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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