Bahrain GP – THE POINT… by Gian Carlo Minardi
As I said in the last days, in the usual GP-Preview Analysis, there’s no point to cry wolf at this moment of the season, facing such an important technical change. We need to give time to this Formula 1 to grow from a technical perspective. In just one week we have shifted from a Formula-Boredom to a Formula-Show, with overtakings and duels.
Formula 1 is amazing because it involves a lot of elements: technique, sporting regulations and pilots. It’s hard to give judgements since the track, from one weekend to the following, can prove wrong everyone, particularly this year. Let’s just think to the situation during Bahrain tests: I expect forward changes in China, not to mention what might happen in Spain in one month. Today we have seen that the problem is certainly not the noise of the V6 Turbo: the main issues are cars’ competitiveness and the duels that pilots can perform during the race. We assisted to great fights, overtakings, strategies and crushes; safety-car, also, added something more to the last 8 laps.
No doubt, we have a Mercedes supremacy, both as a team and as power-unit: in the last laps, W05 realized an advantage of 24’’ on the third car at finishing. Rosberg and Hamilton are great champions, who will entertain us again and again. I had the impression that in the last laps they mainly wanted to play and please the public with a great show (also, to be spotted by cameras) given the unconvincing points where Nico tried the final attack on his teammate. Behind them, all the others, more or less close. In this moment the fight is for the third step of the podium. The final ranking sees two Mercedes, Force India, Red Bull, Force India, Red Bull, two Williams and two Ferrari. Which means: five Mercedes engines, two Renault and two Ferrari, with Ricciardo and Vettel between Perez and Hulkenberg, and Alonso and Raikkonen closing the Top 10. A praise goes to Aldo Costa: this success should make us think about the fact that Italian technologies and technicians are too often underestimated. We always think English are on a higher level, but the Made in Italy is still very successful. Costa is the head of a group that certainly follows him, since he certainly doesn’t design the car by himself. This gives food for thought to other teams, too.
Red Bull proves to be a car with a great chassis, only lacking those 40 hp that Horner would like to obtain from the Renault power-unit. Ricciardo performed an amazing race: despite an underserved 10-place grid penalty in qualifications – related to Malaysia, where he also was handed a stop&go of 10’’, not for his faults – he finished the race before his teammate. In one month they have been able to turn upside down a very difficult situation. Very good race for Sergio Perez and Force India. With Hulkenberg, in the previous GPs they proved to have a great car, which today stands in the second place of the World Championship, gaining approval and respect. The Mexican has come forward with great authority, showing he’s part of the games. With this podium he released himself from the negative echoes of last season, proving us that McLaren decisions were rushed. He fully deserved to be on the podium.
Let’s go to Ferrari. At present, they’re the fifth force of the Championship. I think the performance is rescued only by its two World Champions, Alonso and Raikkonen. Otherwise, I think they would have stayed out of the Top 10. The problem is not only the power-unit: competitiveness is lacking in several areas, as underlined by tyre skitting and pilots’ camera-car. I believe it’s important not to make up excuses or to accuse only one sector. They need to reflect with a cold mind, working at 360 degrees in all areas. Now it’s time for tests, before China GP. Excluding W05 of Nico and Lewis, all the others are close: therefore also Ferrari can compete for the third step of the podium and for the second place in World Championship.