Alonso heads one-two on Ferrari debut

2010 Bahrain Grand Prix review

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Fernando Alonso got his Ferrari career off to the perfect start

Fernando Alonso won the Bahrain Grand Prix on his first appearance for Ferrari.

He took the lead from pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, who was struck by an exhaust failure while leading.

Felipe Massa followed his team mate home in second place giving Ferrari a one-two finish in the first race of the season.

Alonso began the race behind his team mate but passed him on the run to the first corner, leaving him perfectly placed to profit from Vettel’s problem.

Lewis Hamilton completed the podium for McLaren after losing time behind Nico Rosberg early in the race. An early pit stop allowed him to easily jump the Mercedes for fourth before taking third from Vettel.

Vettel slipped back into the clutches of Rosberg in the dying laps of the race but managed to get his car home in fourth before pulling to a halt.

Michael Schumacher’s comeback drive was a quiet run to sixth behind his team mate. Jenson Button and Mark Webber caught him towards the end of the race but neither were able to pass.

Vitantonio Liuzzi and Rubens Barrichello became the first drivers in F1 history to score points for ninth and tenth.

Of the new runners, neither of the HRT or Virgin cars finished their first race. Lotus got both of their cars home in the last two places, though Trulli was coping with an hydraulic problem.

2010 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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156 comments on “Alonso heads one-two on Ferrari debut”

  1. Great article Kieth. Glad that Alonso won. But really whats up with HRT, i mean why were they so far behind? Why didn’t they finish the race?

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        14th March 2010, 17:57

        I think what he’s asking is what is the specific issue that caused the retirements. If not then I have to ask did you follow preseason testing/practice/qualifying at all, because surely that would have answered your question

    1. stick a modern gp2 car next to HRT and youwould have yourself a close batte. Stick an average f1 car next to HRT and it is just a case of when Senna will see that car in his mirrors about to lap him. Its crazy and when your look at the ‘slowish’ pace of lotus and virgin against the painful pace of HRK it does make you wonder why they entered in the first place. Am i right?

  2. Feel bad for Vettel.

    But overall (IMO) we’ve seen very clearly in this race how the rest of the season will pan out re. Alonso & Massa, Hamiltion & Button etc.

    I think Shumi did well for an OAP, and will push Nico as the season progresses!

    I think we’ll see some interesting wars of attrition later in the season with tyre strategy, and I have to wonder what the teams will settle on for pit stop strategy.

    Perhaps some badly shod cars at the end of races may lead to some overtaking.

    I wish Williams break would break with FOTA and stick their KERS in their car so we can see what that might do.

    I don’t see any improvement in overtaking this year except perhaps when tyres go off at the end of stints when teams have made mistakes / drivers have pushed too hard.

  3. Well i did predict the winner, but i did not expect hamilton to make the podium and expected Webber and Button to do better.

    1. Yea totally agree m8, button should have made more head way.

  4. It was a pity that Vettel got unlucky with reliability issues again. However, for Alonso fans like myself, it was good to see him back on the top step of the podium.

    Kimi won his first race with Ferrari, and then went on to win that season…. lets hope it works for Alonso as well.

    1. Lets not but this is coming from a Hamilton fan and an Alonso fan :)

  5. Good start for the Ferrari. But a bit disappointed at the lack of fight from McLaren and Merc…maybe its just this circuit…but I hope for a 4 team fight for the titles.

  6. The last two times (2005 and 2006) Alonso won un Bahrain, also won the championship… :)

    1. Since 2005 the winner of the first race has won the championship too..

      1. since 2004 mate

        1. I knew for sure it was 2005, Couldn’t remember if Schumacher won the opening race that season. So yeah 2004 :)

      2. In 2005 Fisichella won the first race but Alonso won the title. So it’s actually since 2006. ;)

        1. Correct Andy.
          If you go further back it’s something like 12 winners of the first race in 14 seasons or 10 out of 12 or whatever have won the title…only I can’t remember specific numbers :P It’s in a mag somewhere may dig it out :P

          1. Actually 85% of the time, the winner of the first race has gone on to win the championship. Thats an insane statistic right?

            This is the Scuderia year…

  7. theviewingfoot
    14th March 2010, 14:35

    Cool article, i think the teams are going to learn a lot about from this race which could well mean better racing next time round… these new changes aren’t going to improve the show over night.

    1. Hoping so Foot, but we need to understand that points really do literally translate into money from TV revenue in F1. Maybe that bias compounds the problems of risking a more left-field strategy in F1.

      With engine usage restriction of 8 per season, gearbox change penalties and limited testing of 15 days pre-season, none in season – pls correct if wrong guys, there isn’t much stimulous for the teams to ‘push’. Conservation seems much more the theme. And let’s be honest, ‘conservation’ and ‘F1’ are not natural bed mates.

      The show suffered today. Unless the show was meant to look like a parade. Sponsors might be pleased that the all new slower F1 allows better photo opportunities for their logos, but really, F1 needs to do better.

  8. Statistics are only there to be changed ;). I predict Vettel will become champion if they fix those engine problems, otherwise Alonso will take it. It was embarrassing to see how slow Button is compared to Hamilton…

    1. Wow!! great prediction at the start of the year!!

  9. dammit Sebastian!…

    i predicted you as pole sitter and winner!…

    glad you still made it to the top 5… i also predicted a Vettel-Massa-Alonso podium… almost got it spot on…

  10. Its all to preserve tires, the top 10 have to start the race on the same tires they set their quali lap on, so they try and keep as much life in the tires as possible.
    I hate that rule though, its useless and makes Q3 quite boring. Vettel just did one lap and clinched pole. To preserve tires, no one else bothered to fight either.
    Sutil settled for a 10th on the harder compound to carry an advantage to the race, which, if not for the lame rule, could have been swapped for super-softs and a better grid position.

  11. feel sorry for vettel, it was shaping up to be a good finish until that happened. Wasn’t a bad race but wasn’t great either. The Bahrain circuit is definetly one of the more boring circuits

  12. Great drive from Vettel he was really unlucky but did such a good job to keep 4th place. Was really looking forward to a great battle between him and the two Ferrari’s such a shame it never happened :(

    One positive as a Vettel and Hamilton fan though is that they haven’t shredded the tyres like expected but what is annoying is that we don’t have any major random tyre strategies like we expected.

    Hopefully we’ll get better racing at a much much much MUCH better track – Melbourne

  13. Pity regulation changes didn’t materialise, it was quite a processional race. There are clear signs that Ferrari and Red Bull will fight for the championship. But Vettel won’t win constructors championship alone, so Webber must raise his game, because he didn’t look good at all today and was miles from Vettel. If it continues, Webber can lose his seat at the team and be replaced by other driver (hope Kimi), cause the car is clearly a race winner.

  14. A great race and an amazing win for Fernando.. let’s hope this slows down the Alonzo haters a bit… yes it’s early but he looks good in that car.. :)

    1. I don’t see anything amazing the win was handed to him he didn’t won

      1. just like LH 2008 championship…no?

        1. No, they tried to take it away from him, not give it to him!

      2. Sour grapes!!! Now that Alonso drives a ferrari we shall see good results…he is an excellent driver!!! Massa had the same car and finished 16 seconds behind…why would that be. I will be enjoying myself this year…a lot!!!

        1. Because Massa was nursing his car back with a few problems. Alonso was clever, had great pace but he didn’t destroy Massa today at all.

