Probably some time this season, Force India will inadvertently get a point for they are progressing well, race to race, and are trying too hard that their luck will change sooner or later. But in a dry, straight-forward race, the race at Monte Carlo was their best bet, that is, if you can call Monaco a ‘straight-forward’ race.
The twisty track at Monaco makes the team concentrate more on mechanical efficiency as aerodynamic built of a car is really not tested and therefore, teams like Force India have a chance. One would also like to put McLaren in the same bracket for they are struggling with their car as well but this was one track where Lewis Hamilton could have gunned for his best result of the year, up until he blew it in qualifying.
On Saturday, their hopes would have been up for the two Force India cars qualified 13th and 15th, their best qualifying results in their short history in this sport. It was all the more reason to be hopeful for they had left two Toyotas, two BMWs and one McLaren in their wake, and with the track not allowing much overtaking opportunities, they could be assured of running a good race.
The only part they needed to get right after a great qualifying session was their strategy and they did that well enough when they fueled Fisichella’s car to do more than forty laps on his first stint. Sutil was on a more aggressive two pit-stop strategy, obviously hoping for a safety car period to take advantage of. Had that happened, probably both of the cars could have been in points, but as it panned out, there was no major incident during the race making this year’s Monaco GP somewhat of a procession.
Fisichella did manage to get to eighth place on his one-stop strategy but couldn’t keep going for he had to stop for fuel and tyres. And as it is, Sutil is more adept at defending or attacking with the car at their disposal, while at his age, expecting something like that from the Italian is asking a bit too much. So, in the end, Giancarlo Fisichella brought the car home in 9th place, probably with both the driver and the pit-crew hoping throughout the final few laps that any car in front of him would give away or crash or something, so that he could move up. And with Sutil following in at 14th, it was somewhat of a disappointment compared to the highs he achieved in last year’s wet Monaco GP.
The World Champions have done it again! Famous Ferrari Fumble, if I
could call it that! Unfortunately for Ferrari and their fans, the
fumbles have happened one too many already in 2009. 4 times in 5 races
this season! The Spanish GP, in which they were expecting to bounce
back, they made 2 errors in 2 days!
In Spain, the first of the Ferrari fumble was when Kimi Raikkonen
got caught in his pit box. Instead of being out on track and posting a
laptime, the 2007 champion was seated stationary in his car as he saw
himself being eliminated in Q1. Apparently, the team miscalculated the
time needed for his final run! This particular qualifying error was not
the first of this season. Earlier, Massa was the victim and it seems
Ferrari are on their way to ‘mastering’ this error!
Day and the unreliability of Ferrari’s F60 was on display again. First,
Kimi’s KERS failed before the start of the race and then the demons hit
Kimi’s hydraulics and caused his retirement. Kimi was chasing BMW’s
Heidfeld and just when he seemed like making an attempt to pass
Heidfeld, his engine lost drive.
Ferrari of course switched all
their energies to Felipe Massa who was running strong in 3rd position.
However, it seems they under estimated their fuel consumption for Massa
who was constantly being told on the radio to ‘conserve fuel’ while
defending a charging Vettel in his Red Bull.
calculations revealed that he was one lap short on fuel. Massa had two
options, one was to pit for fuel and loose around 22 seconds and risk
finishing outside the points. Second, was to slow down and let Vettel
through! Thankfully, Ferrari made the right call here by asking Massa
to slow down 4 laps from the end.
Poor ol’ Massa, who drove a
perfect race and ensured that his slower Ferrari stayed ahead of the
Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel had to eventually let him go. Massa had to
drop upto 8 seconds a lap to ensure that his Ferrari crossed the
chequered flag atleast.
One lap to the end, Renault’s Fernando
Alonso hammered the final nail in Ferrari’s Spanish coffin by passing
Massa to gain 5th place. Soon after crossing the finish line, Massa’s
car ran out of fuel and had to be parked at the side of the circuit.
