March 27th, 2011

Oz GP: Things we’ve learnt

We learn a lot from watching Grand Prix on the telly, and never more so than the first race of the year. It gives us a chance to see everything working, and today’s Australian GP answered a lot of questions we were asking during winter testing.

Here’s a few things we can take away from the race weekend:

DRS doesn’t work

Ok, it does literally work – the wing opens to look ‘like a letterbox’ as Brundle was very fond of saying – but I can remember it only helping one overtake, with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on Sauber new boy Sergio Perez. But it seems that KERS and DRS cancel each other out, so maybe the FIA should’ve introduced only one new device? Either way, DRS might make a difference at other circuits, or with different people trying to overtake, but it certainly didn’t improve the show like we were promised.

I don’t usually believe what the Prancing Horse’s number one driver Fernando Alonso says, but he called this over the winter so I might have to pay more attention to him in future.

There’s some ace new noises

The blown diffusers that a few teams are running use some really trick new exhaust systems this season, which is creating some great new sounds, especially down the pit lane. The Renault and Red Bull sound especially ace, and I can’t wait to hear them in real life.

We don’t miss Legard in the commentary box

We don’t do we?

Look good, go good

That age old saying ‘if a car looks fast it will be fast’ still rings true, and that’s illustrated with great effect by the Renault – it looks properly awesome. You can’t go wrong with a black and gold livery for a start, plus all the packaging on it looks great – that back end is mega tidy. Vitaly Petrov had a great race, and I don’t mean to take anything away from his third place, but you’ve got to wonder what the out of action Robert Kubica could’ve done with it. Time will tell.

Vettel is still fast

Obviously, he won, so this sub head is pretty much a given, but it would be rude not to mention it. He’s looked so on it all weekend, and his car was unbelievable – unlike Mark Webber’s.

One of the things I enjoy the most over an F1 season is finding out what secrets the cars hold within them, and the prospect of discovering what Red Bull are doing, considering they’re not even running KERS, is certainly tantalising.

Vettel’s smug index finger up, gurning face is still mightily annoying though, I think it would be better for everyone if he knocked that particular trademark on the head. But he’s going about defending his world championship crown in the best way possible: from the front.

Eddie Jordan isn’t on Twitter

Because he’d never fit what he was trying to say into a mere 140 characters. Good god man, be more economical with your speech!

Pirelli make ace tyres

The reports over the winter from testing were far less than encouraging from the teams, but we the fans were looking forward to their tyres being crap because it would make for exciting racing. Yet what Pirelli have managed rather admirably, is to create tyres that now last longer than everyone thought, but which degrade in such a way that they’re still making the racing more enjoyable in a positive way. Hats off to them.

The next GP can’t come soon enough

It’s a pity that we’ve got to wait two weeks for the next race, because if the season carries on like today’s then we’re in for a real treat. The start itself was an immense spectacle, and there was some fine, mostly clean racing from pretty much everyone out there. So roll on Malaysia, and welcome back F1, you’ve been missed.

This season is going to be a blast.

Words: Jamie Hibbard