the front of the engine in the oil tank area,
the turbine at the rear, with the MGU-H
connecting the two and sitting in the vee of
the engine – was a masterstroke. To this day
at Brixworth, the remarkable work done to
make that concept work in time for it to be
part of the ’ 14 power unit is looked back
upon fondly. Today, the evolution of this
package achieves a remarkable thermal
efficiency of around 50 percent.
But it wasn’t just about engines. Where
Mercedes excelled was in the process of
co-engineering, with the engine designers
and the car designers working in tandem
to come up with arguably the most
coherently integrated F1 car in history.
Aerodynamic development was rapid, and
systems such as brake-by-wire, mandated
because of the impact aggressive harvesting
had on the brake pedal feel, were quickly
mastered. This was a car that had it all – a
car that was on average eight-tenths of a
second faster than its rivals over the season,
a car that defined the path all would follow.
Great car? Check.
Many would cite the Brawn-Mercedes
BGP001, which delivered the 2009
drivers’ championship to Jenson Button
and earned the constructors’ title, as
the greatest F1 car of the 21st century.
It was certainly potent, particularly
early on in the season, before the lack
of development funds began to hurt.
Plus, the backstory of the phoenix team
rising from the ashes of Honda under
Ross Brawn was an irresistible one.
But the greatest story doesn’t
necessarily equal the greatest car, for
A great idea – the soon-to-be-outlawed
“double diffuser” concept – gave the
Brawn BGP001 its potent edge in 2009.
Red Bull’s RB5 won six GPs in 2009, and
defined the technical path for the four
title-winning cars that would follow it.
this was a machine into which Honda
had sunk the majority of its effort in
2008, and it benefitted from the
“double diffuser” originally conceived
by a Honda working group in Japan. As
the ’09 season – and what followed for
the next four years – proved, the initially
double diffuser-less Red Bull-Renault
RB5 was the more seismic car, setting
the direction for the years that followed.
Renault produced two fine cars that
perfectly exploited the Michelin tires
they ran on in 2005 and ’06,
overcoming the seemingly
impregnable Scuderia Ferrari thanks
to innovations such as the J-damper
that was eventually outlawed. The
second of those cars, the R26,
deserves particular credit as even the
downsizing of engines from three to
2. 4 liters couldn’t hold it back.
With two energy
and a turbocharged,
1.6-liter V6 engine,
breed of F1 cars are
perhaps the most
complex ever built.
approach with its
F1 W05 Hybrid
delivered a car
that won 16 of 19
GPs and earned
(ABOVE) a second
F1 W05 HYBRID WIN RATE
Coulda, shoulda, woulda... Three glitches
aside, Mercedes’ 2014 racer came
tantalizingly close to a perfect season.
1-2 HIT RATE
The Mercedes duo finished 1-2 11 times
in 2014, with Lewis Hamilton leading
the way on eight of those occasions.
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