The Badgerometer is where we, the F1 Badger writers come up with our top five things about F1 at any point in time. Anything from cars, drivers, overtakes, great escapes, mistakes or Eddie Jordans choice of footwear can make it into our chart…
Welcome to the Badgerometer top 5 from Bahrain!
Formula 1 kicked off the new decade in the desert, but luck certainly deserted Sebastian Vettel when he suddenly ‘lost power’ due to suspected exhaust problems. It wasn’t a particularly racey-race, especially not for the new teams for whom the Bahrain grand prix was effectively their ‘testing’ time. Below is a picture of the 18 champions all at Bahrain this weekend. Can you guess who has been photoshopped into the picture? If you can get that, and name every person in the photo, then you will win… the chance to nominate the ‘No 1’ for the Australia Badgerometer! Fine, if you want ‘real’ prizes then you’ll just have to sign up to our Fantasy GP.
All the familiar BBC faces, and voices, were back for the 2010 season, with Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard commencing yet another year of eye-offendingly horrendous outfits in matching WHITE jeans. The only person in the entire world who can get away with white jeans is Elizabeth Hurley, and somehow I doubt she is even remotely a fan of Formula 1. Anyway, enough with the fashion parading, and on with the Badgerometer top 5 from Bahrain….!
In at number 1 it’s everyone’s favourite little Brazilian, Felipe Massa. To come back from the brink of death, (and near-blindness) and take 2nd place in the season opener is truly the stuff of legend. After his dreadful crash back in July 2009, the odds of Massa returning to F1 were, to say the least, slimmer than the chances of Martin Brundle making an unexpected comeback to the cockpit in 2010. He may have been only No 2 in the race, but Massa hands down deserves the very first Badgerometer No 1 of the season. There’s literally nothing bad you can say about him. He’s not scandalous, he’s dedicated to his team, he’s recently become a dad, and he is sure to keep team-mate Fernando Alonso honest as the season progresses.
At number 2, it’s the Lotus team. Ok, so no one will ever be able to repeat the stunningly successful ‘rookie’ year of Brawn GP (now Mercedes) of last season, but Lotus deserve a proper slap on the back for not only getting one of their cars to the full race distance, but also beating the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Buemi. The saying goes that it’s not the winning, but the taking part that counts. Lotus may not have even come close to winning in Bahrain, but at least they actually took part in the whole race! That’s more than either Hispania or Virgin racing can say. The Lotus car also looked pretty darn good against the backdrop of sandy dunes and palm trees. By comparison, the Hispania looked like the dodgy Formula 3 car from 1994 I once found rusting away in my aunt’s garage. That car didn’t work either.
At number 3, it’s none other than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He’s back everyone, so be afraid, be very afraid. Michael Schumacher must be feeling like he’s done the time warp back to 2005/06. Back then, the sprightly young Alonso basically destroyed him, and Schumacher eventually retired under a cloud of poor performances. Fast forward to now, and you’ve got Alonso on the top step of the podium collecting a WHOPPING 25 points, and Michael languishing down in 6th on a measly 8 points. To add insult to injury, Alonso is now in a Ferrari, which is Michael’s old team.
At 4 it’s the ‘new’ improved pitstops. Blink and you miss them. You pop to the kitchen to put the kettle on, and before you know it every single driver has been into the pits, changed their tyres, and are back out and battling on the track. With no refuelling this year, the pit stops are edging ever-closer to nanoseconds. Which leads nicely onto the ‘new’ 2010 strategies. The brilliance of Formula 1 is that every year the ‘formula’ changes, and the race-winning formula needs to be discovered afresh every year. Right now, who knows what’s going on with these new-fangled no-fuel pit-stops, or the strategy, or the tyres? But that’s the sheer genius of Formula 1: it is always evolving, changing and surprising.
Murray-isms have returned! Definition: Murray-ism [muh-ray-iz-um], noun, an error or discrepancy in Formula 1 commentary; Origin: the legendary Murray Walker. Is it a Virgin Racing car, or an HRT? Martin Brundle certainly doesn’t know, or care. He was too excited about his quip “the virgin pit stop for the Virgin team”. And don’t ask Legard whether it’s a Red Bull or Toro Rosso. I mean, it’s not like they’re paying him to know that kind of stuff, right? But secretly, I do quite love it when the commentators do a Murray-ism. It makes you feel all knowledgeable, smug, and a bit like some sort of F1-yoda.
This week I’m feeling pretty miffed about the new graphics for the 2010 season. You practically need a pair of binoculars, or a magnifying glass, to see what on earth they say. They’re barely bigger than those tiny weeny disclaimers you see at the bottom of adverts for shampoo. Of course the racing TV feed is important, so massive graphics saying JENSON IS 5 SECONDS BEHIND SCHUMACHER!!! running through the centre of the screen in large bold red letters would obviously be a tad distracting. However, the positions and the timings are pretty essential to the average viewer too! The initial lack of radio feed was also rather unimpressive. Get it sorted Bernie!