          1. Maybe FA didn’t destroy FM but overtook him in the first corner and that was enough. Alonso will always take any chance and he is consistent; a serious candidate.

          2. Massa really messed up the first corner. He is at least as fast as Alonso but his racecraft still needs some work.

          3. Massa does this at the start quite a lot. He is so focussed on trying to shaft his team mate when they are next to each other on the grid that he compromises his race start.

            I also have severe doubts that he had the speed or the race craft to actually pass Vettel, had Vettel not had a problem.

            Alonso, on the other hand, was able to challenge before Vettel had the problem, and I believe would have passed him anyway.

            Disclosure : I am not supporting any driver particularly this year. And I am definitely not an Alonso fan. But I do respect his race craft – particularly after his recent years in the “wilderness” with Renault.

        2. He was having overheating issues, probably induced by tailing Alonso for the entire race.

          1. Alonso would have caught up and passed Vettel even if the exhaust didnt fail.

            In the post race conference, it was obvious that Alonso was just bidding his time and he had the pace in his pocket as he put it. This is how races will be won this year, drivers who can push when the time is right while putting in consistent lap times to keep in touch with the guy in front.

            Great drive from Vettel. I love Vettel, I think he’s great, but he will require a little bit more fine tuning before he’s to take the title, its going to be Alonso’s this year.

            Yes, its premature to say this, but Ferrari seem to be very conident they have the pace in the pocket and I feel that they havent pushed to their total limit yet!

            FORZA ALONSO!

  15. Mouse_Nightshirt
    14th March 2010, 14:50

    Congratulations to Alonso, but I can’t help feeling gutted for Vettel. Easily was his race.

    Mind, I’ve started the timer as to when Alonso claims he brought 6 tenths to Ferrari!

    1. Well then:
      Alonso trashes Massa
      Hamilton trashes Button
      Rosberg just about beat Schumacher
      Vettel still beat Webber despite losing horsepower.

      If Red Bull can sort out their reliability, then it will be Alonso vs Vettel for the championship. I really hope McLaren get up to speed soon so Hamilton can be in the mix too.

      1. i wouldnt have said Alonso trashed Massa, Massa had an issue with his car towards the end, hence the lack of pace compared to alonso. I agree with the rest though

        1. The problem being what? They have the same car…just different driver. Oh, yeah…Alonso is better driver. :)

          1. I don’t doubt that Alonso is a better driver but Massa clearly had an issue towards the end

          2. Massa had temperature issues, flu and fuel issues. It’s one race. Alonso is the better driver in my opinion but it’s a long seasonn and it’s premature and not wise to disregard Felipe now especially if he ends up beating Alonso

          3. So, could you explain why Massa was 0.366s faster in the qualifying? They had then different cars?
            The race, as usual, was decided during the qualifying + turn one + reliability.

      2. Vettel was stunning but Webber’s weekend was pretty much over after qualifying. Agree with Herbie too

  16. Well Ferrari changed engines before the race, RBR didn’t and this made the difference today I think. It’s a shame for Vettel indeed but the Ferrari’s have shown how reliable they are at a high level. It’s a strong team, the others are not far behind. RBR in pure pace might be a little better (very little though!) but the’re not reliable with that renault-engine, they weren’t last year, they aren’t this year so far. McClaren seemed OK. At least Hamilton did well as he mostly does. Button and Webber couldn’t pass Schumacher. They should have finished higher looking at their teammates results. Especially Webber was struggling today. Mercedes just lack a little pace compared to the other three teams. Not much but I felt that RBR and Ferrari were a little bit ahead of McClaren and a little more of Mercedes. In 14 days race 2!

  17. I think this is the beginning of a New Era : Fast Fred and the Spaghetty Special will rule for several years.

  18. A very boring race. Absolutely no passing at the front. The only passing was a done over a sick car. Hamilton beind Roseberg, Webber behind Button, Button behind Schumi, none made an impression. Hope this is only limited to the track in general.

    I was hoping for tyre strategy to make a difference, but apparently not. None of teams suffered from tyre degradation to the extent as to compromise their race pace. Fuel consumption was actually a bigger factor than tyres.

    Any ideas on the points spread? Somehow I get a feeling the title will be decided much sooner than the past few years.

    1. Hamilton passed Rosberg during the pitstops… but only because Button prevented Rosberg leaving the pits.

      They brought in this “55m rule” for safety reasons… and now it’s the only way for cars to pass each other!

      1. Even without Button being there Hamilton would have still got ahead of Rosberg because he pitted earlier. His first lap out of the pits was 1.5 seconds faster than Rosberg’s. See the chart here: Rosberg stymies Hamilton while Vettel saves fourth (Bahrain GP analysis)

  19. Gutted for Vettel, I really thought that his tyre wear would be to high for him to stay ahead of the Ferraris, but it was a mechnical problem :( Glad he managed to hold off Rosberg and keep 4th though.

    Just really really hope that better races are too come, because today’s race was rather dull.

  20. A shame, we did not see Alonso having to really fight for it. He said he had some speed in reserve (and showed it in the last laps, 14+ seconds on Massa!)

    Bahrein did not give us the most exiting race. I am still not sure about the new section, because it eliminated some possibilities to get quick behind oter cars.

  21. Congratulations to the red car brigade …… :( At least, JB did not drop from his quali-pos. like Kova normally does. Though JB is a defending Champion.

    And I almost slept off …. Now, I must consider if Aussie will be worth waking up earlier.

  22. :(

    That is all.

    1. You pretty much summed up my entire feelings about the race.

  23. the-muffin-man
    14th March 2010, 15:11

    God, that was dull.

  24. the-muffin-man
    14th March 2010, 15:12

    But seriously – I believe the engineers know far too much about their cars during a race and some sort of telemetry ban should be imposed.

    Let things fail, let engines blow up – make the drivers manage their cars, not the engineers in the pits. Fair enough let the car collect the data so they can examine it after the race, but not during.

    And as for the eight engines and gear boxes made to last four races rules – FFS – this is F1 not LeMans.

    1. interesting idea but then a gain do we want cars stopin all over the place and only 10 or so cars finishing?

      1. the-muffin-man
        14th March 2010, 16:21

        I’d rather have the lottery of that scenario than what we have now.

  25. I feel so bad for Vettel…..I hope its not the end for vettel as its the guy who wins the 1st race goes on to win the championship so i hope its not the case this time…..

    Go VETTEL……U r the one i’ll be supporting the whole season….Cant believe its gonna be a gr8 battle between Force India and Williams

  26. The most exciting part was laps 17 to 19 when pit-stops were happening and there was a chance that some drivers might jump others.

    It might be too soon to pass a judgement on ban on re-fuelling. But advocates of this ban will find precious few points in favor of the ban.

    Aerodynamics has improved to an abnormally high level now. Vettel could stave off Rosberg and Schumacher even with a broken exhaust. That says it all.

    Look at how quick Vettel was at the start of the race when he was in free air. Look at how quick Fernando was when he got into the lead. Look at how quick Fernando was once he was about 4 seconds behind Vettel. There was no way he could have passed Vettel in the dirty air.

    Purists might argue the merits of ‘passing on track’ to ‘passing in pits’ but honestly, ‘passing on track’ is going to be insanely tough unless the car to be overtaken is a Lotus, HRT or Virgin.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Overtaking on track will be for the backmarkers only.

