Sunday, March 20, 2011

I can't wait for the five red lights to go out!

With just about four days left for the kick off of the Formula One World Championship in Australia, very little can be said about what will actually follow once it begins.

So far Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Williams have all at some point recorded the fastest timing in practice but with huge difference in those timings themselves, it is certainly hard to decipher which team is truly on top.

Red Bull and Ferrari do appear to have an edge over the other – marginally albeit. But in the world of fast cars, strategy, testing and a sport so dependant on weather, one can hardly say the results are conclusive! And more so, when a certain Michael Schumacher isn’t heading the leader board, then surely there must be more to come and much more to see before we can right of the other teams. Or at least relegate them to the mid field!

But in a time when rules and regulation dominate the sport, you begin to think. How much of the effort is the driver’s and how much the machinery. You only have to go back a couple of decades to the era when driver skill was almost the whole and soul of Formula One; And in my opinion rightly so. Yes, there was a car and I absolutely agree that it takes a good…no wait…fantastic car to win you races but really when the driver has no freedom to anything other than put on his blinkers…I mean helmet and drive. Truly, the Ecclestone era has done some immense damage!

This season, all cars are on the Pirelli tyres following the withdrawal of Bridgestone from the sport and of course teams can’t use as many sets as they want or even require! The allocated number of tyre sets per race weekend has been reduced to 11 from 14 and each driver gets the same combination of tyres which then means that pretty much every one will be making or not making the same mistakes. So much for the entertainment of watching people like Juan Pablo Montoya slipping and sliding around on slicks when the heavens were pouring their hearts out! No no…it is a sin now. One cannot have such things in the fine sport anymore!

Going on to a few more rules:


During the first phase of qualifying, any driver who fails to set a lap within 107 percent of the fastest Q1 time will not be allowed to start the race. However, in exceptional circumstances, which could include a driver setting a suitable time during practice, the stewards may permit the car to start.”

Would you look at that then! So what you just don’t start? Or do you start from the pits? And what might these mysterious ‘exceptional circumstances’ be?

And if you thought that was a bit harsh, here’s the most ludicrous rule of them all. Team personnel will not be allowed to work the hours they want to! According to the official rules and regulations, “They will not be allowed into the circuit between midnight and 6am when practice is scheduled to start at 10am the following day, or between 1am and 7am when practice starts at 11am. Each team is permitted four individual exceptions to this rule during the season.”

Who knew that hard work and passion to win would also be punishable! For shame! What has F1 come to?

Forget that though, now gearboxes, which mind you at the best of times were a bit tricky, have to last 5 races instead of the previous 4.

Now most importantly, why is F1 on a cost cutting spree? And why must a McLaren be forced to spend less on a car when they can spend more, only because the officials want to make it a level playing field? In tennis, I don’t see Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and the other big ones being told to hit with less skill and power, or not change their racquet when they feel like it! Perhaps ATP is smarter than FIA and genuinely wants real talent to come out on the courts with a proper finish as opposed to a calculated and almost pre determined outcome as is with most F1 races.

That is about all I had to say about what I dislike about the sport at the moment! But I am certain that the minute I hear those revving engines and I see the five red lights go out…as always I’ll completely forget the flaws and I will as usual be head over heels in love with the latest F1 season before Jake Humphrey can even come on and give us an overview!

And this one is going to be good. How can it not? 5 World Champions on track. One is Hamilton...we can always expect a fight from him. Button, I've always liked his spirit and admired his talent. Vettel, he's the one to beat I suspect. Alonso, a man I disliked thoroughly but I've grown to love, he's always lurking in the shadows to pounce. But that is of course when he's not hogging the limelight. And then...7 time world champion MICHAEL SCHUMACHER. That is all!

PS - I can't wait for the race in Delhi! Waaaaaaayo!


PPS - Psst Schumi...good luck! x