Chaos as the F1 season kicks off in Melbourne

It was not as much the driving as what happened around it that led to a chaotic start of the F1 season in Melbourne yesterday. As the pre-season results had led us to believe reliability was indeed the major issue, with especially the Renault teams far from ready from a technical standpoint. For the first time ever in F1, several drivers including Swedish Marcus Ericsson had to retire before anything broke but to save their engines… As for the engine sound in 2014, we’ll be diplomatic and let everyone form their own opinion…

When the chequered flag dropped Nico Rosberg on Mercedes had won the race, in the season where his car carries the same number (6) as his father Keke had when he became world champion 32 years ago, in 1982. At this point, it also seemed that Red Bull had saved the day with Daniel Ricciardo finishing second, the first podium for an Australian ever in Melbourne. A short while later however, Red Bull and Ricciardo were disqualified because of too high fuel pressure in the engine, and Kevin Magnussen on McLaren who finished third was all of a sudden second and the most successful rookie since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996. Jenson Button on McLaren was the new third, and both McLaren’s and Mercedes day was hence close to perfect, as Valtteri Bottas on Mercedes was fifth after Fernando Alonso on Ferrari, the only car with a non-Mercedes engine in the top 5.

Mercedes is hence off to a good season start, and Red Bull to an awful one as Sebastian Vettel had been forced to park his car on the seventh lap. As mentioned previously on this blog, it’s quite possible that after a dreadful 2013, Williams emerges as the surprise of the season 2014. For Ferrari, finishing fourth and seventh, it was not too bad, but Alonso still made the comment that the car was only ready to about 60%. If he is right, there’s hopefully a lot of race excitement as opposed to technical and regulatory mishaps to look forward to as the teams move on to Malaysia in two weeks!

 

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