Saturday, 22 March 2008

McLaren Drivers Rightly Penalised

As predicted, Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton have both been handed 5 place grid penalties from the race stewards for blocking off Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso whilst saving fuel on their in laps. This promotes Jarno Trulli to a remarkable 3rd place with Kubica 4th. Heidfeld, the aggrieved party from qualy, moves up to fifth, Webber in sixth and Alonso seventh. A pretty dismal start to the weekend so far for McLaren, and they're going to have a tough race for sure tomorrow.

Revised Starting Grid

1. Massa
2. Raikkonen
3. Trulli
4. Kubica
5. Heidfeld
6. Webber
7. Alonso
8. Kovalainen*
9. Hamilton*
10. Glock
11. Button
12. Coulthard
13. Piquet
14. Barrichello
15. Vettel
16. Rosberg
17. Fisichella
18. Bourdais
19. Sato
20. Sutil
21. Davidson
22. Nakajima**

* = 5 place penalty
** = 10 place penalty
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Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying Report

Felipe Massa will start tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix from pole after an imperious display from the Ferrari team in qualifying. He will lead off with his teammate alongside him, with their archrivals in the McLarens locking out row 2. That is, unless the McLaren drivers end up getting penalised... The qualifying session began with the threat of rain looming large. Fernando Alonso was warned that rain was predictied to hit just seven minutes into the first of the three qualifying sessions. Thus a fast and furious qualifying session began as the drivers were desperate to get out there and get their laps in the bag for the ever elusive rain hit. Alas, the rain didn't come until literally moments after the grid had been decided, but it had no impact on the session.

The first session passed without real incident until the final moments of the session when Sebastien Bourdais saw his Q2 hopes ended with yet another brake failure for the Toro Rosso/Red Bull teams. The battle to get through to Q2 was a frenetic one in the dying moments as the order was constantly changing as each car crossed the line. Numerous drivers looked to be in trouble as Fisichella in the Force India threatened to cause a real upset. He looked as though he had managed it for an all too brief moment until Rubens Barrichello just squeezed out his fellow veteran for the last ticket to the party. Unlucky for Fisi, hopefully it's only a matter of time until the former Jordan team can get at least one car through.

The second session was the chance for Ferrari to really show their pace on low fuel loads. Raikkonen in particular was hugely impressive, leaving the rest trailing in his wake. Someone who definitely looked to be struggling to live with the Scuderia's pace was Lewis Hamilton who had to take an extra set of tyres to put in a third run to make sure that he would even make it through to the final session. We learned after the session that Hamilton had decided to change a few things with his set-up overnight, but whatever changes he had made seemed to have a negative impact throughout all three qualy sessions. Not Hamilton's finest hour.

The battle to get through to the final session wasn't quite as closely fought as the first session with young Germans Rosberg and Vettel both having disappointing showings. The weak pace of the Williams was one of the surprises of the day as they finished a fairly woeful 16th and 18th place, with Nakajima due to start last after his penalty from last week's race. Barrichello, Piquet and Coulthard didn't really get that close to making it through so it was down to Button versus Glock versus Alonso. Button was the man to lose out, by less than a tenth of a second in the end. However, when spoken to after the session he seemed delighted with 11th and with his performance, confident in the knowledge that he could not have wrung any more performance out of his Honda.

So the final session began with the rain still holding off, and with Kovalainen and Hamilton leading the field out onto the circuit. We could immediately see from the early laps that the battle was to be between the two Ferrari drivers as they looked in a different class to everyone else. As the two red cars duked it out for pole it became apparent that Massa was running lighter than Kimi as he was able to record a lap almost a half a second faster than the World Champ. The McLarens both slotted in to the second row with Kovalainen beating his teammate for the first time this season, capping a fine weekend so far for the Finn.