      Best season in years….all our hopes are dashed


  27. do we think it is a coincidence that the v-nosed cars were the fastest? if not, do mclaren have something to learn?

    1. yes i totally agree, with most other teams copying the red bull nose design, mclaren seem to have forgotten who was quickest last year

  28. I’m over the moon.
    Fernando was just stunning today and showed that not only does he still have the speed but he’s a very clever racer.
    Felipe didn’t get trashed though, they were pretty close and Felipe had a few problems at the end (as well as racing driver’s excuse of flu ;) ) so it’ll still be a close figtht between those two and eys I’m biased but I know Alonso is the better racer.

    1. I could not agree more with you!!! :)

  29. my predictions remain perfect – unblemished by a single point

  30. It was unfortunate that the race was effectively decided because of the technical problem on Vettel’s car. The fact that he had a hard struggle to, eventually, take home P4 was, however, something that provided a bit of interest in the later part of the race. In the top ten, there didn’t seem to be much of any overtaking going on (besides the podium guys overtaking Vettel, obviously), but it was a similar thing at this race in recent years. I’m hoping for Melbourne to be a bit more interesting in that regard. There were some nice little skirmishes in the midfield, though.

  31. Formula ZzzZZzZz

    to all those who supported refueling ban – LMAO @ you

    Formula 1 is dead

    1. Way to make all of these statements after ONE RACE, so I LMAO @ you.

      1. so things will magically change in Oz in two weeks, eh?

        1. Not magically, but you can’t write off a 19 race season based on the first weekend. For all you know, Albert Park, Montreal, Interlagos or others could be classics this year.

          1. HAHAAH even drivers bash the refuel ban.. read post race comments by Schumi for example

            this season is gonna be crap because of the ban!! processions all way long!

            man, f*** interlagos or montreal, i dont care about the sights or “history” factors. i wanna see racing not parades!!!

          2. Mid way through last year, everyone was like “This season’s gunna be crap because Button will win every race because theres no testing”, and yet look how things tightened up in the second half of the season.

            We have only seen ONE FLIPPING RACE, so trust me, there will be much better races this season.

        2. How long have you been following F1, since LH? this is F1 not the NASCAR, overtaking is and has been always difficult.

        3. Actually, Australia is usually a much better race than Bahrain.

          I expect tyre wear to be a more significant factor, perhaps allowing a little bit of overtaking. Chance of a safety car too.

    2. The issue is not refueling, it’s in aero. Or did that pass you by? Perhaps we should just have 20 compulsory fuel stops a race if that’s the bit you enjoy…

  32. Bad luck Vettel looks like the reliability issues might crop up again this season and hamper his chances.Im glad to see Mclarens race pace looked more handy than there qualy pace.. all credit to hamilton for salvaging a good position from what seems like an average car. hopefully they can sort out there downforce problem.

  33. Unlike Alonso’s Ferrari debut, Kimi won convincingly. If it wasn’t for Vettel’s exhaust failure, I highly doubt a Ferrari win.

    1. I could not agree more with you!!!

    2. Well, you guys better get ready for some more Alonso’s unconvincing wins this season.

    3. Kimi had the benefit of starting on pole. Alonso admitted that he would have had a hard time passing Vettel but that he was preparing his car to blitz the last ten laps and try to grab p1 that’s probably part of the reason why he was also doing such stunning times at the end.

    4. Yes of course, anything that Alonso does is not convincing or worth…bla, bla, bla…. ah, are you a Hamilton supporter by any chance or a Kimi one?

  34. This is going to be the dullest F1 season ever , with little or no overtaking : (

    All the great driver pairings and close competition between teams gone to waste with no refueling .

    I’m sorry to say this but HRT sucked like s**t , they’re a disgrace .

  35. Pretty much a perfect weekend for Ferrari. Red Bull have the gremlins back that gave them so much trouble last year. Many people here like me think that Newey is one of the best designers out there but every now and again he tries too hard and the very unusal exaust design may be one of them.Time will tell.

    1. Yep, congrats on the 1-2. Got to feel for Red Bull, Vettel seemed to have it in the bag. Agree about the Newey exhaust backfiring on them.

      Hugely concerned that nursing tyres to allow 1 stopping is going to limit racing. And now we have all front running teams on same tyres, there is not enough difference in car performance to allow overtaking – not an issue when teams were carrying variable fuel levels. Suspect we will see a lot less overtaking this year.

  36. This season will soon turn sour if we begin to see ferrari dominance.

  37. Would the idea of two mandatory pit stops evoke the same fervent outbursts from the community now as it did 2 months ago?

    The drivers are not willing to race under the current conditions. Alonso being told to back off and cool tyres instead of going for gold? Says a lot about the effectiveness of the points incentive too.

    1. bigger differential between 1st and 2nd i agree wit but poins down to tenth i do not like there is no need for it. now 5th to 10th are happy with where they sit points in the bag, no scramble for 8th and one point ( or sixth in the good old days)

      1. My point was that everyone seemed to be happy wherever they were. Cuz slipstreaming, pushing harder destroyed their tyres they had to conserve soo much.

        Aggressive strategies will not be an option either, because it takes way too much time to get past even by someone who may be seconds slower. They can’t extract the 20 seconds from the extra set of tyres for the pit stop, although the tyres themselves easily have this potential.

        Two mandatory pit stops would at least allow the drivers to engage in battles without having to worry about needing an unplanned stop.

  38. I’ve been a Ferrari fan for over ten years, and while this was a good start for us, the race as the beginning of the season was terrible. I was never really in favour of the refuelling ban, and despite Keith’s earlier predictions, I see my expectations coming true.

    Seriously, refuelling and the two pit-stop phases it entailed made even the most boring races (such as this one) watchable. Without refuelling there was technically no action after the first pitstop rush (after lap 20 approx.). In fact, if Vettel did not slow down with his exhaust problem, we would have seen simply a succession of 50 parade laps. That was how bad it was.

    The starts and the opening 10-lap rush was nowhere to be seen. Cars are heavy, and what is worse, they are equally heavy. In previous years, “race-fuel qualifying” for all its vices, ensured that we get some decent action in the opening laps when lighter cars got stuck up behind the heavy ones.

    What’s more, the all-anticipated diversity in strategy did not materialize and while Renault and Williams experimented a tiny bit, we’ve seen an identical strategy from the first eight. This only entailed minor changes to the order, while in the past years we have seen how a successful fuel strategy can decide the outcome of a race.

    I consider myself an f1 purist, and was never in favor of artificial rules such as “race-fuel qualifying” on mandatory pit-stops. But let us face it, if the drivers are made to preserve their destroyed tyres for most of the race, we wouldn’t see any natural changes to the order i.e. overtaking. What’s worse, the significance of pit-stops also dropped.

    What this leaves us with a situation where the best qualifiers finish first with those behind having little opportunity to change anything. Hence, the best cars will always win (at every race possibly) and that was not the case a year ago. So I’m not really surprised at having witnessed an altogether dull non-race and see the red cars finish first.

    I’d give the refuelling ban a few more races but not much more than that. Bahrain does not typically produce thrilling races, but if this farce continues in Melbourne I will not for certain that formula 1 is heading in the wrong direction. I normally hate knee-jerk reactionary rule changes, but if this continues,I say bring back 2009 rules by Monaco so we don’t screw up the season completely.

