Sports

Effect of F1 engine change blew up Red Bull dynasty and made way for Mercedes domination

  • Members of the Lotus Formula One teams walk the track before the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

    Members of the Lotus Formula One teams walk the track before the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)  (The Associated Press)

  • Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson, of Sweden, reads messages on his phone after arriving at the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in Austin, Texas. The Formula One teams of Caterham and Marussia will not be competing in the race this weekend. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

    Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson, of Sweden, reads messages on his phone after arriving at the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in Austin, Texas. The Formula One teams of Caterham and Marussia will not be competing in the race this weekend. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lotus crew members walk the track for the Formula One's U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Lotus crew members walk the track for the Formula One's U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  (The Associated Press)

When Formula One was last in the United States, Sebastian Vettel had already earned his fourth consecutive world championship in a season of domination not seen since Michael Schumacher's days at Ferrari.

Then came the engine change, from the screeching V8s to the sublime hybrid turbo V6.

The effect was a demolition of an F1 dynasty built by Vettel's Red Bull team in a move that most thought would produce a wide-open title chase in 2014.

Instead, F1 simply exchanged one dominant team for another. Mercedes has crushed the competition with teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg just 17 points apart in the title chase heading into this week's U.S. Grand Prix.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo sits a distant third in the driver's championship with only three races left.