New F1 season observations

First thing that has struck me is the huge improvement in the BAR performance, with Jenson Button qualifying on the second row, 4th position, putting in a stunning time of 1m24.99s, only one of 4 cars to break the 1m24s barrier, and beating his team mate by 9/10th of second. Ferrari are looking strong again, qualifying both cars on the front row, so pretty much status quo from last year, although Williams have the pace to keep up with them, at least in the hands of Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher seems to be well off the pace in qualifying trim. McLaren are almost 2 seconds off the pace of the Ferrari’s, with the highest placed McLaren driver, Kimi Raikonnen in 10th position, and David Couthard in 12th which doesn’t bode well for his F1 future, I hope he can pull it out of the bag for the race. The Renault’s are slightly off the pace of the Ferrari and Williams by 1.3 seconds, but still managed a respectable position of 5th on the grid with Fernando Alonso. Jaguar have had mixed qualifying session, with Webber grabbing 6th spot on the grid, which is a good performance considering the car isn’t anywhere near the best on the grid, but I wasn’t that impressed with Christian Klien who managed to throw the car off the road in his warm up lap, supposedly due to a steering problem, but I am unconvinced. Jordan sadly seem to be continuing where the left off at the end of last season after such high hopes in pre-season testing, at the back of the grid with Minardi. In general I don’t rate the new drivers in F1 this season on first impressions, especially the ones that paid for their drive with sponsorship, and I still think that Justin Wilson would have been the better choice for Jaguar as he was already settled with the team, seems that British drivers are dwindling by the season in F1, and it could be one less next season if David Couthard cant get his act together, which I sincerely hope that he does. Overall, it’s looking like quite an exciting season, with Ferrari, Williams and seemingly BAR on a similar pace, and other teams like McLaren and Renault snapping at their heals, guess only time will tell, but I am very excited about the coming season, especially with unknowns like new countries and tracks being added to the calendar and the fact that there will be 18 races. The single engine for the whole race weekend rule will be an interesting one, with punishments for having to change engines in a race weekend. I still prefer the old style of qualifying myself, as this single lap qualifying seems a little boring to me. I much preferred it when each driver had 12 laps in a 1 hour session to qualify, especially at the end of the session, when every one was out for a last effort, but that’s progress I guess.

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