    1. Some good points. I find I have similar fears to you overall. But am optimistic that we may see this pan out a little bit better than you expect. I don’t see the rules being changed mid-season though – whatever happens.

      Having said that I 100% agree that the refuelling ban is a bad move.
      I, like you, have not been happy about this since it was first announced, and hope that this is changed back in the future.

      Oh, and bring back turbos! ;-)

    2. “bring back 2009 rules by monaco”

      But then wouldn’t that force all the teams to redesign their refueling systems to accomodate that change? Not gonna happen IMO.

      Personally I think the only sure remedy to the overtaking problem is to ban wings entirely. :(

      1. Even though I’m less than happy with the refuelling ban and the new kind of races we get, of course I don’t see refuelling coming back in Monaco. But unfortunately, I can only expect a very boring season ahead with mostly processional races. Of course refuelling was not really a solution to the overtaking problem, but it did encourage it. After all, different cars had different fuel weight in the car and thus some cars held significant advantage over the others as I explained above.

        I’m not alone with this opinion. Just had a look at what some top drivers have to say:

        Schumacher: “That is the action we are going to have with this kind of environment of race strategy.”

        Alonso: “With no refuelling, it will be difficult to see any overtaking, so after the first lap the positions will be set”

        Hamilton: “You start with fuel, you do one stop and it’s pretty much a train all the way”

        If these drivers believe that Bahrain 2010 was a perfect example of no-refuelling-style races, then I have nothing to add.

      2. You are right rfs, but that means F1 becomes one of the slowest racing categories.

        If we take the aero off, they need more power to make it interesting.

        This season is not looking good. These cars could overtake last season on different fuel loads, but only really consistently if the fuel load was different. The current cars are not ready for no refueling. They need much less aero to enable them to pass but then we’ll find the GP2 cars will be quicker around the same circut.

        Anyone got the answer cause I sure don’t.

        Last year was a fantastic season. Overtaking, multiple position changes. It seems that teams are going to try and pass through the pit stops even this year because they’ve got no show on the track.

        Very happy to be proved wrong.

        1. The answer is for Bridgestone to bring tyre compounds that degrade quickly and dramatically.

          This will force teams to stop more than once, and lead to overtaking in situations where a car on old tyres is desperately hanging on for track position.

    3. Totally agree and I was also against the refuelling ban for all the reasons you gave above. But they can’t re-introduce refuelling mid-season, as rfs points out, you would have to entirely redesign the cars.

      Martin Whitmarsh suggested an enforced 2 pitstop minimum, but although removing the need to protect tyres, the strategies will be too similiar across the teams, so it will not dramatically improve overtaking possibilities.

      The proposed diffuser ban next year will reduce the turbulent air, but I would go further and suggest they also bring back refuelling.

      Suspect this year we will be stuffed on the overtaking front.

      1. If you want, you can easily switch back to refuelling. Just don’t fill the cars up before the start.

        – though I think the rules deserve some more races.

  39. The car aerodynamics still makes racing impossible so when will we finally see a set of regulations that takes care of this.
    I think tyres should be free to choose as teams se fit for both qualifing and race and with 3 rather than 2 different compounds available. The teams must have the chance to run as many different strategies as possible.
    The only strategy no looks like being to start the race on the soft tyre and make it last as long as possible.

    1. I agree, in fact I think that they should bring all compounds to all races and give total freedom to teams to choose how to run them. The only way to counteract aerodynamic grip issues is to give them maximum strategic options and mechanical grip and more chance of two cars together on track being further apart on strategy (e.g. last minute pit stop for very fragile but super fast tyres and a sprint to the finish).

      The other problem which we have since no refuelling was last in F1 is the pit-lane speed limit. If there was some way to reduce the penalty of taking a stop the strategy variation would be greater (e.g. new venues could accommodate much wider safer pit lanes and cope with a faster speed limit.

  40. All that these clever so called “advocates”, managed to do over the years was turning the most illustrious event in motorsport into something I cant even describe! If this is the future of F1 then… Congratulations to FIA for their fine achievement! Let’s hope that there is more to come, cause all that we need is watching cars going round the circuit in perfect “qualifying order”! It’s a shame realy…

  41. Well Done to Ferrari, They did extremely well, and thats coming from a Mclaren Supporter.
    Also Great Job Lewis he was consistant and was so glad to see him grab third and a podium. i see this as the running order for the championship. Lewis, Felipe and Fernando in a close fight. i do hope that Lewis takes the WDC this year, although i cant see Mclaren taking the WCC, but it was a good result for Jenson, i just hope he grabs more like this perhaps even a little better.
    didnt expect to see all the new teams drop out of the race so quickly.
    All in all a good race, perhaps slightly dull, but im sure it will improve in Melbourne

    1. Lewis drove a very solid race, well done to him.

  42. As with 2006, staging the opening race at the Bahrain track just felt wrong. The place was entirely devoid of atmosphere, colour – everything. The flat desert landscape, all barren and dusty, presents a terribly uninspiring spectacle. It is often said by insiders how accommodating the country is, how warm the welcome and so on, but that crucial ingredient – passion – is sorely missing. Albert Park in Australia, where you can actually see proper fans within a hundred yards of trackside, should at least score highly on that count.

    As for the racing, it didn’t live up to the hype, but considering the feverpitch level of anticipation that’s hardly surprising. The big problem today I think was how conservative the teams and drivers were with regards to the new rules, clearly easing themselves in rather than going for anything dramatic. The race pace at the beginning, with laps well over the 2 minute mark, was almost painfully slow as the drivers seemed paranoid about pushing their tyres too hard and risk looking a chump by burning up the rubber. Button even admitted that he had been too soft during the first stint. Perhaps this is partly down to the testing restrictions, as teams just weren’t sufficiently prepared after what amounted to less than 15 days’ running – too many unknowns left over to stick their neck out and take a gamble. As others have said too, the engine and gearbox limitations also deter aggressiveness.

    It’s too soon to pass judgement on the refuelling ban. What happened at Bahrain today was no worse than, say, Abu Dhabi or Singapore previously, or indeed Bahrain itself in the last few years, in that there were moments of excitement in among stretches of not much going on. The real problem is the cars’ inability to follow one another through the corners, the ‘equalisation’ and rev limited engine rules, and the drivers / teams not quite attuning themselves to the new rules and the new mindset required. At least it was reassuring to know that, had Alonso wanted the win before Vettel’s technical woes intervened, he would have had to make the move himself on the track rather than relying on some boffin’s calculations back at the factory to ‘make the jump at the stops’. The truth is, it’s actually quite easy to overtake a stationary car, but a much tougher proposition to actually race one wheel-to-wheel.

    1. I agree about Bahrain. I felt like I was watching a test, not the real start of the 2010 season.

  43. Just looking at the races fastest laps:

    1. Alonso 1:58.287 on lap 45
    2. Sutil 1:59.393 on lap 49

    If you’re not in a Ferrari (or a Red Bull actually) you’re in trouble. People may say that Alonso took an easy win and to be honest he could have won that race in his sleep. If only Vettel hadn’t had his problem, I wanted to see Alonso attacking Vettel for the lead over the last 10 laps like he said he was planning to do in the press conference. With races of that nature that’s probably what we’ll be seeing through the season, if 1st and 2nd are close like Vettel and Alonso, the guy in 2nd will hang back out of the dirty air and look after the tyres then come the last 5 or 10 laps providing the tyres are in good shape that’s when they’ll be attacking for the lead.

