20 things that made F1 great in 2014

2014 F1 season review

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With teams dropping out and complaints over the new engine regulations there weren’t a lot of positive headlines in Formula One this year.

However there were reasons to be cheerful – here are 20 things which made for a great 2014 championship.

Red Bull Ring in…

An unusual track in a picturesque location which drew an enthusiastic crowd. It may not be the Osterreiching, but this is exactly the sort of venue Formula One should be visiting, and a sharp contrast to the dismal Valencia clone which held Russia’s first grand prix this year.

Reader @StevenSmith_f1f – a veteran of over 50 grands prix – was among those in the crowd:

…South Korea and India out

They may have fit the bill as markets F1 should reach out to, but their circuits were straight from the Hermann Tilke cookie cutter and rarely produced exciting races.

Tough questions

Simply put, 2014 was a year in which the extremely unequal financial terms given to one half of the grid left the other half struggling to survive – and eventually led to two of them going into administration. The regular team principals’ press conferences, which are now shown live by some F1 broadcasters, became a battleground between the haves and have-nots, with F1’s press corps putting them on the spot.

If only those who wield true power in Formula One – Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt – would subject themselves to such uncompromising scrutiny.

Schadenfreude in Bahrain

Before the season began everyone knew Ecclestone did not approve of Formula One’s new engine regulations, which Todt had pushed hard for. Even so, the sport hardly needed him to publicly condemn the sound of the new engines before he’d even listened to them himself.

Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo had other reasons to dislike them, as Ferrari began what was clearly going to be a very disappointing season for them. Ahead of the third race of the year he turned his ire on what he called ‘taxicab’ racing.

Their complaints were blown away by a hundinger of a race in Bahrain. While the Mercedes pair jousted for the lead, there was even more action behind them in the battle for third place. The claim that the new engines had ruined F1 was shot to pieces, and more great races later in the year served to reinforce the point.

Permanent driver numbers

This is a small change for the better, though the true value of giving drivers a consistent identity from team to team may only become clear after a few years. One interesting measure of the success of the rule is that new champion Lewis Hamilton wants to keep his number instead of using the number one next year.

Susie Wolff’s practice run

As one of few major sports in which men and women can compete against each other, Formula One (and all motor racing) has huge untapped potential in the female market. Hopefully Susie Wolff’s first practice runs for Williams this year – of which there will be more next year – will lead others to follow.

FOM discovers Twitter

Another example of those who run the sport belatedly discovering a massive area of unexploited potential. Of course you can also follow F1 Fanatic on Twitter:

Caterham’s crowdfunded comeback

Of course Formula One is so wealthy that it should never be necessary for the fans to directly subsidise the competitors. But notwithstanding that, it was thanks to a tremendous show of support from fans that one of F1’s smallest teams was able to compete in the final race of the year, plastered in the logos of their many minor backers.

Who says no one cars about the small teams?

Ericsson’s Ronnie Peterson helmet

A brilliant retro tribute to Sweden’s greatest grand prix driver.

Track limits clampdown

It is a continuing source of frustration for many fans that those running Formula One can’t seem to police something as basic as where the boundary of a track lies.

Happily, there was a change for the better in 2014 as some corners were designated ‘special cases’ and drivers who cut the corners were punished. A particularly effective clampdown took place in Austria where many drivers had lap times deleted in qualifying for going off the track.

While a questionable view remains that in some cases at some corners there should be no punishment for going off the track, this is an opinion which is increasingly being challenged.

Vettel in a turbo Ferrari (early)

Months before his move to Ferrari was announced, Sebastian Vettel had a run in the team’s last turbo-powered car. Hats off to Red Bull for allowing him to be seen in a rival team’s colours.

Since then he’s driven one of the team’s more recent cars.

Solidarity with Marussia

The dreadful accident suffered by Jules Bianchi in Japan was unquestionably the low point of the season. Formula One did itself credit with the show of support for his Marussia team at the following race.

Stopping the madness

F1’s spate of crazy rules continued into 2014. As well as bring the first season with double points for the last race, another plan was cooked up to introduced standings starts after Safety Car periods. Happily, both have been dropped for next year.

And speaking of which…

Double points was irrelevant

Formula One really dodged a bullet here. Had the identity of the drivers’ champion been determined because of double points in the final race, the cost to its credibility would have been huge. Happily it didn’t, although it did have a minor effect on the final championship finishing positions.