Trulli put in a fine lap to take fifth and was probably the star of qualifying all things told. The other driver who looked capable of pushing the McLarens was BMW's Nick Heidfeld. Things turned sour for him in the final moments of the session is what was a rather bizarre and controversial sequence of events. It seemed that most drivers had gone out for their final runs a minute or two earlier than usual doe to the impending rainfall. Not so the BMW of Heidfeld and Alonso's Renault, who left things to the last minute for a more traditional last gasp dash for the chequered flag. Unfortunately they both came across horrendous traffic on the track as the other cars were chugging around at crawling pace to try and save fuel. People mostly did their best to stay out of the way, but Heidfeld caught the two McLarens almost parked on the racing line in the braking zone for the tricky turn 4. His hot lap was severely compromised and it cost him a possible second row finish. If BMW appeal they will have a very strong case for seeing both McLaren drivers penalised.

Clearly there was no malice or forethought in the McLaren driver's actions, it was just pure carelessness on their part. A rather silly lapse in concentration from the team and the drivers, and it could prove extremely costly if they end up with grid place penalties. It wasn't just that it messed up Heidfeld's single lap, it would have made a mess of his whole strategy as he was probably running light hoping to bag a good grip spot. He can't change his fuel load now, and his race will be severely compromised. Rotten luck for the on form German, and a poor show from McLaren. Even if the drivers didn't see his coming they should have been given plenty of forewarning from their team.

So the grid for tomorrow's race has a decidedly familiar look about it with Ferrari domination looking likely to be the order of the day. McLaren and others may well be praying that the highly unpredictable Kuala Lumpur weather throws in a few surprises and can upset the form book somewhat. Personally I'd love to see some rain tomorrow to really sort the men out from the boys now that we have no traction control. Come on God, do us a favour!
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Malaysian Grand Prix Final Practice

BMW's Nick Heidfeld was the surprise leader on the time sheets at the end of the final Practice session before the competitive action kicks off in qualifying. His performance will doubtless have raised a few eyebrows in the Ferrari and McLaren garages, as BMW haven't really looked impressive thus far in Malaysia. They could perhaps cause an upset and get in amongst the big boys at the front.

Ferrari continued their impressive form this session while McLaren kept their qualy-pace cards close to their chest by focusing on long run set-up work. Red Bull got the all clear from the race stewards to go out on track after question marks over the apparent fragility of their car, and they impressed with P5 and P6. The other performances of note were Rosberg and Barrichello. Both did extremely limited running this session, and I wonder whether they may be conserving their engines in the heat and humidity of Sepang.

I can't really tell you what happened on track as, alas, the only stream I could find of the footage was about the size of a postage size and impossible to make out. Ho-hum. Bring on qualifying! Read more!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Malaysian Grand Prix Practice 2

Lewis Hamilton finished the second practice session of the Grand Prix in his favourite place, P1 after snatching the Friday glory from Ferrari in the dying minutes. Ferrari will no doubt sleep soundly tonight after having a clean bill of health throughout that session, and showing some blistering pace along the way. That will certainly have banished a few of the ghosts of last Sunday that may have been lingering. Felipe Massa in particular had a good session coming in second, just ahead of team leader Kimi, followed by (shock, horror) Jenson Button's Honda!The session as a whole was not quite as eventful as the first. The amazing disintegrating Red Bull of Coulthard decided not to make an appearance and Sebastien Bourdais didn't do anything more than an installation lap. There were still a few off track excursions from the likes of Mark Webber, and Fernando Alonso managed to spin on the exit of the final turn under power. Even more worryingly for Alonso though, we heard him on the pit radio complaining of losing second gear completely. He took no further part in the session. Under the new rules gearbox changes = penalties, so it could spell trouble for the Spaniard.

The BMWs and Williams teams seemed to be focusing on longer runs this session, which left the door open for the likes of Button in the Honda and Vettel in the Toro Rosso to grab a few headlines. There were few other surprises on the time sheets really. Nelson Piquet appears to have closed the gap somewhat to his illustrious teammate after his woeful start last weekend, while Timo Glock appears to have gone the other way and fallen back from Trulli's pace.

