead over Red Bull with 301 left on offer.
That means after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, it will lead by 253 points with 258 left on the table. So close! Given that this race is seven races away, making up this five means that we need less than one point ‘over’ the 16 point race average to make it up.
So once again, on this model, it’s probably going to be at the Italian Grand Prix where the Silver Arrows can celebrate its first ever constructors’ title as a works team, and its third as an engine supplier. And of all places, on Ferrari’s home turf.
Monza should be the place. However, if it happens one race early in Belgium, or one race later in Singapore, I’ll claim to be half right. For those interested, here’s the working to go with it.
Of course, everything could change. Red Bull could finally get on top of its engine problems, and make a return to the front of the field. Judging by how things are going at the moment, though, the Mercedes express won’t be slowing down any time soon.