Although the Australian Grand Prix was interesting, it is still clear whether new rules will make F1 racing significantly more exciting, writes CAR deputy editor and F1 expert John Bentley.
With the first round of the 2005 Formula One season behind us, it’s still difficult to judge form for the season ahead. The Australian GP was an interesting – rather than exciting – race, but the jury is still out on the new rules.
Melbourne is a rather special circuit, and not necessarily an indication of what will happen at other tracks, and the changeable weather during first qualifying produced an unrepresentative grid.
Engine reliability seemed good, though the second race in Malaysia should give a better indication on that score. And both Bridgestone and Michelin seem to have produced compounds that perfectly fit the requirements of the new tyre regulations.
All that said, Renault showed that it is certainly one of the “form” teams. Giancarlo Fisichella’s effortless drive didn’t demonstrate that as much as the charge through the field by Fernando Alonso.
McLaren, after looking good in qualifying, seemed to lack race pace. But David Coulthard’s showing for Red Bull was fairytale stuff, even if earlier hopes of a strong second place were dashed in the final stages. Williams did better than expected, too.
The big losers were BAR, who seem well off the pace, Sauber – with Jacques Villeneuve able to do no more than play the role of spoiler- and Toyota – which really doesn’t seem able to sustain its initially quick pace over longer distances.
But don’t discount Ferrari – Rubens Barrichello’s progress through the field was unobtrusive, yet no less spectacular than Alonso’s. With a little help from lady luck, last year’s Ferrari could still be a winner come Malaysia. – John Bentley