2009 F-1 Season: My Thoughts
When I wrote my first article on Bleacher Report, I was hoping for a Kimi/Ferrari resurrection but boy have I been proved wrong. The disappointment at Ferrari not being very competitive apart, this is a season that any F-1 fan would have loved. A team formed just before the start of the season, finishes at the top, six times in seven races! Not even the shrewdest of gamblers would have put their money on Brawn GP at the beginning of the season and just when it looked like yet another monopoly in the making as far as the championships go, Red Bull cranked up the pace and voila! the battle was on.
I've never thought too highly about Jenson Button, but was made to eat humble pie after the first few races when he blitzed the field in the opening races. The only gripe I had was around the tactics that Brawn employed when it came to Rubens. I don't know if it was just me but I felt that Jenson was clearly being given preference within the team (an old tactic that Ross Brawn has used to good effect over the years).
I was pretty surprised to see the Brawns struggling with getting heat into their tyres at the cooler races in Europe and it's a puzzle they don't seem to have solved yet and I find this very surprising. The car is by far the best balanced and has what I think is one of the best (if not the best) aero package in the grid and still the tire problem seems to be an unsolved mystery.
Equally surprising has been Jenson's sudden drop in form over the last few races and he must be have sleepless nights for the reamining races with both Ruebens and Vettel bretheing down his neck.
I was actually surprised that Vettel signed an extension with RBR. I was hoping to see him at the Ferrari camp and I think Vettel with Kimi would be an explosive combination (I of course sympathize with Massa but hey I am allowed to have favorites ain't I?).
The other subject I wanted to touch upon was KERS and whilst we've seen Vettel cribbing about the KERS powered cars at many a press conference I don't understand what the fuss was all about. After all the rules for 2009 were clearly laid out by the FIA and KERS was clearly a program that the teams had an option to work on.
Budget constraints, etc., aside, the guys who put in the hard work and developed the system (which I think is revolutionary and can well be introduced in road cars in the near future), ought to enjoy the rewards and so they did with Ferrari and McLaren winning in Spa and Hugary respectively. Now equally surpising was the decison by the teams to abandon KERS in 2010. Why, I cannot fathom. Why spend $30 million on a piece of technology and throw it away after a year when F-1 and the FIA keep blowing their trumpets about cost cutting?
Massa is a thoroughly likable guy and has come of age as a driver in the past two years and he owes his life to safety standards that modern F-1 cars are forced to comply with and I am hoping his body can cope up with pressure of F-1 racing.
Of course the highlight of the year for me was at Spa when Kimi finally won and his reactions after winning were typical of Kimster. I was particularly interested to see the reaction Kimi had when Domenecali came to him and congratulated him after the race. Seemed pretty un-interested and this continued into the podium ceremonies. There seemed an invisible curtain between the two and this has gotten me thinking about Kimis possible move away from Ferrari for 2010.
As an Indian, I was also glad to see Force India take pole at Spa and end up at the podium. Felt proud although the only Indian component in Force India is the owner!
Coming back to the championship and considering the fact that Jenson has developed cold feet over the last few races, this could turn out to be another year when the championship is decided at the final race. But it all depends on whether RBR and Brawn are able to get back on top of the podium.
If McLaren or Ferrari are going to play spoilsport in terms of winning a few of the last five races, I would fancy Jenson lifting the championship although Rubens may run him close. If not, I wont be surprised if Vettel emerges a championship (if he can save those engines!). So all we can do is bite our nails off and see what happens.
As far as the driver line-ups go, with Santanders announcement with Ferrari yesterday, it looks certain that Alonso will move to Ferrari and Kimi, I am inclined to beleive will either quit or go to McLaren. I wont be surprised if Kubica joins McLaren or moves to Brawn but all we can do right now is speculate.
For now, I prefer to sit back, relax and watch another dramatic close to the F-1 championships.
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