â€œ…And Time, goes by, so slowly.â€ What a load of rubbish. The first four races in the F1 calendar have come and gone quicker that a Vettel Q3 lap with a trick suspension system (that does not exist, it’s just magic faeries. Or something.). Now whilst we wait for mother nature to stop spewing her guts out in Iceland we all sit around with a good gap before Spain. That makes it time for me to add my reflections on 10 things that have made it on to my radar. Be it good, bad or just annoying.
10. Jean Todt is letting me down. Badly.
Really who does he think he is? Does he not realize the importance of his role as FIA president? Where are the news stories and the scandals? The stupid outrageous comments and stupid rule change ideas we know will never happen for as long time itself exists. The guy has had the nerve to come in, stay quiet and make a few good changes such as allowing drivers as stewards and concentrating his efforts on helping series like WRC. We have never had a president like it. He is doing a really good job which means I have a ton of Todt/Pro Ferrari jokes sitting in a cupboard rotting. Cheers Jean.
9. CFD in F1 has not set the world alight. Simply because there isnâ€™t enough gas to burn it.
Well it seems that CFD is not a total disaster it’s just around 5 seconds off the pace like the rest of the new teams. So for all the talk, I was hoping it would be awesome or totally hopeless. Nope just average. Not all is lost however as the brilliant you-couldnâ€™t-make-it-up story of the Virgin tank not having enough gas to get to the end of the race is not the worlds best advert. I guess someone putting a â€œ1â€ where there should have been a â€œ0â€ screws that up then. Saying that, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve seen the cars do more than 20 laps in a row. Seems the fuel tank is the least of there problems when HRT already have 2 double finishes to there name. Virgin Racing is also starting to build on these funny mistakes after the whole â€œLive internet launchâ€ was not live or on the internet. I guess I should insert some computer Bill gates comment here and then allow a whole Apple Vs. PC nerd feast argument to kick off in the comments section. Well thereâ€™s your chance people.
8. Whatâ€™s more important Teams or Tyres?
After the first few rounds had passed one thing struck me. The FIA were still talking about the 13th team for 2011 rather than who on earth is going to replace Bridgestone next year. In the past week we have heard that Michelin and Cooper Avon are interested in joining the party whilst we are at a “will they wont they?” with Bridgestone. Yet It seemed that there was more talk on who would take USF1â€™s lunch pass now they had lost it.
Having 26 cars is fine but for whoever gets the 13th slot is, in my view, in more trouble than the new teams have this year. Once the FIA decide later this year the new team will have same time frame as the new teams had for this season. Now by 2011 I would have thought that the new teams will no longer be as far off the pace and actually within 3-2.5 seconds of the leaders rather than the 4-5 we have right now. That means the B class of F1 2011 will be whoever this new team is by themselves in theory.
With Lola and Prodrive already stating they donâ€™t feel like getting rejected for a second year in a row who really has the resources to join and be instantly competitive with the other teams? Meanwhile all the teams are sitting in the garages knowing how Stefan GP felt at that test that never happened. So please can we make sure we have tyres for 2011 for 26 cars first? After we have put up with 20 cars for so long Iâ€™m sure 24 is fine until 2012… (no the world will not end then.)
7. I prefer the old Trulli train.
Watching Massa hold up Alonso for 2 races in a row really made me wish that it was Trulli in his Toyota in front of Alonso. At least then Alonso would of gone for it. I got the constant feeling that if it wasnâ€™t his team mate in front of him Alonso really would have punished him more for mistakes and stuck one up the inside in a heavy braking zone. In fact when Alonso finally pulls off a cheeky move in China we had to have a dozen stories off anyone and everyone at Ferrari insisting Massa and Alonso are still good buddies and they play golf together still then go for jelly and ice cream before the 9 o clock matinee or something. Now the Trulli train of old consists of possibly holding up an HRT that hasnâ€™t broken down whilst anyone else he could have held up still hasnâ€™t left the pit lane. Sigh…
6. I am better than any multi-million pound weather radar.
Lets face it though, most of us made better calls than the teams in Malaysia qualifying and the race in China. Lets be honest if your sitting there at home screaming at your favourite team â€œWhat the **** are you doing still in the garage get a damn banker lap in.â€ Of course Iâ€™m sure you can use the old hindsight excuse but I generally was screaming at my team and in china really confused as to why so many cars came in at once. Back to Malaysia and a little fact for you. If at any stage of a race weekend you find yourself calling your team anything with the word â€œingâ€ at the end and finishing along the lines of â€œIdiotsâ€ or â€œmoronsâ€ etc. More than 4 times in one single session you are officially having a bad race weekend.
