Emma gives us a rundown of the F1 Season so far
This year, we’ve welcomed a new era of F1 in which V6 power units with higher level of energy recovery systems have replaced the ear piecing V8 engines which have been a part of F1 since 2006. Not to mention aerodynamic changes and many other aspects under the surface. The rulebook has been re-written and the slate wiped clean.
The lead up and beginning of testing saw one by one, the future of F1 being revealed. For the first time in a while, a good amount of cars didn’t look the same with teams taking different approach of the new regulations. Whilst this was a good thing, many, many fans criticised the noses on majority of the cars. The likes of the Toro Rosso and Force India noses being compared to a gentleman’s, umm, bit!
Lotus didn’t join in testing until Bahrain. Beforehand in Jerez, it was clear that teams powered by Mercedes engines had the upper hand. The Mercedes team became early favorites with a solid amount of testing miles along with good pace. Red Bull produced the biggest surprise as they struggled massively with a mixture of a poor initial development from engine supplier Renault and Adrian Newey packing all the new technology together too closely in the RB10 that caused at least one fire. Williams and McLaren showed a possible return of competiveness. Back markers Caterham struggled with reliability but seemed to have the advantage over Marussia.
During testing at Jerez, the new sound of F1 became the next aspect to be heavily criticized. For me, I’m not bothered about it. Yes, the difference is massive but I feel most fans are being superficial and not giving the new sound a chance. But that’s my opinion.
During Bahrain testing, Red Bull’s troubles continued, albeit not as badly as Jerez. They got more miles but in contrast to Mercedes, they still had a cause for concern. Williams and McLaren mixed with Mercedes as the teams with the faster, consistent pace. Ferrari still remained more of a midfield team with the rest of the teams just quietly getting on with it.
Pre Albert Park, I actually felt generally excited for the first time in a couple of years at least. How many drivers were going to finish? Who will win? Will Red Bull have any trouble?
It turned out to be a fairly interesting race weekend. Nico Rosberg won for Mercedes who had results of compete opposite with Lewis Hamilton failing to finish with an engine issue. Red Bull had a similar outcome with Sebastian Vettel failing to finish with his own engine issue and the team’s new boy, Daniel Ricciardo finished 2nd at his home race. It was short-lived though as the FIA disqualified him due to fuel flow being too high on his car. Red Bull is appealing this decision. McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen finished 3rd on his debut race, equaling Lewis Hamilton back in 2007. Jenson Button finished 4th and helped McLaren lead the Constructor’s Championship after the first race. An almost opposite form compared to 2013.
Ferrari, even though both cars finished, didn’t have a great start their 2014 campaign with Fernando Alonso 4th and Kimi Raikkonen struggled with the F14-T and was 7th. Valtteri Bottas, who suffered a puncture after brushing a wall, finished 5th but it was suspected that he would have challenge a podium finish if he didn’t have his issue. Felipe Massa retired after being taken out by returning Kamui Kobayashi after a brake failure. Danii Kyvat broke an F1 record by becoming the youngest point scorer in his debut race. He finished behind his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne who was 8th.
Malaysia yet again saw Mercedes dominate the field with Lewis Hamilton leading a 1-2 finish. Sebastian Vettel managed to salvage a better weekend after qualifying 2nd and finishing 3rd. Unfortunately Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo yet again struggled with luck after receiving a stop-go penalty during the race due to an unsafe release, front wing failing soon after and was then handed a 10-place penalty for Bahrain. He retired. Despite the poor form of luck, team principal Christian Horner has expressed how pleased he is of Ricciardo’s performance.
Felipe Massa suffered a case of déjà vu with a team order to let Bottas pass during the latter stages of the race. Although Massa ignored this order and Bottas, who branded himself on the radio of being faster, failed to overtake his teammate. Probably Williams have created unnecessary friction so early on in the season. Massa insisted he choose the right decision in not letting Bottas pass. I for one agree with Massa. Caterham appeared to be fairly competitive after Raikkonen finding himself struggling to pass Kobayashi during the Malaysian Grand Prix. Fellow back markers Marussia continue to struggle.
Over the first two Grand Prix, one thing I have thought is that the standard of racing has vastly improved. Ok, the sound and appearance isn’t the same but I do want people to remember that F1 is about racing and creating leading technology. FIA have aimed this and I think they are achieving it.
Next up is the Bahrain Grand Prix and this time it will be held at night time. The Bahrain International Circuit is mainly a high-speed circuit so its expected that fuel consumption will be high. Last year Nico Rosberg took pole with Sebastian Vettel taking the win. Will the race be a straight fight between Mercedes and Red Bull?