Just showing what a comical error the Italian team had made.
the Ferraris did show the pace to be racing at the front of the grid,
they made too many errors to exploit their pace and gain some valuable
championship points. They suddenly seem to be a team that has lost
confidence and is making the most immature strategic calls this season.
I am sure they too are wondering what they have to do to have an error
free weekend this season. God save the Ferraris, or can you Michael?
The European Leg!!
Spain usually marks the start of the European leg of the F1 championship, followed by a quick race around the streets of Monaco. Since the season starts off in Australia and then heads to Malaysia followed by China and Bahrain – they are slotted as the ‘away’ races.
The away races usually are a logistical nightmare – since there is tons of equipment to transfer besides the cars and drivers – they also offer an interesting insight into teams performances and development programs.
The away races also mean that the teams don’t always necessarily travel in full attendance. The recession not being the only reason, but key personnel are needed back in the factories to develop the cars as they grow older through the season – race by race.
As a result of the distances away from their ‘bases’ in Europe the teams are not fully equipped to run their otherwise busy development cycles. The time zones too are not too friendly for constant development. Hence, if attempted, one could draw a chart showcasing a trend in team performance. I wouldn’t say it is a rule of thumb – but a team that usually doesn’t ‘perform’ in the opening round in Australia would usually not perform in the other away rounds.
So typically 2009 too – we have seen a similar trend. Brawns have come from no where [literally] and have blown the field away. If I could – I would coin a term – ‘if it’s dry, it’s Brawn!!’
We also saw the Toyotas pose a challenge time and again, but their qualifying pace hasn’t converted to a strong race pace. Tyre usage is increasingly important this year due to decrease in aero grip – the Toyotas clearly have struggled in this aspect. Their driver duo are one of the best equipped to develop a racing car – whether this duo can win Toyota their first GP win in F1 waits to be seen. But I would put my money on Glock rather than Trulli – just a gut feel!
Williams! One wonders what they need to do to perform. They have got the car right – well atleast the diffuser. They have been topping the timing sheets on Friday. But have clearly lacked performance when it matters the most. Nico has been on the pace time and again while Kazuki seems to be still finding his feet – Williams clearly is one team that hasn’t extracted the potential out of their machines yet.
Funnily, Brawns, Toyota and Williams have been slotted into one bracket this year – and not just by me. The Diffuser Three as they are called have clearly set the pace and benchmarked themselves against the rest. With the European leg setting in and most teams getting their new diffusers too – will these three still beat the others at it? Or will their dominance finally be challenged?
The only team that has posted a win this season with a conventional diffuser design has been Red Bull. Vettel and Webber have been in the thick of things. They have been pushing each other on track and off it! The Adrian Newey designed car has clearly been the talk of the season. They have proved to the entire paddock that the diffuser is not the ‘only’ way to make an aero efficient car.
Last years championship winning teams Ferrari and Mclaren have clearly struggled to extract pace from their cars, but is there really more pace in their cars? Personally I think that they are a long away from scoring a victory this season. The technical changes of the 2009 season wiped the slate clean for all teams and as Adrian Newey and Ross Brawn put it – the ‘intelligent’ teams are the ones that have made the most of it. For a change, the power of money has failed to work in the world of F1!
Ferrari and Mclaren are upbeat about their chances in the European leg of the season. They are working over time to fit the double deck diffusers to their cars. But will this hurried attempt work? Considering that there is an in-season ban in testing cars and new components the task of car development only becomes harder. Which also means that the teams will be using the Friday and Saturday practice sessions to test their cars. Quite funny considering that they could instead use the sessions to just make the cars go faster!
While the on-track has been fun to say the least – the off track too has made headlines and typically for all the wrong reasons. The diffuser saga was brought to an end and so was the lie-gate issue. McLaren were handed a suspended sentence – which in F1 terms is very funny. The team was penalized for ‘lying’ to the FIA and later pardoned because they were ‘fair and true’ during their interrogation. Funny ways of the FIA!
