Formula One has seen truly great arts of engineering in the history of the sport. Men and women from across the world have developed state-of-the-art vehicles to provide exhilarating entertainment and success for their respective teams.
Although teams have often strived to attain the services of the best drivers on the circuit, boasting the best car remains the crucial element of securing both the Constructors and Drivers’ Championships. Lewis Hamilton has thrived at Mercedes during their imperious run in the sport of late, while Sebastian Vettel has struggled with Ferrari after previously thriving with Red Bull.
We’ll now look at three of the greatest F1 vehicles of the modern era, which have contributed to the ultimate triumph for both drivers and teams.
Ferrari entered the 2002 campaign as the holders of the Constructors’ Championship, while Michael Schumacher had won his second crown on the bounce in the previous term. The Italian outfit were keen to extend their successful run at the top, developing the Ferrari F2002 to continue their stranglehold. It came equipped with a 3.0 litre V10 engine, providing 19,000 rpm. The vehicle was lighter than its predecessor, and was slightly longer, measuring in at 171 inches, while it was also shorter by five inches.
Ferrari had the aerodynamic edge over their rivals, while the handing of the vehicle was outstanding. The results on the track highlighted their dominance as Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello combined for 14 wins in the 2002 campaign, winning the Constructors’ Championship by 129 points. Schumacher was incredible that term as he clinched top place on the podium in 11 of the 17 races. The German won the Drivers’ Championship by 67 points ahead of Barrichello – a record at the time.
Red Bull RB9
Like Ferrari, Red Bull were operating at the peak of their powers in the 2013 season. The team had won their third Constructors’ Championship on the bounce in the previous campaign, while Vettel had also reeled off his third-straight title win. Vettel and Marc Webber were handed a new vehicle for another surge for success – the RB9. It contained a 2.4L V8 engine, which was naturally aspirated, providing 18,000 rpm with limited KERS. The transmission changed slightly from the RB8, operating with a semi-automatic hydraulic paddle shift gearbox. Perhaps the most notable change were the new Pirelli tyres, differing slightly from their predecessor.
After a slow start to the season, Vettel kicked into gear after the British Grand Prix. The German won nine races on the bounce to win the crown – notching 12 in total over the course of the campaign. He finished a staggering 155 points ahead of second-place Fernando Alonso. Vettel and Webber combined for 596 points in the Constructors’ Championship – 236 points in front of Mercedes.
Mercedes W09 EQ Power+
Vettel and Red Bull’s win in 2013 was a turning point in the recent history as Mercedes ousted their rivals as the top team in the sport. It continues to this day as they have won the last six Constructors’ Championships, with Hamilton claiming five titles and he is backed to start the new campaign in Austria with another victory as the leading contender in the latest F1 odds. Mercedes have been a dominant force since the 2014 season, but their best car came four years into their reign at the top with the W09 EQ Power+. The chassis was redeveloped to provide a higher rake, raising the rake to 1.2 degrees. The 1.6L V6 engine was tweaked slightly for the 2018 campaign, losing straight-line speed for the first time, which was evident in the early stages of the season.
However, once tweaks were made to the vehicle, Hamilton and Valterri Bottas were able to dominate. Between them they racked up 625 points for Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, finishing comfortably ahead of Ferrari. Hamilton was dominant in the second half of the season in his duel with Vettel, with the W09 EQ Power+ outclassing its Ferrari counterpart. Hamilton won eight of the final 11 races in the season to close out his fifth Drivers’ Championship, and by the biggest margin – finishing 88 points ahead of his rival.
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