It was good to have F1 back this morning and hopefully a return to more exciting races after last years procession. The changes this year are vast and are acting almost as a reset button on who has the best car. The result of the changes are a set of ugly cars that sound very different to the last few years but have seen a fair amount of change in qualification this morning.
Comparing 2013 and 2014 Australian from a team perspective shows just how much change has taken place. Renault in last place shows they are toiling and their struggles in testing have transferred onto Australia. Kimi won for them in Australia last year! Red Bull have actually done better than most expected but the surprise for me was Ferrari – expected a bit more after pre-season testing. Great to see Williams and McLaren improving after a torrid year and well played Toro Rosso too. Simple take away is Mercedes is the engine to have and Renault have a bit of catch up to do.
What about returning drivers?
A great day for Hamilton, Rosberg and especially Ricciardo. As for Vettel I don’t think you can blame waved yellows or conditions as Ricciardo was consistently quicker than him throughout qualifying. Hulkenburg proved his class and Bottas showed promise in the Williams. The other positives were the young guys coming in and performing great – bodes well for a competitive season.
Alonso must have a sense of deja-vu and if Ferrari don’t improve I can see him move next year. Button was disappointing and Grosjean must wonder what the next year holds for him.
I’ve got high hopes that this will be a cracking season, partly after last years dominance by Red Bull and Seb Vettel and also due to the unreliability that the cars have and also the potential for more overtakes due to the regulation changes. Roll on 6am tomorrow!
So the first race of the new F1 season is over. What a race. What a start. The Brawn GP team have come out of nowhere in pre-season testing and carried that pace through to today’s race. Roll back two months and it looked like they wouldn’t even be racing. It was great to see Button take the win, amazing that Barichello barged his way to a second place and even more unbelievable that Hamilton the snail came in third.
It will take a few races to know if the rule changes introduced for 2009 have made a difference but looking at today’s race alone there seemed to be more overtaking and action throughout the whole race. I actually enjoyed the entire race which is fairly unusual. Partly that was down to lesser teams emerging as the new contenders and seeing Ferrari and especially McLaren struggling to cope. Another reason was the overtaking and the failures/incidents right to the end of the race. Maybe it was just that F1 was back on the BBC.
I got up in time to catch the new titles this morning. The Chain is back. I liked the intro and it set the scene nicely. I’m also liking the increased coverage on the BBC and the new presenting team. Even Eddie Jordan started to grow on me once he had crawled out of Richard Branson’s arse. Speaking of Branson, it really started to annoy just how much he was spinning the Brawn win and how they’ve put in money. Yesterday. Yes, big impact they’ve made. Anyway, back to the BBC. For me they kept the good parts of ITV coverage, lost the adverts, added an after race forum which was actually good to watch and also replaced James Allen.
Yep, I’m glad good old James has moved on. I just didn’t like him as a commentator. However, as a journalist and more recently a blogger I’ve become a fan. His blog is regularly updated with insightful commentary on F1 and what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s excellent and a great companion to the TV coverage. Just a shame the TV coverage hasn’t moved on to HD…yet.
So, next stop Malaysia. More Brawn dominance? I’d expect so although I can’t see Hamilton being as lucky. Red Bull, Ferrari, Toyota and maybe BMW all look stronger and all through car failure, rule issues or driver mistakes cleared the way for Hamilton. Assuming the Brawn car is found to be legal and the keep reliable it will be really interesting to se how long the others will take to catch up. This has all the hallmarks of a great F1 season. I can’t wait.