As in the previous session there was plenty of sliding and slithering around under power. The final corner certainly looks to be the one to watch on race day as that is the corner that the drivers are consistently struggling with in terms of braking stability and traction. Rosberg was again consistently messy throughout the session there, but the honours for best 'drift' of the day go to Lewis Hamilton. He managed to get the back end out at the apex with his front brakes locked, then powerslide all the way through the exit of the corner with the grace of a ballerina. It might have cost him three tenths of a second, but it looked great!

And still no sign of the rain. Latest predictions put the chances of rain at 90% for qualy tomorrow and 70% for Sunday's race. We shall see...
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Malaysian Grand Prix Practice 1

An eventful first practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix has drawn to a close with the Ferraris setting the pace so far with a decent sized gap back to the McLaren of Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg's Williams. It doesn't tell the full story for Ferrari however as Kimi Raikkonen's car ground to a halt out on track with what looked like something electronic or hydraulic. It certainly wasn't an engine failure by the looks of things, but still not great news.

McLaren didn't have the best of sessions either. They were a little short on pace compared to the Ferraris, and with 5 minutes of the session to go Hamilton had a minor trip off the circuit at turns 7 and 8 and he cruised back to the pits and called a halt to proceedings. Whether that was just a precaution or whether something was actually wrong with the car it's hard to say at the moment.

Hamilton wasn't the only one off track however. David Coulthard went off in rather spectacular fashion by snapping his front suspension wishbones bouncing over a kerb. Teammate Mark Webber fared even worse. His Renault engine blew up under full throttle down the straight and he had to pull off and then jump out as his car was still pouring out smoke and flames. He will surely get a grid penalty for the race. Heidfeld went bouncing across the gravel at turn 8, Nakajima spun in turn 9, and Vettel had a front brake failure whilst slowing for the final corner. It was a very similar incident to the one that befell Mark Webber's car in Melbourne last weekend. I wonder if they have the same braking system as their Red Bull stablemates?

Aside from the numerous offs there was plenty to see as lots of drivers seemed to struggle in the tight final corner. It seemed like every 30 seconds or so the director would cut to somebody getting horribly crossed up mid-corner. I think the problem is that they are shedding a LOT of speed and also trail-braking right the way through towards the apex, then no sooner have they got off the brakes they have to try and get the power down out of a tight, slow hairpin. It seemed to be that transition from braking to getting the power down that was causing balance problems for a lot of drivers. Nico Rosberg struggled with it more than most throughout the session, but finally got his act together late on and put in an excellent lap to take fourth spot from his good mate Hamilton.

No sign of the thunderstorms yet...
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Thursday, 20 March 2008

Malaysian Grand Prix Preview

With barely a couple of days to take stock and review the events of Melbourne on Sunday the teams have unpacked their bags and motorhomes in the paddock of the Sepang circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It's one of the fastest, toughest turnarounds of the year for the teams, especially as they are all so far from home and it makes things very hard to get new parts shipped out from the factories. And after last weekend's mayhem there are plenty of repairs needing to be carried out! Whilst this may not be the biggest problem for the big boys, the likes of Super Aguri will be stretched to their already very thinly stretched limits.

One team who will be looking to lick their wounds after their Australian debacle is Ferrari. They must be somewhat shell-shocked after their appalling weekend, and they must still have serious concerns over the performance of their engines which had numerous failures throughout the weekend. They will of course have fresh engines on hand to use this weekend, but it is doubtful whether they will have had time to fully diagnose and rectify any problems they may have in the design or manufacture of their power plants. This will be a big test of Stefano Domenicali's fledgling Team Director career. I don't imagine for a moment that they will have as bad a weekend as in Oz. But will they come back fighting and go after McLaren, or will they try to stabilise and get some healthy points on the board so they can regroup before we hit the European season?

