Well, I haven’t commented much on this years Formula 1 championship for a while, not since my comments on the Brawn teams early success. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a lot to comment about, there has.
The little matter of Lewis Hamilton getting caught out on fibbing to the Stewards, frankly a little omission of no great consequence that seemed to be blown out of proportion to the actual even. Then there was the power struggle between FOTA (the teams ‘union’ Formula One Constructors Association) and FIA (the sports governing body) over the subject of cost capping.
No sooner had that died down then we had Felipe Massa’s unfortunate accident which, had it happened only a couple of years ago would have been fatal, has merely sidelined him for the rest of the season. Word of 7 time champion Michael Schumacher returning to Ferrari to fill-in for Massa soon fell by the wayside due to Michael’s earlier motorcycle injury.
The next scandal to hit the sport were the allegations that during last years Singapore GP, the Renault team boss conspired with their engineering director to force their second driver to deliberately crash his car at such a time and place that it would benefit their number one driver to the extent that he would go on to win the race. The boss and engineering director have been sacked for then team and banned by the FIA. The rest of the team, who likely knew nothing about the arrangement, have been given a suspended ban.
During all this, the Brawn team mostly sustained their good form, with Jenson Button winning six of the first seven races. A great deal of column inches has been devoted in the British press to the subject of Jensen ‘choking under pressure’ or ‘going off the boil’, both of which are overstating things somewhat. He may have had a dip in form compared to the start of the season, but he has only failed to score points in ONE race so far this season. And that was only a result of being taken out at the start of the race as the innocent party in a collision between two rookie drivers. He has benefited during the drop in his form, from the fact that the other race wins have been split between five different drivers.
Positive highlights this year, so far;
Mark Webber getting his first race victory (now the record holder for the most races before his first win at 131!);
The Force India-Mercedes team getting a superb second place, on merit, for their first ever Formula 1 points. Then showing that it wasn’t a flash-in-pan by getting a fourth place in the next race, without Fisichella, their star driver
Vijay Mallay, owner of Force India, showing that there is still some integrity left in the sport by allowing (without any financial benfit) Giancarlo Fisichella to got to Ferrari as it “had been a dream of Fisichella’s for a long time”
The fact that, with four races left, it is still mathematically possible (however unlikely) that any one of four drivers to win the championship. Realistically, the only driver that does have a chance of catching Jensen is his team mate, veteran Brazillian, Rubens Barrichello. I’ve got a soft spot for Barrichello, he seems to be a genuinely nice guy, he scored the short lived Stewart GP team’s first championship points, and he spent a good deal of his career being somewhat stifled as Ferrari’s second driver to Michael Schumacher. I wouldn’t be totally crushed if Rubinho managed to pip Jensen to the title!
Whatever the outcome of this season, it’s looking like there are to be a number of new teams joining formula 1 next year, including the return of a Malaysian backed Team Lotus. Now wouldn’t it be good to see Lotus back at the top of the time sheets?