The new F1 season kicked off over the weekend down under in Australia.
The Good Bits.
Coverage is back on the BBC so that bit where they cut to an ad break just as you see someone overtaking, heading for the pits, spinning off, etc. isn't going to happen any more. And of course that excellent choice of theme tune from Fleetwood Mac's The Chain is back again.
Proper slick tyres - why F1 was the only formula including all the junior ones for years to not be on these lost me. It just looks right for one thing.
Cleaner looking cars. The new aero rules do mean they haven't all that nonsense sticking up everywhere.
The racing - there did seem to be more overtaking, how much is due to the aero changes or the KERS (Kinetic Energy something System) or the difference in grip between the two types of tyre compound they are compelled to run I don't know and perhaps we need to reserve judgement until after a few more weekends.
A brand new team (well I know it isn't but...) winning first time out. To be fair to them however much the car was advanced under Honda's ownership last year they still had to suddenly late in the day shoehorn a Mercedes engine into it and with precious little time for testing it still is a remarkable feat.
The Bad Points
KERS - does anyone understand it? So I sort of get that the idea is a green thing (what a joke in F1 really!!). As you brake the energy in the brakes is somehow used to charge up some battery thing, you then have a button that can add that to the engine to boost the power by 80bhp for only a limited time each lap. Blah blah... could we just have had a boost button like on A1GP? Lot easier to understand - plus I know there are concerns over safety, a mechanic has already been electrocuted in practice over the winter. What the hell will happen if a spark from a KERS charged car causes a fire in a pit stop? Also if the overtaking is so helped by it, and look at Hamilton rising from 18th to 3rd in a car that all weekend shown absolutely no pace what so ever, will all the teams soon have it thus negating the overtaking fillip we may have seen this weekend.
The politics! Again it rears it's head. So BrawnGP have won a stunning debut 1 - 2. Will that however be what the record books finally record at the end of the season? Some how I doubt it with the big "grandee" teams protesting the Brawn, Williams and Toyota rear diffusers. What is a rear diffuser? I know it's the bit right at the back at the bottom under the wing and gearbox. F1 has a great story this week with BrawnGP - what price a ridiculous undoing of that by a court of appeal in France in two weeks time? When will F1 learn that they need to stop this nonsense, make a quick decision and get on with it. Some of the teams claim to have shown the FIA the designs to get an opinion on them. Therefore why couldn't we have had that fixed and determined before the racing started - one way or the other not this "racing under appeal" fiasco. It continued in the race with Trulli on the podium when anyone with any idea of the rules was saying - "Hang on, he passed Hamilton under safety car yellows - how's he there?" Again - the decision was obvious and should have been communicated either before the finish and order restored before the checkered flag or straight afterwards before the bubbly was showered everywhere.
The points vs wins. I don't get it, surely the winner of the title should be the most consistent driver over the season? Under this new system someone could come second in every single race in the year and lose the title to someone who only finished a couple of races. I don't get it. Also did we see some of the madness that might go with the "win or nothing" mentality for a driver with the Vettel/Kubica crash? How long will the teams put up with dragging bent machinery back to the shop to be fixed and no points in the constructors championship only to hear their driver saying - "Well I had to try to overtake with out braking there, I mean he has five wins I have five wins, this way neither of us got another one up on each other"? Remember Prost and Senna first corner Japan all those years back?
I've been an F1 for years, back to the days of James Hunt, Niki Lauda etc. and I know the pantomime of highly paid, highly sexed young guys strutting their stuff is all part of the show but especially in the cost and environment conscious world of now I still wonder if F1 is still losing the plot a bit.