F1 Race Review: British GP 2009
Mad Max seems to be stealing the show these days rather than the cars and drivers themselves. The controversial budget cap rule conjured by Max and Bernie seems to have pushed the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) over the edge, threatening to form a breakaway series! Remember my 2007 write-up titled ‘Illogical Rule Changes in F1 for 2008’. This is precisely what happens when rule-making is devoid of logic!
What is the controversial cap? 2010 onwards, teams that run within USD40 million enjoy technical liberties like flexi wings, etc while those that don’t conform to this cannot, thus leading to a two tier F1. Eight teams including Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, both Red Bulls, Brawn and Renault and BMW are against this, claiming that lack of technical upgrades undermines the raison d'être in Formula1. Meanwhile, Bernie hopes for a compromise.
Coming to the race weekend, this may well be the last race at the historical airfield of Silverstone. It’s really sad that the very track that saw the first ever F1 race on May 13, 1950 will no longer figure in the calendar. Already, the 2008 season missed the French race Magny Cours, the very country where grands prix were born. Well, if FOTA were to really have a breakaway series beginning 2010, I wish Silverstone figures there!
Cooler temperatures led to tyre heating issues on the Brawns, giving Vettel and Webber the opportunity to charge ahead. Starting from Pole, Vettel drove in Shumacheresque fashion, losing the lead just once to Webber while pitting; the latter, who actually started light lost his chance to fight for a win as a minor hitch in qualifying, for which he blamed Kimi, led to the Aussie losing the Pole and settle for a Second at the chequered flag.
Brawn meanwhile had to be satisfied with Barrichello’s third and Button’s sixth places. Ferrari meanwhile, showed resurgent form at Silverstone with Massa and Kimi finishing fourth and eighth. The curious thing to note though was that Ferrari was the only team running KERS in the race, with McLaren and BMW having nearly given it up. Maybe making top teams waste USD50 million on this was FIA’s idea to save costs!!
Rosberg and Trulli at fifth and seventh were the remaining point scorers. Force India though seems to have been improving these days. Fisichella drove impeccably to finish tenth. Lady luck seems to be eluding our tricolor team from the points. Well, considering that Williams and Force India are the only existing teams to have made unconditional applications for 2010, Mallya’s dream of a podium could come true pretty soon!
Despite a lowly sixth, Button still leads with 64 points for the Drivers’ title followed by Barrichello at 41, Vettel at 39 and Webber at 35.5. Brawn GP has crossed the hundred-marker and stands atop with 105 with Red Bull 30 odd points behind. Big names Ferrari and McLaren are at fourth and sixth. Pragmatically speaking, none of the defending or past champions, be it the drivers or teams stand a realistic chance for the 2009 title.
As the storm clouds gather on continuity of F1 in its present form 2010 onwards, Button seems to care no more as he now just needs three more wins. Though Newey’s Red Bulls are charging ahead, there seems to be little semblance to ‘battle’ for the title. Meanwhile, till the next race at Nurburgring on July 12, do pray for sanity to dawn on Mad Max and Bernie so that we can see legends Ferrari & McLaren continue in F1.