Clip The Apex
A Vettel victory came as a complete surprise after the complete Mercedes dominance of Melbourne. Quite a bit of action through the field too, but how did you rate it?
I'm between a 7 and an 8. It's a great result for the prospects of the season but in the top 3 it was all about strategy and tyre degradation rather than elbows out battles. We had some nice battles in the midfield, but at the same time some amateurish mistakes. I'm leaning towards 7, which is possibly a bit harsh but I'm going to rate it as a good race rather than a great race.
So as we move into the European season for motorsport one of the first series to kick off is Formula 3 European Championship. It open with a round at Silverstone in 2 weeks time with another 10 rounds following after that mostly following the DTM series about. The series is in its 4th year in its current format after being reborn and spearheaded by ex Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger. It is fastly becoming the first step for F1 hopefuls to blood themselves and as we saw last year with Max Verstappen some drivers can jump straight from this into the big leagues. There are 3 races over a weekend and as its a spec series its usually close wheel to wheel stuff. European viewers can watch nearly all the races live with it being shown on Motors TV (free to view!) in the UK and on NTV throughout the rest of Europe. 35 drivers of 18 nationalities will compete making it a true international series.
The series is one that is mostly dominated by rookies which means the form book is not exactly reliable but we can take a good guess at who might be at the front. The top returning driver in 2015 is Antonio Giovinazzi who finished 6th in his first season last year taking two race wins. He was always on the pace last year so you would expect to see him at the front again. Another returning winner is Swede Felix Rosenquivst who has been an F3 driver for quite some time now and I'm unsure if he'll figure or not. The person I would consider the favourite has to be Canadian Ferrari Academy driver Lance Stroll driving for the Prema Powerteam. I watched Stroll in the New Zeland based TRS series in January which is used by a lot of these drivers to warm up for the coming season and he was quick, consistent and mature(for a 17 year old!) - which is probably why he won the title. His team mate Brandon Maisano was also in the TRS and looked as quick as Stroll but didn't quite get the results. I have to mention little George Russell as one of the favourites too. After watching him win the BRDC F4 last year and jump into a Eurocup race and win it as a guest driver I'm quite a fan of his skill. McLaren share my view as he won their Young achievers award last year. Someone I've not heard of as a motoring racing driver before is Charles Leclerc. I know the name because it was the name of one of Napoleon's best generals but I don't think they are related. Anyway Leclerc has been topping the times in testing so he has to be amongst the favourites.
With Mercedes looking imposingly dominant once again this year, it might appear that there is little chance for any of the other teams to score a pole position or take the top step of the podium. Last season Williams were able to give Mercedes a run for their money a couple times, particularly at Austria where Felipe Massa took the only non-Mercedes pole of the season, but it was a Red Bull in the hands of Daniel Ricciardo that took the wins where Mercedes failed - for one reason or another.
Whilst Ricciardo and Massa were able to elbow their way in on the success, defending 4 time champion Sebastian Vettel struggled all year as he was trounced by his less illustrious team mate. However, this season it would seem that he has found his mojo again at the wheel of one of the Ferraris with the Italian outfit looking to have made strides with their engine (the Saubers looked racy too) as well as with other areas of development over the winter. This looks to have left them as best of the rest at the moment - I know it's only been one race - and Vettel will no doubt try to emulate his former team mates trick of picking up the pieces when the opportunity presents itself. Having scored a podium on his debut for the scarlet red outfit, Seb and Ferrari both have their sights set on closing that 30 second gap to the Mercs in front.
Whilst it was no doubt a relief to not see The Finger for over a year since the 2013 Brazilian GP, I feel it is only a matter of time before (a) neither Mercedes finishes due to clashing or reliability or (b) Ferrari close the gap enough to compete. Whilst the first option is a more likely scenario for the next couple of months, I think Ferrari should have more room to develop their car compared to the Mercedes and will be genuine contenders for race wins after the midway point in the season. I'm going to go for a hectic qualifying at Monaco where Vettel will pip Rosberg to pole. But what do you think? Will we see The Finger this year? If so, where and will it be a pole position or a race win? And leave your explanation below if you can be bothered
Renault have been dipping in and out of F1 since 1977 in one guise or another. Currently supplying Redbull and Toro Rosso. There is talk afoot of them now taking over Toro Rosso and bringing back the Renualt Works team.
Renualt have a significant track record of 304 races, 35 race victories, 51 pole positions, 2 drivers championships and 2 constructors championships. Plenty of big boy scaring form there. This could be good.
The inclusion of another manufacturer works team would be a much need security blanket for Formula One. With F1's run away costs, consistently failing to be addressed, the only realistic way to get financially secure teams in F1 is for them to be backed by car manufacturers.
It would of course be far better for F1 if Renualt were to do a HAAS and leave Toro Rosso alone and look at bringing in a new Renualt Works team from scratch. Two extra cars on the grid would be a far better scenario for F1, what with Caterham falling off the back of the grid last year.
If they were to come back as a works team it would be unlikely they would supply engines to another top team such as Redbull. So I guess Horner would have to moan about someone else's engine. My heart bleeds.
I think this would be great for F1. To have Renualt back as a fully blown works team would make me and I'm sure many other F1 fans very happy.
Lets hope it happens.
Page 1 of 2