Amidst all the immediate decisions the FIA also released the rules and regulations for the 2010 season. While the press release carried that the ‘winner takes all’ will be re-introduced, the FIA further re-clarified by issuing another press release that it indeed was a mistake. This too is a ‘first’ for the FIA – claiming that they made a mistake.
The future of F1 is in jeopardy – and not necessarily due to external recession. The damage this time could be more internal. The constant changing of rules has not gone down well with the fans. Also, the FIA is keen on introducing a two – tier F1 championship from next year. Comically, the tier system is differentiated on team budgets and not on a technical scale. We’ll leave that for a later discussion. But the two tier system has raised many concerns by the participating manufacturers who have threatened the FIA that they could re-consider their commitment towards Formula1.
Unfortunately, in this war of words, power and ego – the one person who could be drastically left out could be the FAN! And did I mention a ban on re-fuelling next year? Err!! Lets just enjoy the F1 circus as long as it lasts…
By Chetan Narula
Finally we can get past everything and get back to racing. In the past couple of seasons, one has seen the FIA make a hash of some really straight forward decisions and a lot of them went against the McLaren-Mercedes team. But this time around, anything else that a bit of leniency could have cost F1 dear!
The implications could have been far greater for the Silver Arrows team than a suspended sentence. The dust has just about settled from the ‘Spygate’ scandal in 2007, and probably they haven’t even recovered from paying that huge fine. A world championship win in 2008 may have eased their pain a bit but the very first race of the new season and they shot themselves in the foot again.
Those were reportedly the words of Anthony Hamilton, father of Lewis Hamilton, the one driver McLaren hope will script long term success for them in this sport. More than any other punishment, losing Hamilton would have hurt them badly. Then there was the possibility that another huge fine would have got Mercedes thinking about their involvement with the sport, given the economic meltdown that we are living in where Honda have shut shop.
And on top of that, the sponsors threatened to pull out. At the end of the day, who would want to be associated with a team that has been officially declared a liar and a cheat, and has been punished for it, in lieu of a ban? In short, the very survival of the Woking based outfit was at stake here and in the melee, the question that needs to be asked is: Can F1 afford to lose the team that gave them a drivers’ champion in 2008?
The answer is no and not because of Lewis Hamilton. For he could have possibly found another team, willing enough to give him a drive! It was the prospect of losing one of the long standing teams of Formula One, on the footsteps of Honda and Super Aguri shutting shop in the last twelve months and that is what ought to have made the FIA think.
Let one also point out, what else made the powers that be, think. Ron Dennis’ exit from McLaren Racing altogether! It cannot be proved that Dennis had anything to do with Hamilton lying at Melbourne, but that is not the way that the FIA sees it. What they know is that Dennis is some one who will never back out of a scrap especially if it concerns Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, and so whatever the team does wrong invariably leads right back to the former team principal himself.
With Dennis out of the picture and McLaren making a good show of themselves at Bahrain, trying to turn a new leaf over with the FIA, it only bodes well that they got some decent reciprocation for their efforts by the sport’s governing council.
And for all those who feel that McLaren have been let away lightly, sample this. They have been punished enough already with the three race ban sentence suspended; excluded from the Australian GP, the loss of Dave Ryan and Ron Dennis – two of the most influential men in McLaren’s history – coupled with the damage to Lewis Hamilton’s image.
When Michael Schumacher parked in car in Monaco in 2006, he was sent to the back of the grid and that was the end of it. No one pursued Ferrari after that, there were no hearings. The offence was somewhat similar: getting an advantage unfairly. Its time to let go and just race, for crying out loud!
The wise men of the FIA have done it again. In wake of their participation in the lie-gate in Melbourne, McLaren Mercedes have been handed a suspended three race ban sentence.
