Bernie Ecclestone is no fan of the hybrid turbo formula, but like it or not, dominance in F1 has always flowed from mastery of a new technical framework as much as it has the performance of superstar drivers. On which basis, Mercedes is smack bang in the middle of the purplest patch since the late, great Prince mislaid his umbrella in the mid-’80s and made a film about it.
Depending on how you choose to interpret statistics, 2014’s F1 W05 Hybrid is arguably the most successful racing car ever. It scored 16 wins from 19 races, versus the McLaren MP4/4’s 15 victories from 16 in 1988, or Ferrari’s F2002 which won 14 of the 15 races it competed in during 2002, in the midst of Michael Schumacher’s imperial phase. (Go back to modern F1’s first season, 1950, and the Alfa Romeo 158/159 won six out of seven races – what a corker that car was.)