5. Michael Speed-up-will-you-macher Rubens Barri-who?
Sitting down reflecting that between 2000 and 2005 these two men’s races made or broke my weekend (and the whole off season weeks between races and holidays) I find it hard to accept how things have changed. I really am tired of hearing how much happier Rubens feels now he is out of Ferrari–a point he had to make again this month in an interview for a magazine where he said he was happier in terrible Hondaâ€™s than at Ferrari. Rubens please just leave it now. You really are sounding like someone saying they are over there ex when really your still quite bitter they didnâ€™t love you more. It also seems he has faded into obscurity a little now once again the Williams is not as quick as pre-season hype would make us hope it is.
And as for Michael. I just hope he finds pace soon. His tactical style is still there and as our very own Mark Hallam pointed out in the China review podcast he made the right calls (apart form the first inters stop but so did the rest of the field) to the point the time he gained saw Vettel and the rest have to pass him twice. And pass him they did. Now what ever the reasons, be it car or tyres, it does not look good on Michael who at one time could drive around any problem. Without going too deep into this (which I gladly could) Michael had to show pace in the next 2 races or he will be, I feel, stuck with the feeling he shouldnâ€™t of come back at all.
4. Melbourne is the season opener. Bernie deal with it.
I have great memories of waiting up all night for Melbourne for the first round of the season. Me and my dad sitting in the front room sleeping bag on the floor (He always got the chair which I will blame for any future back problems) With sweets and pop keeping me awake all night and as I grew up moved house finally got to sit on my own chair (yet watched on the floor as I couldnâ€™t get comfortable) Melbourne since 96 always gave me that season beginning feeling. Bahrain? What a load of rubbish. I got up about 9am lazed around the house then watched the race went and did stuff after. Where was the all night build up? The nostalgia? Gone. Bahrain just felt like any old race. Now I know those of you in different time zones think, Try living over here its always on at 4am in the damn morning, well fair enough but I canâ€™t let this bit of my childhood that I grew up with and enjoyed be ripped out without saying anything. It being round 2 this year wasnâ€™t the same. The all night thought of what would happen in round 1 who would have the early pace had gone. I already kinda knew having watched it in an ordinary daytime race the week before. I hated it in 06 and I still hate it now.
3. Jenson Button can not read.
This, I feel, is a sad state of F1. In a world where he feels he has to put on a front and not be himself Jenson Button can not dare admit to the world he can not read. Its such a shame as its nothing to be embarrassed about and there are a lot of places that can help him brush up on his reading and writing. This is affecting his career however. The fact being he could not understand the script meant that he has not got in his role as No.2 driver at Mclaren and faded behind Lewis. In fact the guy has gone and won two races out qualified his team mate 3 out of 4 times so far is showing his literacy skills up even more. (Thinking about it now it also makes sense of that B.A.R. – Williams contract drama, if he had no idea what he was signing…) But itâ€™s ok Jenson, Iâ€™m sure if you keep trying you will understand the â€œLewis wantsâ€ section and maybe then progress to â€œthe hungry caterpillar.â€ I hope you do soon my friend because like Todt you left me with a lot of unusable material whilst you are doing so well.
2. That was a really quick pitstop. I think?
This is really grinding my gears. Pre season we have been told of how the teams aim for 3 second pitstops. Come the race and maybe us Brits are just getting the poor end of it but the LG timing never works properly. It only times the cars time when they enter the pits and not when it is stopped. The odd time it has or managed to do pitstop time and total time in the pits but rarely has it got right. We might get a recap just after of the top 8. But not getting the actual time the car is stopped properly at the right time is annoying and ruins my idea of how the race is going. It also wrecks the excitement of the pitstop when you canâ€™t tell if if its good or bad unless its Red Bull, er I mean going wrong. Please sort this out LG because it can be done BTCC was covering 3-4 second pitstops fine back in 1998-01 so it can be done.
1. This is the Dullest most exciting letdown I have enjoyed, ever!
Bahrain was poor. Duller than Kimi Raikkonen giving you an interview on his favourite napkin. But after that we have had some good races. Yes they had H2o in the mix but I donâ€™t get why people insist on saying that â€œIf it had been dry it would of been dull.â€, Well maybe but it did rain and it made the race exciting. Its like saying â€œHe wouldnâ€™t of been a millionaire if he hadnâ€™t got those 6 numbers and a bonus ball.â€ We it happened it rained and it was good just be glad it did and enjoy what we did have. Yes F1 still has problems and I am not saying F1 is perfect now. But with headlines after Bahrain to the good races we have had the sensationalist headlines causing my mind to explode in a sea of anger, annoyance yet strange excitement as I watch these races has left me just a tad fed up and confused and really tired defending this sport. F1 will survive and give us great races. If rain comes into play so be it. That’s just the nature of the beast. But if you do want to complain about dull races have no fear! Barcelona is next…