The return of F1
The F1 season kicks off a fortnight today. I've loved F1 since before I can remember, which is slightly odd as I have little more than a passing interest in other forms of racing - perhaps MotoGP is a fairly close second thanks to the hilarious danger.
Sadly the last few years have seen F1 become a load of rubbish thanks to a number of reasons, such as:
- the total dominance of the Schumacher / Brawn / Ferrari axis (last season aside)
- silly qualifying procedures
- constant rule fiddling that inevitably affects the poorer teams.
- a lack of competitive Brits, in spite of many teams being based in the UK.
It's sad to see the decay or demise of independent constructors like Williams, Jordan, Sauber, Arrows and Minardi, who simply can't afford to keep up anymore. It's amazing that they remained (in some cases) competitive as long as they did, given the level of sophistication involved in the sport.
However, on the plus side, I think this year might get me excited again. Firsly, Schumacher has buggered off. Yay. Ok, he was an awesome sportsman but ultimately an arrogant buffoon too prone to foul play (remember the collision with Damon Hill in Adelaide, 1994?). Secondly, McLaren - my team of choice - have snared the services world champion Fernando Alonso and supposed world champion in the making, the British Lewis Hamilton. Given that McLaren didn't win a race last year, this is an exciting gamble for Alonso.
Thirdly, McLaren's former superkid Kimi Raikkonnen has transferred to rivals Ferrari and is commonly tipped to fail in his bid to become the new Schumacher because he's solely interested in racing, and not working closely with engineers. Fourthly, champions Renault, who are likely to have the best car out there, are without a driver who is deemed capable of taking the title. And finally, all the teams are now using the same tires, which makes it a bit more of a level playing field.
I'm looking forward to the first race!