Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Special Feature - Formula One team mates

(Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)

Formula One as we all know is an extremely competitive sport, however when it comes to who is a drivers closet rival is all they have to do is look across to the opposite side of their garage to their team mate, after all they are in equal equipment. 

When we look at the 2014 Formula One season the inter team rivalry between the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was one of the most exciting spectacles in recent Formula One history.

In 2014, the rivalry that hit the headlines was Hamilton and Rosberg, in 2013, it was the Infiniti Red Bull Racing pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber following the infamous Multi 21 incident at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Speaking to Sky Sports F1 HD as a guest on a special show about team mates, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner stated that the situation was extremely tense between the pair.

Horner stated that the situation was became so bad between the pair that when race debriefs were taking place one driver would take over his headphones as he would not want to listen to what the other driver was saying.

Despite the aggravation between the pair, Horner believes that in years to come, Vettel and Webber will in the end become friends.

In 2007, the rivalry between then rookie driver Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso who were team mates at McLaren was so intense and fierce that it caused major problems within the team. The season ended with the pair equal on points in the championship. Alonso returned to Renault in 2008 however the Spaniard returns to McLaren for 2015.

When discussing Alonso’s return to Woking for 2015, McLaren Group Chairman and CEO Ron Dennis stated that the problems at the team were not all down to Alonso but that Hamilton had to take some responsibility for what happened between the pair as he was very immature at the time he entered Formula One.

In 2014, comparisons were made between the rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost when they were team mates at McLaren and the rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Scuderia Ferrari have signed quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel to join Kimi Raikkonen for this season and new Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has stated that he doesn’t want the pair who are very good friends off the track to be too friendly towards each other on the track as they will be chief rivals as they will have equal machinery.

Formula One is a team sport and although drivers have to be selfish sometimes the team ALWAYS has to come first and no driver is bigger than the team.

This was not evident in 2013, when Sebastian Vettel spoke in front of the media ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix and famously stated:

‘I was faster, I passed him, I won.’

This coming season it is going to be extremely interesting to see the dynamic between the new driver line-ups throughout the pit-lane with all but Lotus, Mercedes, Force India and Williams retaining unchanged line-ups for this season.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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