March 16, 2015

2015 Australian GP: Win for Lewis, not so much for F1

When the drama around the race is more entertaining than the actual race, it's not a good thing for Formula 1.

The Australian GP was an odd race, so many mistakes, both technical and from mental.  McLaren, Renault, Button, Ferrari all screwed up one way or the other plus two drivers out with medical conditions.  Add lawsuits and teams not starting and teams threatening to quit.  it all made for a very weird start to the season.

The result was a foregone conclusion:  Lewis Hamilton controlled the pace from the front and Nico Rosberg, who seemed off all week end, had no answer for him.

Rosberg had a poor start and was never even in DRS range of Lewis.   He might have had a chance on the safety car restart following the first lap Maldonado crash but he again seemed asleep at the wheel, letting Hamilton get a four or five car length advantage by the time they got on the front straight.  

Rosberg smade a bit of progress towards the end of the race but the team started sending ominous fuel consumption warnings and that was that.

Mercedes simply crushed the competition and they seemed to be barely trying.

Third, for Ferrari, would seem as good as a win.  Best of the rest anyway, but still first of the losers.   Vettel had a bad start but muscled his way past Raikkonen in a way I'm sure they will have discussed afterwards.
Unlike Rosberg, Seb had the right idea on the restart, he was right on Massa's tail but he makes a mistake on the last turn, hits the curb and is forced to lift losing momentum.
Ferrari did get the pit stop strategy right with Sebastian overlapping a Felipe Massa  stuck behind Ricciardo for a lap.

Not so clear was the thinking behind two stopping Raikkonen. Bad luck for Kimi with the technical issue with the wheel,  according to Autosprint the thread on the left rear hub was stripped when, during the first stop,  Kimi let go of the clutch while the wheel gun was still engaged.   In any case, rusty thinking at Ferrari releasing him with a wobbly wheel.

Massa was P4 but the team made a real mistake releasing him behind a very slow Ricciardo and allowing Vettel to pass him in the pits.    Bottas, what if?  Williams certainly missed out on points.

Speaking of points, Sauber of all teams scored with both cars!   Ok, granted only one team did not score any points Sunday but, still.   Nasr is obviously a very handy driver and the Sauber's no dog.

All the rookies did well, Sainz, Verstappen all.   Better, I would say than veteran Button who made that bonehead move on Perez.    Had the roles been reversed there would be much more murmuring in the press about it.

McLaren was just sad.  amazing everyone is finding excuses for them and putting all the blame on Honda.  Not sure that's entirely fair, takes two to tango.

Speaking of tango, there's the hoopla with Red Bull threatening to quit if F1 does not do something to equalize performance.   When Red Bull was not happy complaining about rules they were complaining about the unreliable and underivable Renault engine.    Again, takes two to tango.   RBR writes much of its own software and they do the installation so it's hard to know exactly where things really stand.  Without a doubt Ricciardo's car was coughing and stuttering a lot in the clip above.

Nobody's happy.

Renault is sick and tired of getting all the blame and none of the credit and is actively looking for new partners, if not a team to take over.
Formula 1 cannot afford to lose Red Bull and their deep pockets.  
Red Bull is in it only for the image so if they don't win it becomes a cost analysis game.  For sure Red Bull is not going to start building engines so a split from Renault can only lead to sale or a new partnership with a player of Mercedes, Honda or FIAT stature.  
There are not too many out there.  the obvious one is VW/Audi.   Perhaps if VW/Audi does not want to jump in all the way an RBR-Porsche engine might come to life?


  1. RBR deal with Bernie it's until 2020 so they can threat to quit all they want.

  2. The Formula E race was actually better than the Formula One race. The NASCAR race better than the Formula One race too.

