Paddock magazine December 2014 / January 2015 Issue 70 - Page 53

SEASON REVIEW Mercedes: The Perfect Storm It all fell to place perfectly for Mercedes in 2014. As soon as the engines started in Melbourne, it was obvious that nobody could prevent Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg from winning both titles for the Brackley-based outfit. An incredible car PU106A Hybrid is not the sexiest name in motor racing, but it is the name of Mercedes’s magnificent and all-conquering 2014 hybrid power unit. What makes it work so well compared to the power units of Renault and Ferrari is the split turbo (exhaust turbine at the rear, intake turbine at the front). The design not only gives extra horsepower to the Mercedes-supplied teams but also allows for the use of a smaller intercooler. As the whole Mercedes works team was in on the idea from the start, the W05 was a lot more tightly packaged than the rest of the field. Williams, Force India and McLaren (the 2014 customers) were kept on a need to know basis, so the works team got the lion’s share of the benefits from the revolutionary design. Now, Renault and Ferrari are desperately trying to postpone the engine freeze until the middle of 2015 to have enough time to copy successfully the split turbo solution. It is ingenious but by no means easy to get right – Mercedes spent more than two years labouring over it before the 2014 season started. 070 / December 2014 The strongest driver line-up The genius idea behind the turbo power unit was probably what convinced Lewis Hamilton to jump ship from McLaren at the end of 2012. Hamilton, widely regarded as the most naturally talented driver in the sport, however, by no means had it easy at Mercedes. Nico Rosberg is also an extremely gifted driver and kept the British star honest throughout the 2014 campaig n. The German was the one that got most poles, while Hamilton more often than not had the better race set-up. The intra-team conflict was rather surprising given the close relationship that the two drivers seemed to have before the start of the season. The friendship, however, did not survive both drivers going for the same goal: the world title. But it could have been a lot worse. Most of the tension was exaggerated by the media, which was spinning a “Senna vs Prost” story even before the Australian Grand Prix. Yes, Rosberg’s behavior at Monaco and Spa was questionable, but by no means was it a full blown war at Mercedes; just two very talented individuals pushing each other to 53