While most F1 fans were either upset or jubilant about the FIA’s decision [depending on their loyalties] – most fans were also again – confused.
What is a suspended three race ban sentence? The ruling and its wording is as complex as an F1 car.
Well the truth is that –Mclaren were awarded a three race ban for lying to the Stewards and bringing the sport to disrepute. However, the ban was suspended because McLaren were honest and fair during their questioning!! The FIA does have a weird sense of pardoning or should I say punishing!
While most are getting into a debate of whether their punishment is enough or not –I am speculating the reason behind the punishment followed by the pardon.
Formula1 as a sport is in danger, although not in the short term. The costs are too high for privateer teams to afford and with the pull-out of Honda last year; F1 can’t afford loosing another ‘manufacturer’ team.
Mercedes’ corporate communications team went on the offensive over the last week by getting the top management to publicly speak about Mercedes withdrawing from Formula1 if the punishment of the lie-gate was too harsh. This after the team was found guilty of spying in 2007 and was fined a hundred million!
I am certain that when the wise men of the FIA sat down to decide on the fate of the lying McLaren team – sporting regulations was just one of the things on their mind.
We’re yet another GP down and thankfully it was a ‘hot & dry’ one - so much so that the winner complained of ‘burnt’ buttocks and twin champ Alonso almost fainted post-race. However, unlike the previous two ‘wet’ races this dry one did everything but entertain the viewer.
Within minutes of a just-about crash-bang start the pecking order settled. Apart from a few over taking maneuvers at the front – the race settled into it’s own pace early enough for one to start making predictions. An early settling race also sometimes indicates a ‘boring’ one – unless of course the Safety Car is deployed to inject some dose of entertainment for the viewers.
Button, Vettel & Trulli ran their own unmatched pace with Lewis and Kimi taking over only when the others went about re-fuelling their machines. It was yet another GP where the champion teams of last year were left chasing their own tails. The fortunes of McLaren and Ferrari dwindled as they managed to finish only one of their cars in the points. The BMWs and Renaults had yet another miserable race with Alonso just about holding off a charging Nico Rosberg for the final point and both the BMWs finishing dead and last!
With seasoned teams struggling for pace against the new comers ever since the start of the season, experts have proclaimed setting of a new pecking order in Formula1. Many have already explicitly stated that the Brawns will run away with the Championships mid-way of this season. Some have been cautious and have given the seasoned teams some chance of getting stronger and faster as the season progresses. However, I wonder what an average F1 fan has to think about all of this. Is the new pecking order really good for the TV and stadium figures?
When Brawns struck and dominated Melbourne and Malaysia, there was an extreme wave of emotions that swept Formula1. Every person connected to F1 was happy not only with the survival of the Brawns but also with their dominance. Finally Jenson Button & Rubens Barrichello had got a car they have been waiting for their entire career. Finally Ross Brawn got a chance to give it back to his former Italian employers, Ferrari.
But 4 races into the season, the Brawns have had it all. Barring the drenched Chinese GP – they have won it all. The more their progress, the more the seasoned teams have suffered, most were there own doings. But after the Bahrain GP, one gets a feeling that it’s time to get serious.
One doesn’t wonder if the fan is happy to see Brawns win, but the question is whether the fans are happy to see their favourite teams and drivers faltering at almost every race. I may sound like Briatore when he said that ‘no one wants to see Nakajima as the top 3 drivers with 60 points’ but the point that I am trying to drive here that – non-performance by the top teams & drivers might just drive away their fans.
Let’s face it – F1 is a worshipped sport, with drivers and teams having a strong fanatic group of fans. Thankfully, they haven’t resorted to hooliganism yet – but would these fans be happy to see their teams being beaten due to one silly rule at each race? Would these fans buy those expensive race tickets to watch their favourite drivers not win?
I think only time will tell – but the sooner the Ferraris, McLarens and the other top teams get their act in order and gain more pace – the better it will be for Formula1. Pretty ironic considering that 2002 was a ‘bore’ since Ferrari won almost ‘everything’ – but such are the ways of Formula1!
