As it turns out, any fears over Bahrain being a boring track were far in a way overestimated. The real problem, which we prayed wouldn’t rear its ugly head this season, were fresh concerns regarding the ability for overtaking and general close racing. Perhaps it won’t be too much of a concern in coming races, as even Martin Whitmarsh, in interviews following the anti-climactic race, admitted that measures still had to be taken to improve the show. That being said, the issue is here for the long haul; the cars don’t return to base until the 19th April.
Ferrari, Felipe and Fernando
Surprised more hasn’t been made out of this clever alliteration? So are we, but thankfully it would appear that the boys from Maranello are doing their talking on the track this year. Whilst Fernando’s win was great, the real hero is Massa. No one can forget the near-tragedy of last season’s events in Hungary, and despite returning to the cockpit over the winter, the jury was still out on whether the Brazillian would still have the edge to fight at the top. It was clear right from the beginning that Alonso and Massa had superior machines compared to Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull; the simple fact was that Vettel drove the bloomin’ wheels of his car to achieve his dominance in the early phase of the race. Not to take anything away from Ferrari; their cars looked silky smooth compared to the ragged balls-out drive from Seb.
Not Quite The Return Of The King
If Schumacher was unhappy yesterday, following a qualifying session that saw him take position directly behind his younger and much less experienced team mate, it was nothing compared to his attitude after failing once more to assert his dominance.
Damage limitation in press interviews suggested ‘feeling rusty’, but with expectation so high around the world, on what this high-profile return should herald, the pressure will be immense in Melbourne.
Best Of The Rest
Lotus, Virgin and Hispania all ‘successfully’ made it onto the grid for the season start, but only one team performed what could be described as a performance befitting the majesty of Formula One. Lotus was the clear winner in today’s Formula ¾ race, despite running what is being called in some quarters, little more than a GP2 car.
On the whole, they’ve all done fantastically well to come this far, but the logic of some teams, in not even attempting to run a full grand prix is puzzling. It costs hundreds of thousands to attend these flyaway races and with another two before returning to Europe, now would be a good time to address those worrisome niggles.
Today’s race was a disappointment on more than one front; the promise of so much was left unfulfilled and only compounded by totally unrealistic governance on refuelling. This little sideshow added so much in terms of entertainment and unpredictability, that without it, Formula One seems empty, horribly, horribly empty. That being said, Formula One has diversified so much over the winter break, that now we have every man and his dog in F1 using Twitter. We always knew the social media application had a more momentous stage, than simply to broadcast the ‘randomness’ of your crazy, crazy life. You can follow journos to team bosses, badgers to drivers, it’s ruddy fantastic and gives us behind the scenes info and pictures we just never had before.
All that can be said is, at least Australia will be a bigger spectacle.