F1 – Bahrain Review and Some Thoughts

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.

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5 Thoughts to “F1 – Bahrain Review and Some Thoughts

  1. Wow, you took the words out of my mouth Shaun. Whitmarsh has already gone on record asking for changes ASAP to make the racing match all the anticipation that has built up for the driver and team pairings this year. Here were his ideas.

    1-Have bridgestone develop different tires
    NOT going to happen. Bridgestone has one foot out the door already.

    2-Mandate 2 stops
    This could happen, but it shouldn’t. It won’t increase the spectacle if you take the possibility of a one stopper out.

    My idea is simple. Bring the softest compounds possible to each race. Then the teams will be forced into compromising situations with their strategies.

    Ahhh… we once again get to witness the spectacle of Formula Max.

  2. Alan Turner

    In complete agreement!!

    I think it would be better if they returned refueling but with gravity fed rigs. And instead no tire changes. Only exception would be if there was a puncture and then only one tire per stop.

    They also need to reduce the braking ability of the cars. The brakes are so good that they have compressed the braking zones too much. It’s really the only area that hasn’t been regulated to a lower level of initial performance on the cars.

    I know some people would disagree based on safety issues but I think that the real safety issues is the fact that they are waiting till less than 100m from a corner to haul it down from 300KPH.

    Wasn’t aware that a spark plug was the issue for Vettel. How good is that car if he could run as well as he did on 7/8ths power?!?!?! Holy Crap!

    I’m with Mike. One tire compound at all rounds. Super Soft. And if that doesn’t help make them run on intermediate wets. Just kidding. Seriously. Super Softs and mandate at least 2 maybe 3 stops. Here me out on this one Mike. If they have to do more stops you run more of a risk of making an error at all points through out the stop (pit in, stopping, during the tire change, leaving the box and pit exit) Granted you are putting more emphasis on passing in the pits but it’s not like we’re going to be seeing much passing on the track at this point. Anything to keep the race from being over after the first few corners.

    Of course if it stays like this we could be in for a whole season of “what on earth was he thinking” moments at the first turn. I can just hear it now. Varsha: Did Chandhok really think he could pass 18 cars into turn one?? Hobbs: I suppose he figured it might be his only chance to lead a race before his Cosworth “done blowed up” Matchet: Yes David but he had to be aware that the accordieing(sp??) effect and the fact that circuit becomes more narrow the further into the corner you go effectively reduces even further any use-able track surface in addition to the fact that he was completely sideways by the time he got to the 4th row and was sliding over top of Mark Webbers Red Bull. Not to mention the fact that even if he managed to pull off the pass he still has actually accelerate out of the corner in order to make the pass stick. Varsha: Yea, I agree I think by the time he was shearing off the Red Bulls rear wing and leaving tire marks on Webber’s helmet he had to know that it wasn’t going to work.

  3. Alan Turner

    Serious about the refueling, tires and brakes. The rest of that last post is the result of not enough sleep. I have to be at work at 2am again so I better leave now if have any hope of staying awake through lunch tomorrow.

  4. Alan,

    I know about commenting on sleep deprevation…I have made comment posts tired and woke up saying wow I was rambling.

    Agree with you guys on the tire and mandated stops. I know F1 is not supposed to be WWE even tough it is most of the time, but we do need some on track action. Michael even said overtaking was basically impossible. However, I did see where he was appointed a circuit rep during the WMSC last meeting. Maybe he can suggest some changes to add overtaking?

  5. Shaun also knows what it is like to podcast on a decided lack of liquor deprivation….. but i digress.

    If they want to fix f1, they have to start with a formula that encourages passing. This may mean spec bodywork for the rear of the car to allow the cars to run closer together. the adjustable front wing hasnt helped at all. if it did, we would actually hear something about it.

    Overtaking is hindered by the flagrant blocking that is allowed in F1. A move towards AOW type blocking rules needs to be enforced.

    I agree about the brakes!!!!!! I disagree about the mandated pitstops though. Just give them super softs and let them skate around on cords for a while, then they will get the idea that stopping is in their best interest. I prefer not having the silly prime/option tyre rule, but with no refueling allowed, it might make for some interesting strategy differences.

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