Start of the season – how long the Formula 1 fans have been waiting for these two words. More than 200 painful days of waiting have passed since the last races of the Queen of Motorsport, and now this fan-favorite high-speed sport is returning with an incredibly tight schedule of at least eight races in two months.
But while we will not run ahead and tell you what to expect from the upcoming race at the Austrian Red Bull Ring.
TIME FOR A CHANGE
And we start with the fact that those who last watched the “Formula 1” during the presentation of machines and pre-season training, risk not knowing some teams. Two teams immediately updated their liveries before the start of the season, which is interesting, from the top and from the basement of the peloton of “big prizes”.
In “Williams” during the coronavirus they managed to remain without the title sponsor, the manufacturer of mobile phones from the USA ROKiT, whose logos were replaced with the emblems of Sofina, owned by Michael Latifi – the father of the driver Nicholas Latifi, who at the last moment saved the team from financial collapse.
Because of this, the red color, which was previously present on all championship cars without exception, disappeared from the Williams race cars, due to which the team returned to its classic coloring – white with light and dark blue stripes. True, one gets the feeling that the cars were painted in a hurry and not really bothering with the design. Fans of “Formula 1” with experience immediately took up the graphic editors and through simple actions found out that, in fact, this is the same livery used in the nulls in the “Brown GP” team, only the light green stripes are replaced with blue.
But in the “Mercedes” they went even further and completely updated the color of the cars – “silver arrows” turned into “black ones”. They say that this was done with the filing of Lewis Hamilton and after just one call. The Briton in the current offseason against the backdrop of unrest in the United States became a real activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, pushing the whole championship to fight racism, and at the same time turning away from it a decent part of the public, who considers politics to be involved in sports.
UNDER THE SIGN OF RAINBOW
However, cosmetic changes actually affected all the teams, and the whole championship as a whole. Hamilton’s authority prompted the American organizers to launch a new initiative aimed at creating an equal environment for everyone, and its symbol was a rainbow from all the basic colors of F1 teams, which can now be seen on every car and everywhere on the tracks.
Moreover, if the Formula 1 race cars get off mostly with small rainbows or its image on the “halo”, then with the side cars in the “big circus” they decided to take off in full. Both the medical care machine and the safety car will now flaunt rainbows all over. Although, to be honest, from a design point of view, the solution looks, to put it mildly, doubtful.
It is possible that they will integrate the rainbow into the new television broadcast schedule, which will now be flooded with a huge amount of unnecessary subjective information, like the rating of the behavior of cars in turns. In the past year, the graphics providers have already decently disgraced themselves by regularly reporting errors in the statistics of rubber wear, but apparently this experience taught them nothing.
If we talk about the intrigues of the Austrian Grand Prix, then initially two of them, surprisingly, were in no way connected with the races themselves.
The first, yes, yes, again, is associated with the activity of Lewis Hamilton. Both the six-time world champion and his father are actively promoting among pilots the idea to follow the lead of the entire sports world and kneel before the national anthem in support of the fight against racism. Part of the British press has even announced that an agreement has been reached, but Lewis himself, who came to the press conference with a huge chain locked in a lock around his neck, did not confirm this information at the time of publication of the article.
The decent part of the fans hopes that in the end all the pilots will not support this initiative, and the main hopes are connected, as always, with Kimi Raikkonen, who usually stands aside from all such events, and Sebastian Vettel, who is not distinguished by his love for demonstration performances.
The second intrigue for a long time was the weather in the mountains of Styria, but already closer to the weekend the hope that the grand prix will turn out to be rainy, which means it will increase the degree of interest, has died. According to the good old tradition of “Formula 1”, showers will fall on the track exactly before the first training session and after the end of the race on Sunday.
MERCEDES’S DOMINATION AGAIN?
As for the direct alignment of forces, only Mercedes fans can rejoice at the beginning of the season. The German-British team approached the start of the season fully armed and, according to rumors, not only improved aerodynamics, but also updated the engine, and also improved their main cheat for a year – the DAS system, which now, supposedly, can affect the rear wheels of the car.
In general, all the teams came to Austria with the latest innovations except the one and only one, and no, this is not a “poor relative” of the Williams, but, unexpectedly, a Ferrari. The leadership of “Scuderia” decided to bring to the first grand prix of the season what computer scientists usually call “rollback to factory settings”.
In Maranello, they admitted that they built a frankly bad car, and it turned out to be so bad that they had to change the whole concept of aerodynamics. It didn’t work out quickly, the new car will be ready only for the stage in Hungary, and at the double stage at the “Red Bull Ring” the team, which is so shaken by squabbles amid the departure of Sebastian Vettel, will have to survive corny.
In such a situation, all hopes remain that the Red Bull will impose the struggle on the Mercedes, traditionally playing strongly at the home circuit. True, there is a catch, – unlike competitors, neither Max Verstappen nor Alex Albon were able to conduct tests before the start of the season. Due to periodic changes in the engine supplier, it was not possible to drive the old car, which was allowed by the regulations, as in Renault they decided not to share engines with competitors.
Schedule of the racing weekend of the Grand Prix of Austria:
Friday, July 3
12:00 – first training
16:00 – second training
Saturday, July 4
13:00 – first training
16:00 – qualification
Sunday, July 5
16:10 – Austrian Grand Prix