Wednesday, 14 March 2012

My F1 (Blog) Comeback

Well, it's been a while. The 2011 F1 season has been and gone, and this weekend the 2012 season is back up and running. What with all the F1 comebacks in recent years, I thought it was only fitting that I get back into blogging. I've not posted on here since October. Shocking, I know, but as well as my life as a motorsport geek I also have a life as a psychology geek, and it's the psychology geek which has had the upper hand in the past few months while I work towards my degree. Luckily, we're heading towards the end of the spring term, and so I have a bit of extra time in which to get back into my motorsport geek role. So there we are, I'm back, and I'm planning to stick around for quite some time.

Since my last post in October, the F1 season finished on (for me and other Red Bull Racing fans at least) a massive high. Sebastian Vettel won his second world championship title, and Red Bull also secured their second constructor's title. I have to admit, watching the season review a few weeks back I felt kind of overwhelmed at 2011's racing. It was a very special year for me, as it was the season which marked my first live F1 experience. I often look back at the photos of the Nurburgring as a reminder of what a special weekend it was. I don't think you'll find many people out there who would be disappointed with 2011's F1, and regardless of what you think of DRS we definitely saw some exceptional racing. Speaking of whihc, my favourite moment of last year (bar the entire Nurburgring trip - that is definitely at number one) had to be Webber's overtake on Alonso at Eau Rouge. Hopefully the coming season will bring more of this.

So, to 2012. F1 seems to be loving the comebacks just lately, and news that has not gone unnoticed is that of Kimi Raikkonen's return with Lotus (formerly Lotus Renault - the Lotus naming saga has hopefully come to a close now, with Team Lotus now becoming Caterham. Keep up...). In pre-season testing (which I managed to follow while typing up an essay about Freud, I got a good mark for that essay too, so I'm planning on watching more F1 and typing essays simultaneously... I digress), Lotus looked to me like they had gotten something right, as Grosjean (another comeback, but less prominent) was one of the only men to top the timesheets twice in a testing spate. Whether this testing form converts into race pace is another matter.

The 2012 cars have been branded by many people as ugly, as new regulations have prompted most teams to have a 'stepped nose'. I'll admit that the noses aren't exactly the most aesthetically pleasing, but I kind of have a bit of a soft spot for the ugly cars. The biggest surprise was McLaren's lack of a stepped nose. They've either hit on something genious, or they've missed out on a trick. With any luck we'll have the answers to this question this weekend. Red Bull also appear to have a trick up their sleeves, as their stepped nose features a gaping hole; something which Adrian Newey (Red Bull's technical genious and referred to by internet nerds as 'The Chuck Norris of Formula 1' [yes, really]) has insisted on being nothing more than driver cooling. Again, we'll wait and see this weekend if the Red Bull team have pulled something out of the bag.

The last of the big names, Ferrari, have also been watched intently. 2011 was a poor season for the red cars, and there have been some big claims from team members that in 2012 they will be back fighting. However, this hasn't really appeared to be the case in testing. The car has been, frankly, unpredictable. As such, it's not really all that clear how long it will be before Ferrari are back where they would like to be.

Testing is always a notoriously unreliable indicator of race pace and such, so the real test for the cars will come this weekend in Australia. I for one am hoping for Red Bull glory once again, but for the most part I'll be happy that the season is back up and running. The off-season break seems too long to me, although I'm still ambivalent towards Bernie Ecclestone's idea of having F1 most of the year. I always think that once you have a break from something, the return is all the more appreciated. Although we'll have to see whether I'm still saying this once this season draws to a close!

Hopefully we'll have another awesome season, and see whether Sebastian can chase down a hat trick of championships. This year will also bring another epic F1 trip for me and my Dad: Spa here we come!

Hello 2012.