The first race of the 2010 world championship has come and gone and everybody can be happy that the natural order has been restored. However the most anticipated season in F1 history continued to display the same gremlins that the FiA just can’t shake.
Fernando Alonso would eventually take victory after Sebastian Vettel hit engine trouble (spark plug) in the closing stages. Fernando is the second straight full time Ferrari driver to win on his debut. The Maranello based squad put on an impressive debut with a 1-2 finish as Felipe Massa would sit on the second step of the podium. A great result for Massa after the near death accident in Hungary last year. Lewis Hamilton would put McLaren on the podium in third position.
The regulations proved to be radically different as we had no re-fueling and smaller front tires. All of these were made to improve the competition and overall spectacle that is F1, but instead has Monaco ized every race. The racing for this opening event was garbage in the early stages and never really picked up at all. There was interest towards the end as the tires were prime and the fuel loads were low, but overall I was disappointed with the on track product. As much as the FiA and Formula 1 management attempt to adjust this product, they further ruin it! Track layout is a driving point and may need to be adjusted for a more competitive event. The steps taken by Bahrain to accompany more cars were the wrong steps as the section opened up proved to an overtaking nightmare. With all of the bumps through the section, there was no way cars would be passing. Just a little something for the organizers to take back and maybe adjust for future outings.
The new teams had an up and down week. HRT would have both of their cars retire early and I must say I am not surprised. In fact, I think it would be ridiculous if anybody was shocked. The Virgin F1 cars would also retire while Lotus would be the only team to finish the event. One of the big things that stood out in my mind was a comment made by Nick Wirth praising his CFD design. Wirth commented that Virgin’s performance this weekend justified the CFD design…really? A retirement on lap 3 and never any real pace lends credit to your position? While I agree that it did put a car on track, it did not put out a car that was quick at all and to use this as a basis for justifying yourself is pathetic. A computer will never take the place of a human’s ability to imagine and dream up a design but that is for another discussion.
All in all I was very excited for the race weekend and I am also very excited for Australia. However, Nick Fry was right and we need a better on track product. I am not for turning it into NASCRAP, and I feel if you are the fastest car on track and nobody can pass you, then so be it. However the regulations and current track layouts make for absolutely no overtaking. So even if you are the fastest car, your car is so handicapped that passing is not really possible. The real question is why did nobody think of this before the season? Everybody acts shocked…should we be? I think not but I guess that is what we get for being optimistic.