By Dylan Aiston
The 2019 Formula 1 season has been an explosive one with Lewis Hamilton proving he is one of the greats, Max Verstappen’s flashes of brilliance and the tightly knit midfield teams. The best part is we are only halfway through!
This 2019 season has been met with apprehension and praise, with fans complaining about the sport slowly leading into a direction with less overtaking and more static racing. However, these concerns did not last long as the last 4 races have been nail-biters with some of the best racing of the last decade. It is the year of the rookie versus the veteran as the newcomers challenge the racers who have been there for years.
“The scene was stagnant”, says Thabiso Thabede, a Formula 1 fan at Rhodes University. “France was the worst race of the season, after that the drivers listened to the fans and amped up their intensity which lets them race harder which is great for the sport.”
Mercedes have once again proved that they are the team to beat, already leading by 150 points only halfway through the season. They showcased their dominance at the opening race in Australia in March and have maintained it ever since. They faltered in only 2 of the 12 races, winning 9 on track and one from the result of a controversial decision made post-race by the stewards to penalize Sebastian Vettel who had crossed the line in first. They look to continue their dominance in the remaining races, however, Red Bull’s resurgence may pose a new threat to the silver arrows.
Unfortunately, it has not been a season to remember for Ferrari. They have once again set high expectations for the fans only to disappoint on track. The historic team seem to have made a major mistake in the way their car is designed, lacking pace through the corners while not being able to compensate for that with their straight-line speed. Ferrari have had a lot to do over the season break to challenge the threats of Mercedes and Red Bull.
Many people were skeptical of Red Bull coming into the 2019 season. The combination of Daniel Riccardo leaving and their partnership with the notoriously unreliable Honda left them with a lot to lose. However, they have silenced these concerns with an incredible resurgence, hoping to take the top spot away from Mercedes. Everyone’s eyes have been on Max Verstappen this season, who has driven every race this season without fault. Verstappen has proved that he is as good, if not better, than the 5 times world champion Lewis Hamilton. His teammate Pierre Gasly, however, has not produced the results the team needs. He will be moving down to the sister team Torro Rosso for the remainder of the season, with Alex Albon being his replacement. Red Bull is the team to watch going forward into the remainder of the season.
Another thing to look forward to this season is the midfield battle. The ‘midfield’ consists of drivers who do not place in the top 3. This season has presented us with some of the most exciting midfield battles in recent years. Every race has some form of action between the teams who are all racing hard for a place in the top 10. McLaren has bounced back from their poor form from last year, proving themselves worthy of the number 4 spot on the constructor’s championship. The rest of the field is in close contention with each other with the exception being Williams, who are consistently at the back of the grid.
The season continues in Spa on the 1st of September, so look out for more great racing throughout the rest of the season. If you are looking to get into Formula 1 yourself, try out the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ for some insight into last year’s season. If you’re looking to watch the rest of this season, here’s a schedule for all the upcoming races: https://www.formula1.com/en/racing/2019.html