Friday, 25 May 2012

Formula One - a quarter of the way in

We are now five races into one of the most exciting Formula One seasons in memory.

For the first time in a very long time have we had five different drivers win the first five races, and for the first time in even longer have those drivers all been from different teams.

Before the start of the season I tried to guess the relative strengths of the teams. It appears I may have underestimated Mercedes and Lotus somewhat, and overestimated Red Bull.

I hold that McLaren have a car capable of dominating, but are having problems finding the right balance for it, and keep making mistakes. This hurts me as a McLaren fan, but at least it makes the racing fun!

It seems Ferrari are starting to come back. The test after four races seems to have been a turning point, as the have looked far more feisty in the car since then. Well, Fernando Alonso has, anyway. The second Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, just hasn't been the same since returning from injury. While he probably deserved a World Championship (particularly in 2008) he isn't driving well enough for it. I'm sure if he doesn't improve soon Ferrari will be looking for someone to replace him.

In the midfield, Williams have stood out as much stronger than I thought they were, as shown by their win in Spain. Don't be fooled by Sauber's second place finish in Malaysia - the wet conditions flattered their car. They won't be challenging for wins in dry races.

At the back the difficulty the slow three teams are having is becoming more and more evident. I hope they can close up to the midfield, but at the moment they are really aren't contributing to the sport and exist more as a side-show race. I really hope they can get the advances they need, but it will take something special. Don't expect to see all three of these teams still around in a few years time.

In summary, F1 in 2012 is turning out great. Who's going to win this weekend in Monaco? Don't ask me. I've no idea. For once.

The Monaco Grand Prix qualifying and race can be watched live on the BBC.

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