Okay. So the defending world champion has admitted his RB10 isn’t really in great shape for Melbourne. Not worth bowing down to…yet. It hasn’t put in the number of laps it should have by now. Reliability of the Renault engine plant then? Not so. The advanced aero required to cool the all-new Energy Recovery systems isn’t working as it should either. No Red Bull domination so far? The season sounds exciting already and it hasn’t even begun!
Elsewhere, across social media and newsrooms the pace of the current-spec Turbo Hybrid ERS F1 cars has drawn hasty comparisons with GP2 and the lesser formulae. Interestingly, everyone agrees that it’s only pre-season testing and the time sheets don’t tell an accurate story.
Mercedes power however, appears stronger than Renault or Ferrari right now. To see Williams top the time sheets frequently at Bahrain is a strong indication that their new German engine supplier may just have the advantage. McLaren have been clocking up the miles and so have Force India. All on Mercedes engines. Lewis Hamilton assures us though that it’s all a journey into the unknown come the ides of March at Albert Park.
Christian Horner famously said last year that he wouldn’t be surprised if half the grid didn’t finish at Melbourne! So is reliability the new ‘X factor’?
To fall back on the old racing adage, to finish first you have to first finish,Â Formula One seems to have moved from purpose-built unreliable tyres to complicated energy recovery systems withÂ unreliable engines.
Through all these new rules and regulations a few fresh talking points have emerged. The Mercedes AMG Petronas W05, will it finally pay back?Â Kevin Magnussen in the other McLaren alongside Jenson Button, is he special? The new throaty Turbo sound, is it right for F1?
The old ones from winter remain too. Will Kimi get the upper hand over Fernando at Ferrari? Should Dani assume the #2 driver’s role at RBR? Can Massa revive Williams and vice versa?Â Are these the ugliest cars we’ve ever seen? Where now for Team Lotus? And many more…
But deep down, the seasoned Grand Prix critic in all of us is smiling nervously. There’s uncertainty in the air. It’s all a gamble. Like a wet weather race. The green formula, the new look, the new rules. It’s all looming large like a big cloud of doubt. And yet, there appears a ‘silver’ lining. With a champion waiting to be crowned hidden behind it.
The 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship is here.