    For 2011, they’ve banned the double diffusers, which is a step in the right direction, but with this nature of racing like we saw today it’s still not going far enough. The aero under the car needs to be minimized, the front wing aero minimized, just a single plane front wing without all the little winglets and intricate crap just above that main plane, the end plates minimized as well, just one surface for the end plate. No turning vains on the side of the car and a single plane rear wing. Also I’d ban the shark fins. The focus needs to be on getting the tyre manufacturer(s) to push with the competitiveness with the tyres. Perhaps rather than push for aero performance the focus should be more on the mechanical side and perhaps have the teams developing their tyres with the tyre manufacturer. Mechanical grip over aero grip, too much aero is ruining the racing! Tell me are you Pro Mechanical Grip or Pro aero grip?

    The refueling ban is good for safety, but most teams have built their cars to conserve the tyres over long stints, so therefore drivers are gonna drive conservatively aiming for one pit stop, which isn’t good for the racing. The teams aren’t going to agree to having a mandatory 2 pit stop rule, especially Ferrari as they seem to be the best at conserving the tyres, so they need introduce that next year otherwise the racing will just be about conserving tyres rather than pushing the limits and racing.

    Just my opinion, but I guarantee this will improve the racing.

    1. I think that Alonso’s lap was just him getting one of those “laps of a lifetime” together that every driver gets, somewhat like Hamilton’s lap last year in Q3 at Abu Dhabi when he had multiple laps more fuel on board than the Red Bulls. Alonso’s fastest lap was 1.3 seconds quicker than Massa’s; do we really think Alonso is that much quicker than Massa? I sure don’t.

      With that said, I think Ferrari has the best piece right now. But I don’t think it’s miles ahead.

      1. I’m just making the point that I’ve not seen such a gulf between the fastest lap and the next fastest lap in a Grand Prix for a long time. And Remember that all the cars had more or less the same fuel load at the same time of the race, everyone started full and everyone finished empty. So their individual cars performance is comparable throughout the race unlike say last year when everyone was doing different things.

        I agree with you, I certainly don’t think Alonso is better than Massa by that margin, he said he was nursing the car, so you’ve gotta give him the benefit of the doubt on that. But today Alonso had him beaten before his car had troubles, not by much but by enough, however yesterday in Qualy Massa got the upper hand, it’s gonna be close between those 2 all year.

        By way of comparison Hamilton (who remember was in clear air) set the 4th fastest lap 1:59.560 on lap 42, just behind Webber’s 1:59.487. That tells me that perhaps the McLaren wasn’t looking after it’s tyres as well as the Ferrari and that they’re lacking downforce, which of course they admitted to.

    2. I don’t think just closing up the top deck of the diffuser and shaving off the little vanes will make much difference.

      The biggest producers of turbulent air are the open wheels and rear wing, the very things that make a formula car recognisable.

      Thats why they did those tests with the CDG wing a few years ago.

      1. I actually said they need to change a lot more than just the double diffuser and the turning vanes (those big bits on which the Ferraris mirrors are mounted). They need to totally minimize the cars aero dependency, hopefully without losing the classic F1 car shape. Look at the cars from the 1950s, virtually no aero apart from the shape of course, they had no problems overtaking.

        Good point about the turbulence from the rear wing, but that’s not as big a problem as the warm air that’s getting flicked out and upwards by the double diffusers, right onto the car directly behind! The air from the rear wing is generally flicked upwards and over the following car depending on the wing angle. Perhaps if the cars could adjust the rear wing so it’s fully flat on the straights (Monza levels) would mean the following car would be getting a pretty clean airflow which isn’t disturbed as much as before.

        1. So you did, I’m sorry I tend to read more carefully then that.

          Yeh the cars from the 50’s focused more on streamlining rather than producing downforce though, much like modern NASCAR, they have lots of overtaking too.

          I just think the reason they seem to keep failing is because it’s almost impossible. I don’t really know enough about aerodynamics to be harping on here, but they need to put the air “back together” as neatly as possible after they “take it apart” at the front of the car, if you’ll pardon the layman terminology.

          I still believe the massive vortices created by wings and wheels, and therefore irremovable, are the main culprits though. The double diffuser just seems to further feed them.

          1. I totally agree, but you can still have a streamlined car with wings and open wheels, just look at Indy cars. Martin Brundle talked about this in his blog on the BBC website. Also perhaps another change that might improve the racing would be the banning of semi-automatic gear boxes, only have manual gearboxes legal. This would provide the opportunity for drivers to make mistakes changing gear and provide overtaking opportunities, just like in the good old 1980s.

            The weird thing is some of technological innovations that have come into F1 could have been or could be massively beneficial to the automotive industry, in particular active suspension! Banning it was a mistake, it could have had a massively positive effect on the cars we’re driving now if it wasn’t banned, it increased the corner speeds but not nearly as much as the aero has in recent years, and active suspension had no effect on the cars ability to follow each other. Also KERS is a good thing, especially for our eco transport of the future, but simply if every car hasn’t got it, it’s an unfair advantage. As Hamilton’s victory in Hungary and Raikkonen’s victory in Spa last year showed. I’m not saying they weren’t worthy winners, but it did allow them both to overtake cars that were lacking KERS.

            I imagine some people might say that some of my ideas here are like taking F1 back to the stone-age, steel brakes and manual gearboxes in particular. But if technological advances are having an adverse effect however small on the racing do we really want them in F1, they are detracting from the skill of the drivers. These are the best drivers in the world, this 2010 grid is argue-ably one of the best fields of F1 drivers assembled in history. They should be tested to the limit.

            Perhaps we should start a thread on what the ideal F1 car should be, everyone put in ideas and then send off a proposal to FOTA and the FIA with as many fan signatures as possible, because clearly FOTA and the FIA can’t get the balance right!!!

            Oh and in case anyone is wondering, I actually work in the Motorsport industry, but would prefer to keep the identity of the company I work for anonymous.

            All the best, Jasper

          2. Jarred Walmsley
            15th March 2010, 17:30

            Jasper, are you talking about a proper dogbox manual shifter or sticking with the paddles but making them manual shift only?, Because in order to make them a full manual gearbox the cars will need to have a massive increase in width to accomadate this.

    3. Very good Jasper. I would also like to see the cars also being made 1,5 meters SHORTER and half a meter narrower, and also steel disc brakes of a restricted size.
      I agree with you to take all that snowploughing junk off.
      These cars are so long they will make historic tracks obsolete.
      Shorter cars would also be more fun to drive ( more movement and driver skill )

      1. Thank You I try to give a balanced opinion. Yes I think a return to steel disc brakes would increase the braking distances and should make it easier to overtake in the longer braking zones.

        Speaking of snowploughing junk don’t you think it’s ironic that Ferrari’s front wing is very simplistic, note the two adjustable main planes on the front wing either side of the nose and then the small winglets just above that. And then compare with the McLaren’s front wing, their front wing is almost overloaded with intricate crap above the two adjustable main planes. And yet in Bahrain McLaren said they lacked downforce in the middle sector!

      2. Well Jarred I’m afraid I’m not an expert on gearboxes, but to incorperate a fully manual gearbox into a car of the size of the current cars, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem according to my colleagues, but essentially the cars would run the same sprockets ratios and gearing as a conventional semi-automatic, so I don’t understand why you feel the cars will need a massive increase in width.

