The Australian Grand Prix has been and gone. As always, it created a few talking points for us to dive in to. Chris Fawcett has been looking at some of the more obscure things that this year’s season opener may be remembered for.
Where do we begin with this one? I think we’ve come round to the idea that Lewis Hamilton sports the most outlandish looking appearance – remember the blonde hair, the nose piercing and the tattoos? It’s all become pretty commonplace. The same cannot be said for the quiet, family man from Heppenheim. In one fell swoop, he’s made Lewis’ flamboyance yesterday’s news. What is going on with Vettel’s hair?
I get the sense Peaky Blinders may be the reason behind the haircut, but that doesn’t make it right, I missed most of what was said in the post-qualifying press conference because I still couldn’t believe my eyes. I kept rewinding the coverage because I was transfixed on that hairy pancake dolloped atop his cranium. I know there is a regulation about removing caps during the national anthems on the podium, but please, for the love of god, allow Seb to keep his on in future.
Sainz feeling sick
Carlos Sainz was having a solid race until he suddenly developed travel sickness. As unusual as this is, I can’t help but wonder if it was an effect of the Halo as Sebastian Vettel said he felt quite dizzy after his first few laps in it too.
As driving a car is Mr Sainz’s job, I felt a little sorry for him, so I looked online at the best cures for motion sickness. What I soon realised is that he needs to stop fiddling with engine modes on his steering wheel because reading while travelling is a big no-no. Maybe if he opens his visor to let some air in that may also help. A final suggestion might be some “sea bands” to contact his pressure points…apparently this works, but Renault might not like the added weight in the car.
Have drivers got the “ump” with their teams?
Last year I looked forward to the team radio messages as much as the on-track action. A Romain Grosjean radio meltdown was as likely as a Mercedes or Ferrari victory. With that in mind, I can’t be the only one left slightly disappointed that there didn’t seem to be as much radio contact, especially from the drivers back to the team during the Australian Grand Prix. What’s going on? have the drivers lost the ability to talk or were they just being mardy?
Ricciardo had a few chats, as too did Lewis Hamilton once he realised the VSC computer program had left him behind Vettel. Kimi was even quiet during the race, despite the team telling him to “pick up his pace”. I felt for sure that would warrant a “yes, yes, I know what I’m doing” response but no, nothing. I’m really pleased that Haas has started the season with genuine pace, but maybe not at the expense of a Romain radio rampage.
Renault outperformed by their customers
The Renault works team are the slowest of all the Renault-powered cars. They’re a solid midfield outfit with a great looking livery but doesn’t quite cut it with Red Bull challenging the higher echelons of the grid and a rejuvenated McLaren looking to get in on the action.
It’s early days, but how long can the French manufacturer see this go on for? The idea of a Williams out-performing Mercedes, or a Sauber (it’s still a Ferrari) sticking it to the Prancing Horse on a regular basis seems outlandish, so why would Renault allow it to carry on? Will it lead to a few loose parts being fitted to customer engines, or dials being turned down in the power output department? I doubt it, but who doesn’t love a good conspiracy?
Who’s lining up at the job centre this week?
Formula One is a cutthroat sport, where performance is everything, that said, there were a few striking blunders in Australia.
Haas’ rear wheel-gunner is unfairly going to feel like he let the side down, he didn’t, but his machinery did, and a workman is only as good as his tools. Or something like that. He needs to replace his wheel gun with something a bit more reliable; Japanese or German built, they’re known for their consistency and solid build. Failing that, a career change might be in order – he was punching the air in disgust with some real venom, so, professional boxer maybe?
Mercedes’ computer programmer had a ‘mare during the race. To be fair I’m not sure even the team know who to blame, whether it’s a single person or a collective group. Here’s an idea; the “Wags” of yesteryear used to sit on the pit wall with a stopwatch, they never got moaned at and they did a great job so why not bring them back? Maybe Toto could ask Suzie nicely, or Niki Lauda – he just sits there looking miserable these days. What is his job again?
I’m a big believer in using ex-racing drivers as pundits they (usually) offer a great insight into what is going through the mind of a driver at a certain point and recall their own stories as a means of helping the viewer understand. Nico Rosberg did neither in Melbourne. I hope it was first-time nerves because I believe he has such recent knowledge of the sport, that his contribution could be excellent. He was caught messing around on camera with Crofty when he was on-air, failed to follow simple instructions by Martin Brundle during the grid walk and when he was asked certain questions, he almost froze…please, Nico, you’re better than this and can offer so much more.
Finally, we’ll go back to where it began; Vettel’s hair. I don’t know if the person responsible is still at college studying for a career in hairdressing, but I may suggest looking at a different career path. There might be openings at Haas or Mercedes soon.