The 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix

When the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix was about to kick off, there was so much that was going wrong and every fan expected the worst. From the blundering of FIA in coming up with a new qualifying format to the claims by the F1 supremo that the sport was at its lowest, it was obvious things were not so rosy.

However, three races down the line, things have taken an unexpected turn and every fan is now being forced to sit up and notice.

What really changed?  Here are some thoughts:

1.      Nico Rosberg’s Rise and Rise

As was expected, the German kept up the pressure and it seems the Mercedes driver has finally found a way to cut to size his main challengers. With six wins so far, Rosberg is looking unstoppable and Lewis Hamilton’s fans are starting to get pesky. Well, Nico has given Formula One fans something fresh after the domination by Hamilton and their battle is definitely going to light things up.

2.      Lewis Hamilton’s Slump

Well, it might not be totally right to call Hamilton’s form awful right now considering his car has had issues and slow starts have really disappointed him. In Shanghai GP, he had to take a 5-place penalty due to clutch changes and he was not able to fight back as he had done in Australia and Bahrain. The Briton has already told CNN that Nico should enjoy his lead while it lasts; if that is not an exciting warning for F1 fans, then what is?

3.      The Ferrari’s Woes

Everyone thought Ferrari was up to the task in challenging Mercedes’ domination, but it seems things are not so clear anymore. Kimi Raikkonen had to retire in the Australian GP and Sebastian Vettel is being forced to play catch-up once again due to the car’s reliability. Is it just a blip or are the Scuderia going to up their game? Whatever it is, the window the reds are giving is providing chances for new talent.

4.      Hail the Newbies

A few months back no one would have thought Romain Grosjean’s move to Haas would amount to anything much; after all new teams always struggle for years to make a mark. Well, he came in 6th in Australia and 5th in Bahrain. The other new driver who has surprised is, of course, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat who finished third in Shanghai.

5.      The Rise of Red Bull

Just a few months back, the future of Red Bull in Formula One was in doubt. Team owners and the top bosses were angry at Renault’s failure to provide a reliable power unit. The team has always boasted a good chassis and Renault now seems to be perfecting a stronger power unit. The race for the best of the others after Mercedes and Ferrari just got more exciting. Williams seems to be overwhelmed with Bottas and Massa underperforming so far. Red Bull is slowly rising from the ashes and it seems ready to be among the top three teams.

Forget the F1 power plays for now; sit back and watch more drama unfold in the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Highlights of the 2014 Season Finale Abu Dhabi GP

Abu-dhabi-gpIf there is one fascinating Formula One circuit to behold then it has to be Yas Marina. Now that the 2015 F1 season is underway, isn’t it time to recap what went down at the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi?

This will no doubt whet your race action as you count down to November 27th 2015 GP. Here are some highlights that spiced down one of the greatest races in the 2014 calendar.

1.       The Double Point Controversy

Four years prior to the 2014 season, watching F1 had become a painful affair with the dominance of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull racing. It seemed like F1 bigwigs heard the yawns towards the end of 2013 season and decided to award double points at the final race in 2014 Abu Dhabi. This was of course intended to spice up the action down to the wire and open the race till the last minute.

2.       Hamilton Vs. Nico Rosberg

When the double points were being announced, no one knew how strong Mercedes AMG would be in 2014. By the third race in Shanghai, it was obvious the battle was between Mercedes cars of Hamilton and Rosberg.

The fight got stiff, nasty and ugly, though many plastic smiles in between helped ease the tension. By the time they were heading to Yas Marina, Lewis was only 17 points ahead and the title race was open for the two drivers. This spiced up pre-race action to dizzying heights, which is exactly the shot Formula One needed.

3.       Practice and Qualifying

During the entire weekend tension was palpable across F1, but fans were enjoying every bit. The battle of the fastest cars the whole season was coming down to the wire and either of the Mercedes machines could have won. Hamilton was the fastest in practice, but eventually Rosberg beat him to pole thus heightening anxiety in F1 circles.

4.       Drama during Qualifying

There was drama when Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo were excluded from qualifying thus started from the back of the grid, on top of more penalties. This was due to movable aerodynamic devices on their Red Bulls, while Romain Grosjean was penalized for excess power units.

5.       Hamilton Wins a 2nd Championship Title

lewis-hamiltonThe race action, which everyone was waiting for, started with Hamilton perfectly manoeuvring his race car and getting clear from pole holder Rosberg. The German was unlucky after running off the track at turn 17 and his car’s ERS later failed. From that point, the battle was between Massa and Hamilton, but the Briton held on to win a deserved 2nd Championship Title.

What does the 2015 Abu Dhabi GP hold for fans? You just have to wait and watch the race that will definitely be a delight considering the talent on the grid.

Do You Know Sebastian Vettel Contemplated Quitting F1 in 2014?

sebastian-vettelConsider this situation; you get into Formula 1, the sport you have always dreamt of since childhood. You struggle consistently for 2 years with critics dismissing you as a non-starter. Eventually, you get a reliable car and win the first race to become the youngest driver to win in F1.

Later, things look up and you get a more reliable car finishing 2nd that year. In the next four years, you become untouchable and win the F1 title championship back to back, and other titles including the DHL Fastest Lap Award. In the 5th year, things start going south and you fail to win even a single race.

Sebastian Vettel’s Career in Brief

If you are a Formula One enthusiast, you know the above is a simple analogy of Vettel’s entry into Formula One: success and later fading away. When Vettel started racing proper with Toro, pundits were quick to point that this was a reincarnation of Michael Schumacher.

Fast forward to 2014 and you will not even believe that this is the same driver who had won records back to back. As Vettel started the 2014 season, the world obviously expected him to reign, but as fate would have it, the FIA changed rules on F1 cars.

Along the way, Vettel had impressed everyone and had even managed to come 3rd in the overall tally of pole positions behind F1 greats Ayrton Senna and Schumacher. He might have struggled in the initial years with BMW Sauber between 2006 and 2007 and Toro Rosso, but by the end of 2013 F1 season; everyone expected a lot more from the Red Bull driver.

Where did it go wrong?

The entire Formula One fraternity, including his team Red Bull, was shocked when in September 2014 the German activated an exit clause. At that point, everyone started appreciating just how badly Vettel was fairing with no wins in the new car.

As historians will obviously do this, why not make their work easy and try to assess what really went wrong in 2014 for the German driver? Here are some ideas:

Excessive attachment to his winning toy: Red Bull Chief Horner is candid that Vettel felt like a child whose favourite toy had been taken away. This was the car that had propelled him from obscurity to F1 greatness and he couldn’t still understand why anyone would want him to change.

Understandable resistance to electronics in F1 cars: Truth be told, not many drivers love the new cars and Vettel was candid about it at the start of the 2014 season. As a born racer, you want to have total control of your car and the excessive electronics gives too much control away.

Daniel Ricciardo’s rise: The Australian arrival at Red Bull after Webber’s retirement made things worse as he seemed to enjoy the new car. After winning the Canadian, Hungarian GP and Belgian GP, it was obvious pressure would come down like an avalanche for Vettel.

Well, Sebastian Vettel is now freely speaking about the 2014 terrible season. The fantastic driver says he contemplated quitting F1 due to disillusionment with the turn of things. How things change. Hopefully his new home at Ferrari will bring him more deserved wins.