Motorsport: Fans getting what they wanted

By Bob McMurray

Valtteri Bottas leads Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain. Photo / Getty Images
Valtteri Bottas leads Sebastian Vettel in Bahrain. Photo / Getty Images

With the Formula 1 extravaganza edging slowly back towards central Europe and the next episode of the 2017 season appearing in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, it seems that a lot of the wishes that have been made by followers of the sport may just be coming true.

I may be mistaken, or perhaps I am just getting used to it, but the sound of the cars, on TV at least, sounds a little more loud, more 'racy'.

The fans wanted that.

The look of the cars is more aggressive with the lower set rear wings and the wider tyres making the total package look, well, also more 'racy'.

The fans wanted that.

The tyres are now such that the drivers can actually race with them and not have to constantly be aware of using them too much. It seems that Pirelli have, once again, answered the call from the sport to produce tyres that make it possible for them to last almost a whole race and go all the way with perhaps only one pit stop.

The fans wanted that.

We are no longer seeing a canyon, a ribbon, of a single lane of useable track forcing the drivers to stay on one racing line for fear of getting in the 'marbles' the size of small rocks formed by the soft tyres wearing rapidly.

The fans wanted that.

This also has the knock-on effect of reducing the smallest grain of rubber, sometime no bigger than a grain of rice, getting lodged in one of the thousands of slots on those ridiculous front wings and 'destroying' the handling of the car.

The drivers wanted that.

The big tyres and the new compounds of rubber are creating more dramatic out-braking manoeuvres going into the corners and perhaps even negating some of the effect of the 'Drag Reduction System' overtaking aid on the straights due to the extra drag the tyres create.

The fans wanted that.

The Mercedes team and Lewis Hamilton in particular, are a little on the back foot and small slip-ups maybe just creeping in to the previously robotic like precision of the organisation. Although profiting from Mercedes team errors is not the way the opposition need to win, they are happy to capitalise on any weaknesses shown if it means that a silver car does not see the chequered flag first at each race.

The fans wanted that.

We had, last week in Bahrain, a very exciting race all the way down the field and overtaking happening on each and every lap, all topped off at the top end of the race by a genuine battle at the front for supremacy - with the winner in doubt until just a handful of laps from the end. We had wheel banging, we had overtaking.

The fans wanted that.

Outside of the actual racing it seems that the iron fist and grip of now ousted F1 supremo Mr. Ecclestone has been levered open and a greater paddock freedom and access is being granted in the interests of opening up that precious stockade to, not quite mere mortals, but a greater number of non-team guests. This could be something to do with the departure, along with Mr.E, of his loyal lieutenant and paddock 'enforcer' Pasquale Lattuneddu, never the easiest person to deal with.

The entire paddock wanted that.

We also have a driver, a World Champion driver no less, driving in another series. With Fernando Alonso going to Indianapolis in May, and passing up the mouth-watering opportunity to drive the Honda powered McLaren at Monaco in doing so, this could be another sign that the previously mentioned 'iron fist' is no longer there and perhaps we will see other drivers spreading their wings. There are clearly extenuating circumstances and reasons that Alonso is taking up this exciting shot at 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing' but the door for others to follow and drive in other series, as in 'The Old Days' is clearly cracked a little bit open.

The fans wanted that.

With the new management, Liberty Media, in charge and the voracious money sucking previous owners CVC Capital partners now in the background, it seems that more heed is being paid to the finances of the smaller teams as well as the promoters. No less a man than Mr.E has called for the fees to race promoters to be reduced to help them out.
If my memory serves me it was this same Mr.E who, just months ago, was hell bent on putting them up. How times change.

Everybody likes that.

A mere glance at the championship points table illustrates one of the most important facts. A resurgent Ferrari head both the manufacturers and drivers points table, with Sebastian Vettel. Not by much admittedly but that is a good thing being just three races into the season. It is now a close battle between two teams seemingly equally matched and that is exactly what the sport was so desperately in need of.

Lewis Hamilton likes that.

The fans wanted that.

A competition between drivers and teams with Ferrari mixing it with Mercedes and Red Bull not so far behind is what we seem to be looking at for the rest of the year. I am not so naïve as to believe that, like swallows and summers, just three races into a 20-race season means the revolution is happening but it all does look pretty good for the future months ahead.

And we all want that.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 23 May 2017 07:29:46 Processing Time: 834ms