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          16th March 2010, 4:04

          well the main reason is the extra space that the driver would need to be able to reach a gear shifter and change gears. Another reason is the need to have a third pedal in the car to have the clutch pedal, this would involve either widening the car or moving the steering column up as on the TV you can see the brake and the accelerator are on two opposite sides, so you would either need to raise the column to fit a pedal underneath or increase the width to fit a second pedal next to the brake.

  44. I think the most effective way to increase overtaking is by setting the minimum ride height of cars to about 15 centimetres…about as much as a road car… so that aero dependance is reduced and mechanical efficiency is given more importance

  45. I was watching the build up to the race on the BBC and on there JB said that this should be the most exciting years of F1 for a long time…if it isnt then we are doing something wrong.

    By what I can tell so far they are doing a lot wrong. DDD should have been banned for this season, how they haven’t is beyond me. That stupid quali tyre rule is just unnecessary and leads to everyone being conservative.

    Then I heard Whitmarsh saying that he will try push the 2 mandatory pits. Sounds like a terrible idea to me as we will loose another variable. Wouldn’t it be great to see a new team sneak a point by doing a stop while everyone else has done two? Although I did agree with him that the tyres should be less durable but im worried that this might lead to even more conservative driving.

    I am really worried about this year. It was meant to be great, maybe one of the best of all time but it looks to me like it will be even duller then last years.

    I am praying for rain at every chance we get because to me that is the only way we will see an exciting F1 race anymore.

  46. I am delighted with the result and so glad that the Prancing Horse is back after last year! Fernando showed us all that he is a class act, and Felipe made a very solid return from injury, too.

  47. It wouldn’t be so bad if they had a bit more horsepower, at present they’re all down on power and carrying a load of fuel. I might as well watch buses go up and down a street.

  48. The worst start to a season I remember. If the rest of the season is like this I don’t think may people will have any interest left by mid season.

    Until they limit the cars reliance on aero these are the kind of races we’ll get.

    That said the poor circuit layout didn’t help, that wiggly section seems to have done it about as much good as another tequila does a drunk.

  49. that race has proved to me that a tyre war is needed to soften up the rubber, and closen up the cars.

  50. First off, thanks Keith and everyone.. it’s good to be back.

    First the good stuff. F1 in 2010 is exciting in that there’s new teams on the grid, some new talent and four world champions on track. The most exciting things about today’s racing were seeing Fernando in a Ferrari, how the new teams would cope, wondering if anyone would get into a scrap with Schumacher and seeing that Senna-yellow helmet in a car once again.

    Otherwise it was a procession. The cars are starting on equal weights, the tyre technology means we’ll mostly get one-stops, and as a consequence, the drivers will be nursing their tyres in the last third of a grand prix. We’ve also got engines having to last 3 races and gearboxes for 5, so with turned down revs and short-shifting, I fear it’s going to be a conservative management excercise, rather than overtaking and “to the limit” racing.

    I hope the drivers will get used to their tyres and know when they can push and be more aggressive – but that settling in will take a good few races, something that Martin Brundle mentioned after the race today.

    Opening the Championship at Bahrain is also a poor decision, it’s such a bland setting, and that silly new mid-section didn’t do anyone any favours.

    Having said all that, it was great to see the Ferrari 1-2, such a shame for Red Bull, Webber needs to raise his game and watch out for Force India, they’ll be on the podium soon!


  52. nice race!

    1) poor vettel
    2) great time for ferrari!
    3) stupid sutil (mr crash!)
    4) naughty oil tricks from webber haha, did he want to crash sutil and kubica in the smoke?
    5) superb kubica going from 23 to 11
    6) hulkenberg – big big disap.

  53. That was a bit of a snooze and all very predictible. Looks as if overtaking will be as hard as ever (which we all expected) then they should soften the tyres, they have too much longevity. The super short stops are quite exciting, but we need the decision between number of stops to be a greyer area, today a 1 stop was a no-brainer and easily done, if the tyres had gone off more, might have seen some interesting calls.

    Congrats to Lotus – Kovi was my driver of the day, managing a proper fight against a much faster car and bringing it all the way home ahead of an STR. Good to see.

  54. Formula 1 is not about racing anymore, it is about who is the best at nursing their car around to the finish.

    This race today just proved it, with an uniteresting pointless procession, with drivers either unable or unwilling to really go for it.

    Give them as many tires/engines/gear bozes/fuel as they want or do not want in each race.

    We went in the right direction in getting rid of driver assisting technology. But now with all these silly tire, fuel and engine regulations the drivers are concentrating more on nursing their cars around the track and not crashing into one another, than they are in winning in fighting for position.

    We saw the start of this a couple of seasons ago, when the passing in the pitstop routine began to be played out, with teams not risking any passing manouvres on the track so they can pass in the pits.

    Now we have this crazy 55 metre rule in the pits as well, so there were passes actually in the pitlane due to over the top safety rules.


    I am sick of all this, just give the teams all they need and lets go RACING! Let the drivers fight tooth and nail! They are supposed to be racing drivers, not train drivers!

    This is Formula 1! Things are supposed to be expensive, cost cutting shouldn’t be an issue.

  55. Alonso did well, today in driving, and also in the build up to the season and in the press conferences: he really really is doing everything he can to make sure his is the biggest fanbase in the Ferrari factory, ‘the guys in Maranello’.

    And I credit him for both – just as I creditted Kimi for just sticking to the driving

  56. Martin Whitmarsh says that they could have gone on the supersofts till lap 25. They only decided to bring the drivers early since the first guy made his pitstop on lap 17.

    The pit-stop window is now even smaller, as teams waste no time in mimicking their opponents’ actions.

    Martin goes on to say that they would have gone on and on on the medium tyres. He sais that if there were to be a safety car on lap 5, then everyone would have dived, changed tyres and finished the race, 44 laps (close to 1.5 hours) on the same set.

    Lewis said that managing tyres wasn’t a problem.

    The only one genuine problem which pundits said would occur and upset the drivers was the issue of heating of the fuel. And even that happened only to Felipe.

    Where are all the advocates of refueling ban. Please come out and defend your preferred format.

    Some changes must be done. Soon. The no refueling format was designed to work only on the early 1990s cars, when aerodynamics wasn’t as developed, and teams performance was almost solely decided by the tyres.

    Sadly, we are 20 years ahead of the regulations. Tyres aren’t the sole decider of the performance anymore. Aerodynamics has hurt overtaking. And to counter that is to either reduce the influence by making the aerodynamic rules stricter or allowing more room for different strategies.

    2009 rules did the former. But 2010 rules are in a totally tangential direction.

    Re-introduce re-fueling and get rid of pit-lane speed limits (or increase them). That will a world of good for Formula 1

    1. I happily defend the refuelling ban. The refuelling ban has simply further highlighted the real issue which is aero. But if you want to change the rules again (from as they stand today), then that would be where to look, not lamely bring back refuelling. Besides, there are plenty of other ways. As you rightly highlight, the tyres are far too strong and not so quick. If they were using last years compounds, or if there was a tyre war (which I think there should be) this would not be the case. The problem is not the refuelling ban, it’s that it was brought in without correct attention to tyres and aero. As double diffusers will be banned next year, maybe that’s when they should have brought the refuelling ban in (plus stripped more aero off), but the ban per se is still a good idea. And at least it means races will tend to become more interesting towards the end, not less, as was the case today, and unlike most of the last 10 years.

