Home > 2010 Season, Formula One > 2010 Grand Procession of Bahrain

2010 Grand Procession of Bahrain

With the first race of 2010 now completed, is it fair to say that the offseason rule changes damaged the sport? Yes, it is.

For an opening race, the Grand Prix of Bahrain was quite boring and lacking, and was one of the worst processions I’ve seen recent years as the top 10 hardly changed at all throughout the race, except when everyone needed to change their tires. The only excitement that came from the race would be the manner in which Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull encountered problems well into the race. It was very enjoyable watching him fight his car around the track, ending up a very well deserved and suprising fourth place after the troubles he had to endure.

The McLaren and Mercedes teams turned out to be slight duds, as both were clearly behind Ferrari and Red Bull. It was a little disheartening to see this, since I put a lot of my eggs in Mercedes’ basket prior to the start of the season. It was disappointing to see them finish fifth and sixth, but I am sure that these results will only fuel their hunger for success more. As an already loyal and staunch supporter of Mercedes who has already started ordering team merchandise, I’ll be cheering for them the whole way and hoping for the better results to show in the coming races.

Force India was quite a surprise. Adrian Sutil hoisted his car into Q3 on Saturday, but dropped back in the race. Vitantonio Liuzzi made up for this falter by picking up two points in the race for the team. Very impressive performance by Force India! They certainly are improving steadily, and it is a joy to see Vijay Mallya succeed with the former Jordan team while Midland (Alex Shnaider) and Spyker (car manufacturer) failed to amount to anything when they owned the team.

Williams was just a minor blip throughout the race. Rubens Barrichello managed to get into Q3, but if I remember correctly, he was the slowest in the third sesssion. The 2010 Williams car doesn’t appear that bad, but it’s just another typical Williams – and that says it all unfortunately. Nico Hulkenburg was predictably nowhere in qualifying or the race, even attempting a little offroad racing on Sunday. This was fine though, as it was his debut race.

Robert Kubica looked very handy and also reached Q3 in his Renault, but he had an accident early in the race and was never able to get back into the top ten. Vitaly Petrov didn’t look too bad as he kept his car where it should have been throughout the race. Overall, he had a decent F1 debut.

Toro Rosso never looked too brilliant. Like Williams, they appeared to be more of the same. Buemi did seem to have somewhat decent pace throughout the race though, and this may manifest itself better on circuits which encourage actual racing more. Jaime Alguersuari did not impress me much, as I predicted. In January, I stated that Toro Rosso would be smart not to retain Alguersuari for 2010, but they did. I fail to understand why Franz Tost thought that keeping Alguersuari instead of seeking out a decent pay driver was a good idea.

Sauber never really looked with it all weekend. It was rumoured in preseason testing that their car would be quite good, and Bridgestone said that the Sauber car probably looked after its tires better than any other car on the grid. Shame that De la Rosa and Kobayashi couldn’t step up and score a point or two in the opening race then. Sauber is one of my favourite teams of all time, so it stings a little to see them not living up to preseason expectations.

As for the new teams? Kudos to HRT for even getting to Bahrain. They didn’t do too bad considering that the weekend was mostly a test for them. During the race, they showed pretty decent pace. If things come together for HRT soon, they could be the best of the new teams. Nobody would have thought that a month ago!

Virgin failed to impress me. They mostly just putted around the back of the grid all weekend long and never looked very quick. Thankfully, their race pace was better than what we saw in testing and even practice. They should improve for sure, but I don’t think it will happen in the short term and Virgin will probably be the last of the new teams by the end of the year.

Lotus did well in the race, getting both cars to the finish line. That was a massive accomplishment for a new team, and the Lotus team was extremely pleased with their result, even if they were essentially last of the finishers. For now, they appear faster than HRT and Virgin, and they undoubtedly have the best driver pairing outside of the top four teams (Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull). I’ll also note that their car looks really beautiful in motion. Good luck to them in the coming races!

Now back to the procession aspect of the race. I won’t say much more on it, but I will note that when a few drivers, fans all over the internet, Nick Fry, and Martin Whitmarsh all express serious concern, then something is probably wrong. Bernie Ecclestone has already responded by telling the teams that they should get the message that they don’t make up the rules. Unfortunately for your senile old mind Bernie, the teams (FOTA) have far more knowledge of what would make the racing better than you. Please keep your mouth shut and let FOTA do the talking.

Oh, and I forgot one thing. Congratulations to Fernando Alonso for winning on your Ferrari debut!

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