Formula1 for the first time ever, has three Sebastians on the grid. Scuderia Toro Rosso’s both drivers are Sebastians!! Well, I ain’t digging up any history or statistics to see if there were any instances earlier with three drivers sharing the same first name!
However, let’s step away from the historics and the statistics of F1 – that usually leave us in awe. Rather let us be in awe [again] of the two Sebastians that really scorched the track in Malaysia and of course of the only Sebastian [again] who is yet to make his presence felt this season.
The two seasons old Sebastian Vettel won his second F1 GP in China. That both his victories till date have been in the wet is - purely coincidental – that he and Red Bull can win this year only in the wets – is BullSh**!
The young German displayed Schumi-style dominance on track - setting the wet Shanghai track ablaze in his Newey designed Red Bull. He not only charged up ahead and built up a lead in the opening stages, but also managed to pile on fastest laps one after the other to build up a cushion for his pit stops. That his team-mate Webber was following him home in second should’ve given him a reason to slow down and control the pace – but that’s not what Vettel thought so it seems!!
The other Sebastian – Swiss lad Buemi – in the Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso too was in Sebastian class, as I would call it. Not only was he the man on the move in the opening stages of the races, but he also drove well to his strategy to finish in 8th place – gathering yet another championship point for himself and his team. On his way to the finish he matched and beat the pace of the other diffuser-dud teams – Ferrari, Renault and the BMWs!! While he finished behind the McLarens and Toyotas, his on-track battle with their duo was surely a worthy sight – with Buemi coming out on top!
Buemi’s team mate and name sake however, hasn’t had the best start to the season. He did manage to score a point in Australia, but that was only after McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was disqualified for having lied to the stewards. Bourdias had a similar start to his 08 season and only grew stronger as the season progressed, but whether it will be the same this year only waits to be seen. But for sure having a rookie team-mate beat you isn’t always the best way to impress your otherwise cross team boss!
Will all the three Sebastians rule the F1 world in the near future? Or will it only be two! One thing for sure is that the Sebastians are here to stay!
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Finally the most
awaited decision [yet] of the 2009 season was out last week. The FIA ended the diffuser saga and ended it
right. They ruled the protest in favour of the diffuser three teams – Brawns, Toyota and the Williams [BTW].
After an 8 hour
long meeting in Paris,
the governing body concluded that the diffusers were legal and that the teams
had not breached the regulations. The Ferraris, BMWs and all other protesting
teams of course cried foul. Ferrari of course are not used to protests not going their way. The Renaults
[especially Flavio] loudly voiced their discontent and BMW of all the teams still
haven’t withdrawn their protest!
hit the Land of the Dragons last weekend and it was the new pecking order that
was back in business. A late start of the GP meant that we had yet another ‘wet’
race and thankfully this one wasn’t much of a lottery like Malaysia.
issues right through Friday practice and Saturday’s qualifying, the Red Bulls
of Vettel and Webber outpaced the entire field on a wet Shanghai circuit. The Brawns were less
dominant in the wet and whether they would’ve scored their third consecutive
victory had it been dry will only remain speculation.
comfortably led and set the pace at the front, Webber and Button had their own
little fights for the second place, which made interesting viewing – and yes of
course how can one forget the fast paced Lewis Hamilton – who had a few spins
too many enroute to a 5th position.
The Ferraris had
yet another miserable weekend. Let alone challenging the front runners, but
scoring their first point itself of 2009 seems like a distant dream. The
Renault of Fernando Alonso too had a miserable race after starting from 2nd
– a faulty pit strategy that saw him re-join the race dead last. Alonso and
Rosberg’s strategy to pit during the Safety Car period failed miserably. The
one thing that did succeed about their strategy was proving that the teams and
drivers are much closer this year and it will be a while till we see a front
running driver start at the bottom and work his way on to the podium.
