F.1 – Road to Bahrain

We’re quickly getting closer to Bahrain, the fourth appointment of this World Championship. A fifth part of the season is now gone. As we know, it will be a night race and this could penalize Ferrari, removing a part of the advantage of using the Soft and Medium tyres, even if track temperatures will remain hot (obviously as hot as Sepang levels). We get to the circuit that signed Ferrari’s reorganization in 2014. Last year, at the end of a race, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen used to close in ninth/tenth position. This year, we arrive with a very different spirit.

Ferrari presents itself as the second force of the World Championship, first among the terrestrials. A result that makes us think, especially after a 2014 full of tension. The stopwatch, real unique neutral arbiter, however, is unforgiving towards all. The German team has once again showed its supremacy in China, especially in fast laps, imposing itself from beginning to end. Lewis Hamilton has played not only with opponents, but also creating a few battles with the teammate, as we heard in the post-gp by Rosberg, alternatively angry and frustrated.

This Formula 1 that makes us think about and worry us especially for what happened in Shanghai at Renault. The disastrous Sunday has not gone unnoticed, creating many doubts and concerns. Kvyat and Verstappen are already preparing to use the third engine of the four available engines in total. The Dutch of Red Bull was forced to throw away an eighth place, which was gained on track just three laps to go. Reliable sources anticipate us that before the Spanish Grand Prix an Extraordinary Board of Directors will be held directly by the Chairman and CEO of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, who will be about Renault’s situation in Formula 1. It’s certainly not a good sign. A finalized Board of Directors may open in two scenarios: direct engagement with its own team (we have already talked about), or other more drastic “situations”. It’s true that there are agreements until 2016 with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, but it would not be the first time that a constructor takes bad roads for our sport. Do not forget that there is another giant in great difficulty, Honda. Being in the rear, when just twelve months ago McLaren firmly occupied the score zone, is not an exciting show.

Let’s go back to the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix: Ferrari has certainly made a step forward compared to last season. The victory and two podiums are a clear and create excitement; let’s hope this’ll be helpful to overcome the gap that still exists. The current standings (1-Mercedes, 2-Ferrari, 3-Williams, 4-Sauber, 5-Red Bull, 6-Toro Rosso, 7-Force India, 8-Lotus, 9-McLaren, 10-Marussia) underlines the difficulties of Red Bull, Force India and above all McLaren. Sauber, taking advantage of the other’s difficulties, won important points. As for Toro Rosso, we wish the confirmation of a positive mood that showed it being consistently up or beyond the standard on track of Red Bull itself.

It will still be a hot weekend in the back box; everybody’ll busy to observe the movements and contacts of Team Principals, to grasp the possible evolutions.

Gian Carlo Minardi