Formula 1: The Magical Pacific Swing Is Under Way

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Formula 1: The Magical Pacific Swing Is Under Way
Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Thank you Singapore, I had a fantastic evening. It was so good that I think I need a cigarette—and I don’t even smoke.

Thanks to a generous new points system, years of rules tweaking (re-introducing slick tires, enlarged front wings, smaller rear wings, narrowing the front tires after only a single season without grooves etc), and a little divine intervention, we actually have a race for the championship!

I’m going to come out and say it—I’m pulling for Mark Webber.

I have a soft spot for him because he isn’t supposed to be leading. According to the game of Formula 1, Sebastian Vettel should be, with Webber doing what most number two drivers do—get in the way of number one’s closest competition, taking home the second place trophy, padding the constructors points, and winning only when their prodigal teammates have fallen to the whims of mechanical woes or the ever-so-popular "racing incident."

Which leads me into my first complaint: racing incidents.

Every once and a while, drivers are going to come together, with only physics to blame for the outcome. Webber and Lewis Hamilton’s rendezvous was nothing more than a bi-product of close racing, and a bi-product of what the FIA has been trying achieve with their aforementioned rule changes.

But the FIA seems to have forgotten that close racing is what they were trying to achieve, and that close racing is what the fans have called for numerous times in their annual surveys. The FIA announced (as they always do) during the race that they were investigating the incident.

I appreciate the transparency in their dealings, but the way it’s announced on television makes it seem like the FIA is yelling "look at me," as if the incident in question has taken the limelight off them.

Speaking of racing incidents, did anyone else find Nick Heidfeld’s crash with Michael Schumacher a little ironic?

I mean, it was Schumacher who beat out Heidfeld for the race seat at MGP. Had Ross Brawn and company signed Heidfeld, then one could argue that said incident might not have happened. Not only that, but they would have saved a nice chunk of change with Heidfeld’s salary, which could have been reinvested back into developing a faster car.

I’m glad the on-track product has improved, because silly season is turning out to be a drag.

The only change worth noting centers on Kimi Raikkonen’s imminent return to Formula 1; after a year rally car racing, it appears Raikkonen is ready to trade in the gravel roads of Bulgaria and Mexico for a return to the tight twists of Monaco, and the majestic climb up Eau Rouge.

Who are we kidding?

It’s common knowledge that part of his massive severance package from Ferrari involved taking a sabbatical for 2010.

Raikkonen was always going to return. The only question was, with who? It looks like Renault might win that charge—not that there are many top rides for the picking.

No openings at Red Bull, and he won’t be going back to Ferrari. McLaren’s not making any changes to their lineup, and can you really see Raikkonen in a Force India, Toro Rosso, or one of the Formula Cosworth teams?

It’s Renault or bust for the 2007 champion.

I do have to apologize to Cosworth—Williams, Virgin, Lotus, and Hispania were running around at the back of the field at the beginning of the season. I was quick to point the finger at their Cosworth engines, because that was the common denominator among them.

I was mistaken—it seems their cars were crap.

Williams pulled out all the stops and was able to move from the back end of the grid to a regular top-10 qualifier, and finisher.

Lotus is dumping Cosworth in favour of Renault power next year and while that seemed like a good idea early on, it might not make a difference unless Mike Gascoyne and crew can produce a slicker car.

Of the remaining four races, Korea is the one I’m looking forward to the most.

First-time Grand Prix are always special. Typically, there’s little-to-no testing, while the new track surface makes the cars a handful for both drivers and engineers; it appears, though, that the Korean Grand Prix organizers are sharing facility building notes with the Common Wealth Games Committee in Dehli. Hopefully, this Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled.

Dropping a race during such competitive season would no doubt put an asterisk next to the Champion’s name. I can almost hear Alonso telling the Spanish press how he would be Champion if there had been one more race.

Please Korea, don’t let us down.

 

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