      You’ll never get pit lane limits raised again, so no point even thinking about it. But I think the no release rule they’ve brought in is far too strict.

  57. *sigh*. I am so disappointed; it couldn’t possibly get worse. Like someone said earlier, we might as well watch buses on a circuit. I was actually enjoyng it until team radio told somebody(jenson?) to go easy on the tyres coz they have to finish the race. At half distance!! So what do we have: slow heavy cars, soulless modern circuits (abu dhabi!) that just get slower(Bahrain ‘upgrade’), technological regression and no pitwall strategy. I mean ONE tyre for 2/3 of the race(an oxymoron really)!! And they call this racing. Total inaptittude. I’ve just stopped caring.

  58. so..the first gp is history and all people going nuts with the refueling. I much prefer to wait until Melbourne to make a comment on that matter.

  59. Better bet your money on Alonso, than bet it on Vettel. Alonso – Hamilton, two drivers, two top teams, two enemies on track…………..One destiny: F1 History.
    I can´t wait¡¡¡¡
    Welcome everyone, sit, relax and watch what we have been waiting for¡¡

  60. I think us lot should run F1.

    1. We’d do a better job, too!

  61. When the grands prix started I was reminded of Fernando Alonso’s comments from earlier in the weekend. When asked if it would be more difficult to drive the Ferrari on full fuel tanks the double world champion said no. ‘No, not more difficult, just slower. It will be like driving in slow motion’.
    It was, atleast to start with, like watching a slow motion replay but in real time. The majority of drivers were very cautious going into turn one, the overtaking was at best limited. The amazing thing was seeing Vettel set off and maintain a gap to the two Ferraris’ for as long as he did, though it cost him dearly in the end.
    The result for Alonso was perfect. For the last two and a half years we have debated to death his eventual move to Ferrari and the promise of success that represents. Now we are there, and the Spaniard did not disappoint.
    He is going to be the man to beat, but the rest are not that far off in terms of pace. The Red Bulls’, especially Vettel, are fast and deserved far more today than they achieved. Hamilton and McLaren did get the same lucky break as Alonso did, but had maintained good pace for most of the day. Hamilton’s quick laps on fresh hard compound tyres saw off Nico Rosberg, and is a far cry from the doggy McLaren of twelve months ago. So that, in terms of the championship, is promising.
    Alonso has been smiling like a Cheshire cat ever since he first drove the Ferrari. He knows that this car is a title winner, its up to the others to bridge the gap, and they will!

    1. That’s exactly what I thought. There was one point where I genuinely thought I was watching a slow-motion replay, and couldn’t understand why it didn’t say “replay” at the top of the screen!

  62. Anyone who thought that this was a good opening round of this season is very easily pleased. Nothing good about it at all in my view, completely devoid of any excitement.
    Too many rules spoiling this sport. Dull.

  63. A great return for Alonso, Massa, Ferrari, and above all, F1; this is what I waited all winter for! Races where everything may not be all they seem at the time, wondering how much life each driver has in their tyres, if they could close a gap which in previous years would have seemed insurmountable. Races where strategy is more organic and the best-laid plans are no good at all if followed to the letter. Races where the calibre of the top drivers and cars is so great that not only can this generation of cars’ sensitivity to the kind of track and conditions be negated by driver skill but victories leave no room for (fairly justifiable, last year) “they only won because their car suited the track more” arguments. Races where cars coming out of the pits could pass those who hadn’t, and therefore produce some overtaking, even if there was little of it for true position. Even the “start on tyres from Q3” rule didn’t really have an impact, except to bring in the front runners earlier and perhaps in later races make 2-stop strategies more of an option, possibly even vindicating the rule being introduced (and I didn’t think I’d be raising that prospect!)

    Even without the problem Vettel had, I think Alonso would have won. It was stance seeing him on the top step of the podium in Ferrari overalls, but he deserved it. Hamilton I feel would have got there on his own had he not been passed by Rosberg, and it was great to see Massa do so well on his first race back. And I’m fairly confident we’ll see kore of the old Schumacher once he gets back into the swing of things. One thing’s for sure, Red Bull can stop complaining about being down on power when we saw today the advantage of being lighter from their fuel efficiency gave. And if Renault are allowed to make their unit more powerful and it costs them efficiency, that’ll be just desserts and fair. Also, well done to all the new teams for getting as far as they did, according to their individual circumstances. I just wish they had come in last year, when the upheaval of the rules would have given them more chance to tack onto the end of or even compete with the established teams, and when the market for sponsors would have been a little better, and there might not have been the dramas and farces they went through this year.

    I’d like to see more variations in strategy, with a car burning off fuel as fast as it can in the early part of a race and then lean it out having gained a natural pace advantage due to being lighter, or a driver going for gold by stopping once more than his rivals, but I’m sure we’ll see more of that after the teams find their feet with the new rules in the races.

    18 more to go – can’t wait to see them all!

    1. Are you from a different planet?

      1. No, I just love F1 and don’t whinge because one race didn’t have everything and start lamenting the supposed death of the sport.

  64. I’m not sure what the FIA were expecting with everyone on the same fuel load and strategy. While it’s too early too call (like about 5 races too early), it wasn’t a good start. Let’s see how Melbourne goes.

    If it does continue, there will be lots of questionable safety cars this year…

  65. Right well first of all while there’s no doubt that the race was a dud I’m not sure the panic some have been expressing is really yet needed.

    Completley and absolutley awful change to the track. The previous Grand Prix circuit has gained itself character, in that it consitantly produced good overtaking, an good racing. Now the thing that made this track good has been ruined by this absolutely silly new bit, the very epitomy of how designers ruin modern tracks.

    I’m going to bed now, glad I saw that, definatley more to say on this race but ah well, see you tommorow.

  66. Happy for Alonso that after two years he got a car which can win him the championship.Massa also did a good race,but really would love if the two Ferrari drivers fought a bit on track.Feel very sorry for Vettel he deserved the victory.
    So far I think Ferrari & Red Bull have the best car,with Mclaren & Mercedes are half second behind them. But I want them to come back & fight well in Australia.

    1. Looks like McLaren are well ahead of Mercedes for raw pace. But Button qualified poorly, then got stuck behind Schumacher and couldn’t overtake.

  67. wong chin kong
    15th March 2010, 2:21

    The race is quite boring. Ban on refuelling takes out all the excitement in pit stops. The car moved like hippopotamus as seen on TV. Corners were taken at snail pace and lack of wheel to wheel fighting. Maybe because of the heavy weight of the car and the longer wheelbase. The Ferraris were excellent, have tremendous race pace, Alonso should be champion if he drives consistently and win the majority of the races in first half of the season. Vettel and Hamilton are amazing drivers and would pose a serious threat to Alonso chances. But it is very early in the season, many changes and incidents can happen in the next few races.

  68. Good race for Lotus & Force India happy that they have achieved what they wanted to.

  69. After seeing this race, it really made me think about how far away F1 is from where it should be.

    When will the FIA stop screwing around and making “seat of the pants” calls on the sporting regulations? No wonder so many manufacturers are leaving the sport – it is costing them too much money to keep re-engineering their cars to conform to the latest rule of the month. What you have now is too many restrictions – no refuelling, mandated tire types, ridiculous qualifying process, no aero, fat slicks, skinny slicks, severe limitations on testing, 3 race minimum on engines etc. And those regulations keep coming “fast and furious”. The races are boring simply because they are not races anymore and the cars aren’t real F1 cars anymore.

