By Ishan Gera
On Sunday, as cars go around the Formula 1 track—the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the Yas Marina Circuit—it would be the last time this year that you would see team rejoicing and champagne flowing. While there are no fates to be decided—Lewis Hamilton won two races ago, and even the Constructors’ Championship is sealed for Mercedes—F1 has a more worrying year ahead.
Although the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has brought in sweeping changes for the 2021 season, where cars will be faster, and teams shall compete on an equal footing, the upcoming season has nothing to offer besides black.
This is the sixth win for Hamilton, and given his form and the might of Mercedes, he looks good to win the seventh also. The race is dead for many fans, however. While F1 was dead before this year’s lacklustre performance as well, the great rivalry between Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton did provide some reprieve for fans. People did switch channels to check who was ahead. This year’s season, by far, has been disappointing. Vettel and Ferrari both have found it challenging to find their form, and Toto Wolff—the team principal and CEO of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport—has proven too smart.
The year 2020 looks to be no different. Valtteri Bottas is an occasional hero. Even the middle ranks all seem to be decided. Team Racing Point has not presented a formidable challenge, and Daniel Ricciardo (Renault F1 Team) has not lived up to his name. The only silver lining is the youngsters. All hopes are with Pierre Gasly (Scuderia Toro Rosso), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) for the season turnaround. But will that be enough to turn heads? Maybe not. Unless 2020 starts in a different way.
For now, it’s black. Until F1 allows some close calls and leeway for competitive driving, Hamilton and Mercedes may be the winners, but F1 will lose. People will come back in 2021, hopefully, but a season is a long time to change loyalties. After all, Formula E and MotoGP are more competitive.
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