F1 Racing - - CHEQUERED FLAG -

the same team win­ning ev­ery time and, from the point of view of F1, which is haem­or­rhag­ing fans and TV view­ers world­wide as an ap­peal­ing sport, it is a thor­oughly bad thing if one does. One swallow does not a sum­mer make and the fact that Fer­rari got their Malaysian strat­egy so right and were able to han­dle tyre degra­da­tion so much bet­ter than Mercedes team doesn’t mean to say the Sil­ver Ar­rows’ dom­i­nance is over. Much can still change and much most cer­tainly will. Hooray to that! Va­ri­ety is the spice of life.

It is heart­warm­ing to see F1’s great­est con­struc­tors back in con­tention and great to see last year’s down­cast Se­bas­tian Vet­tel back at his im­pres­sive best. And with a spring in our steps af­ter such an up­set to the form­book, there are many other things to be up­beat about. Fer­rari boss Ser­gio Mar­chionne must be purring with de­light at the way his brave and con­tentious clear-out of the old man­age­ment has gen­er­ated such in­stant suc­cess, and it will be an enor­mous psy­cho­log­i­cal boost to ev­ery­one at Maranello.

Else­where, there is new tal­ent for us to ob­serve. Max Ver­stap­pen is im­pres­sively demon­strat­ing that his is a very spe­cial tal­ent. Car­los Sainz Jr, Felipe Nasr and Mar­cus Eric­s­son have also shown them­selves to be very wor­thy of their pro­mo­tion to the pin­na­cle of mo­tor­sport.

Not ev­ery­thing in the gar­den is rosy. Af­ter sol­dier­ing on for five years in Fer­rari ma­chines not good enough to get the job done, I won­der how Fer­nando Alonso feels about leav­ing Maranello just as his old chums hit the jack­pot? Is he to­day’s Chris Amon, al­ways squandering his im­mense tal­ent in the wrong car? I cer­tainly hope not but it is hard to see Fer­nando win­ning races this year, no mat­ter how quickly McLaren and Honda over­come their many prob­lems.

I some­times think that if Bernie Ec­cle­stone fell off a sky­scraper he’d land on a feather bed. Malaysia was a ter­rific fil­lip for For­mula 1, which has been wal­low­ing in so much ad­verse pub­lic­ity. But what on earth is go­ing on when there’s to be no Ger­man Grand Prix in the home coun­try of Michael Schu­macher, Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, Nico Ros­berg and Mercedes? And, even more alarm­ing, talk that Monza and Spa, two of the most charis­matic and his­toric of all F1 lo­ca­tions, will cease to host a round of the cham­pi­onship? We live in mixed times.

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