Parity needed in Formula One to keep it interesting

So this past weekend, the 2014 Formula Season wrapped up in Abu Dabi. Don’t worry if you missed it because the race was run so early here in the States; it was the same result as ten previous races this season–a win by Lewis Hamilton who finished as the World Champion by 67 points over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Also don’t worry if you found yourself uninterested in this year’s Formula One season because of the dominance of Mercedes, or the prior four seasons because of Sebastian Vettel’s stranglehold on the world’s top racing league, because to be honest, I haven’t been too interested in it myself.

And there in lies the problem. I’ve always wanted to get into Formula One and it’s racing, mainly because many of the circuit the series runs at are simply incredible both from a driving and aesthetics perspective; however, the series’ seeming lack of parity–not necessarily the time difference–has been the reason I haven’t been able get into it. And that’s something that will need to change if the series wants to make serious inroads in the mainstream sports landscape in America.

Everybody loves to pile on NASCAR and say how boring it is when in reality you could easily say the same about Formula One. This past season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gave trophies to 15 different winning drivers. Now compare that to only three different winners in Formula One this past year. If you were to ask me which team would have a winning driver before each race and I replied with “Mercedes,” I would have been correct 84 percent of the time. And then if you were to ask me which driver would win before each race and I answered with “Lewis Hamilton,” I would have been correct 58 percent of the time. That’s like the opposite of parity.

And on top of that there’s not a whole lot of drama with the series either. I mean, I did watch the United States Grand Prix since that was just down the road from me, but even in that race outside of Vettel starting from the pits and some interesting pit strategy, there wasn’t a whole lot of drama. Everyone knew how each race was going to turn out–a dominating performance by one of the Mercedes drivers. And for the most part, the driver that took the lead through the first corner of the race usually came out as the winner.

Yawn.

Now, I know that Formula One is mostly about the machine and the car and less about the driver per se unlike NASCAR or even IndyCar and that most Formula One fans probably think that Mercedes should be rewarded with wins for finding an advantage within the rules; however, that also helps this lack of parity. So during the offseason hopefully the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, Formula One’s governing body, makes a few rule changes to increase some of the parity.

As I mentioned at the start, I want to get into Formula One; however, knowing that this past season the winner would either be Hamilton or Rosberg, and that the four prior seasons it would likely be Vettel, has kept me from wanting to make up early and watch the races.

Hopefully next year is a much more interesting year for the series.