A fair fight at Mercedes

Make no mistake, had Mercedes in 2014 operated the kind of arrangement Ferrari had a decade ago, we would have had a far less exciting championship.

The return of an iconic livery

Simple, classy, effective. Other teams please take note.

Proper trophies

Forget the flimsy sponsors’ trinkets, proper trophies are what it’s all about.

Andre Lotterer

The endurance racing star had been overlooked by F1 until Colin Kolles decided to give him a one-off run for Caterham at Spa-Francorchamps. He demonstrated his credentials by out-qualifying the team’s regular driver by almost a full second. Unfortunately a car problem ended his race after one lap.


Pirelli must have been pleased to take a break from the headlines in 2014 after last year’s problems. But despite more conservative rubber the variance in tyre strategies often helped open up more possibilities for overtaking which likely wouldn’t have existed even with DRS.

Daniel Ricciardo

It wasn’t just the opportunistic wins, the brilliant passes or the mile-wide grin. Like his predecessor, Ricciardo proves that professional sportspeople are not required to be dull corporate automatons.

Here’s an example from the FIA’s end-of-season press conference:

Q: We’ve had some more Twitter questions. This one comes from Oliver Jones who asks whether you have any superstitions before a race?
DR: I do not.
Q: Is it just not part of your make-up?
DR: For me it’s just an excuse from something else to go wrong. You can blame it on ‘ah, I didn’t do that’. It just fills your head full of crap to be honest. I don’t like superstitions. Sorry if you guys have ’em!
Q: I do a lot of work in Moto GP and they have so many superstitions…
DR: Yeah, that’s a bit sad!

Over to you

What do you think made F1 great in 2014? Have your say in the comments.

2014 F1 season review

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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60 comments on “20 things that made F1 great in 2014”

  1. Good year in my book. Decent fight for the championship among team mates, good racing overall.

  2. Marussia scoring points? That was one of the best things in my opinion, finally seeing a team that was founded in 2010 in the top 10.

    1. @hunocsi I agree, and am surprised it wasn’t on here.

      Nevertheless it was a mile better than 2013.

      1. @hunocsi @strontium Sadly, given what happened next for that team, I think that was bittersweet in retrospect. But a great moment at the time, absolutely.

    2. Says it all doesn’t it?

    3. @hunocsi, agree – let’s make it part of our unofficial top 21!

    4. Yes without a doubt Marussia points was good. I don’t like this list at all, some pointers are subjective which is understandable from an opinion article but other pointers are factually flawed and some are questionable. Allow me to make some corrections and also to give my view.
      Pointers #2, 3, 5, 7, 10 and a fair fight in Mercedes are not positives from 2014.

      A fair fight in Mercedes is not a fitting title or description and definitely not factual. Regardless of any team orders which may or may not have been enforced several times throughout the season, Hungary and other situations we may not ever know, heck Bahrain sounded like a team order to me, these things take the fair out of fight. However all comes down to the fact, that there was a rule change mid-season regarding team radio and there are rumours that this was not an innocent mid-season rule change. Obviously there’s a polarity inside Mercedes, almost in a Seb Vettel MArk Webber way, but on track both fortunately and unfortunately there was no championship finale as rosberg hit pretty much the same problems as he had done in Singapore, that said as was with the RBR pair the championship ended right, even if the way to achieve this was traditional F1.

      India and South Korea layouts are very good in my opinion that said due to several reasons I can’t see these races on the calendar either.

      Permanent driver numbers isn’t working from a financial stand-point and in my view I don’t like them, to work immediately they should’ve copied the motogp MO.

      Caterham croundfunding was a scam.

      Track Limits should be imposed as a safety measure, in the end that’s why the rule was created rather than to punish one for gaining an advantage. In my view it’s the track designers job to make a track layout that won’t be exploited in such a manner, and the FIA to impose a system that penalizes the driver when it’s impossible to make the original layout the sensible route to take. All things considered, it’s points on your license not penalties, F1 needs less penalties more morality.

      Finally, I won’t question some of the pointers because everyone is entitled to an opinion

  3. I’m unsure why double points and standing safety car restarts being made redundant were great things. They were absolutely terrible things which should have been completely avoided in the first place. I would have Marussia’s first points and Williams podiums in abundance in place of those personally.

    1. @craig-o My point is, the season would not have been great had double points had an effect. That not happening was essential to having an enjoyable season.

