Saturday night/Sunday morning brought us the second round of the Formula 1 2010 campaign and WOW! What a difference a wet track makes! Jenson Button would take an impressive victory and would actually get a couple respect points added in my book.
The first corner clash of champions would prove too much for Michael Schumacher to overcome, but what about Fernando Alonso? What a dominant performance in the Ferrari after being spun completely around. I for one had wrote him off after that and he then showed me why he has two world championships (foolish me). Given previous incidents that have happened in the first turn at Melbourne, I was impressed with the drivers and their abilities to not smash into each other. Mainly I would like to highlight a lot of the younger drivers in the really bad cars that could have hit Fred but actually made it around. We have to remember that the track was still wet off line for the first ten or so laps, so great job guys controlling those machines on ice.
I have been very critical of Lewis Hamilton throughout the years and don’t really like the guy to be honest. However, I will say that I was really impressed with his performance Sunday until a crazed Australian speared him off the road! Lewis slashed through traffic all day and was really making it a race until the before mentioned incident as well as some questionable pit strategy. One thing that I have seen in the first two races is the stress of having so many contenders is already starting to show. Lewis had been running in the third position for most of the event until McLaren pulled him in for fresh tires. Both Button and Kubica would stay on their original set, but given data that showed Michael and Mark Webber were running purple sectors, Whitmarsh and the team decided to bring him in and because of that call, Lewis was put into the position that got him hit. Martin says it was the right call and the data is there…but at the same time I may have left him out when the other front runners stayed out. Then again, I am not a team principal so vision is 20/20.
Speaking of Bobby K, Kubica had a fantastic race start and would end in a very impressive second position. I don’t remember Robert being a very accomplished wet weather driver, but he came off the start line like he was shot from a rifle. An awesome result for the Renault after so much controversy and uncertainty the last few months. Of course Petrov was no where to be seen but lets be realistic. Looks as though Robert may have found a good mesh for a few years if he can continue to improve.
The two teams I like a whole lot (Mercedes and Red Bull) had lack luster weekends for sure. I don’t get what it is with Red Bull…did we learn nothing from last season? It was not unreasonable for the drink racers to come out and say we want the title after last years season. However, when you move forward you need to fix the problems that prevented you from winning last year. It is obvious that Red Bull has not and until they do I fear they will suffer the same misfortunes.They say that reliability issues are not alarming to this point…I sit and scratch my head. You barely finished the first race and you didn’t finish the second. If I was in Mr. Horner’s position I would be freaking out and looking for answers. Perhaps the week of testing they missed should have been used for reliability purposes. Mercedes GP had another solid 5th position out of Nico Rosberg and we already mentioned Michael’s fate in the clash of champions. Michael claims that the team ran a conservative strategy and that the team is moving forward. While I agree that the team is improving, a podium is going to be needed soon or they may fall into obscurity. I am a little slow to count out Michael and I am sure they will have a podium and maybe even a win before it is all said and done, but it needs to come sooner than later.
All in all I was very impressed with the race but I am still skeptical of the product we are going to get on track. Australia has always been a wildcard race and it is not a Tilke nightmare. The drivers were much more aggressive however and I thought that was pretty refreshing. The stress is already building up and we are now rolling into Malaysia this week. Should be interesting to see if the show keeps up or if we return to the Boring GP…oh sorry I meant the Bahrain GP. Stay tuned to find out.
5 Thoughts to “F1 – Australian Grand Prix Thoughts”
Adrian’s designs have always lacked reliability, but Vettel’s failures in Bahrain and Austrailia are independent issues and unrelated to the design of the car itself. Their biggest mistake this year was sticking with the Renault lump. I’m not confident that it’s entirely reliable. The brake failure was freaky. It wasn’t like Vettel was pushing the car ultra hard. …just one of those things.
I think this race showed that the cars are quite capable of producing exciting, competitive, and entertaining racing. It’s the proliferation of Tilke tracks that are hurting the sport more than anything else.
Fantastic job by Button! Well done, mate! I would like to say to Mr. Webber, “WTH, man?” and to Mr. Hamilton, “Nice drive, but shut it!” Take ownership of your own results and don’t go blaming the team.
I don’t think the design is lacking reliability as much as the car is just put together by a bunch of clowns. The design is consistent for kicking a** but then something non design related keeps breaking. Spark plug….brake system…do they even check the things when they put them on?
Spark plugs are most likely not checked by the team. Renault supplies the engine and the team pretty much treats it like a plug and play unit.
As for the brake system we now know that it wasn’t the brakes. And even if it was, it’s still possible for the design team on the car to induce a failure of a supplied system. i.e. not enough cooling because of the air flow over/around/through the car and the radiators/oil coolers leads to overheating problems with the lump.
If I had to put money down I’d bet on a failure in metallurgy. Which leads back to Shaun’s question about whether they bother to check the parts they put on the car. Tough call that. It’s possible that no amount of checking would have revealed the flaw in the part(s) that failed.
I would imagine if Mr. Horner is not panicking it’s because they have identified the source of the failures and have implemented a series of remedies to avoid these problems in the future.
And as for you Mr. Patterson, aren’t you the engineer/scientist? What do you mean “just one of those things”??? You of all people around here should know that there are always a series of failures that lead to the eventual unintended outcome. Yea, I know what I said two paragraphs ago but I have to give you a hard time just the same.:-)
I am an “engineer/scientist” type, although I have to confess to being more scientist than engineer. Mike is the true engineer. However, I will stand by the “just one of those things” statement. Mechanical failures are going to happen if you’re running on the ragged edge. If you’re not suffering an occasional failure now and then, its a sign that you’re not running hard enough. That’s one of my major complaints about the IndyCar Series right now. They’re not really pushing the equipment to the ultimate limit.
One can’t rely on the “just one of those things” excuse too long, though. The wheel issue is definitely something that needs to be examined closely. They need to be sure as to the cause of the problem. If it was just an unseen material defect that’s one thing. If its an inherent flaw in the structure, then it needs to be fixed. The two failures that Vettel suffered are definitely unrelated, and we haven’t seen any similar issues with Webber’s car, so yeah for now its “just one of those things.” 😉
Doug, I agree. Just had to give you a hard time.
I think the problem with pushing the envelope is that manufactures don’t like their product failing in front of millions of potential customers. OK, in the case of ICS right now that number is probably actually the tens of thousands but you get the picture.
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