Australia 2017: the “six million dollar man” version of F1

Early morning rise: check! Excited: check! Another team than Mercedes won: check! Am I satisfied: uhm… not so check..

And we are off for another season of Formula 1. “They” promised us bigger, better, stronger, faster. (Yes! The formula 1 version of the six million dollar man!) Engines, cars, drivers: everything was pushed to (and sometimes over?) the limits. Were we promised too much, or did we hype it ourselves? Fact is, that the race track received more visitors than last year: about a 25% increase. Some hyping translated into a higher number of visitors. But will that remain so during the season?

We were promised faster cars: well that was true. Kimi Räikkönen pushed out a 1:26.538 on lap 56, and comparing that to last year’s Daniel Ricciardo’s 1:28.997 (on lap 49), we find a 2.4 second difference. Not even close to Michael Schumacher’s 1:24.125 in 2004.

Top speeds were marginally less: Lance Stroll missed Williams’ last year’s top speed of 330,3 km/h with only 1.7 km/h. Daniil Kyvat topped Torro Rosso’s 2016 top speed by 5.2 km/h by pushing his car to 320.8 km/h. This was expected, since the cars create about 10% more drag. The difference was mostly in the cornering: Sebastian Vettel took the chicane at the end of the straight 23 km/h faster than last year. Sauber’s full-throttle stretch went from 635 to 710 metres. Since there is more aerodynamic grip, drivers can go all out earlier, and brake later.

And still I was bored. It didn’t make better racing. Pirelli was allowed to make better tires, so where most teams pitted twice last year, most only had to change their tires once this year. No improvement. Only made worse by the amount of overtaking: on track this was on absolute minimum. And I mostly missed them because in total boredom I was making breakfast.

Hell-raiser Verstappen could not get close to Kimi, who in turn kept distant to Bottas, who wasn’t a danger for Hamilton, who couldn’t put pressure on Vettel. …Fun… Would it be better if Ricciardo was still in the mix? I highly doubt it. The McLarens not up to par to make it difficult for the big 3: no surprise, but still disappointing. (allthough MattPt55 just explained to me Honda is picking up the pace “more errors in less time!”)

Things were made worse by the totally controlled problem of Hamilton. He seemed to have a tire-heating problem which forced him to take on new tires early, losing his first place in traffic.

Maybe I have seen too many movies, but I found it all a tad too convenient. Ferrari putting in a first win for a long time, Mercedes losing after having a long winning streak. Convenient for Ferrari, since HQ pressure was mounting, convenient for Mercedes since the negative sentiment about their domination is taking epic proportions.antonio-giovinazzi-sauber-c36

Interesting was to follow the rookies: Vandoorne coped badly, and Alonso wiped his nose. Massa taught Stroll a lesson too. Giovinazzi handled himself well (I don’t want to badmouth Wehrlein, but couldn’t we keep Antonio?) This is the part that will keep me watching the upcoming China race: these guys are capable of more, but lack the of experience held them back. However they will mature rapidly, and will put some more pressure on their team-colleagues, then at least we will have some “in  team” battles.

For the rest, my thoughts are what Kimi usually says: “bwoah”….

photo: Motor1.com

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8 responses to “Australia 2017: the “six million dollar man” version of F1

  1. Oh when are people going to stop complaining about F1??
    Every year the same story and still people forget how boring was the racing in the last decade. And how boring usually racing is in Australia. Just be patient and wait for a few races. Everybody is aware that there needs to be change (again) in the regulations to allow for closer racing. Right now the teams still don’t know how to correctly set up their cars, so it will take some time until everybody is up to speed and we can judge about close racing.

    • I don’t think the author is complaining, they are just raising some very valid points. I think the way that Hamilton happily accepted defeat speaks volumes. Normally he would be ‘spitting his dummy out’ and making up excuses. I think that he knows that Mercedes are still comfortably ahead. Let’s just hope that Vettel can at least keep them honest.

  2. 5 overtakes. The ocon/hulk/fred counts for 2. Got up early in the morning, had the urge for a morning “pitstop”, you know how that goes. That’s the moment these three decide to bring up some track action. Damn them/my bowelmovement. Good thing twitter still exists. Otherwise I would’ve missed it all.

  3. I liked your article in general! thanx and looking for more! I forgive the veiled conspiracy – because you could be right! prolly not, but time may tell 🙂
    IMHO, I see that Merc were just a little gun shy this W/E. still think Merc is on top o/a, but barely and Ferrari will win some more on merit and circumstance.
    Red Bull is in a disaster mode after being told their illegal suspension mode must be gone bye-byes. I forget the turn – maybe 14?), but Kimi ran wide and his Ferrari just soaked up the bumps like a Mercedes or Cadillac sedan. MAX also ran wide and looked like Red Bull need to install an ejection seat and parachute for their disaster…
    Bottas: never saw it coming… and losing something like 10 sec to Lewis in the first 18? laps was very worry-some. BUT, he kicked butt on the second stint. maybe got team orders? dunno, but very impressive.
    amazed Red Bull kept Daniil, but was happy they did. whoo hoo! he got his MOJO back! great story line…
    disappointed for RoGro. he was on it!!! attack HAAS! you got it going on…
    wow!!! almost in love with Antonnio G! what a half a F1 weekend debut!!!
    this needs to happen IMMEDIATELY, Ferrari:::
    Antonio gets a full time ride starting last w/e.
    …..buy out Pascal n put AG in the Sauber seat WITH a 2017 PU!!
    …..swap KMAG at HAAS with Antonio at Sauber and give Sauber a 2017 PU
    …..whatever! you got 10 days to improve F1
    …..lean on Liberty – whatever – get er done…
    or forever give up your “F1 needs Ferrari” laughable former Chinese Fire Drill and “never have an accident in a Ferrari” status…

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