However, the last
week has also made one more thing certain. Barring the BTW trio, the other
teams have to play catch up –not just
on track but also off it! Go get ‘em diffuser!
I have been wanting to write on Formula1 since the pre-mature end of the Malaysian GP. But each time I sit to write, I can’t think beyond and write beyond the foolishness and selfishness of Formula1’s Ring Master Bernie Eccelstone. Again, the lesser said the better.
Whatta Start!! That’s the shortest and best description for the 2 rounds old 09 F1 season. We’ve experienced sheer pace and dominance by the Brawn GPs. We’ve also seen the Williams and Toyotas mounting a challenge and fading away. We’ve seen the BMWs still searching for pace, while the Ferraris are on their worst and I’d say most challenging season till date. And of course, how can one forget the McLarens for their lack of pace and of course a new controversy – ‘Lie Gate’.
The GPs in Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur have had lots in common. For starters, they both started off late – to cater to the European viewing audiences. They also had the same teams dominate and the same teams struggle on track!
The 3 B’s [Brawn, Button, Barrichello] have taken F1 by storm – from an uncertainty to supremacy, theirs is surely a success story that I would like to pen! They arrived in Melbourne, dominated practice from the word ‘go’ and then ended up 1-2 on the podium. What was most interesting in their pace all through the weekend was that they were not running KERS and also that they were the heaviest cars on the grid. Something very un-F1 like!
Like most fast cars in Formula1, the Brawn GP cars too suffer from lack of reliability. However, credit goes to the team; they have tested the least amongst the others and still have a car more reliable than others. Though am sure each time the drivers go up and down on the gear box, they will be hoping that they don’t blow any of it! Rubens already registered their first casualty of the year. As with his Stewart and Ferrari years Rubens’ lady luck just remains a fantasy!!
However, it’s time we [& the others] get over the Brawn and their rags to riches story. Let’s look at the other end of the spectrum – the Ferraris and the McLarens.
The multiple World Champion teams have clearly suffered on track. As many say, they are bleeding due to last years title chase which went down to the wire and hence slowed down their 2009 development cycle.
Their cars are not only suffering from lack of speed of grip, but also from reliability. Both the teams have made tactical errors on and off the track and have only looked a shade of their 2008 avtaars. I too believe that the change of 2009 has hit them and hard and they have been slow to respond. They have been caught unawares!
Ferrari notched up a double DNF in Melbourne. A tactical qualifying error in Malaysia followed by the ‘funniest’ pit stop strategy in the race – Ferrari do have a long way to go. Their worst start since 1992 – having notched up a non points finish in both opening rounds surely would’ve sent shivers through the top management in Maranello.
While I don’t wish to get into the nitty gritties of their errors – not mentioning Kimi’s tyre gaffe in Malaysia would be a sin!! An otherwise ‘tactful’ team in the pits, Ferrari made the funniest blunder in Sepang. They put Kimi on extreme wets on a dead dry track and then sat praying for rain. We all know what happened there after, but what I think will happen here after will be Ferrari hitting a slump which they did in the early 90s. Will they need another ‘Schumacher’ to bail them out and re-write their success story?
Their arch rivals McLaren have had a better season - off rather than on track. The team was accused of lying and misleading the Stewards during the post-race inquiry in Melbourne. World Champion Hamilton received a disqualification thereby stripping the team of their 3rd place. What also followed was a deeper inquiry and a date with the famous World Motor Sport Council.
On-track, while they have showed reliability, their pace has been truly questionable. Their pre-season testing pace was slow and that has reflected in their qualifying and race pace. The team has struggled to work up the ranks in the qualifying sessions and have relied on accidents and retirements to climb up the ladder during the race. Not the best way to defend a Drivers title!
