Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bahrain, I'm not expecting a lot of actually racing ...

Okay, Bahrain then, which now appears to be perfectly fine to go and visit, remember all that hoo harr a couple of years back, dirt poor people getting shot at, mass arrests ? … yeah… all gone now, perfectly fine as I say. Just don’t go talking to the local’s okay, if you can find one in the stands of course! Apparently, the gate was 30% down in Malaysia hence the look of a rather empty park on a Sunday afternoon in the west midlands. The naysayers will have it that the “lack of any sort of sound is driving the fans away”, but they are idiots so I can quite happily ignore them.  I suspect it’s more to do with the cost of a ticket.  There are races this year that you’ll need to take out a second mortgage to afford a weekend ticket for, let alone a grandstand ticket.

And the crowd goes wild !!

Ahem… sorry, went off on one there. Right, okay.

 It’s a fast turnaround for the teams so there won’t be too many updated parts on offer. Only the “post pre-season test” stuff that was on stream before the season started, so don’t expect things to be too different from last week.

Merc still the team to beat, Lewis looked peerless over Nico, but the German has usually gone well here.  I imagine they’ll be up the front as normal, Nico for pole… perhaps. 

 Redbull next with its dodgy fuel flow sensors, Danny is due some luck, until he gets told to get out of Vettels way of course. There was a suggestion doing the rounds that the FIA are going to scrap the fuel flow rule until they get the sensors sorted out. I don’t know if that was an April fool, I wouldn’t put it past them to change the rules randomly. As the other teams aren’t whinging about them it might just be a Redbull thing, like the tyres last year. Changing the rules worked brilliantly there didn’t they. Anyway, pre-season testing was a nightmare in Bahrain, the heat cooking the Renault engine, they look like they’ve sorted that problem but they’re short of a few horses at the top end. Vettel was a gnats underpants from pole in the wet, I would be VERY surprised if they are that close in the dry here. But the cars got the grip for the twisty bits so … top five, a podium might elude them I think.

Ferrari is still too slow and they need a podium here or they’re just going to get lost this season. Kimi looked happier in Malaysia; Alonso was still the one that got the points though.

McLaren, Kev landed with a bump last weekend and Button just continued where he’d left off. They weren’t fast enough on the fast sweeping bits of Sepang which was a surprise to the team, who had been expecting to be on the podium. McLaren can develop a car like no other team, when they have a direction and path to follow. Let’s hope Malaysia was just a blip. Their PR department has gone into a bit of a tizzy telling anyone that will listen that, “things have gone horrible wrong and they have no idea how to fix it” which is either desperate misdirection or a desperate warning to the sponsors. Talking of which still no title sponsor on the old bodywork you’ll notice. I imagine Big Ron’s going to pull something AMAZING out from under his cloak … any … minute .. .nooooooooowwwwwwwww!

Williams, with only a week between races there isn’t enough time for a full blown self-righteous indignation huff to build up a head of steam. Telling Massa to get out of the way was a mistake at only the second race of the season, and I think the team accept that now. Rob Smedley and Pat Symonds will both be at the track in Bahrain so wise heads might keep everyone a bit more focused on the job. Especially as the car didn’t look quite so special as it had in Australia, lost time now banging heads together and organizing the pit wall crew is going to cost them their chance of points. Win, then you can argue who is the best driver!

Force India, well Hulkenburg will be mixing it up with the front runners as usual, the pit wall will try and hobble him and Perez will be his usual anonymous dull self.

Torro Rosso and I think Kvyat might be worth watching, he’s certainly delivered so far, in a scary Russian war machine kind of way. Watching him being interviewed you get the impression he has contempt for pretty much everyone; the lads got self-belief and distain oozing out of every pore, you have to be impressed by that.

As for the rest, well Sauber; still grey, Caterham; still green and Marussia; still Max.  None of that lot will make it to the top ten and it’ll be another Max v Ericsson for last place (Max).

You have until Thursday midnight to sort your predictions out. Good luck one and all.   

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