      On the other point, if they really have stopped the madness when it comes to making up silly, knee-jerk rules, that’s definitely a good thing.

      1. The fact that those two farcical rules even existed in the first place meant that I did not enjoy the season as much as I could have done, as more time was spent ranting about those when I could have been commenting on the fantastic on-track battles and so on that we had. But, this is not my list. It’s yours @keithcollantine

    2. @craig-o Had Rosberg taken the title from Hamilton in a scenario where he wouldn’t have without double points, F1 would have promptly imploded in a media wild-fire. The fact that it didn’t improved the season exponentially.

  4. …plus an increasingly ellectic mix of fabulous young drivers, such as Verstappen, Vandoorne, Ocon, Lynn, Stoneman and Palmer, producing junior category action worthy of supporting such a fabulous season of F1 racing, and confirming, in tandem with brilliant performances from young Bottas and Kvyat, that the future of F1 is well and truly safe. As I type now, the breadth and depth of talent in single seater racing is greater than it ever has been.

    1. *eclectic

    2. @countrygent Merely because those talents exist doesn’t meant they will get a seat in F1 in the future, so including them here would be premature. Also I don’t agree all of them are clearly great talents of the future – Palmer for example, despite his GP2 success.

      1. I wasn’t asking you to include it, just elucidating an aspect of the broader world of F1 in 2014 that I personally enjoyed @keithcollantine. As for the prospects of those mentioned Verstappen’s F1 debut is certain, and I think it is highly likely that Ocon, Lynn and especially Vandoorne will drive in F1. As for Palmer, I included him only to avoid the inevitable hurricane of remonstrance that would have resulted in listing junior talents without including the man who cruised to the GP2 title. I am fully aware he was ranked outside the top twenty in his first season for Arden. Since I am talking to the chap that did such an excellent job commentating on FR3.5 this year, shall I retrospectively trade Palmer’s name for Sainz’s? Another talent that has been repaid with a seat in F1…

        1. @countrygent Don’t forget Kirchhoefer! I’d say he was even more impressive than Lynn and Stoneman in GP3 this year. We badly need Audi to pick him and Hulk up to form an F1 superteam.. strangely, it’s hard to see him making F1 otherwise. I can imagine Fuoco has more of a shot with Ferrari backing, after Marciello.

  5. Agree with @hunocsi about Marussia’s points being a great moment. At that time, it seemed like the “new” teams were really beginning to make progress.

    The other good thing was the return to power with the new engines, and the reduction in dowmforce. Watching the drivers really have to wrestle their cars reminded me how much I had missed that during the V8 era.

  6. 1) Thinks are looking up in the private life – Nico Rosberg got married and Sebastian Vettel became father – perhaps more Vettels and Rosbergs will be fighting for F1 victories in 20 years from now!

    2) Red Bull are beaten – even though the team deserve a lot of credit for what they have done (not only for themselves but also for F1 as a sport), it was good to see someone else winning.

    3) We saw some nice helmet designs and some funny ones, too.

    4) Unexpectedly great silly season: Alonso goes back to McLaren, Vettel finally joins Ferrari, Kvyat gets promoted to Red Bull and Button stays at McLaren after all.

    5) F1 Fanatic tweets: There were a lot of nice posts but this one and this one are coming to mind now.

    1. @girts “Ron: Jenson, we want you to resign.
      Jenson: Resign?
      Ron: Yes.
      Jenson: Are you sure?
      Ron: Yes.
      Jenson: Do you mean re-sign?
      Ron: Err, let me get a clarification on that..”

      1. Some weeks later: “Sorry, typo!”

  7. Nelson Piquet hitting on Hamilton’s girlfriend deserved an honorary mention if not a spot!

    1. I actually thought that interview he did was the worst podium interview ive seen in years. A bit rude, even.

    2. @hatebreeder As far as I’m concerned that was a moment of utter skin-crawling awkwardness – I hope they never let Piquet near a podium again.

      1. Bernie was definitely trolling everyone IMO. He had Fittipaldi on hand, and went with his old DWC instead, knowing full well what he was like… @keithcollantine @me4me @hatebreeder

  8. Here is my top ten:

    – the sound of the engines
    – the struggling teams struggling
    – less point scorers than in the previous years
    – only three different winners
    – only three different pole sitters
    – less podium finishers than in previous years
    – only 19 races
    – the noses of the cars
    – the russian grand prix
    – rosberg clear lack of experience at the top end in comparison to hamilton, despite being faster in qualifying
    – bianchi’s accident
    – people going on and on about the engine freeze
    – people going on and on about cost cutting
    – people going on and on about Bernie once again

    Oh, wait. I think I did a mistake, didn’t I?

