3 reasons why the 2022 F1 season desperately needs Mercedes fighting at the front

F1 needs the Silver Arrows back at their best this season
F1 needs the Silver Arrows back at their best this season

Mercedes has messed up big time in the 2022 F1 season. The team went in a completely different direction to the rest of the grid with its 'no-sidepod' design and has been paying for it, with the design not yielding great results on the track. Despite the introduction of a major upgrade in Barcelona, it worked great only on that particular track, and not on others, as evidenced by the car's performance in Baku.

Post-Azerbaijan GP, however, the one thing that F1 would be hoping for is the German team's return to form with its drivers consistently fighting at the front. Baku saw Red Bull once again exercise dominance over the rest of the field with a 1-2 finish. The team now leads Ferrari by 80 points in the constructors' standings while Max Verstappen holds a 34-point lead over Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the drivers'. The way the season is going, it desperately needs Mercedes to sort its car out and jump right into the championship fight.

#1 Ferrari is having its customary implosion too early into the season

In the last three races, Ferrari has started on pole with Charles Leclerc, shown strong potential to win the race, and then thrown it all away. The team was cruising towards a win with the Monegasque in Barcelona before the engine gave out. The team was flying across the streets of Monaco before it committed a massive strategic error and gifted Red Bull the win.

And this past weekend in Baku, Leclerc was primed for a fight against Max Verstappen for the win. And once again, a power unit failure put paid to all his hopes for a win. Ferrari has shown in the last decade that the team has the potential to be a title challenger, having done so several times in the last decade!

The team has also been exposed, however, showing that it can only be a title challenger and not a winner. It lost the title in 2010 and 2012 with Fernando Alonso. Then in 2017 and 2018, it lost the title with Sebastian Vettel. On all four occasions, the team imploded when things got too hot to handle.

Ferrari has had a very strong headstart this season as well. As soon as Red Bull started piecing things together and turning up the heat in the championship, however, Ferrari found itself in this mess once again.

#2 Return of a single team dominance would be the worst news for the sport

The 2022 F1 season was supposed to be the showcase for the new regulations. The field was supposed to be bunched up, but it wasn't. The competition was supposed to be intense, but it's not even close to what the 2021 F1 season offered with Mercedes and Red Bull. More importantly, this season was supposed to make the cars more "racier". While that is true to an extent, with incremental improvement in that, is the change as dynamic as advertised? Probably not.

To make things worse, we have the porpoising effect that has made life especially difficult for the drivers. The biggest drawback has been the fall in the quality of the title fight compared to last season. Last season, we had supposedly two equals in Mercedes and Red Bull jostling for every point available.

That's just not the case this year. Ferrari has shown it can't maintain that level of performance for long and, as a result, Red Bull is starting to streak away with fears already emerging of a one-team domination this season.

The only reason why F1 moved to a new formula was to improve the product that it delivers to its fans. Will the fans be happy with another year of a one-team dominance after reeling from almost a decade of Mercedes' rule? One does not even need to answer that question!

#3 Mercedes has the sport's most marketable asset — Lewis Hamilton

Regardless of the divided opinion that Lewis Hamilton often generates, it's hard to deny that he brings eyeballs to the sport. So when he retires, there won't be another driver like him, at least for a while.

One of the reasons why the championship battle between Hamilton and Max Verstappen caught the attention of the whole world was not only because of the quality of the battle between the two (which was admittedly very good) but also because Hamilton does transcend the sport and is a global figure unlike many of the other F1 drivers.

Mercedes' return to the front will bring Hamilton back into contention, and with that, bigger exposure and more eyeballs that the sport needs right now. Mercedes has won 8 constructors' championships in a row and unlike Ferrari, the team knows how to match Red Bull's intensity and even beat it. With the Scuderia unable to show the mentality needed to win titles in F1, the 2022 season of the sport desperately needs Mercedes to get back in contention to make things slightly more interesting.

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Edited by Anurag C
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