I think we’re in for a new pecking order in Formula1. Will it last for long or will the two best equipped F1 teams strike back soon? Let us sit back and enjoy their chase, for however long it may last…"
It’s been an interesting start to the F1 season – the 3 B’s [Brawn, Button & Barrichello] have not only set the benchmark but also raised the bar for the rest. The bottommost team on the grid last year has engineered its way to the top and how!
Contrastingly, last years Constructors World Champion, Ferrari have had a miserable start to 09. Even their 08 campaign wasn’t much to talk about. With Kimi being out of form and Massa’s car throwing up reliability issues, Ferrari clearly struggled to be the team they used to be in the early 2000s.
Though Massa was in clear contention for the Driver’s title all of last year – and though many believed that he thoroughly deserved it too. There were instances when he did not show the grit and valour that a World Champion should. The spins in Silverstone and the bumping Lewis incident would make all believe so.
The last two championships were both decided at the last GP of the season – offering us close wheel-to-wheel racing and a nail biting finish. But what the Ferrari team [and even the fans] really missed was the Schumacher-type dominance over the proceedings – thinking back of the 2002 and 2004 seasons where he helped the team clinch the titles with plenty of races to spare.
The post-Schumacher era for Ferrari has been an interesting one – Jean Todt has moved on and so has Ross Brawn. Their drivers are one of the most talented ones, but are only a shadow of Schumacher. Often leading many experts to believe – that still Ferrari misses Schumacher and his services!
But is that really so?
Switch to 2009, the new regulations and new cars have made racing exciting to watch. They have also made the cars a handful to drive. But not all the teams have adapted their cars well to the rules. The team that has clearly made the mark has been Brawn – run by former Ferrari ace Ross Brawn.
What very few know is that Ross Brawn has been the architect of ALL of Michael Schumacher’s driver’s championships. They started their successful relationship way back in 1994 with the Benetton Racing team and then moved to Ferrari in 1996 and went on to create what was known as the Scarlet era in the history of modern day Formula1 – winning multiple drivers and constructors championships!
Post Schumacher’s retirement in 2006, Ferrari lost their ace strategist to Honda Racing Team, which he then bought over to create Brawn GP. And we do know what he’s done with the team already.
Going by Ferrari’s disastrous start in Melbourne where they not only ended up with two DNFs but also a faulty tyre strategy – which ultimately affected their fuel strategy – I believe that 2009 will be the year where the Scarlets will miss Brawn more than Schumacher!
Now who would’ve thunk that!!
Much has been written about Brawn and their last ditch survival attempt that came through and their superior dominance in the little of 09 season that we have seen. Much has also been written about their interpretation of the new rules and the ‘different’ diffuser that they are sporting.
While many believe that the diffuser is the ‘only’ reason that the Brawns are so quick, I disagree. Ross Brawn is one of the most respected aerodynamicists in Formula1 and he has won as many World Titles as Michael Schumacher. The design of the Brawn cars is more fluid and treats the airflow better than the competitors and hence a better balance while driving the car. Testimony to this fact is that Rubens’ diffuser was damaged when Kimi punted his rear, but he still managed to keep top pace before being gifted his 2nd place.
The diffuser has been a cause of concern for the FIA – with three teams claiming a different interpretation and the rest crying foul and lodging protests. The FIA is to meet mid-April to take a stance on the diffuser saga. As always I will stay away from predicting the outcome of the meeting, but if history has anything to go by the diffuser protest will be shown the door.
However, does this mean that Brawns will score wins at each GP? Does this mean that the other teams will not be able to catch up all season, especially considering the mid-season testing ban?
Well, one thing for sure is that the FIA will bring the currently lopsided grid to a level playing field. By either declaring the innovative diffuser as illegal, thereby forcing the Brawns, Toyotas and Williams to make amends, or they will deem it legal and then allow the other teams to ‘copy’ the diffuser.
Whichever way the ruling goes – one thing for sure is that we will see the power of Ferraris and McLarens, off track! Such are the ways of Formula1…