Arch-rivals McLaren on the other hand couldn't be in better shape. Faultless reliability, great qualifying pace, great race pace, and a lead driver who looked as fit as a butcher's dog after 2 grueling hours in the scorching heat of Albert Park. Hamilton is in incredible shape, and his driving looks as good if not even better than last year. But knowing McLaren, they certainly will not be resting on their laurels. They will be pushing as hard as ever to try and extend their early advantage over Ferrari. And let's not forget BMW, who raised a few eyebrows with their impressive pace in Australia despite a fairly indifferent winter testing performance.

The Sepang circuit has a bit of everything. It is mostly a mixture of loooooooong straights and some very fast and medium speed corners with some tricky braking zones. But there are also a few very tight hairpins thrown in there for good measure. The surface is generally good given that it is a relatively new circuit, and it is plenty wide enough, which will come as a relief to the drivers after the bumpy, dirty, narrow track in Melbourne. On paper, the circuit should provide considerably less challenge to the drivers in terms of traction and braking stability. However, there is potentially a BIG spanner going to be thrown in the works in the form of rain. Not just your average rain or drizzle, we're talking full on South Asian tropical thunderstorm type rain. The weather is predicted to be "Scattered thunderstorms" on all three days of the Grand Prix. Apparently it has been raining heavily on and off in KL for close to 3 weeks, and it shows no signs of abating. This could mean rapidly changing track conditions for the drivers to deal with, and some tough choices for the teams in terms of tyres and set-up. Without traction control, if the rain starts to develop patches of standing water at any time during qualy or the race the drivers will certainly be earning their money!

I worry that if it rains heavily before and during the start time of the race it could even put the race in jeopardy. I recall an A1GP qualifying session being red-flagged here a couple of years ago due to heavy rain making the session too dangerous. If they do start the race in wet conditions it will make the first two turns very interesting indeed. Having a very long, wide, high-speed run down to the first corner followed by hard braking into two ever tightening hairpins has caused lots of problems for drivers even in dry conditions. If they're trying to brake with cold tyres and brakes into those corners then the chances of everyone getting out in one piece are virtually nil!

It'll certainly make for an eventful race if it does rain, and let's hope the race will be eventful even without the wet conditions. It certainly has a lot to live up to after the excitement of last weekend, so bring it on!
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Back on the Beeb

There was a fair bit of shock this morning when it was announced that F1 will be returning to the BBC after a 12 year stint at ITV.

ITV have shown remarkable commitment to the sport throughout these years, even when things were at their lowest ebb during the years of the Ferrari/Schumacher strangulation of the sport. It must be particularly galling for them to hear this news greeted with unbridled rejoicing throughout the F1 world. After all the millions they've pumped into the sport they have somehow ended up universally resented by Formula One fans in Britain and beyond.

There are two obvious reasons or this. One - constant advert breaks throughout the race, sometimes missing as much as 15 minutes of any given race. Two - the personnel, in particular lead commentator James Allen, but also the likes of irritating half-witted pit reporter Ted Kravitz. Obviously the first of these problems is automatically solved by the move to BBC. We can only hope that the second of these will be solved by getting rid of Allen, Kravitz, Goodman and co. Martin Brundle needs to be kept on of course, he's the best in the business (and you can sign an online petition for his services to be retained here - ), and I personally don't mind Steve Ryder. He was the presenter of 'Grand Prix' on the BBC throughout the nineties and I would have no problem in him returning to that post.

So what else can the BBC do to improve things? People have often complained about what is shown by the live director during the race, when in the past we have seen endless footage of Schumacher/Alonso/Hamilton cruising away by themselves at the front while we miss some good racing behind them in the midfield. However, the feed that ITV show, and indeed every other TV company in the world shows, comes directly from Bernie's FOM TV company. They employ a different live director for each race in each country. The actual broadcasters have no control over the feed that they receive. The camera angles, the replays, the onscreen graphics etc are identical in every country, so the BBC will be powerless to improve the coverage in that respect.

