For all of the doom and gloom that appears to be in Formula 1 at the moment, the 2014 season has produced a number of good news stories that get swept under the carpet all too often.
When Luca di Montezemolo arrived in Bahrain earlier this year, he did not hold back in telling the sport just what he thought of its new formula. The Ferrari president felt that the V6 power units had reduced F1 to “taxi cab racing” because of their quieter sound; to him, it was a joke.
Then in the race, the drivers put on a show under the lights in Bahrain. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg duked it out at the front, and the battles behind were just as enthralling. Montezemolo went home with just half of the race gone…
So here are just a few of the great stories that we have enjoyed in the first half of the 2014 season.
Mercedes’ intra-team battle
It has been a tense season at Mercedes. Things may seem pretty good when you’re at the top, but success creates its own problems. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have what it takes to win this year’s title, meaning that we’re in for a great tussle that should go right the way to the final race of the season. It may verge on civil war at times, but it is wonderful for the spectator. Let’s see how many of the 50m viewers lost in 2013 are made up for this year.
The rise of Bottas and Ricciardo
Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo have been the two breakout stars of the season, scoring six podiums and two wins in total. As we touched on back in March, the Australian Grand Prix will long be remembered for their breakthrough results, even if Ricciardo lost his thanks to a fuel irregularity. He ultimately got his just desserts, though, winning the Canadian and Hungarian Grands Prix. Both he and Bottas look set to be fighting for race wins and even championships over the next decade or so.
Bianchi and Marussia’s breakthrough
Scoring two points may not seem like a big deal, but after five years of trying, it was a huge breakthrough for Marussia F1 Team. Two points for Jules Bianchi’s ninth place finish in Monaco has taken the team up to P9 in the constructors’ championship – ahead of Sauber and Caterham – and could secure some big financial benefits for the Anglo-Russian team by the end of the season.
It means a lot more than that, though. It’s proof that you can take a team from off the very back of the grid; will it prove to be a one-season thing, though? Time will tell. If Marussia can indeed stay ahead of Sauber until the end of the year, it would be a remarkable achievement for the team.
The return of Williams to the front of the field
After scoring just five points in 2013, it couldn’t really have gone much worse this year for Williams. However, the team has come back with a bang, and now ranks fourth in the constructors’ championship. With some fresh faces (Felipe Massa, Pat Symonds, Rob Smedley), a rebrand courtesy of Martini and the supreme Mercedes power unit, everything appears to be heading in the right direction for Williams. Bottas’ form has been superb, and it could get better still given that the team’s best tracks are still to come.
The list goes on: Kevin Magnussen’s rookie season has been solid; Daniil Kvyat has also impressed in his first half-year; Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have both bounced back from difficult 2013 campaigns.
If you’re looking for some good news in Formula 1, you really don’t need to look far…