Is this year the end of Mercedes dominance in F1?

Is this year the end of Mercedes dominance in F1?

One team ruled them all.

This best sums up Formula One in the past two seasons. Hamilton and Rosberg stringing up successive 1-2 finishes making it virtually just a battle for third place. Except for a few occasions, it was virtually a dominant last two seasons for Mercedes.

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During the pre-season testing, Ferrari showed its readiness to challenge the defending constructor’s champions. They topped the time sheets in five of the eight days of testing with Vettel taking charge in three days while Kimi led the way in two. The question now is: Can the Prancing Horse finally put an end to the dominance of the Silver Arrows? An article posted in Yahoo Sports tries to answer this question.

The improved speed of Ferrari in pre-season was a cause of concern for both Mercedes drivers and team boss Toto Wolf. But then again, testing is different from the actual race. Whatever improvements the team did during the off-season will only be gauged when they score wins and claim championships.

Lewis Hamilton won back to back championships in 2014 and 2015 and his only challenger that matched his pace was his teammate Nico Rosberg. No other constructor in the field was able to challenge Mercedes—the closest challengers being Red Bull and Ferrari in 2014 and 2015, respectively. In both years, Rosberg and Hamilton won 32 of the 38 Grand Prix.

Pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya showed everyone that Ferrari is capable of closing the gap to Mercedes. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen clocked the fastest time during the pre-season, a 1:22.765 on ultrasoft tyres. While the Ferraris topped the timesheets, Mercedes set their sights on mileage. In the eight days, the former covered 4,148 kilometers, which was just two-thirds of distance ran by the Mercedes duo.

Last season, Hamilton led in 587 of the total 1,149 laps for an average of 51.09 percent. His teammate Rosberg led in 30.37% with Ferrari’s Vettel the only other driver to even get to three figures as his teammate Raikkonen experience a spate of bad luck.

Aside from Ferrari, Williams will be bringing upgrades to aerodynamics and suspensions that will improve their low-speed performance from last year. Red Bull will also be coming in with a renewed relationship with Tag Heuer, whose name is synonymous with speed.

Still it remains to be seen whether the year of the Silver Arrows will finally end.

Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons