A podium’s worth of news for you.
First, given the team is leading the constructor’s championship, is Ferrari. The team feels pretty good.
“The first Grand Prix weekend of the season in Australia was a positive one for us as we had previously stated that our objective was to finish on the podium and that target was achieved,” Team Principal Stefano Domenicali told Ferrari’s website. “We have witnessed a weekend that was very unusual, with qualifying on Saturday and Sunday delivering a snapshot of the order that proved to be completely different come Sunday evening after the race. But, it was important to see both our drivers deliver strong performances, as it provides a great basis on which we can build a competitive season and I’m pleased for both of them. Seeing Ferrari heading the Constructors’ Championship is a great reward for the people who have been working so hard, both here at the track and back home in Maranello. But it’s only the first step in a very long season and now is the time to analyse and evaluate all the data from Melbourne in order to be immediately ready for this coming weekend in Malaysia.”
In a “let’s read something into it” piece of news, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, traveled from Australia to Malaysia together. And I encourage the “reading into it” because I feel like Ferrari does, too: “In fact, the two Ferrari men made the journey from Melbourne to Malaysia together on Tuesday and are now acclimatising to the torrid climate that will characterise this second round of the World Championship, with some physical training.”
“In fact?” That makes it sound like we should be surprised. C’mon, Ferrari. We all know better. We’d only be surprised if the two traveled together with Massa leading Alonso in the standings…
Speaking of leading someone in the standings, Adrian Sutil started his return to F1 in style, taking more points that team mate Paul di Resta, actually leading the Australian GP for a bit, and all-in-all making a claim for story of the race, if not for that pesky Kimi Raikkonen. Stuil is stoked. He tells the Force India site:
“It was a great feeling! We were on a different strategy and we knew we would probably go to the front quite early in the race, but we never expected to be leading for such a long time. It was a surprise for everyone and even more of a surprise that we could keep all the cars behind us while doing really competitive lap times. I actually pulled away from Vettel at one stage in the race. I knew the car was fast, I felt good, I felt confident. On the supersofts I had to give up a few positions, that was normal, that was our strategy because you had to be on them at least once. But I’m not disappointed at all, seventh place is a good way to start the season.”
His team’s also feeling pretty good about the re-hire. Autosport talked to Force India deputy team principal (note: Todd — I want that to be my new job title) Bob Fernley (note: Todd — I’d also be OK being called Bob Fernley on future podcasts), who said:
“He has really looked at himself very carefully and the reasons why we took Nico as opposed to him and he has addressed them all.
“He has the experience to deal with the pressure and we could tell when he came to Barcelona and did his first day of testing that he had got it all together.”
You have got to figure that Sutil is intent on finishing ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, right?
Finally, all you Alain Prost fans out there can rest easy. Renault and the four-time F1 champ have renewed their relationship / partnership for the coming year. Prost has been a “Brand Ambassador” for Renault since 2012 and will be expanding his duties to include an advisory role within the Renault sport F1 Executive Committee. Sounds like Renault was feeling the heat from Mercedes in not having enough people near the top of the hierarchy.
“Alain’s experience of F1 personnel and politics combined with his sharp intelligence and retained enthusiasm for the sport has already been of great benefit as we consolidate our position as an engine supplier to four teams,” said Renault Sport F1 President Jean-Michael Jalinier. “We will continue to draw on his knowledge this year, particularly as we prepare for the technical challenges of the 2014 engine regulations.”
And Prost had this to add:
“Renault has a long history within F1 and everything it has done in the sport has ultimately been a success. Indeed I have achieved some of the greatest results of my career with Renault power. Over the past year I have seen that it has kept the same passion and rigour for F1, and it has stayed true to these values as it prepares for the new V6 power unit in 2014. I will use my experience and knowledge of the sport to advise on strategic and technical challenges – it’s a very exciting time for everyone and together we represent very strong potential.”