Championships are won by consistency and more importantly, consistently winning. It was no surprise that we saw Michael Schumacher dominate from 2000 to 2004.
Red Bull too have portrayed a similar consistency and have won 3 championships on the trot. 2013 too has seen them score big whenever the opportunity has presented itself and one can say that pegging back their lead would demand a herculean task from the rest.
Ferrari and Lotus F1 have played catchup after having their fair share of success this season. Lotus F1 has seen a sudden loss of form recently and I would like to explore the reasons behind this.
1) James Allison leaving the team.
James Allison had been a fantastic addition to the Enstone based team. Respected within the Formula 1 Fraternity, James was instrumental in the championship winning years of Ferrari from 2000 to 2004. He also enjoyed success during the Benetton days. His departure on the Spanish GP weekend left everyone in shock and the team seemed to have lost direction after his departure. They put up a brave front and Kimi finished 2nd in the race. Grosjean suffered suspension failure and retired from the race. Grosjean had a big shunt in final practice in Monaco and tailgated Ricciardo putting both out of the race and earning a 10 place grid penalty for the Canadian GP. Kimi would have finished in the Top 6 at best but contact with Perez left him on a damage limitation drive and he finished 10th in Monaco. Canada saw him struggle in Qualifying. The Race was riddled with multiple problems for him and 9th was the best he could manage. Grosjean couldn't maintain his strategy and a 2nd stop bumped him out of the points.
The Recent spate of bad results could point to a certain unrest within the team. James brought a stability to the team. The Same could be said for the trio of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Nigel Stepney for Ferrari or the quartet of Ron Dennis, Adrian Newey, Martin Whitmarsh and Nobert Haug for McLaren Mercedes.
"Ferrarigate" saw Nigel Stepney leave Ferrari, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn too left for other endeavours.The Team made several errors in Stepney's absence who was in charge of trackside operations. It took some time for the Team to recover and they are yet to win a championship since 2007. Martin Whitmarsh is the only one left in the McLaren team with Ron Dennis taking a more passive role and they have had similar experiences since 2008.
One might say that James Allison isn't the sole deciding factor and this cannot be denied. However his contribution and sheer presence was assuring for a team which is smaller in size and has limited resources to work with.
Nick Chester, his replacement has big shoes to fill. Unlike James, Nick was permanently stationed in Enstone but is now trackside and it would intriguing to see how he handles such a challenge.
2) Sponsorships and Finances :
A report suggested that the Team posted a record loss in the 2012 season. The Team performed well last season and left many bigger spending teams red-faced. The Team has got some new entrants in sponsorships and it would be wrong to quote figures without proper knowledge. However in the aftermath of a loss posted, it seems logical to offload some personnel and cut back costs. This could be one of the major reasons for Allison's departure. Holding onto Kimi Raikkonen might also be a big ask for the 2014 season. The Team would really hope to be in Championship winning positions to attract more sponsors and earn the vital money that one gets after finishing higher in the championship.
3) Dent to the Charge :
The Team enjoyed being 2nd in the Constructors leading into the Spanish GP but the results of the last 2 races have meant that the Competitors have closed in and they are now 4th in the standings at the end of the Canadian GP. The Financial constraints have also meant that upgrades have been hard to come by. It can be said that the last two races ( Monaco and Canada ) weren't best suited for the car but no points for Grosjean and only 3 for Raikkonen meant that even damage limitation couldn't be achieved.The Team would hope to hit back at Silverstone and they must as any more slip-ups would leave them with too much to do at the business end of the season.
The Driver's Championship too has seen Raikkonen being demoted to 3rd after the Canadian GP. He trails leader Vettel by 44 points. We still have 12 races to go but I do not foresee Vettel dropping too many points from hereon. It might be premature to say that Raikkonen is out of contention but the team must ensure that no more mistakes are made in the upcoming races to keep him in the hunt. The disappointment would be evident for the Finn as he has had only one victory to show for his efforts.
Kimi Raikkonen would have the opportunity to break Michael Schumacher's record of consecutive points finishes in Silverstone. Grosjean too must iron out errors and ensure strong finishes in the points to aid the team in the Constructors' Battle.
Hopefully the team might prove its doubters wrong and produce a resurgence. The Team has won championships in the past and a comeback would only spice up the battle at the front of the grid.
3 weeks until Silverstone, a lot of questions to be answered. F1 please come back soon.
Common Kimi Raikkonen!! Common Romain Grojean!! Common Lotus F1!!