Another round of the FIA World Championship is in the books and it has been a weekend that has turned F1 upside down yet again. We thought that we may see a race weekend that was focused on the racing, but unfortunately it was not the case. This time it was a more humbling incident that made us loose focus.
As by now all have heard, the Felipe Massa incident during the second qualification session ended any chance of having a normal race weekend. The young Brazilian was nearly taken from us too soon and there is no doubt in my mind that it was that event that had the drivers a bit quiet for most of the event. At this moment, questions as to whether Felipe will ever come back to the car have been raised and we here at openpaddock.net have Felipe and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
There was a race and it was a good one compared to the usual Hungary standards. I almost feel like a liar after stating on the podcast that it would be a snoozer. The action was good and for one weekend anyways, the natural order in F1 was restored. Lewis Hamilton’s victory was a great one and the team had really worked on the chassis in preparations for this weekend. If you can recall the German GP, the team thought they were capable of victory but an early incident in turn 1 saw the young Brit limp around the raceway with a flat tire. This weekend however, all the pieces came together and we were treated to a classic McLaren/Ferrari battle. Kimi made some questionable moves on the start that did put him under stewards observation. You will be happy to know that those investigations yielded no penalty. This was the appropriate ruling by the FIA because the hits were not intentional. Where the FIA went wrong was reverting back to their old tactics that seen a decision being made after the race. With Kimi finishing in the second position and potentially first had there been a problem on the McLaren, we would have seen the very problems that have turned the FIA into a disaster.
Mark Webber did well to make up ground in the championship battle. He has even jumped his teammate Sebastian Vettel and now holds second place. The Australian is closing the gap after a miserable weekend from the Brawn machines that seen them bleeding points for 70 laps. I originally thought going into this weekend that perhaps the conditions were not playing into the hands of the Brawn GP guys. Now the more I think about it, I just think they have lost the development battle. A small team that is low on funding and personnel just cannot keep up to the Renault, Ferrari, McLaren budget. Jenson Button has expressed concern for his championship lead and he should. At this rate, it will only be a matter of three or four races that will see him off the title lead.
I briefly mentioned the stewards earlier in this post. If you think they would not have a role through the day, you would be sadly mistaking. During the early stages of the race, the Renault left pit lane with a loose wheel that came off on Fernando’s out lap. The tire then bounced across the race way and eventually came to rest in a grassy run off area. The team after the race was banned from the European GP and will not be allowed to participate in one of the Spaniard’s home races. The team has obviously appealed this ban and there is more to come. I think this punishment is ridiculous and over the top as most things the FIA does. Granted the wheel did come off and posed a serious safety hazard, there is no reason a team should be banished from a grand prix because of it. I will join many other fans who have said that similar incidents in the past have not seen such punishment and just because of the two incidents that occurred the last couple weeks, there is no reason a team should not be able to compete. Renault are a professional race team and some times mistakes are made. The only reason this is an issue is because of the incidents this weekend and last. I hope the FIA will investigate this and find another penalty more fitting. The series cannot suffer another blow and not allowing Fernando to compete will do the series no favors amongst the Spanish fans.
All in all the race was good and the off track antics and events were very humbling. I hope that during these next few weeks we are able to resolve this incident and allow the race to have all of its participants while also allowing for the series to look into these sudden freak accidents and prepare the cars in such a way that we don’t see these types of things again. Granted that will be next to impossible, but it is better than nothing at all. Listen to the podcast later this week for more insight into this past weekends race.