    That’s more than ten…

    1. I think you did a lot of mistake, you grouch

    2. You liked the Russian GP????

  9. That number 28 Ferrari is stunning. Why can’t modern F1 cars look so good?

  10. My own top things that made 2014 great.
    The Red Bull Ring back on the calendar. Well I suppose I would say that’s a good one seeing as its my own write up on what its like to visit.
    Jules Bianchi grabbing those points in Monaco, five months before he sadly became the seasons low point in Japan.
    The end to Red Bull dominance. But they still showed that they are still a force not to be dismissed. Especially with the ever smiling Aussie in the driving seat.
    The title going down to the wire without the stupid double points.
    Mexico getting back onto the calendar for next season.
    Silverstones’ weather giving things a shake up.

  11. Personally i think the new Santander thophies of Thomas british and German GPs to be the ugliest i dever saw on any competition. Looks cheap, feels cheap and its ugly as hell.

  12. A number of memorable races, Bianchi triumphing at Monaco and the love and support for Caterham for the season finale. Those are the three things that prevent this season from being utterly miserable. Other than that, though, this year was not a good one for F1, no matter how much we try to make ourselves believe otherwise.

  13. My favourite part of the season, Marussia.
    They were allot more competitive and started making progress. The first of the new teams to score points. 8th place at Monaco.

  14. What about Ricciardo triumphs in Canada, and that was the best race of the season IMO

    1. Oops, I think its already mentioned

  15. Fikri Harish (@)
    20th December 2014, 15:34

    I’m sorry but the Buddh International Circuit in India is a legitimately good circuit.
    Yes it has Tilke’s trademark of long straights followed by a heavy braking zone but it has tons of great elevation changes and a series of fun medium/high speed corners and that’s never a bad thing.
    The fact that it failed to produce exciting races shouldn’t be blamed at the circuit’s feet.

    How could anyone say that it’s just another in the line of cookie-cutter boring Tilkedromes?

    1. I agree, I really like the Indian circuit & would love to see it return.

      I’d also argue that it did produce some good races & that the only reason people seem to believe it didn’t is because Vettel won all 3 of them fairly easily & as usual completely ignored anything that happened behind him, Including the good racing.

      I woudl also point out that while it is a Tilke circuit, He also used a lot of feedback from teams & drivers. The widening of the circuit into the braking zone at the end of the straght was a driver suggestion (COTA has the same thing into turn 1), The fairly quick & technical double chicane section (Turns 6/7/8/9) was a driver suggestion as was the slight banking at turn 10.

      It was also a circuit which the drivers enjoyed & which I also enjoyed driving round on the F1 video games.

      1. For example, Plenty of bits of good racing here-

    2. @fihar

      How could anyone say that it’s just another in the line of cookie-cutter boring Tilkedromes?

      Because it is. The usual length, the usual mix of corners and straights.

      And the usual mind-rottingly dull racing as a result.

      I say this with no satisfaction, as I’d like to see F1 go to new venues like India and make a success of itself for the right reasons. That won’t happen with tracks like that.

      1. Didn’t he design COTA?

        Or is that the proverbial ‘exception’?

        1. @coldfly, No no no, the design for the track was laid out by Tavo Hellmund whose dream was to create a track for a permanent USGP, when he finally got the ball rolling the money men dumped him and brought in Tilke to finalise the design, pits, toilets, access etc. but the track layout stayed as Tavo envisioned it. Tilke just takes the credit, Bernie probably takes something else.

          1. Can you provide a citation for Hellmund’s involvement in designing the layout of the circuit? Some of the comments that Hellmund was making back in 2010 suggest that Tilke was being engaged in more of a design role than you suggest.

          2. @hohum – thanks, did not know that.
            Means that we have mind-rottingly dull toilets in Austin ;)

    3. The Boudh track is alright, but the races were really uninteresting, possibly because it’s just an “average” tyre-friendly track. I think the South Korean track is horrible and I was really happy to see that race go.

  16. The most obvious one is missing. Some really really amazing on-track battles. Thinking about VET-ALO at Silverstone, RIC-VET at Monza, ALO-RAI at Interlagos, not to mention all the great battles in Germany. This is afterall the reason I watch F1 for, and after the initial dissapointment of seing the Merc cars unbeatable, these great battles totally made up for it.