One thing that F1 fanatics will be keen for them to do is tone down the sickly, over-zealous promotion of Lewis Hamilton. Yes he's British; yes he's a nice guy; and yes he's ludicrously talented. That doesn't mean we want it shoved down our throats from the very first minute of the broadcast to the last. Some of us are interested in a little more than just Lewis. But what about the casual, drop in and out F1 viewer? Whilst many aficionados complained about the Hamilton-heavy coverage, the fact is that ITV received their best viewing figures in years. The season ending Brazilian Grand Prix was the most watched sporting event in Britain last year, even more popular than the Champions League Final. This was mostly down to the media hype around Stevenage's finest. So whilst it may have riled a few F1 die hards, the focus on Lewis Hamilton was in retrospect the right move in terms of drawing in the viewers, and in increasing the interest in the sport. For me that's no bad thing, and as such I doubt that the BBC will choose to tone down the coverage of Hamilton-mania too much, especially if he wins the title this year.

My big reservation over the BBC getting the rights to the coverage is the fact that they simply don't have that much money. They used to do a damn good job back in the eighties and nineties, but TV sports coverage has moved on enormously since then. People want ever more hi-tech production values, TV graphics and interesting features. ITV was able to do these things to a certain extent with the likes of Martin Brundle's "Inside F1" features, where he would analyse certain aspects of F1 car handling and the technology that impact upon it. These were very well put together, well produced pieces, utilising some sophisticated graphics and even gaining use of Red Bull and Williams F1 cars for Brundle to illustrate his points with. Will the BBC be able to commit the resources to producing features as good as this? I have my doubts.

So whilst the immediate reaction of the F1 fraternity seems to be a big sigh of relief, and even celebration in some circles, for me the jury is still out...
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Australian Grand Prix Review

Better late than never. Here is a review I wrote for the Aussie Grand Prix last weekend. Bear in mind I wrote this literally as the cars were taking the chequered flag at about 6:30am after staying up the whole of Saturday night. Things are a bit ropey is what I'm trying to say! Excuses out of the way, here goes...

Wow! Formula One returns from the winter break with a bang, in every sense of the word! The packed grandstands at Melbourne's Albert Park were treated to a thrilling afternoon's entertainment from start to finish under the baking hot sun.

Lewis Hamilton took a comfortable pole-to-flag victory out in front to get his 2008 season off to the dream start, and blowing away the memories of the nightmare finish to last season. But that tells just a fraction of the story of a truly crazy race in which only SEVEN cars actually crossed the finish line, one of which may yet be disqualified for jumping a red light in the pit lane. To make Hamilton and McLaren's victory all the sweeter their big rivals Ferrari had a truly woeful weekend and will leave Melbourne possibly pointless and licking their wounds.

The thrills and spills started on the very first lap. There were always going to be question marks as to how the loss of traction control would effect the starts of Grand Prix, and things certainly were more dramatic than usual. Most drivers got away cleanly barring the star of qualifying Sebastian Vettel who bogged down off the start line and got swallowed up by the drivers behind him. Things were to get much worse for him and others around him though as the lap unfolded. It was difficult to see exactly what happened but numerous cars came together including Vettel, Button and Webber. Davidson and Fisichella also came together spectacularly, putting them all out of the race. Up at the front everyone seemed to get away cleanly and Massa made a move on Kovalainen on the inside of turn one. Massa has a bit of a reputation for losing his cool when the pressure is on, and he will have done little to dispel that feeling as he jumped on the throttle too early and spun off into the wall breaking his front wing. The lack of traction control had claimed its first victim!

