"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness." - Charles Dickins, A Tale of Two Cities.
The best of times, the age of wisdom
Its only 10 days and a few more hours until the lights go out in Albert Park, Australia and from what we have witnessed over the past two seasons of Formula One, it looks like we're in for an exciting season.
It is a little different this time, though. F1 isn't going to be exciting because nothing can separate Ferrari and McLaren in testing—F1 is going to be exciting because there is little separating about five or six teams in testing.
The new regulations have already appeared to have shaken the grid around a little, with the biggest surprise in testing coming from the McLaren courtyard, where the car is, at best, a full second off the pace.
Now, you may be wondering why, coming from me particularly, this is classed as being part of the 'best times.'
I am of course, a little concerned that my favourite team are lacking somewhat, but I'm remaining optimistic and hoping they claw their way back to the leading pack throughout the season by using their wisdom and experience, but for the time being I'm seeing the advantages of a topsy-turvy grid.
Its going to be more exciting for us fans to see three or four cars going for the win instead of two. Its going to be better for the supporters of Toyota, Red Bull and Renault as they are looking to have more success than in recent seasons.
I see the new regulations not only benefiting the teams in a way that they are more competitive, but also the cost cuts will save some teams from pulling out of F1 as well. The international community is looking forward to the exciting and unknown season of Formula One that awaits us, a season that will have a full 20-car grid and a season that promises to be one of the greatest.
The worst of times, the age of foolishness
Yesterday, the FIA announced some radical rule changes for Formula One. The main headline was that the number of wins that would decide who the world champion would be, not the number of points.
Personally, I see a lot of foolishness in this idea. First, the points system was changed a few years ago in an attempt to prevent the championship being won fairly early on in the season. With this new system, we could have a world champion before the summer break, 2009 would be a far less exciting season than 2004.
Also, consistency has been thrown straight out the window and also the feeling of excitement, and maybe even fear, when a driver crashes out. For example, when Hamilton messed up in Japan in 2008, there was a big discussion on whether or not he had the right mentality to win the championship.
If the new points system was in place there would be no discussion and everyone would be saying, "Not to worry, he's already got four race wins, that's as much as anybody else," and people like Robert Kubica would know they have no chance at the championship, despite being the most consistent driver
I just feel as though this number of wins idea is a huge mistake and that the FIA are shooting themselves in the foot here, and perhaps even destroying the chance of a really exciting season.