Monday, 19 April 2010

An Update after 4 rounds.

I’m wondering what the biggest talking point after 4 races is. There are undoubtedly many to choose from. Is it Button vs. Hamilton (along with the resultant bit about Button finding his feet in the Woking squad)? Is it Alonso vs. Massa (now more so after Alonso’s brazen pit lane overtake in China)? How about Schumacher vs. Rosberg (delicious due to the fact the Rosberg has used a hammer to beat MS on track, all the while sweet talking everyone into thinking he is the undisputed No.2 at Mercedes GP)?

This does not account the technical talking points including F-Ducts, Double and Super Diffusers, side-mounted mirrors and ride height adjusters! The first race may have been dull, but the circus that is Formula 1 has more than made up for it with customary flair.

Ferrari, Mclaren, Red Bull, Mclaren. These have been the 4 teams that have won races this year. On the face of it, it would seem like Mclaren have the upper hand. Yet people are talking about more than them. Red Bull has been the source of much news, gossip and rumors, Ferrari have been in the thick of everything that’s happened to date and the world of Mercedes has been thrown upside down.

The racing too, has been quite extraordinary. Lewis Hamilton might be secretly loathing his new team mate stealing all the spotlight from him, but he has done his racing reputation no harm by driving like a man possessed (and this includes his swerving on Petrov at Sepang and pit lane skirmish with Vettel in China). The matador in Ferrari has shown the ruthlessness that makes him the champion he is by driving the engine off his car in Malaysia and mauling the field (including his team mate) in China. Too much has been made out of his move on Massa in the pit lane. The reality is that something was going to happen at some point of time between the 2. Alonso is not a No.2 driver and Ferrari should have expected it. Legally too Alonso is in the clear, as the pit lane entrance is a part of the track. Massa has to pull his socks up. If he does not, he’ll be gobbled up by Alonso (who has no qualms about doing so) as well as finding himself out of a Scarlet seat very soon.

Red Bull, who have seemed super quick all season had a bit of a wake up call in the Chinese GP. Not only did they struggle to compete with Mclaren, their drivers later admitted to being “Blown away” in the race. The recent FIA ruling banning Ride Height Adjusters in any form was thought to result in the Red Bull’s demise in qualifying. The fact that they blocked out the front row was a verification of Christian Horner’s comments about Red Bull not using any such system at all!

A word about the new teams. Its commendable to note that every new team has manged to close the gap to the main field in the last 2 races. The clearest sign of this was when HRT manged to get to within a couple of seconds off the pace of the quickest new team, all of it without any updates whatsoever. This is going to be a hard season for the new drivers as well, and one can onloy hope that they do enough to impress any of the big teams so that they remain in the sport for the nest year as well.

Volcanic Ash in the sky prevent the teams from getting home, but rest assured that the men and women in the factory will be working very hard to get major updates ready for the start of the European leg at Valencia in 3 weeks time.

This season is set to get better. A lot better.

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