Formula One Has Changed, but Is It Really More Interesting?
As preseason testing for the 2009 Formula One season came to a close it became clear that the most historic alteration to the regulations of the sport had seriously shaken up the usually predictable pecking order.
The first grand prix weekend confirmed that the Formula One we were all used to had been radically reconfigured. Many fans were filled with excitement and became content that the new season was appearing to be more dynamic than many of the seasons prior.
Five Grand Prixs in and this season is quickly proving the contrary. The excitement of seeing unfamiliar teams at the top of the order brought along a false sense of equality throughout the grid.
This bubble was burst quickly as the field became heavily separated into three categories. Those with the double-decker diffusers; those with KERS and no double decker diffuser; and those without KERS or the diffuser.
The hope that this season would see teams large and small fight for victories adding diversity to the podiums and unpredictability to the races has thusly been overshadowed by the seemingly scripted nature of the first five race weekends this season.
At the top we have Brawn GP, who have arguably secured both championships at a much earlier point in the season than Bernie Ecclestone's medal system threatened to do so. Four out of five wins have gone to Button who drives a car that is unrivaled by a greater margin than Ferrari and McLaren were in recent seasons.
At least then we had two teams in the fight for the championship which made the race results a little less predictable than this season thus far.
Then we have Ferrari. If I were to place my money on either a Brawn car winning a race or a Ferrari driver suffering from a ridiculous strategic shortcoming or a mechanical failure over a race weekend It would take me a long time to come up with a decision.
Not only are they predictable in the sense that they will get something horribly wrong, but their horrible mistakes themselves are becoming predictable! Reoccurring KERS problems; the same exact qualifying strategy mistake, throttle failures...Am I watching reruns here?
Another thing we can usually count on is seeing Nico Rosberg doing really well in practice then accomplishing nothing in the races. Or Nakajima performing poorly.
How about Kovalainnen not finishing the race? I wonder if his total lap tally by the end of the season will amount to one full grand prix?
In conclusion, I will always be entertained while watching a Formula One race. But the shape that this season is taking is far from a breath of fresh air as many fans were beginning to think it may have been. It is still early, maybe things will change still.
At this point, I am just hoping Vettel can challenge Button for wins after he gets the new diffuser. If not, the regulation changes will not have accomplished much; quite the contrary in fact. I doubt the season finale this year will have anyone on the edge of their seats like last year.
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