The first round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship has come and gone. The hype is over and what was thought to be a dream has now settled into reality. Jenson Button and Brawn GP are for real and the top teams are left asking themselves what is next. They however should not be the only ones asking that question.
The radical rule changes that were put in place for this year’s championship were seen every time a car flashed past the camera. The idea to radically change the aerodynamics package was all in the name of more overtaking and making the “spectacle” that is F1 better. Yet, the very product they tried to provide was one that has the fans of this sport asking what’s next.
Sebastian Vettel was in prime position Sunday for a podium finish and a great start to his 2009 campaign. There was one obstacle in the way of a dream start for the young German, and that was BMW Sauber ace Robert Kubica who was catching and battling Vettel for the second step on the podium. The two engaged in a thrilling battle, one that would make Formula 1 management smile from ear to ear. Then the unthinkable happened. Kubica made the move and left little room for Vettel to drive and the two came together in what was a seemingly harmless racing incident. The FIA and their now hypocritical behavior investigated the incident and handed a 10 spot grid penalty to the German Vettel. Now wait a second…was this not the very spectacle they were trying to improve? Closer racing and more overtaking only to penalize those who battle for position? What is the bonus I as a driver would receive? If the FIA are going to go through and make teams spend resources on making the racing better, then why in the hell are we going to penalize those who are simply racing? This just continues to show that justice will not be done until Bernie and Max are removed from office. I also find myself asking for the second year in a row, where the heck is the standardized stewards? This just furthers the argument that a set of stewards need to be selected and present at every race of the championship. This situation has seen before however, and the same requests and pleas from the fans will continue to fall on deaf ears.
Then the safety car incident happened. If all of that drama was not enough, the opening round saw even more drama than diffusers and accidents. In the middle of the race Kazuki Nakajima ran over some kerbing and lost control firmly planting the Williams Toyota in the wall. We all remember that part and then all watched in amazement as the safety car sat still. A car and its debris sat in the middle of the racing line only for a local yellow to come out. With cars still doing 80-100mph flying by, Kaz was left on the raceway hoping nobody hit his debris causing further damage to him and his machine. Am I the only fan who was horrified by the lack of safety car? Fresh memories of Ralph Schumacher in the U.S. Grand Prix 2004 surfaced. Granted that incident was over safety crews, the same principle can be applied to this situation as well. Adding insult to injury was the fact that when the safety car was deployed, it completely missed the leader of the race. What the hell is going on here? I was starting to get the impression that the FIA had never ran a race before. A professional governing body of multiple racing series looked absolutely ridiculous in the season opener of its premier series. In a later safety car period, Jarno Trulli was penalized for overtaking Lewis Hamilton. Granted this is an infraction of the rules, the manner in which the FIA stripped the Italian of his podium is disgraceful. Instead of telling Trulli to yield the position, they let the circus continue and then penalize him 25 seconds after the fact. Why am I constantly watching F1 if I have to wait until the race is over and look at autosport to find the final results? For those of you who believe there has been a red car rule in place for years allow me to usher in the year of the silver car rule. Why do you say this dude? I say it because there is no way on this planet that Lewis Hamilton deserves a third place finish. Vettel penalized 10 grid spots and Trulli getting penalized for a ridiculous safety car incident by the non biased stewards is ridiculous. Those penalties were certainly put in place to allow the McLaren and the golden boy a step on the podium. There, does not feel so good does it guys? These are the same kinds of “mysterious” penalties that McLaren fans have cried about for years and I am certain I will go on every Formula 1 forum or message board and see what a great drive Lewis had. Well I am here to tell you that he did not fare well in a bad car, and further more he can kiss that title good bye. He was gifted a podium and everybody knows it. So please my silver friends before you believe that you have not missed a beat and that the golden child of F1 still has it, take a look at the circumstances and realize that you just got a podium the very way that you have criticized for years.
All in all the first race showed promise for a young team and reminded us that there is no hope for a corrupt and sorry excuse for a governing body. The rulings this weekend were tasteless and hypocritical to say the least and my patience with the series I once loved has been dashed to the point where I could care less if I see another race all year.