Right then, time for race two.
After the hurly burly of the first round, this should be a bit more relaxed. The teams have a bit more of a handle on how the cars respond to set up changes, how they work over a race weekend and which bits are most likely to fall off Maldonado’s car first. Meanwhile, the FIA has flexed its muscles, slapped Redbull with the ban hammer and let the rest of the paddock know who's boss.
This whole thing with the fuel flow sensors has gone from "We've got a bit of an accuracy problem chaps. But bear with us and we'll let you know what we think you should be doing". To "Redbull have been cheeking the master in prep and so we've decided to suspend tuck privileges for everyone in the upper 5th".
Redbull, by deciding to push the FIA and basically ignore the rules that didn't suit them, have upset the rule makes and caused them to dig their heels in over this. There is a problem with the accuracy of the sensors, not a great one, but in a sport that measures performance in millionths of a second ... It’s a problem.
Rather than say, "we're not happy with this equipment we don’t think it’s up to the gig here!” They threw a hissy fit, told the FIA what it though of their sanctioned equipment and used this own measurement technique instead. Which you just can't do I’m afraid, there are rules and everyone has to race to those rules, however much you dislike them. Otherwise its chaos..... And Redbull would start winning everything again.... And we don't want that, do we!
So yes, whilst Danny boy did a cracking job and thoroughly deserved his podium, the team lost it for him by thinking they are bigger than the sport. Hopefully the FIA will dismiss the appeal and fine Redbull a gazillion dollars for wasting everyone's time.
The most amusing bit about all this wily waving, is Mateschitz puffing up his chest with enough self-righteous indignation to power a small third world dictatorship and declaring that,
"failure to reinstate Danny, could mean the end of the very existence of; the team, all its personnel, any merchandising we have ever sold, all of Milton Keynes including those stupid concrete cows and possibly southern England and maybe a bit of Austria too. The team will cancel the Redbull summer BBQ party and pointedly not invite anyone from the FIA to its party in Monaco this year. Okay ... we mean it too".
Its just the sort of thing Ferrari did when they were winning everything and thought everyone hated them. Which wasn't too far off the mark to be honest, small world isn’t it…..
Anyway, as I say hopefully it’ll all get thrown out at the appeal in April, with a Gaelic shrug and a “rules is rules sunbeam” summing up.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEKEND.
Mercedes: considered the “team to beat” by the rest of the grid now, the question of team leader could be brought into sharp focus on Sunday. A win for Lewis and its honours even, a win for Nico and another DNF for Lewis and momentum and pressure will start to build. Sure it’s a long season, but points now mean a more comfortable run in at the end.
McLaren: Even without Danny getting slapped with the ban hammer McLaren had a good weekend. They’re now leading the constructors table, something I’m sure they didn’t think was ever going to happen ever again after last year. Anyway, watch Kev this time out, has the wave of hysteria crashed over him, will he repeat the podium result of the last race or stuff it in the wall. And has he learnt to get it off the line cleanly ?
Ferrari: I don’t think they’re even bothering to paper over the tracks this time, its slow again and the braking/KERRS system (at least for Kimi) needs a lot of work. Expect them to still be behind the Merc engine cars.
Williams: Well they have the car to deliver, they just need lady luck to come and visit. See if Bottas has learnt from the high spirits of the first race. Ragging the car didn’t get him anything, will he be more controlled this time ?
Force India: Nico did his thing, Perez tooled round and picked up 1 unexciting point. They always used to build a car that was quick in a straight line so this place with its two long straights might suit them, the brave amongst you will have the Hulk on the podium.
Torro Rosso: A good solid start to the season saw both cars home in the points. Kvyat looked pretty handy at times, let’s see if he can build on that.
Sauber: …. Who cares ?
Marrussia: Did alright, but must be disappointed that they didn’t get any points and Max is still the slowest driver on the grid. I’m struggling to see who he can realistically beat actually. If you assume the Renault powered lotus and Caterham drivers are going to stop that leaves the Sauber ahead of him and maybe a Redbull. Even a hobbled Vettel could limp it past Max and the Sauber is comfortably faster. So if you’ve not got Max as plum last, I think you’re missing a certain 5 points.
Lotus: How many laps do you think they’ll do this time ?
Caterham: See above..
Redbull: Will either bounce back with a flag to flag victory or dial it all back throw a huge hissy fit about how it’s all so unfair threaten to go and play somewhere else and stick their tongue out behind the stewards back and throw any toys they have left out of their pram. Being generous to them, they do look like they have a car that is planted and predictable to drive. It wasn’t all over the show like the Ferrari’s or McLaren’s and even with the extra fuel Danny was comfortably ahead of Kev. They could well be podium material here. Depending on what they do with the fuel flow of course.