Formula 1 should be in a golden era with the drivers around at the moment but the sport could well be in an almost terminal decline.
Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso have all won at least one world championship but this season only one had any realistic chance of taking the title.
The jury is still out on Nico Rosberg, arguably he has been unlucky this season but in the Mercedes he probably should have been closer to his team-mate. Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa (who came close in 2008) and a couple of others might have a title in them but the way things are at the moment I’m not sure whether we’ll ever know truly what they’re capable of.
Hamilton secured the top prize all but unopposed 2015 in probably the most boring season in recent memory but there are so many contenders for that particular mantle I don’t want to make a call outright.
In truth F1 has been in decline for a number of years but it is now a sport with almost no excitement for the casual fan. The diehards might get into the technical stuff but the real intrigue – and competition – is sorely missing. There has been a bit too much fiddling with regulations, the ear-molesting sounds of the engines are gone and too many races feel more like processions.
If I’m being honest I’ve always had misgivings about motor racing, it is a fairly exclusive past time and to get to the top you need real backing. Hamilton may claim modest roots but his parents were prepared to take him karting or whatever every weekend, that just doesn’t happen for the average kid, but all that aside it can be enthralling watching two or more drivers battle at lightning speed for victories and titles.
Rivalries have been missing as well this season; where are the wars of words? The drivers who clearly hate each other and the underhand tactics? I feel it is because no one really wants to take Hamilton on, as they know they simply cannot back up whatever they may want to say on the circuit due to his vastly superior car.
Hamilton is a fairly unlikeable character, or massive dickhead whichever you prefer, and you get the impression loads of the other drivers would like to have a crack at him, both verbally and on the track, but for a multitude of reasons it just isn’t possible. The talent is there, as are the personalities, but what’s the point in someone like Alonso calling him out or laying down the gauntlet when he knows he probably won’t even finish in the points? He’d look a fool proclaiming himself to be the best driver on the grid, only for the duct tape holding his McLaren together to come off midway through a race leaving him unable to finish. The big faced Spaniard knows full well he isn’t in a winning car and as such he’s not prepared to make any bold statements, hell he might even call time on his Formula 1 career before next season if another humiliating campaign of retirements and missing out on podiums is on the agenda.
If Red Bull go before the 2016 season that would be a huge blow for F1, but the powers that be seem to be ready to let that happen. Merc and Ferrari won’t provide them with an engine and there’s a real chance that could be it for Vettel’s former team.
There are two races left this season and I for one can’t wait for this snooze fest to come to an end. Real changes need to happen ahead of 2016 to get fans interested again but it would take an extreme optimist or a fucking moron to predict anything other than titles for Hamilton and Mercedes again next year.