    I have been watching this sport for almost 30 years and I can’t believe how persistently stupid the FIA has been (especially in the last 4 or 5 years). IMHO, Here’s how to fix Formula 1:

    1) Throw budget caps out the window or at least free them up considerably – the same teams are always going to win anyway regardless of budget and if they have the money and want to spend it, let them. Besides, all the “knee-jerk” regulation changes surely aren’t saving the sport that much money.

    2) Let the teams test more again so the teams get proper return on their investment and the drivers don’t waste races learning about their cars.

    3) Stop with the stupid multi-race engine rule- this is not endurance racing. This is about the fastest drivers in the fastest cars – drivers should worry about the race they’re in, not the next one

    4) Remover the tire restrictions and allow other manufacturers in – drivers should be worried about conserving tires in the context of winning a race not finishing it.

    4) Bring back one hour open qualifying (12 laps or more) and none of this shoot out stuff that just burns up gas and isn’t really “balls to the wall” racing. If they are worried about teams staying in the pits for extended periods of time, just make them post at least x# of laps in the first half of the session and let them have at it. Some of the most exciting qualifying sessions in F1 history have been about drivers going all out in cars tweaked for qualifying. The current set up is too artificial like many other things in the sport in the last 3 or 4 years.

    5) Let designers be designers again and simplify the regulations. Allow whatever engine in whatever configuration the team wants as long as it meets the basic rules (i.e. 3.0 litre etc). Allow more freedom in the design (aero or whatever) so we can get F1 cars again – this is NOT a spec series.

    6) Force design changes to tracks where overtaking is compromised. In the interest of overtaking, none of the recent car changes have worked – surely wider tracks with more passing areas can be explored.

    Formula 1 has survived for many years without this current nonsense and it will continue to as long as we get back to what this thing is about – the best drivers in the world racing the fastest, most advanced race cars in the world on the fastest tracks in the world. Expensive, exotic, fast – the best of the best.

    Oh – and it’s great to have Schuey back – now if we can just let him race, we’ll definitely see a show!

    1. I think the cost-cutting measures are unfortunately necessary.

      We previously had a situation where teams were spending upwards of £300m a year, an unsustainable level of expenditure for both manufacturers and private enthusiasts.

  70. Well after all the build-up it felt like a bit of an anti-climax, but there have been plenty of other races people called processional so we can’t go writing off the entire season based on one race.

    I don’t think the new layout improved the racing so I wouldn’t be surprised if it changed agin for next year.

    I would like to know what the attendance was for the Grand Prix compared with the total capacity, because I don’t recall any camera shots of the grandstands which is usually a sign that they are empty, as the rest of the track was certainly empty apart from the marshals.

    I don’t know if it was just a case of first race back but FOM seemed to have some problems, they didn’t put enough information on screen during qualifying showing everyone’s positions, then during the race the team radio graphic appeared a few times without any radio, and they didn’t have the timer on screen for most of the pit stops, but I liked the fact that they had two timers for total time in the pit lane and time when the car was stationery.

    After lots of people predicting problems for the new teams I don’t think they caused any problems during the race.

  71. This race was a PR disaster for F1. This season has been seriously hyped. I’m guessing upwards of 6m watched in the UK alone. Today, all those people will be commenting on how staggeringly dull it was. F1 is going to be hit by a tsunami of bad press.

  72. @ Einar Ali
    Bravissimo!!! For calling out FIA on BS and farcical rule changes. I’m going to add something here and i hope it will resonate with you, since you and i share the love for the sport from the days long gone by.

    When they started with the “eco-mentalist” rules first some three- four years ago, my reaction was “***!” as i clearly saw the signs of F1 going *** backwards. Yes, for example i could see drivers trying to preserve engine and not revving it up, like they did in order to make a pass. Then again, teams are not saving as much money as one would like to believe. Teams would simply spend the money saved in one area, in another area for gaining a sliver of performance advantage. “This is F1 and not LeMans”, as someone so eloquently put.

    I say tear up the current rule book and go back to light fuel quali… where they raced against each other, to go as fast as they can and did. That would take care of Saturdays. About the race… i’m currently watching recorded ’95 season, where in one pre-race show, they complained how overtaking is difficult. It has been for more than a decade and half and unless you go to square cars, or some fugly solution like that, aero’s going to be a b!tc#. What with F1 becoming more of a spec series, i can’t see how it could get any better unless you go on to ovals. There, i said it! There HAS to be a performance differential between cars for making it a bit interesting. So yes, F1 should go back to rewarding innovation by and large.

    In its current guise, it is quite bad and chances of it improving are rather slim (any wagers???)… Currently, if you come with a crappy design, you’re stuck with it for a year at the least (and that’s depending on which part of the car sucks more). Take example of Renault, they had a crappy engine and they are requesting FIA if they could change it. I say sod this and bring back the old system, allowing continuous development where teams are able to catch up on each other. Even if some teams are able to do some work, we would hopefully have better racing than now.

    Yes, there clearly needs to be some semblance of sanity. So perhaps one engine per race rule is good, as most teams could easily do that. Then again, some more cost saving measures could be deliberated upon, which don’t slow down the cars. Slowing down cars really makes me furious, cos i remember being a kid parroting lap records for all circuits and checking who’s dashing which during the season. As a kid, i loved the idea of going fast and the really “lap record breaking” fast bit, even more.

    Yes, we all would have opinions about what all is going on. In my opinion, we should have more drivers involved when forming any rules to promote racing, than bean counters and other such lot. Those who want to remain in F1, they will. I’ll say this again, for those who didn’t see a post about this before. Honda and BMW didn’t leave F1 because of global market slowdown and costs of F1, instead it was the degeneration of F1 into what it was. Toyota left, as it had no incentive, given Honda’s departure. They did try for one more year, as they had the car ready and may be wanted to find out if it works for them, like it did for Honda (only a little too late and when they were Brawn :D ). Toyota may have stayed around, had it worked for them last year, which didn’t happen and the resultant departure was not a surprise at all. I predicted manufacturers moving out quite a while before it actually took place, which made me sad.

    My two cents.

  73. Vettel looked the strongest from the start but towards the end the Ferrari’s just got stronger and stronger. I’m still very sure that vettel would of won by a fair distance without that problem coming up towards the end, it just shows how far back the Mclaren and Mercedes teams are.

    Personally I feel a sparkplug in Vettel’s car breaking doesn’t really count as a “reliability issue”, it’s just one of those F1 moments which will bite you in the backside when you least expect it when your leading.

    It looks so far that the mclaren is again behind the front runners which is quite interesting since lewis and jenson say they are happy with the car, while the Mercedes team say they are still working for 100%.

    Also sooner then later the other teams will have mclaren’s rear wing to improve their cars so where does that leave mclaren a few races from now?

    My opinion of the best car so far:

    Red Bull-Strongest Overall.
    Ferrari-“Slower” from the start but gets faster.
    Mclaren-Rear wing advantage but looks shakey in race.
    Mercedes-Work in progress,strong for not being 100% sorted.

    All in all Ferrari should be worried about Red Bull’s pace this year, this certainly will not be a whitewash year for Ferrari.

  74. Well done to the red team…

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