Formula 1 is back this weekend as the fun and games comes to Europe and the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona after a three week absence following the Bahrain Grand Prix. Whilst it hasn’t perhaps started off with the bang that was last year, the action has been simmering just nicely to really take off over the next few races, and the level of intrigue remains high. So it is perhaps worthwhile recapping what has passed over the course of the first four races.
Category: Force India
Two rounds down, seventeen to go, and the 2013 Formula 1 season is already shaping up to be a rather intriguing, and at this stage utterly unpredictable, affair.
There are already a great number of talking points following the curtain-raiser in Melbourne and last weekend’s eyebrow-raiser in Sepang, but we’ve taken four to examine and highlighted the three teams in most turmoil up and down the grid…
1) Are team orders still acceptable in Formula 1?
This is the moment which could ruin Sebastian Vettel’s hat-trick of Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship crowns.
A number – a small number, perhaps, but a number nonetheless – of interesting quotes emerged from the second English Formula One Teams Association Fans’ Forum. The forum, held Tuesday at the Williams GP base in Grove, Oxfordshire, allowed F1 fans from around the country to pose questions to team chiefs Ross Brawn (Mercedes), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren) and Bob Fearnley (deputy team chief, Force India) in a 45-minute question-and-answer session.
The session, which took place after an autograph session with Pastor Maldonado and an hour or so looking around the Williams GP museum, featured questions from a variety of different fans with, it should be said, differing levels of F1 understanding and vocabulary (one nigh-incoherent individual rambled on for almost two minutes without posing a question). TAP, as you would expect, had a few questions lined up, but we never got near the microphone…
Even now, with the dust quite literally having settled following this weekend’s race, many believe the Bahrain Grand Prix should not have gone ahead. In the midst of the greatest social turmoil the country has experienced since the “1990s Intifada”, this prestigious sporting event became almost the pawn in a game that, sadly, has cost the lives of many in the Persian Gulf state.
It was argued by supporters of the race’s abandonment that allowing it to go ahead would legitimise the government of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, responsible for repressing a wave of protests since early last year demanding greater political freedom and an end to human rights violations. To some extent, it has, and Formula One under Bernie Ecclestone’s ruthlessly money-focused leadership has long ceased to represent any sort of morals or decency. Tradition has been thrown away by Ecclestone and his cronies, as races have slowly “disappeared” from the calendar, for instance the France and San Marino GPs, to be replaced by those in countries such as Bahrain.
For the second time in three years, HRT will enter the Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne having not tested their new car at any of the sport’s spring tests in Jerez and Barcelona. This year, after failing the last of the FIA’s 18 mandatory crash tests, Marussia (previously Virgin Racing) will arrive in Melbourne blind, too – their plan to run some light testing tomorrow, the day after the final Barcelona test ends, was nixed earlier this week by the sport’s governing body.
2012 is the third season in F1 for these two teams, as well as for Caterham F1 (until recently known as Lotus Racing). And yet, neither are anywhere near being competitive, and the failure to arrive at pre-season testing – a perennial issue for beleaguered and cash-strapped HRT, in particular – is just another indication that neither team has what it takes to develop into a legitimate F1 competitor.