The safety car came out to clean up the mess and as things settled down Raikkonen looked to be the man to have benefited from the chaos in front of him. A remarkable stroke of luck for the World Champion, and it looked as though fortune may be smiling on Kimi after some rotten luck in qualifying. As the safety car pulled in Robert Kubica managed to keep Hamilton honest for a few laps before Hamilton crept inexorably away at the front. There was plenty of tight racing throughout the field behind the untouchable Hamilton though, with the predicted tight midfield battle really hotting up. Having two quick Ferraris trying to fight their way through the field certainly helped in that respect. While battle was raging Adrian Sutil retired from the race with a mechanical problem of some sort, and Trulli jumped out of his car in the pits seemingly in pain from something leaking in the cockpit; a strange retirement if ever I've seen one!

Just as things were sorting themselves out after the pitstops the safety car was brought out again after a dramatic coming together between Massa and Coulthard. Massa tried a move up the inside of DC at turn three and Coulthard turned in on him and clipped Massa's front right wheel. This launched the Red Bull into the air and caused terminal damage, and eventually the damage told on Massa's suspension several laps later. Coulthard was seething afterwards, there were no doubts as to who he thought was to blame, but from the replays it looked like Massa was well within his rights to try a move. A racing incident I think.

The big loser in this safety car period and the laps afterwards was Robert Kubica. He struggled badly on the option tyres and he got tangled up in traffic, which put paid to his chances of a podium. Raikkonen was now in a strong position to be able to challenge McLaren for the race victory but he suffered from a rush of blood to the head as he tried to dive past Kovalainen into turn 3 but he was way too quick and went straight on into the gravel and was fortunate to keep his Ferrari running. An uncharacteristic error from Kimi, and it wasn't to be his last. As Hamilton romped off into the distance again Kovalainen was having a great debut in the McLaren in second place, fending off Nick Heidfeld's BMW. BMW seem to have a lot more pace than was suggested by their winter form as Heidfeld really wasn't far off the pace of the McLarens at times. Rosberg was having a fine day in the Williams too ahead of the likes of Barrichello who was doing sterling work in the Honda.

Then there was yet another surprising mistake from Kimi Raikkonen. As he tried to pass Timo Glock he seemed to lose concentration and got his rear end up on the grass. With no electronic safety net to bail him out he soon found himself pointing the wrong way and stationery on the grass. He kept things running and set off again with all hopes now surely extinguished. Sato limped out as did Piquet, who had an appalling debut all round for Renault, before the final safety car of the day was brought out in dramatic fashion, and again played fortuitously into the hands of Raikkonen and Ferrari.

Timo Glock ran a little wide in the very fast turn 12, and as he went across the grass run-off the service road somehow launched him skywards. He returned to earth with a big bang as his Toyota shed wheels and bodywork aplenty until he spun to a halt at the side of the track. The accident looked nasty enough, but in truth he was lucky it wasn't worse given the high speeds and the close proximity of the walls. The ensuing safety car period had disastrous consequences for two drivers. Heikki Kovalainen got seriously unlucky as the safety car came out at precisely the wrong moment for his fuel strategy, ruining what should have been a comfortable McLaren 1-2 finish and a strong podium for Kovalainen. The other loser was Barrichello who had to take an illegal refuelling stop otherwise he would have ground to a halt out on the track. In the process he managed to drive off with the fuel hose still attached due to a mistake from the lollipop man (something that has blighted Honda before with Jenson Button), and then ran a red light at the end of the pitlane. He may yet be DQ'd from the race and be denied his first points in over a season.

As the safety car pulled in for the final time there was a strange incident at the back of a severely dwindling field as Nakajima drove into the back of Kubica while warming his brakes. It ended Kubica's miserable afternoon and caused an unscheduled stop for Nakajima. Inexperience showing no doubt on the part of Nakajima, who shows a lot of raw promise but is clearly far from the finished article. It was now a ten lap sprint to the chequered flag. Kovalainen clearly had the bit between his teeth after being robbed of his podium and launched a bold move up the inside of Raikkonen. Whilst fighting to make it stick Fernando Alonso managed to overtake both the flying Finns on the same corner! Brilliant racing from Alonso and Heikki, and they weren't finished for the day by a long shot. Raikkonen though was soon to be finished. His Ferrari began sounding more and more sickly with each tour, and eventually he was forced to retire. A truly awful weekend for Ferrari was over. They didn't show the pace we all expected, they had a couple of reliability issues, and the driving from both Massa and Raikkonen was poor throughout the race. Even when the safety cars appeared to play into Raikkonen's had time and time again he couldn't take advantage. What a difference 12 months makes after his flawless performance here last year!

