After a long winter the F1 season has finally started. The first race in Australia was not a classic but rather a decent one. In particular, one guy was of a different league, with an astonishing 0.8 seconds difference in qualification; Sebastian Vettel conquered the pole position and won the season’s first Grand Prix.
The Australian Grand Prix took place on a semi-permanent circuit in Albert Park, Melbourne. Half of the track is a racetrack, but the other half is normal road. This is very challenging for the drivers because the level of grip is very low.
This Australian Grand Prix had some interesting changes. Drivers who were expected to be in front were struggling in the back of the field. Rubens Barrichello, for instance, although he is the most experienced driver with 18 F1 seasons under his belt, drove like it was his first Grand Prix in Formula One. Nick Heidfeld, who has a car that is capable of finishing on the podium, also failed to show his best side, finishing 12th.
Also, the new rules haven’t really brought the intended excitement. KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is especially questionable since Red Bull won the race without having the system. But as with all developments in Formula One, they need some time to be exploited and maybe after a couple of races the teams will control these features and it will create more overtaking possibilities. Making up the balance for this new season, there are some new names topping the standings. The most surprising name is the Russian driver Vitaly Petrov with the Lotus Renault. It’s only his second season in Formula One but he has already made his first podium finish at Australia.
With the Malaysian Grand Prix coming up this weekend, all the teams will update their cars with the data they gathered from the first race. This will be especially a relief for the HRT team since they were too slow to qualify for the race in Australia.
Sepang International Circuit is an overtaking-friendly track, combining long, high-speed straights with technical twisty sections. There’s more than enough for the drivers to get stuck into over the course of the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.
By Recardo Bruins (RB@swa.co.kr
)Korea-born Dutch racing driver Recardo Bruins, whose Korean name is Choi Myung-gil, is an honorary ambassador of the 2011 Korean Grand Prix. ― Ed.