S ebastian Vettel predicted it. He feared boring races. 'Because overtaking is still difficult, because there will usually only be one pit stop and the order will hardly change.'
The first Grand Prix of the year confirmed Vettel's fears. The first ten after the first lap were also the first ten at the finish. Just in a different order. Front runner Sebastian Vettel lost three places due to an engine problem. He fought Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton with his back to the wall. Team mates Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg each lost one place at the pit stop. Here the rule applies: if you arrive late, the course of the race will punish you. The first lap on fresh tires brought a gain of two seconds in Bahrain.
Qualifying and first corner determine the order
Fernando Alonso gave little hope that A lot will change: 'I'm afraid that was the picture for the rest of the season. The qualification and the first corner determine the order.' There will hardly be any differences in tactics either. The top ten will start the race with the faster tire, as long as it doesn't completely collapse in the endurance run. The starting position plays the decisive factor when choosing a tire in 90 percent of all cases. If the properties of the two tire types are as close to each other as they were in Bahrain, then starting from eleventh place on the grid there is no point in entering the race with an alternative tire choice. Because they are quickly snuffed up again by those who can set the pace with their fresh tires after changing tires.
Chasing after is still an aerodynamic problem
To blame the Bahrain procession on the new rules alone would be unfair. Following has been a problem for aerodynamic reasons for years. With the excesses of the double diffuser it probably got worse. The braking distances are longer at the start of the race because of the high weight, but what good does that do if you can't catch up tightly in the corners in front of the straights? There were also changes in position last year mainly in the pit lane. You could argue that two pit stops leave more room for mistakes than one, but little went wrong with the perfection of the teams last year. Red Bull was forMade at least two stops as a duty, but the competition refused. 'Because they thought we wanted to protect ourselves from increased tire wear with it,' rants team boss Christian Horner. His McLaren colleague Martin Whitmarsh agrees: 'Red Bull's proposal was correct. Two stops would bring more life to the race.' Horner smiles: 'There will be no more support for that. The teams with tire-friendly cars are not interested in an additional mandatory stop.' The Formula 1 community has no choice but to hope for a race in which one of the two types of tire is totally overwhelmed. Then the tactic shown in Bahrain of starting the race with the short-lived tire would be a risk. Rain would help too. But the strategists of Formula 1 cannot wait for the weather gods to understand. And Bridgestone has no interest in the fact that the drivers end up gossiping about the tires.
There must be other ways to solve the problem. Refueling stops are not. In principle, it is good that the competition is divided into two disciplines. The fast lap on demand in qualification, and driving with brains when there is a lot of petrol in the tank. At least in theory, there is a chance that the cars will have different strengths in training and in the race. Last year, a weekend was a frenzy of tempo from start to finish. Anyone who was quick in training was also quick in the race.
Formula 1 is too perfect
The problem with Formula 1 is its perfection. The cars stop, the drivers don't make mistakes. Everything is precisely calculated. There are no longer any surprise factors. Unless the weather or the tires play tricks on perfection. If you want exciting races, you have to turn back the wheel of time. Dramatically reduced downforce, more grip from the tires, worse brakes. Those who are now complaining about the ban on refueling want that, but neither do they.