The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants
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The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

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OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Red Bull bucked a Formula 1 trend on its way back to the summit. Even during seven comparatively fallow seasons after the Sebastian Vettel-fronted glory days, it never satisfied the criteria of a ‘fallen giant’. The fractious Renault-powered fragility that bottomed out with a winless 2015 and fourth in the points took it close. And throughout its time off the top, it played second fiddle to Mercedes. But Christian Horner and co remained in the mix.

Certainly, the slump was not in the same league as its preeminent predecessors. An exceptional Fernando Alonso in 2012 merely masked a lukewarm Ferrari coming down from its 2000s pomp. The signs of a McLaren revival have only properly arrived under the leadership of Andreas Seidl. As for Williams, it remains one of F1’s great ‘superteams’ only thanks to history.

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