Sunday, September 27, 2020

1 Racing Mind’s 2020 Formula 1 Mid-Season Team Report Card: Mercedes-AMG


Photo Credit: LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix

Team Grade: A

Driver’s Grade:

Lewis Hamilton: A+

Valtteri Bottas: B+

Summary of First Nine Races:

Despite the delay in the 2020 season, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team appeared in Austria ready to dominant in the same fashion as previous years  maintaining its edge over the competition. A top driver lineup consisting of six-time and reigning Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton paired with Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, the superiorly-engineered Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance race car as well as a strong support crew at the race track and at headquarters has proven to be the combination cementing an ongoing dynasty. In the first nine races of the 2020 Formula 1 season, Mercedes-AMG group has won seven grand prix events and has taken pole after every qualifying session. Lewis Hamilton has won six races already in 2020 and left the Tuscan Grand Prix with a commanding 45-point lead over teammate Bottas. The only major change within the team compared to previous years is the primarily black colour scheme adopted to support social equality. 

Innovating to stay ahead, this year’s car caught the ire of competitors by deploying a Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system that allows Mercedes drivers to adjust the front toe of the vehicle. DAS was permitted to operate on this year’s Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance car but will be banned for 2021. Competitors also attempted to negate Mercedes’ perceived edge in qualifying by eliminating a special engine setting. So-called ‘Party Mode’, the Mercedes-Benz power unit could run at an especially high performance level for a brief time. During the Italian Grand Prix round, a single engine mode was mandated for qualifying and the race. The notion that the special engine setting with the Mercedes-Benz power units was a key advantage over the competition appears to be little more than a red herring.

The reason for the ‘A’ grade rather an ‘A+’ was due to two instances. This year’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, while ultimately a victorious outing for the Mercedes-AMG team, was also a minor embarrassment as both vehicles suffered late-race tire failures. Though many teams were left concerned with their tires throughout the race, the Mercedes-AMG cars endured the most dramatic instances of wear perhaps contributed to their reliably quick pace. Lewis Hamilton crossing the line on only three inflated tires could be one of the team’s chaotic wins. The second mishap for the Mercedes-AMG team was at Monza where Hamilton’s car came to pit road when they were closed costing the Brit the Italian Grand Prix victory. In the week following the unusual event in Italy, the team has explained and acknowledged the mistake learning how to avoid it in the future. 


Prediction for Rest of the 2020 Season:

Heading into Russia with a 152-point lead in the Formula 1 Constructors Championship, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team on the path to easily ride to a seventh-consecutive team title. Lewis Hamilton is also in prime position to clinch his seventh Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship currently leading in the season-long standings by 55 points over teammate Valtteri Bottas. For Bottas, Mercedes-AMG has been impressed enough with his performance this season to lock him into a contract for 2021. 

The addition of new race tracks to the 2020 Formula 1 schedule may serve as a wild card to the German factory team. However, the Mercedes-AMG F1 team’s ability to spoil Ferrari’s party at Mugello only goes to show the organization’s adaptiveness as another one of the squad’s high-ranking qualities.

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