Five things to get excited about! (or not?!)
So were now less than a week away from the lights going out and the start of F1 2010 in Bahrain. I was having a final think (…and yes it did hurt…badum bum) about what I am really looking forward to seeing this year in F1.
1) More teams fighting it out at the top
Firstly, I am really excited about having more teams battling it out at the front. For the last couple of seasons we’ve really only had two teams fighting for the championships, whether it be Brawn and Red Bull last year or the more traditionally Ferrari and McLaren before that. This year though at least to begin with it looks as though we are going to have four teams – Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes all battling it out. That I can’t wait to see.
Now whether those four teams will all still be fighting come the end of the season is another matter. You have to think that with their resources and after a dismal season last year McLaren and Ferrari will be there. But my ‘dark horse’ for 2010 has to be Red Bull. I see Mercedes GP being there or there abouts, but I think the team will not be in contention by the end of the season and will be the first to slip from the running. They’re going to have to do something pretty special to pull a rabbit out of their hat for a second year running.
2) The Old Boys – Can they mix it up?
This comes in two parts for me; the first is Schumacher and De la Rosa - two former F1 drivers returning this season, the second part comes in the form of the current old guard in F1; drivers like Rubens, Mark, Jenson and Jarno. Can Schumi, De la Rosa and the rest of the old guard really go up against and beat the likes of Hamilton, Kubica Vettel and Rosberg - these new young drivers who seem almost genetically bred for racing.
I’m not trying to compare drivers here. What I am interested in is seeing if their hunger, their racing instinct, their desire to succeed and their need for battling - going wheel-to-wheel and being the last of the late breakers will compare against these fearless new young guns. Can a more mature experienced racer as good as Schumacher with a rusty race craft be a match? We are about to find out.
Now if you are going to ask me, whether I think the old boys can take them on and give the young whippersnappers a good challenge my answer is yes. But ultimately I don't think that they can beat them regularly enough to dominate the full season.
3) Drivers in different Teams
I am also excited to see drivers change team and start a fresh. I’ve said this before in one of my previous articles, but it was getting a bit stale with drivers staying at the same teams for so long, it got predictable. Take Robert Kubica for example, he has been in F1 now since 2006 and all he’s ever driven for is BMW Sauber! Now we get to see him at Renault and adapt to a new team, a new teammate, a new way of doing things and the excitement is back because we don’t know how he’ll do in his new surroundings.
It’s the same for Alonso at Ferrari, Button at McLaren, Schumacher at Mercedes, Trulli and Kovalainen at Lotus and so on. In life people only learn and progress if they are out of their comfort zones. The driver market in F1 had become pretty boring and irrelevant with inactivity. Drivers had lost a very important challenge and we had lost the excitement of seeing them move around. I can’t ever see it ever happening but could you imagine Lewis Hamilton in the future putting on a red Ferrari overall? It’s an exciting idea and would certainly be a juicy news story, but as supporters of F1 it gives us an unknown element, an excitement, a suspense and intrigue. That’s exactly what we are going to get this year!
But lets move on and despite this looking like being a great season there is one thing that I am not excited about at all…
4) The FIA
In the past couple of seasons the FIA, the moronic governing body of Formula 1 has repeatedly stuck their noses in to the sport, messed things around and made things worse. From the rule changes they’ve introduced, their handling of FOTA, budget cuts, the various scandals like Spy-gate, Crash-gate, Mosley-gate ...?... yes that works I think! To their more recent pathetic handling of the situation involving the new teams coming in F1. I mean it's just been a disaster.
Before these incidents the FIA rarely interfered in the sport and never to such a degree to get the whole sport up in arms! Nobody had a problem with them; they just let the sport be decided by the racing on the track rather than behind closed doors. Now it seems that every year (almost like some sort of ritual) they have to meddle with something. We have the prospect of one of the closest and most exciting seasons to date, can we please let the championship be settled without them messing it up with their usual alacrity!
Anyway rant over! But there is one final thing I’d like to look at.
5) The Newbies
So we’ve got a lot of new drivers making their debuts in F1 this season, drivers like Hulkenberg, Petrov, Senna, di Grassi to name but a few. But in the last couple of seasons we’ve seen a lot of newbies like Piquet, Grojean, Alguersuari, Nakajima and Bourdais all come in and fall flat on their faces.
They seemed unable to control the car and match the more established drivers on the grid - why is this? Are they being thrust into the limelight too soon? Are they not ready? Are they not capable and if so why? I admit not everyone is going to be a new Hamilton or Vettel, but is it to much to expect them not to throw it at the wall every other weekend? It’s a bit embarrassing really.
In the past I’ve made predictions for new drivers coming into F1. Sometimes I’ve been surprised, but mostly these drivers have disappointed. Can this year’s batch change that? Maybe drivers like Hamilton and Vettel have raised the standard of my expectations too much and the newbies simply can’t match that. I hope they do well, but I have a feeling that most of them will fall by the wayside like so many before.
In any case, im super excited about the new season, only a few more days to go, bring on Friday practice.