Barcelona F1

First race in Europe, and Brawn, together with Jenson Button, seems to have carried on with the performance shown in the opening oddball rounds to the east.

For whatever reason, be it Button’s abilities at the moment, Brawn’s design and build abilities as a brand new team just cobbled together before the start of the season and not being tainted by bringing all sorts of old, established luggage with them, or the changes made to the F1 rules for this year, Brawn’s 1/2 win this weekend suggests the Brawn and Button may be at the top by the end of the season.

By no means a certainty in any way, Brawn still has to respond to the others during the rest of season, and their greater experience may still mean they can draw on their past, and still design and develop their way past Brawn, whose lack of that very luggage may become a disadvantage.

Still nothing certain.

While I was never a Lewis Hamilton fan, I always thought he was never given a fair deal with all the nonsense of the courts etc that followed him with McLaren, and his open dejection and lack of any attempt to cover up his disappointment in the the performance of his car reflect the past. Usually, even when the world can clearly see a car is little more than pile of parts dragging themselves around a track, the driver will still smile and say that everything is fine, and it’s a one race slip. No such mock enthusiasm from Hamilton at the moment – his car’s a piece of junk, and he just says so, without as much of a smile or hint that it will be better next race.

I think the return to Europe sees some improvement in the performance of those red cars, but we’ll need to wait and see.

I don’t know if the £40 million budget cap on F1 teams for participating team in 2010 makes sense, engines will be excluded from the limit in 2010, and signing up for the cap means having some rule restrictions removed.

Someone suggested that means this is no longer F1, and my own impression is that if there are teams running to different rules, then this true, and you have a mixed formula with cars designed to different rules on the track at the same time.

This happened in British Touring Cars, and we had two races on track at the same time, with the expensive winged team cars sharing the track and having to weave their way through and around the private, non-winged and slower cars. It was all too confusing for me, and I was fed up having to work out what I was looking at. The faster cars could have their day ruined by the slower cars having their own race ahead of them, and albeit unintentionally, blocking the track and preventing them from passing. If they moved over for the faster cars, then the leading slower car  might have been passed by the car it was actually racing with, so they quite legitimately blocked the faster cars, meaning the two classes had to fight on track. A bit silly, since the faster cars could easily pass if they had the space, it wasn’t really a race between, just frustration.

We’ll see.

The silliest thing about the £40 million cap is that it’s a trivial amount for the teams, they spend more on hospitality, motor homes, and frivolity. They won’t spend any less, just more on rubbish around the event, or put the savings in their already overstacked paypackets.

If they really wanted to save money and cut spending, maybe the simplest thing they could do is ban the use of wind tunnels, or slash the size of the wings, and get things down to plain old mechanical grip.

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