MU MUCH MISTAKEN…
2014 car is a revelation. But for bad luck, they could have had both drivers on the podium in Australia and both raced strongly in Malaysia. All the work done by the revised and invigorated team, led by Claire Williams and Pat Symonds, is generating success and it is great to see them at the sharp end again. Long may it continue.
Red Bull? Well, what an incredible fall from grace in testing, then what an amazing recovery by new boy Daniel Ricciardo, who finished second on his debut for his new team at Melbourne – only to be excluded through no fault of his own. There is no doubt that, once Renault have improved their power unit, the 2014 Red Bull will be a potential winner. But they’ll have a job even to catch Mercedes.
Other thoughts? How refreshing to see so much new talent. Absolutely brilliant drives, for a McLaren team recovering from a disastrous 2013 – from Kevin Magnussen, whose ability, calmness and maturity are outstanding. Clearly a future champion and even better than his dad, Jan, who had a one-off drive with McLaren in 1995. Then there’s Valtteri Bottas, who, now he has a car worthy of his talent, is demonstrating why Williams were so right to recruit him. His ‘youth versus experience’ battle against veteran team-mate Felipe Massa is fascinating to watch.
Outstanding too is Daniil Kvyat: just 19, and cynically thought by many to be at Toro Rosso because of his Russian roubles. He is the real deal, with points in his first two F1 races. And, although he is now far from new to F1, praise for the superb Nico Hülkenberg, who continues to show how sad it is that the current state of F1 requires money as well as talent. Hopefully his day will come, but it should have come already.
Before I sign off, a few words about the contentious new F1 sound. Yes, the screaming V8s had great impact, but we now have power units that are environmentally friendly, encourage car-manufacturer participation, make a genuine contribution to improving road cars, give us racing no less exciting than that of the past and whose guttural roar has an appeal all of its own. Is their comparative lack of ear-splitting decibels really demeaning the pinnacle of motorsport? I don’t think so. They make the sound they make. To change it for the sake of doing so would be ridiculous.