Five moments in F1 that have shocked us this year
The 2016 Formula One season has been a dramatic and enthralling year thus far with several major incidents already. The sportsgazette has a look at five things that have shocked us so far.
1. Max Verstappen securing his future at the top
It was obvious from the very beginning when Max Verstappen rolled up in the 2015 season that he has future World Champion written all over him. After many impressive performances in the sister Red Bull car, the Torro Rosso, it was only a matter of time before one of the big boys snapped him up. Red Bull managed to pull off a masterstroke in this acquisition, despite this being an obvious development path laid out for him in the Red Bull system.
This came as a surprise though, as nobody expected these turn of events four races in, with Daniil Kvyat punished and demoted to Torro Rosso in the process, after a few sceptical incidents with former Red Bull talisman Sebastian Vettel. It seems Kvyat’s previous success has been easily forgotten and while still at a young age it is no doubt a blow to his ambitions as a Formula One racing driver. It comes as no surprise though that Verstappen sees himself well placed within a quick car so soon in his career. This steely character trait is impressive at such a young age, and it is often a hallmark of more experienced, seasoned racers. What is clear, is that Verstappen is just as ambitious as he is quick.
2. Red Bull gradually returning to the top?
Red Bull have endured a difficult few seasons ever since their dominant spree under the lethal combination of driver Sebastian Vettel and the immaculate designer Adrian Newey. A lot has changed since then, with new faces in the cockpit and in the garages. The main deficit Red Bull have fought in this transitional period seems to be with their engine power unit, with previous disputes against Renault a dominant theme. Red Bull however seem to have got back on track and removing Sochi from this particular discussion have challenged for podium positions regularly and seem close to the second best team Ferrari, who seem devoted in their efforts to catch the Mercedes.
Deemed one of the best aero and chassis packages, the Red Bull has a quick car and some believe with a better engine unit could actually be just as quick as the Mercedes. Their drivers have also impressed with Daniel Ricciardo challenging high in the championship standings and having now secured a bright future with Max Verstappen, the ship appears to be very steady indeed. The question is can they kick on further and jump the Ferraris completely, although a lot of onus is on how much the Renault engine can improve.
3. Nico Rosberg: seven wins in a row.
Nico Rosberg has joined an illustrious group of names after securing his seventh race win in a row. Only Vettel’s mighty nine wins in a row stand in Rosberg’s way of this imperious record. Aided by the consistency of his Mercedes and the inconsistency of Hamilton’s car, Rosberg has romped away in fine style early this season. Yes there is luck involved, but Rosberg seems to be in the right place at the right time avoiding much of the drama that is tangling up his championship competitors. Whether he can go on to win eight in a row at this weekend’s Catalunya Grand-Prix remains to be seen, but this rich vein of form is placing him well in the fight for this year’s title.
The 2016 season began with hope and optimism from the Ferrari camp. With five World Championships between their two drivers and a renewed set of backroom staff, the Ferrari looked well placed to be Mercedes biggest threat this year. While it is clear they are the second fastest team on the grid, they have yet to truly test the Mercedes like we thought they might and should now be worried about the performance of the Red Bull. Many suggest that reliability is the reason for this, with constant troubles and gremlins threatening their car, denying them the chance to utilise all their power and speed. But time is running out for Ferrari to have any shot at this year’s title and especially since the Mercedes are grappling their own problems, a Ferrari sting in this year’s tale would be interesting to say the least for the Maranello squad to steer their title hopes back on track.
This season began with yet more bewildering political circumstances, whereby we didn’t even know what qualifying system was going to take place weeks before the start of the season. This was slowly dealt with and now the discussion has moved onto the proposed rule changes for 2017. These changes seem to have met fierce opposition suggesting that more speed and power won’t help with overtaking. It seems we are in a vicious circle and quagmire of political and personal unrest. The solution? Let’s just focus on the racing on track and appreciate what has been an already enjoyable Formula One season to date with vast overtaking, drama, dispute and entertainment throughout.