F1 2014 Review: Stories of the Season


As part of MotorSportsTalk’s review of the 2014 Formula 1 season, we’ve decided to pick out some of the big stories that dominated the headlines – for better or for worse – across the course of what was a memorable year.

Last weekend in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton clinched his second world championship, winning what looks set to be the only double points round in F1 history as title rival Nico Rosberg was hit with an engine issue.

As the curtain was drawn on their bitter fight for the championship, a number of other scores and stories were also settled in Abu Dhabi, all playing a part in one of the most dramatic, emotional and tenuous F1 seasons since the turn of the century.

Here are some of the big stories in Formula 1 this season.

Mercedes’ domination from the very beginning

Heading into 2014, it was widely reported and assumed that Mercedes had produced the best power unit and would be the team to beat. Said reports and assumptions turned out to be true, but few could have predicted the level of dominance that the Silver Arrows would enjoy this year.

New records were set for the most pole positions and wins by a team in a single season, as well as a record haul in the constructors’ championship. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg arguably should have enjoyed a perfect season, only for minor blips in Canada, Hungary and Belgium to spoil that record.

However, this will still be remembered for years to come as one of the most dominant performances F1 has ever seen.

Hamilton versus Rosberg – an all-time classic title fight

Sure, it wasn’t a Senna/Prost, but it was still a sensational fight between the two Mercedes teammates for the world title. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battled to the last for this championship, with all of the typical emotions and drama that come with a scuffle like this cropping up across the course of the season.

After racing as teammates in go-karts, both drivers dreamed of racing together in F1 and fighting for the title. This year, it became a reality, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. The intra-team relationship was tested on a number of occasions, boiling over at Spa when the two made contact.

Come the end of the year, it was Hamilton who was victorious, but Rosberg acted with great dignity and grace in accepting his title defeat. It was a clean end to the season – thankfully, it did not have the Senna/Prost element in that regard. The best part of it is that they’ll both be back for more in 2015.

The emergence of Ricciardo and Bottas

From the first race of the year in Australia, it was clear that both Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas would enjoy a very different season in 2014 to their rather difficult 2013 campaigns. Come the end of the year, they finished third and fourth in the drivers’ championship respectively, with only the Mercedes duo ranking higher.

Ricciardo’s three victories were sensational, picking up the pieces from Mercedes’ problems in Canada and Belgium, with his win in Hungary coming as a result of good strategy and some classy driving. Arguably, Bottas should have also won a race this year, running the Mercedes drivers close on a number of occasions but never quite reaching the top step of the podium.

Keep an eye out for both of these drivers next year. If their teams produce the goods, we could be seeing F1’s two biggest breakout stars standing on the top step of the podium many more times.

Sebastian Vettel’s tame title defence

Few would have predicted that Sebastian Vettel would put up such a tame and lifeless defence after winning four straight world championship. The German failed to get to grips with the RB10 car, scoring just three podium finishes and leading just a single lap across the course of the year – down from 684 in 2013.

As Ricciardo flourished across the season, Vettel continued to struggle, dropping the ball in both Canada and Belgium when there was a chance of winning. He just didn’t seem to be comfortable at any point in 2014.

Next year will see the German move to Ferrari, following in Michael Schumacher’s footsteps and giving him the chance to build a team around him. Although he may have been anonymous for much of 2014, he is a four-time champion for a reason. Don’t go writing Seb off just yet…

Reform and revolution at Ferrari

2014 was supposed to be a year that favored works teams – that is, those who make their own engines – suggesting that if any team could put up a fight to Mercedes, it would be Ferrari.

Instead, the Italian marque recorded its worst season in 22 years, scoring just two podium finishes as its internal change overshadowed its on-track efforts.

The regime that had been set up in the post-Schumacher/Todt/Brawn years was dismantled across the course of the year. Team principal Stefano Domenicali left in April, making way for Marco Mattiacci. On Monday though, it was confirmed that Mattiacci had been fired after just seven months in charge, with Maurizio Arrivabene taking over.

Perhaps the two biggest departures were those of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo – after over 20 years at the top – and lead driver Fernando Alonso, who is set to move to McLaren after five title-less years at Maranello.

The Ferrari that exits 2014 is a very different team to the one that entered it. With Vettel now leading its charge and the first James Allison-designed car set to run in 2015, a new era is beginning at Maranello.

The shadow of double points

Ever since the FIA confirmed last winter that it would be awarding double points for the final race of the season in a bid to keep the title race alive, the F1 community has been shaking its head in dismay. It was, to quote John Surtees, a “commercial gimmick”. It was purely designed to help boost TV ratings that had only dropped because of the sport’s decision to move away from free-to-air broadcasters in France and China.

In the end, double points had no say whatsoever in the title race, nor did it keep it alive for longer. It didn’t do what it set out to do, aiding just two drivers – Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez – in the final standings.

Thankfully, this rule is set to be canned for 2015 along with the standing restarts proposal, but it was still a big story and concern for the season that has been.

F1’s governance and the financial crisis

According to Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn, double points was an idea that came from the F1 Strategy Group, a ‘big boys’ club consisting of the major players in the sport: Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Lotus.

And after its first full season, the Strategy Group appears to have caused many problems, with the refusal to cut costs putting F1 into a major crisis that saw the loss of both Caterham and Marussia towards the end of the year.

Although Caterham did manage to get back on the grid for Abu Dhabi, the damage had been done. Jobs had been lost and the very future of F1 as we know it – that is, a grid with 11 teams of two cars – appeared to be at serious risk, with three-car teams being proposed by many.

Entering the winter, this story is one that is ‘to be continued’ – we still don’t know what the future holds for Force India, Lotus and Sauber, nor do we know if Caterham can, in a new guise, get back on the grid for 2015. However, it is a very grave issue, and one that the sport does need to sit up and take note of.

Forza Jules

This is a story none of us could ever have envisaged nor wished for. Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident towards the end of the Japanese Grand Prix in October put a cloud over the 2014 season, with the Frenchman suffering severe head injuries that left him fighting for his life in hospital.

As per the latest update, Bianchi has been moved to a hospital in his native France and is no longer in an artificial coma. However, we continue to send all of our thoughts, prayers, love and support to Jules and his family.

Tous avec toi, Jules.


Of course, these are just some of the biggest stories we’ve seen this year. Honorable mentions must go to:

  • Michael Schumacher’s continued recovery from his skiing accident.
  • Gene Haas’ successful bid to join the sport with his own team in 2016.
  • Max Verstappen’s arrival on the F1 scene ahead of his debut next year.
  • Difficult years for Sauber and Lotus both on and off track.
  • The successful return of the Austrian Grand Prix.
  • Caterham’s supposed sale by Tony Fernandes
  • Susie Wolff’s successful F1 weekend debut in the summer.
  • A solid first running of the Russian Grand Prix under difficult circumstances.
  • Bahrain’s reinvention as a night race.

It’s been a big year for F1. Let’s hope that 2015 is just as memorable, only this time, for all of the right reasons.

IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix


DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.