  3. Well, both Mercedes and Lewis were in a class of their own. After that Seb being Seb, fast, hotlapping and leapfrogging opponents in the pits, but racing anyone who gets beside him off the black stuff, regardless whom it is. Even if it's his team mate who had just out dragged him in the start and yet left him half the track into turn one. Not sure Kimi will be that kind again in the near future. That antic actually set in motion the pile up that ended in Pastor's crash. Which in all fairness can't be blamed on him, however being the one on the outside he was the only one who could do anything to avoid the contact, which he didn't. But one can only expect so much from him... Massa was pretty good and we do have to wonder where would've Bottas finished, he was pretty strong all weekend. A few more notes: first Saubers and Toro Rosso going strong and RBR complaining and blaming Renault or unfair Merc advantage... if Sauber, with one less practice and pretty novice drivers did what they did (Nasr in particular) and the hand picked Ricciardo and Kyviat are struggling againts the 2nd RB team, you can hardly blame external factors and/or the engine. They need to get their act together, the sooner they stop complaining the better. Second Grosjean... seriously, the kid can't catch a break. Third, Honda and Mac did the right thing. Yes it's painful to watch (as a Honda and Button "fan") but at least they got 56 laps of running. It's more than all previous testing put together. They can only build on that, and it's more than what Lotus did last year in the first races (IIRC). Last note: It's very sad to see drivers in the pits the whole weekend that are not expected to race. No, not the Sauber legal affairs, or the Marussia drivers. The test/reserve drivers, especially Wolf. Seriously, a perfectly good Williams was left in the pits cause they couldn't find the time let her do a FP and thus be allowed to race. But also the Lotus (what's her name?). Word is she hasn't even hit the simulator. Of course considering how long the main drivers are using it (cause not on track) she might find it hard to secure a slot in there...
    Anyway, the circus if back, bring on the next one, hopefully with Alonso and Bottas back!

  4. to be fair to Vettel, he got a bad start (clutch issue?) but he did outbreak Kimi. I think Kimi said that when they bumped the anti stall kicked in and that's why he was so slow coming out of turn 1.

  5. It's like a GP out of the 70s, all the amateurish mistakes and mismanagement. (Having 3 pay drivers show up in the same garage!) But without the shady, swashbuckling privateers to FILL OUT THE GRID.

  6. I would like to see Renault buying STR but is not going to happen any time soon.

    RBR is asking for equalizing.. Let's look in the history book when RBR won 4 champs on the row.. lapping everyone and being conservative.

    The Mercs has the advantage .. they did understood from the get go the rules and how to apply it and Toto said today... they still can be faster on the next one.

    Looks like Ferrari is on the right way too, at least the car seems a lot more docile out of the corners.

    Nico is the only hope for now to have some racing on lead... and from what we saw the last weekend... he is not at the same level as HAM.

  7. Can we at least bring back the BMW M1 Procar series as a pre-race event? That I would watch.

  8. A Mercedes GT series would be more likely at this point

  9. AND I watched it at Buffalo Wild Wings. I've had to beg them to put F1 on those screens, lol.

  10. So I can't pretend to have enjoyed the first race as much as I'd hoped. The whole affair was pathetic. They told us a few years ago that testing was expensive and so, much less testing.

    One wonders how expensive the shrinking grid is going to be for FOM and the promoters this season, eh? Two cars can't even make it around to the grid, literally exploding expensive bits on the sighting lap. Given the situation before anyone even shows up at the track (being two teams down already) you'd think the showmen (showman?) would have made some emergency plans of some sort for just this circumstance. Some way to ensure that the cars that did show up would be manned. The whole lack of real-world testing being used an excuse to prevent that Williams from being on the grid is a sorry statement about the priorities of the sport overall.

    Bernie can troll on about the sport being entertainment all he wants; thing is, you have to pay the performers enough to want to show up, and give them time to get the show right. Nobody want's to watch a race where cars are breaking down on the way to the grid, that's fucking pathetic.To then hear RBR complain shows how off things really are; they won so many races using 'grey' bits and bobs it's absurd. Rubber nose, anyone? "OH EM GEE we didn't get the drop on the new engine formula" - yeah right.

    I was really looking forward to this season but holy hell Australia was a mess. Things are looking rough when a team can miss the first race of the season, and still possibly show up to get more cars on the grid than the supposedly well-run teams at the front. I want to see the fallout when Manor spanks McLaren. Then we'll see whats what.


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