    Permanent driver numbers, Susie Wolf, FOM on twitter or Caterham being crowdfunded – I don’t really care about any of them.

    1. @me4me, and me too, it happens best on those tracks with a series of S-bends where an outside run turns into an inside run and vice-versa, something usually missing from Tilkedromes.

  17. I can’t disagree with this list at all. POINTS FOR MARUSSIA would have also made the list for me.

  18. i would say most of those 20 things were not great, and certainly did not make the races that we watch any better. 2014 will not go down as a historically great year. but i agree about Ricciardo, he was the new f1 star, and stuck it up to the hyperstars like Hamilton who could not dominate his teammate, Ricciardo was the best driver in the field and gave a car with 85hp less then mercedes (according to lotus who are moving to merc power) 3 wins. keeping last years tyres would have made the racing more interesting.

  19. So 20 great moments on F1? I think number 1 has to be F1 Fanatic because I get to read the issues and to post things here, so thanks Keith for the great effort, you’ve helped keep F1 alive, at least for me anyway. I wake up at 4 am and there, on my list of things to read is an article on some current issue in F1 or a list of the latest Twitter comments. Somewhere near the top of the list are all the people who are tired of my occasional whining about F1 races being not available for general viewing in New Zealand, but never openly complain about it. I do try to temper my grizzling otherwise people might think I had nothing else to do with my life. All websites like this are great, at least they keep my interest alive, so my thanks to those websites too, otherwise I just wouldn’t have any idea about what is happening in F1 at all.
    Also in the top 20 should be a thanks to the sponsors of F1 teams who willingly hand over millions of dollars to teams … sorry, for the most part we don’t know who you are, we don’t get to see the races in New Zealand.
    Lastly, at number 20, a thanks to the other professional drivers at F1: the drivers of the big rigs and buses. Yeah, almost no one noticed. Congratulations on the high miles, keeping everything legal, the checking the mirrors going around the corner, using the indicators, the driving only through gaps that are definitely big enough, the sticking to speed limits, maintaining a good following distance, the flashing the headlights instead of using the horn, and best of all the almost no accidents. Well done!

  20. @keithcollantine

    Who says no one cars about the small teams?

    Freudian slip of the year?

  21. That’s a beautiful Ferrari. For me those late 80’s cars were the last of the truly good looking F1 cars.

  22. I see F1 2014 was still not great enough to go back to 50 great things about the season (which Keith published prior to 2013, but in 2013 he could no longer muster the enthousiasm because of DRS and such). I do agree with some of the comments above that the items listed by Keith, though nice, are somewhat tangential to the really important stuff, which is the on track action, and we’ve had some epic battles on track this year. Anyway, here are some personal favourites:

    – Australia qualifying, where for the first time you could hear the squeal of the tyres, and the roar of the crowd, when Vettel didn’t make it into Q3 (sorry Vettel fans) and Ricciardo almost got pole.

    – Hamilton winning the title, felt like a monkey off his and his fans’ backs.

    – The nature of the title battle, with one driver being fast in qualifying and the other clever with fuel and tyres, and surprisingly Rosberg being the qualifier and Hamilton the racer.

    – The Williams comeback.

    – Fernando’s beard.

  23. Nothing specifically against Red Bull, but it was good to see a change at the top. A 5th year with the same champions would have been relatively disappointing.

  24. Mercedes allowing the drivers to race was amazing. Just amazing. But the championship battle was great in itself as well and kinda surprising it is not in the top20. Compared to the previous years this year we had 2 drivers in equal machines going at it.

    And while the engines sucked donkeyballs there were tons of upsides as well. Being able to hear the crowd in tv broadcast was great, being able to hear the tire squeel was great and seeing the drivers getting more or less sideways made the driving look like great fun.

  25. This article is grasping at straws… This past season was absolutely horrible. Montreal was about the only decent race all year.

  26. I wouldn’t yell and jump for joy about this year, but it’s not as bad as we thought it will turn out. Overall I’d give it a 6.

  27. Here are my favourite parts of the season:
    – Exciting races, a lot of overtaking and wheel-to-wheel racing (which is something F1 has lacked in the previous years)
    – Mercedes intra-team title battle throughout the season
    – Return of the Austrian GP at Red Bull Ring
    – Williams return to glory after so many years
    1 team dominating (Mercedes)

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