Amid all the chaos of the race one man who had quietly gone about his business was F1 debutant Sebastien Bourdais. He suddenly found himself up in fourth place and was managing to bravely fend off the advances of the McLaren and Renault of Kovalainen and Alonso. However, he too was to fall victim to Ferrari's miserable weekend as his Ferrari engine blew just 3 laps from a real dream start for Toro Rosso and Bourdais. Rotten luck for the Frenchman. And yet the action still wasn't finished! With two laps to go Kovalainen put a fantastic move on Alonso through turns 13 and 14, surely the passing move of the race. There were smiling faces all along the McLaren pit wall, but they were soon to turn to looks of horror as somehow Kovalainen managed to hit his own pit lane speed limiter on the home straight whilst pulling a tear off strip from his helmet visor. Alonso was able to simply cruise by him and regain his position. A silly mistake from Kovalainen to compound his disappointment at not getting the podium he probably deserved.

So Hamilton was able to cruise home to a comfortable race victory, leading home the impressive Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg who was clearly thrilled at claiming his first ever F1 podium. Advantage McLaren. And Ferrari will have just 6 days to turn things around before qualifying for Malaysian at Sepang. BMW and Williams will take great heart from their showings, which indicated that perhaps the top two teams from last year aren't quite as far ahead as the rest of the pack as was originally feared. Great news for all F1 fans if they can keep up the pressure on the big boys.

As the dust and shattered carbon fibre settles on a crazy race in Melbourne questions will inevitably be asked about the role the loss of electronic aids had in the demolition derby. Personally, I don't think it was that big a factor. With the exception of Massa spinning off the first lap incidents were the sort of comings together that could easily have happened with or without driver aids. Same goes for the coming together of Massa and Coulthard and Glock's shunt. I guess it was just one of those races where all hell seems to break loose, much like Canada last year. There were also an alarmingly high number of mechanical failures. Not something you expect after a couple of years of outstanding reliability throughout the grid, and particularly from Ferrari.

Hopefully Malaysia next week can be just as thrilling in terms of the on track action an competitiveness. Let's see if we can actually get more than 7 cars over the line next time though, eh fellas?!
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I like writing stuff. I like Formula One. I like writing stuff about Formula One. So, you guessed it sports fans, this is going to be a blog about Formula One and possibly other stuff if I can be bothered.

As is my customary fashion, I have missed the boat somewhat given that the that 2008 season is already in full swing. I had visions of magnificently erudite season previews for each team, resplendent with pictures and biographies of drivers and key personnel. There was going to be a predictions post for impending season. There was going to be a comprehensive guide to what has happened since last season in terms of rule changes, driver changes and pre-season testing for. But I never got round to all of that, so I guess it's all gone down the shitter. Who knows, if I start things now I might just about have things in place for the start of the 2009 season!

So. What am I going to do for all you millions of avid readers, who I see in my mind's eye waiting in quivering anticipation for the juicy nuggets of F1 wisdom about to be sent forth into the ether from my golden tipped fingers? Well, I shall attempt to do reviews of each race as and when they happen, or at least cut and paste them from another site where I have been writing race reviews for a couple of years. I will also try to bring you interesting comment upon whatever the burning issues or hot news stories of the day may be. I say "interesting"; I guess what I really mean is derivative, tired, re-hashed, parochial drivel. But you never know, something at least vaguely interesting may claw its way out of the mire and pique the interest of you F1 fans out there.

So without further ado, let's get cracking with the knacking... Read more!