Formula 1

Mercedes battle helps silence F1 critics in Bahrain

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There was a great sense of satisfaction in the world of Formula 1 after Sunday's desert classic.

After days of moaning from those at the very top of the sport's power structure, warning us that the brave new era wouldn't work, you could see them put their heads in the sand as Bahrain produced one of the best Grand Prix's in years.

The epic battle between the two Mercedes, allied to the five team scrap for best of the rest, made this race a great advert for the new look F1 going forward.

This was a race that thrust those incapable of adjusting to change straight into the spotlight and made utter and complete fools out of them. It was a race that proves you can change whatever you like in Formula 1 but it can still have you on the edge of your seat.

All the whining and complaining of the new V6′s being too quiet, the new fuel-efficient era being too dull and the cars being too ugly was simply cast aside as the enthralling sights and sounds on the Sakhir Circuit made for must-watch television.

Certainly one incredible race doesn’t mean every complaint and argument made was completely unfounded, but what it does is prove those who claim this was the impending death of F1 very, very wrong.

The thing that had fans and others in the paddock laughing the most after the Sakhir thriller was this is just the third race, so much has been said including calls for another complete overhaul of the rules and yet this was just after two ‘feeling out’ races.

The three biggest critics Red Bull, Ferrari and Bernie Ecclestone made their case for change so clear in the build-up and all that was left was them with their tails firmly between their legs.

Ever since these new rules were announced Ecclestone has been bludgeoning away saying the noise would go and that nobody would tune in because of it, ironically the different start time made this the worst watched Grand Prix in the UK in seven years but it was no way the fault of the ‘new’ F1.

Then when it was apparent their car’s were not as competitive as hoped Red Bull and Ferrari jumped on the bandwagon, both claiming the new fuel-flow limit was killing on-track action.

Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz warned there are “limits” to his company’s participation and Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari made a rare appearance in Bahrain to meet with his former employee and now FIA President Jean Todt in a bid to push a few buttons.

In a structure that most onlookers can’t stand, to see quite possibly the three most powerful men in F1 all on the same page – bashing the rules because their teams didn’t adjust as well as Mercedes or because you’re so blind to what the world is in the 21st century that you don’t know what’s best for the sport – really was the most worrying thing of all.

But now they are left in a very difficult position, Niki Lauda was pretty blunt calling the cynics “idiots” after Sunday’s race and because of the spectacle Bahrain put on the secret agendas, certainly of Mateschitz and Di Montezemolo, is now clear to see.

The ‘Nanny-style’ F1 has been highlighted with those who believe they can’t catch up to Mercedes complaining and demanding change which for us watching from the outside was cringe worthy.

By trying to get the rules changed just to negate an advantage someone else has over you smacks of unsportsmanlike conduct and potentially bringing the sport into disrepute.

Mercedes were always likely going to be strong with their expertise and the period of time they have spent on development, much longer than Ferrari and Renault, was also going to give them an edge.

Yes, winning does feel good and you don’t want that feeling to end, but for Red Bull to be so cynical of change and demand further alterations rather than focus on closing the gap with the current rules is a joke. I certainly don’t think they would be complaining if they were still at the top.

The man behind their success, Adrian Newey, also vented his frustration – believing F1 has taken the wrong path, but the sport couldn’t stay as it was.

His argument is the new hybrid V6 power units are not as ‘green’ or road relevant as those behind the change would have you think and he insists that would be his position regardless of how Red Bull were performing.

He may be right and of course he is entitled to his opinion but what the sport is doing now is developing new technology for the future not just improving the present.

Yes the engines may be heavy, but as development continues they will get lighter and more efficient and the cost will come down and that is part of where the future of the automotive world is going.

Personally I, as do a lot of people, believe hydrogen is the future of road cars but there would certainly not be space for that in F1 now.

As for Ferrari, all these rule changes should have even more up their alleyway for a company that prides itself on it’s mechanical ability.

Instead the same issues that have weighed them down continue to make them the big disappointment on the F1 grid but rather than remove the main culprits for their lack of competitiveness they pull out the power card.. again.

The time for political power games and secret agendas is over, efforts are being made to increase the noise but as it is now I think more fans are being won over, on a track conducive to racing the new era shone and as the teams continue to adjust, the action will continue to improve.

We can’t expect every race to be as exciting as Bahrain but we must give the foundations of the new era time to set. After all its much easier to build on rock than it is on quicksand and as the races add up and the real niggles are clearer to see, any improvements then would be far more beneficial than any implemented now.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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