Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Serendipity …

Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer's daughter.

Julius Comroe Jr



Less than a week to go to the first race of the 2010 season. The pre-season testing (Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona) is done and dusted. Unlike the start of last season, there were no major surprises, or hastily lodged complaints by any of the teams!

This season promises to be a 'cracker'. With the return of Michael Schumacher there are no less than FOUR world champions on the grid; Schumacher (7 titles), Alonso (2005), Hamilton (2008) and Button (2009). The last two are competing against each other out of the same stable, McLaren-Mercedes, and there already appears to be a bit of friction!

To balance all these 'chiefs' they've even got an Indian, Karun Chandhok, driving for the newly formed and hastily-badged HRT team. He is only the second Indian to have ever driven in Formula One. Along with Chandhok there are several new faces (Schumacher is not a new face), but one of my favourites, the hard-drinking-cigar-smoking Finn, Kimi Räikkönen, has left for pastures new. I shall miss his monosyllabic and monotonous post-race interviews, but I won't miss having to look up his name each time I wanted to write it.

HRT is not the only new team to make an appearance this year. Lotus, a name that conjures up past motor racing excitement, is also there. Richard Branson, after investing masses of money with Brawn-Mercedes last year, only to see it sold to the Germans, has decided to put out his very own team. They are called 'Virgin': you expected something else?

The FIA continues to tinker with the rules (remember my rants last season?). This time I am hoping they have got it right, but only time will tell. The most important change is going to be the elimination of the refuelling stops. In other words, they will have to have enough fuel aboard to complete the race from the get-go. It also means the drivers will not only have to race each other on the track, they will need to watch their fuel consumption, and nurse their tyres from start to finish. Can't see this rule, being applied to the modern racing car, lasting the season. Rest assured, if I am right in my assessment I shall take the opportunity to crow loudly from these pages!

The current weather conditions in Melbourne are abysmal. Plenty of rain, so much so that they are suffering major floods. What has that to do with F1? Well, if you had to ask the question, you are not an aficionado! Any long-term followers of the sport know that it is traditional to kick off the season in that 4-seasons city 'down-under'. The serendipitous choice of starting THIS season in Bahrain must have been a conscious decision taken in committee. They are off to a good start; one can only hope that it continues.

I shall be watching from my armchair to see that they don't screw-up along the way ...

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Sniffles and Smiles said...

And you will be keeping us entertained with you wise and witty critiques of the races!!! Love the quote!!! A farmer's daughter, indeed!!!! Too funny!!! As always, an excellent post... a thoroughly enjoyable pre-season assessment!!! So glad I have you to give me the run-down and make sense of it all! Hugs, Janine

Chairman Bill said...

I was a keen F1 follower in the '70s and '80s, but the races then became boring and I slowly lost interest, regularly falling asleep on the sofa within the first 30 minutes.

Let's hope that having 4 ex champs in the season will put some sparkle back into the game.

Thumbelina said...

I got drawn to this post (apart from the writer of course) by the word "Serendipity". I love that word. However, I would never have applied it to finding a farmer's daughter or to F1! I live and learn!

Good to see you explain it in plain English for me. I'll be interested to see how the Indian guy does ... and Branson. ;0)

Shrinky said...

So HRT (hormone replacement therapy) has entered formula 1, now? Wheeee, there's hope for me yet (giggle)!!

Fletch said...

'... wise and witty ...' may be overstating it a bit, Janine, but it is meant to be put into simple, understandable terms by a layman for other lay-people.

If I see an amusing aspect to the machinations of a billion-dollar sport I try not to miss highlighting it ...

Fletch said...

I hear you, Bill.

The years when the sport changed from being a RACE to a PROCESSION, where all the others followed Schumacher and Ferrari, almost did for me, too!

Had to chuckle (not PC) at the reports that Stirling Moss broke both ankles and several other brittle bones falling down a lift shaft the other day. He is apparently otherwise "in outrageously good health", hence the chuckle.

Must check out that story in more detail ...

Fletch said...

The "... farmer's daughter ..." quip was irresistible, Cath.

I shall be watching both, Chandok and Branson's team with interest too, although I don't hold out much hope for either making an impact.

Narain Karthikeyan was the first Indian, 2005, and then he lost his seat with Jordan the very next season. You have to have outstanding talent or the backing of mega-bucks to survive in this sport, I fear!

Fletch said...

Hmmmm ... your irreverance for the sport, despite (or is it 'because of') hailing from the world TT capital is understandable, Carol.

Lets see if the four-wheel version of madcap speed manages to compete with the two-wheel nutters you host each year ...

Martin H. said...

I'll be tuning in as an avid Michael Schumacher fan, but my heart was lost to MotoGP a few seasons ago, when F1 started to get too silly. Maybe it's got its act together this year.

Fletch said...

I hope you, like thousands of others who lost the faith, return to this spectacle this year, Martin.

I only touched on the refuelling change in my post, but there are several other changes that will impact on the sport, most of which leave it up to the skill of the drivers, where it should always have rested!

Roll on Saturday 11:00 GMT (UST), and I shall sit glued to the TV to see how they fare in the qualifiers.

Shrinky said...

And those are just my house guests, Fletch.. wink. Actually, as you know, I once was an avid fan of formula 1, even saw Nigel Mansell win in Estril another lifetime ago..

Btw, Nigel is thinking of entering into politics on our island, or at least that's what the rumour has. Think he may need to move back here first.



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