07 May – Well, That Wasn’t So Bad

Four races complete, flyaways done and the beginning of the European leg of the 2012 season is upon us. In six days time we will be in Barcelona, a track that typically will tell a team whether they have an all-around good car or an all-around bad car.

This is because the types of corners and turns that the teams will find on most of the other tracks they will visit throughout the season are just about all found on this one track. All always there are exceptions, but for the most part Cataluña is a good litmus test which is why in past years, when testing was allowed, all teams tested here and the majority of the testing took place here.

I have to say I have been a little surprised how the season has thus far panned out; I am in not in any way complaining about the results though! As I reflect back on the first four races, the reasons for these somewhat surprising results are pretty straightforward. No more blown diffuser so Red Bull is shit out of luck. McLaren has made some uncharacteristic mistakes, sorry Ron, I mean Martin. Ferrari got lucky with the weather and also had perfect pit-work, (and of course they have the most complete driver on the grid), and Mercedes has finally put it all together which in this day and age of Formula One is what it takes to win on Sunday.

And now we have 5 drivers all within 10 points of each other, super cool. And yes it is the usual suspects, in order: Vettel-53, Lewis-49, Webbo-48, Button-43, Fernando-43. As I said in a post at the end of last season, I always want Fernando to win but I know what makes the contest of racing so much more compelling is when there are more than two or three drivers in contention for each race win and for the championship and therefore unpredictable elements like tires, crashes, weather, penalties all come into play.

In this time between races the first in-season testing took place at Mugello in Italy. Although some team principals were suspect of the usefulness of the test, some teams used the test to full effect. Ferrari used this event to conducts tests on an updated F2012 chassis and to confirm the results in regards to correcting their cars’ issues. I am not sure where I read that the Ferrari mechanics were all smiles during the last two days of testing, but I am sure I read it somewhere. My point being that it looks like Ferrari have found some of the answers that previously have left them scratching their heads in pre-season testing. Well, we shall soon see!

As always, one never really knows how the cars are configured or what everyone is up to during testing. We will only really know on Saturday for out-right speed and Sunday for all-around performance, but the indication looks favorable for the guy in the red car.

Note to Ferrari: This is Fernando’s home GP, you better get those updates on the car, get those tires in the proper operating window, get the strategy right. You are the greatest racing marquee and it is time to remind everyone of that, especially Red Bull, just in case they have forgotten. Nothing would really get the European leg of the season underway better than a podium or a win. So bring it!

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