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Deja Vu? Mercedes can clinch 2015 F1 constructors' title and big payday in Sochi

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Deja Vu? Mercedes can clinch 2015 F1 constructors' title and big payday in Sochi
Oct 5, 2015, 1:31 PM

Mercedes will clinch its second successive Formula 1 constructors’ title at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, if it outscores Ferrari by three...

Mercedes will clinch its second successive Formula 1 constructors’ title at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, if it outscores Ferrari by three points in Sochi.

And it will not be just any old trophy - the second world title will bring with it a guarantee of increased prize money for the team from the so-called New Prize Fund, established in 2012. Mercedes will receive an estimated $70m bonus in addition to the $92m it will receive for winning the title. This will put it close to parity with Ferrari's prize take.

The German team currently has 506 points, 169 more than Ferrari, heading into the Sochi weekend, which was also the circuit where Mercedes secured the 2014 constructors’ championship. Last year, there were still three races left to run, but there will be four rounds of the 2015 season to go after the Russian Grand Prix, illustrating Mercedes' increased dominance this season and greater reliability.

XPB.cc Mercedes CCM

But Mercedes’ head of motorsport, Toto Wolff, explained that his team will not be taking the constructors’ success for granted.

He said: “We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first Constructors' title for Mercedes-Benz with a 1-2 finish. A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target - but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes’ executive director (technical), reckons that Pirelli’s decision to bring its soft and supersoft tyres to Sochi this year, as opposed to the medium and soft tyres used in 2014, will introduce an element of uncertainty for the race.

Lewis Hamilton

He said: “This was a tricky weekend last season, with a new circuit to learn and fresh tarmac which produced slightly unusual behaviour from the tyres.

“This year we have moved one step softer on the compounds to bring the soft and supersoft into play - perhaps influenced by Nico running almost the entire race last year on a single set of tyres. One year on, the track surface will have weathered differently so we must ensure we have all eventualities covered.”

The use of the soft and supersoft tyres comes two races after Mercedes was left mystified by its lack of pace at the Singapore Grand Prix, another track that uses the softer Pirelli compounds.

As this is their first opportunity since Singapore, Mercedes will devote some practice time to studying what went wrong there on this tyre combination. It has been close everywhere this season on those tyres between Mercedes and Ferrari, but in Singapore the balance swung heavily in Ferrari's favour.

Lewis Hamilton

The Russian Grand Prix will also be the first F1 race in history to feature two drivers who have won 41 races competing at the same time. Lewis Hamilton won his 41st career victory last time out in Japan and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel reached that total at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.

Michael Schumacher, who tops the all-time win list with 91 career wins, was the only driver on the grid with 41 wins after the Italian Grand Prix in 2000, when he reached that total. Ayrton Senna won his 41st Grand Prix in the final race of Alain Prost’s career at the 1993 Australian Grand Prix – the Frenchman retired with 51 F1 victories.

Hamilton’s win in Japan put him 48 points clear of his teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers’ championship, but the German has again vowed not to give up on the 2015 crown.

Nico Rosberg

He said: “I'm not backing down in my fight for the championship and gaining those positions back fair and square showed that. We have five races to go and, although the championship gap to Lewis is quite big, in my mind it's definitely not over yet.”
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton Shop Now
Teams McLaren Shop Now