#360view: F1 cannot afford to be a one-horse race

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It couldn’t have been easy for Lewis Hamilton to leave McLaren, a team he had grown up with since he first showed promise as a kid karter and was picked up by Ron Dennis who gave him the opportunity and the guidance to become the sport’s youngest ever world champion in 2008.

Many questioned his decision to move from one of F1’s legendary teams to Mercedes in 2013 but it has proved to be the best decision of his career as McLaren have fallen from F1 powerhouse to pantomime farce, struggling with a Honda engine that has so far been a disaster.

– McLaren: Alonso ‘wants to end career’ with team
– McLaren: Dennis adamant Button will stay on
– Japan: Lewis Hamilton powers to Suzuka glory

In total contrast, Hamilton, who will be saddened by what is happening at his former team, already has one world crown at Mercedes and is seemingly cruising towards his third title which would equal the achievements of his hero, Ayrton Senna and put him amongst the sport’s legends. And you wouldn’t expect him to stop at a hat-trick of championship triumphs.

He is an extraordinary talent, naturally super-fast and with the killer instinct that has always separated the great Formula One drivers from those who are merely good. The way he has outdriven his team-mate Nico Rosberg is testimony to his single-minded pursuit of glory.

But while he clearly deserves to win his third title, and it is hard to see anyone stopping him now, and we should all applaud Mercedes for giving him such a dominant car, this season has been devoid of any genuine challenge from his rivals. It is becoming a repetitive theme that is turning more and more people off the sport every season.

The predictable HRV (Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel) result week after week is as exciting as watching paint dry. Yes, Ferrari have improved this season which is great to see and after their victory at Singapore Sebastian Vettel gave us all hope that perhaps the remaining races would see the Prancing Horse finally kick into action and provide some real excitement.

Sadly, and let’s be honest we all knew this would happen, Mercedes upped their game in Japan and Ferrari were back where they have been for most of the season, in third place, although they will be happy with the progress they have made. Maybe next year then, as we always say.

Apart from Ferrari, and they have fallen short, who else has stepped up the plate when the sport so desperately needs a challenger? Answer? Nobody!

McLaren have become a laughing stock, which is tragic because anyone who loves F1 would have wanted the partnership with Honda to be as successful as it was in the days when Senna and Alain Prost were team-mates. Williams haven’t really moved on and the once mighty Red Bull team have lost their wings and are embroiled in an ugly divorce with their engine provider Renault.

In fact, it is true to say, that the stuff happening away from the circuit these days is probably a lot more interesting than the mind-numbing action on it. Even the one vaguely interesting battle between Hamilton and Rosberg has been a non-event this season.

So while nobody can take anything away from what Hamilton and Mercedes are doing, much like you couldn’t criticise the dominance of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, let’s hope that next season it is more competitive because Formula One can’t afford to be a one-horse race for much longer.

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