Formula 1 Race Report Nº 1

Off we go for the 70th season of the Formula 1 World Championship.

First and foremost! FIA race director, official race starter and safety delegate Charlie Whiting died on Thursday 14th March from a pulmonary embolism aged only 66. He was a faithful friend and charismatic ambassador of F1, respected and admired by all in the F1 fraternity.

It has been approved by the FIA to introduce a point for the fastest lap of the race, but it will only be counted if the driver finishes the race in the top ten. That means an extra 21 points are available.

Although the Sauber name has disappeared from the grid this year, Alfa Romeo is keeping the tradition with the chassis being classed as the C38, the 38th car from the Swiss (Sauber) team and the ‘C’ in honour of Peter Sauber’s wife Christine.

Ferrari has dropped the Mission Winnow signage which adorned their cars and driver/team overalls for this event as it contravenes the tobacco advertising laws in Australia. Mission Winnow is part of the Phillip Morris group manufacturers of Marlboro, now promoting electronic (vapour) products. The signage will be back on the cars and overalls for the next race and (as it stands) for the rest of the campaign.

Formula 1 History

The first round of the 1989 season was the Brazilian GP held at the Jacarepagua circuit in Rio de Janeiro on 26th March of that year. The 61 lap race around the 5.031km circuit which won by Nigel Mansell driving a Ferrari V12 in 1h 38m 58.744s from 6th on the grid.
2019 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Albert Park. Round 1.
58 laps @ 5.303km/3.295ml =
Lap record 1m 24.125s held by M. Schumacher Ferrari (2004).

The Albert Park circuit opened in 1953 and held two non- Championship Formula Libra races in ’53 & ’56 with the first World Championship race being held in 1996 when it took over from Adelaide thus making this the 24th race at Albert Park. From the 23 races held there only nine have been won from pole position and the race winner has gone on to win the World Championship on no less than 14 occasions.
Last year Ham started from pole, but Vet took the win. Joining him on the podium was Ham (2nd) and Räi (3rd). Ric posted the fastest lap of 1m 25.945s. As per last year there are three DRS zones; the first between turns 12 and 13, the second is along the start/finish straight and the 3rd zone using the detection zone from the second zone between turns 2 & 3.

FP1 was a bright & sunny day, but with blustery wind around the bumpy circuit. Hül had an electrical problem which kept him in the garage for a while. Rus came to a halt at the end of the pit lane. Alb hit the barriers at turn 2 losing his rear wing, then spun round and hit the barriers with his front end. Ham, Vet, Lec Ver & Bot were the top five drivers.

FP2 in the afternoon was still bright & sunny. Ric was in the garage with his mechanics working on his car for the first 25 minutes. There were a lot of spins and trips down the escape roads. Ham was at the top again with Bot, Ver, Gas & Vet making up the top five.

FP3 on Saturday was again warm & sunny. Ver had a new chassis fitted overnight. Gro spent some time in the garage with an oil leak. Kub hit the wall on the pit lane entry causing damage to his Williams and the wall. Ham for the third time on top with Vet, Lec, Gro & Mag making up the top five.

Qualifying in the afternoon, apart from Kub hitting the wall at turn 10 and limping back to the garage with a puncture, it was a trouble free with Lec, Ham, Mag, Bot & Gio the top five.

Q2 was a very good trouble free 15 minute session which ended with Ham, Bot, Ver, Lec & Gro the top five. 10 drivers, which included rookie Norris in a McLaren fought for pole which got very exciting as times were exchanged. Ham did it yet again, with the help of the Mercedes ‘power mode’ and got his 8th pole position at this circuit with Bot, Vet, Ver & Lec the top five.

Bot had an amazing start to get ahead of his team mate. Ham had Vet & Ver on the inside & Lec on the outside going into turn 2. Ric ran over the grass and a gutter which ripped off his front wing causing him to lose places and pit at the end of lap 1, as did Kub. Sai pulled off on lap 11 with smoke & flames pouring out of his engine. Räi started the pit stop challenge when he came in on lap 12. Ric was lapped by Bot on lap 19 just before the Australian retired with damage from his lap 1 incident. Gro pitted for a tyre change and the same as last year, a wheel was not fitted correctly. There was a lot of action during the race with some close battles with the mid-field runners, but very few overtakes. Bot drove exceedingly well to take his first win since the Abu Dhabi GP in 2017 and be the first driver to score the extra point for the fastest lap of 1m 25.580s on lap 57. Ham & Ver joined him on the podium. Vet lost out to Ver when the Red Bull driver made a brilliant overtaking manoeuvre for the final podium position.

Both Mercedes & Ferraris in the points with 1 Red Bull, 1 Haas, 1 Renault, 1 Alfa, 1 Racing Point and 1 Toro Rosso. 17 of the 20 starters finished the race.

Are we going to see plenty of action between Ham, Bot, Vet, Lec & Ver? Let’s hope so!