Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dominik Wilde Motorsport Awards 2014

It's that time of year again. The main motorsport season is now a thing of the past so it's time for the (not very) prestigious DW Motorsport Awards.

Following on from previous years, I'll take you through my pick for car, manufacturer, breakthrough, team, innovation, comeback, race and driver of the year. I'll also go through who came up short in each category. So without further a do...

Car of the year - Citroën C-Elysée WTCC

There may have been six nominees, but this award was always going to be a three horse race between the dominant cars in the FIA's three flagship series: Mercedes' F1 W05 Hybrid, Citroën's first ever race car the C-Elysee and last year's winner, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC.

Not wanting to have the same winner twice (although it was easily the most deserving, winning a stunning 12 out of 13 events it entered - driver error the only thing preventing a clean sweep), the Polo was quickly discounted. So that left Mercedes' F1 title winner and the dominant Citroën touring car. In the end, the award went to the Citroën. Why? Well although the Mercedes won a higher percentage of races (84% as opposed to Citroën's 74%), Mercedes were often hit with mechanical problems in the season - Something that never hit the squeaky clean Citroën.

If this award could be given to three cars, Citroën, Mercedes and Volkswagen would easily share it. Unfortunately, I'm not that kind...

Those that missed out - Volkswagen Polo R WRC (WRC), Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid (Formula One), BMW 125i M Sport NGTC (BTCC), Spark-Renault SRT_01E (FIA Formula E), Ford Fiesta RX43 (GRC)

Manufacturer of the year - Volkswagen

However, a manufacturer who can build a car capable of winning every single round of an entire WRC season deserves to be commended. Even Citroën didn't do that during Loeb's dominant title wins.

As mentioned above, it was not the car's fault that Volkswagen failed to to complete the clean sweep, but winning 12 out of 13 rallies is impressive nonetheless.

In addition to this, VW have been developing a new Beetle rallycross car which made it's debut in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series this year. It proved to be quick out of the box. It's privately developed predecessor, the Polo Rallycross didn't do too badly either, taking four wins out of the nine rounds it entered in Red Bull GRC as well as taking two wins in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Those that missed out - Mercedes-Benz (F1, DTM, Various GT Categories) Citroën (WTCC, WRC, WRX)

Breakthrough of the year - First points for 'the class of 2010'

Another award that had several contenders, in the end it went to Marussia and their first points finish in their short history in Grand Prix racing this season in Monaco.

Back in 2010, four teams entered Formula One. While USF1 never made it to the grid and Campos, Hispania, HRT or whatever fell to the wayside. Meanwhile, Marussia (formerly known as Virgin and Marussia Virgin) and Caterham (formerly known as Lotus) weren't exactly mixing it with the big boys.

Fast forward to Monaco 2014 and with Jules Bianchi behind the wheel, Marussia scored not just their first points, but the first for any of the teams that started out in 2010. While you could argue that the result was down to attrition, the points moved Marussia into ninth in the constructors championship, ahead of Caterham and more importantly Sauber, an F1 veteran with a win and several podiums to their name.

Unfortunately financial issues struck Marussia who, despite not competing in the final four rounds of the season still took ninth in the final constructors standings. On an even sadder note, the star of this heroic tale, Jules Bianchi currently lies in hospital fighting for his life after striking a recovery truck at the Japanese Grand Prix - Marussia's final race.

Those that missed out - Will Power (First IndyCar title), Rhys Millen (First GRC win), LADA Sport (First WTCC win), Erebus Motorsport (First race win in V8 Supercars), Hyundai Motorsport (First WRC win)

Team Of The Year - Team Penske

Team Penske really are motorsport royalty and 2014 really proved their credentials.

In IndyCar they took their first championship crown since 2006, with all three of their drivers in the top five in the championship while in NASCAR they took 11 Sprint Cup wins and had both of their drivers fighting for the title all season long. Eventually, neither lifted the cup, but like in IndyCar, all of the full-time drivers were in the top five in the standings come the end of the season. In addition, Penske topped the Nationwide Series owner points at the end of the season.

