To have and have not
Lewis Hamilton’s classy, record-breaking win painted a silver sheen across a troubling F1 weekend
You’ve either got it, or you haven’t. Money, talent, speed, power… whatever ‘it’ is, F1 demands only and always that you have it in plentiful supply.
So by the sport’s own brutal-though-twisted internal logic, when teams like Marussia and Caterham wither and fail to make it to the end of the season, those who have managed to stand strong amid the nancial maelstrom that’s plucking away weaker opponents, can simply point to their lesser rivals’ inadequacies.
Time and again during a US GP weekend overwhelmed by off-track chatter about administration, boycotts, wealth redistribution and the thawing of the engine ‘freeze’, the ‘haves’ refused to engage with the notion that the plight of the ‘have nots’ could in any way be a problem shared. It’s as if by failing to acknowledge the existence of a nancial virus, the wealthy few can somehow ignore it into submission.
But the polarising nature of F1’s nancial woes could hardly have been more starkly portrayed than they were in Austin. Ahead of the pack, in a race of their own, were two glinting Mercs, driven by a pair of sleekly efficient racers and backed, in Brackley and Brixworth, by 1,200 staff – not to mention the full corporate might of parent company Mercedes. Behind them, in order of affluence, were aligned the nine teams and 18 drivers who made it to the US.
No vaguely sane observer can ignore the widening chasm between those able to race effectively at the pointy end and those left behind, for it taints the view of everything on track. The irresistible excellence of the 2014 Mercedes is a thing of wonder, comparable with any of the dominant echelons that have in different eras ruled F1. But at what cost this level of superiority? “Don’t blame us” say Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and others. And, yes, it is