Many teams enter several series at once, but few manage to be top of the tree in more than one. Team Penske really are motorsport's perennial multi-taskers

Those that missed out -
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team (F1), Volkswagen Motorsport (WRC), Citroën Racing (WTCC, WRC), Andretti Autosport (IndyCar, Mazda Road to Indy, GRC), JR Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing (NASCAR)

Innovation of the year - FIA Formula E

Was this ever in any doubt? FIA Formula has certainly had it's doubters and critics, but I've been neither. I think it's fantastic!

Starting a new series in motorsport is never an easy task, just look at the likes of A1GP and Superleague Formula, but starting one with a completely different philosophy is another challenge entirely.

The all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E may not have the howl of a noughties F1 car or the stunning looks of a 60s Le Mans racer but it provided quality entertainment right from the first race. 'Fan Boost' may need to go, but apart from that, if this really is 'the future', I'm all for it!

Those that missed out -
1.6 V6 Hybrid Engine and ERS 'Power Units' (F1)

Comeback of the year - Audi - 24 Hours of Le Mans win

Audi had a dismal time at Le Mans this year. First destroying a chassis and losing a driver through resulting injury in practice, then outpaced by both Toyota and Porsche in qualifying.

In the race, they lost another car due to damage and had to sit and watch as Toyota began to run away with it. After trouble for the Japanese squad and Porsche inherited the lead while the two remaining Audis battled turbocharger issues which saw the component replaced on both cars.

It was only after issues for the leading No. 20 Porsche that Audi moved to the fore, going on to take a one-two finish. It was a remarkable comeback, defying all odds to take a win that for once, many thought was well out of the question.

Those that missed out - Tanner Foust (GRC win in New York after a poor start to the year), Ken Block (Battling back from a difficult start to the year to take five podiums in a row and challenge for the GRC championship), Lewis Hamilton (Making up for a poor qualifying to win the British Grand Prix by over half a minute).

Race of The Year - Clipsal 500

This race gets this award for the final lap alone and the incredible battle between Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin.

The battle wasn't even for the race lead, it was for second! Still, it'll go down in the history books as one of the all time great duels. As soon as you thought one guy had the advantage, the other would bounce back and move ahead. It didn't end until the final corner. It was truly amazing. Watch the final lap of the Clipsal 500 HERE.

Basing the winner of an award for a race on a single lap may seem unfair, but it could be worse, I could've given it to Race 2 of the Sydney Motorsports Park 400 for THIS...on the in lap!

Next year I might just give this award to the region of Australasia instead. 

Those that missed out - Bahrain Grand Prix (F1), Daytona Final (GRC), 24 Hours of Le Mans (WEC), Beijing EPrix (Formula E), Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Indianapolis 500 (IndyCar)

Driver Of The Year - Jose Maria Lopez

Picture it, Citroën enter the WTCC and are expected to dominate thanks to a long gestation period for their car. Behind the wheel you've got the best touring car driver on the planet and the best all-round driver in human history. In a third car you've got a highly rated one-time F1 hopeful. Three fantastic prospects, but it's clear which one wont be winning the championship.

Funnily enough though, it was that guy that won the championship. Jose Maria Lopez took the WTCC crown in rather convincing fashion, beating his legendary French team mates Yvan Muller and Sebastien Loeb to the title. What's more, he'd had less testing time that the other two and had competed in only two races in the WTCC prior to 2014 as opposed to Muller who'd taken part in every season since 2006.

We knew before the season started he was good, but to have a season like he did, he must be great.

Those that missed out - Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo (F1) Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chase Elliott (NASCAR), Joni Wiman, Ken Block, Scott Speed (GRC), Colin Turkington (BTCC), Sebastien Ogier (WRC), Sebastien Buemi (WEC, Formula E), Will Power (IndyCar)

Images - Red Bull Content Pool, WTCC,, IndyCar Media, Formula E, The Telegraph, V8 Supercars

No comments:

Post a Comment