Australia Snippets

I do not want to live in a world where F1 drivers have to apologise for driving exuberantly. It seems Victoria has something known as “anti-hooning” laws, “hoon”, being a slang term in Australia and New Zealand for a young person involved in loutish behavior, especially referring to wild driving such as burnouts or doughnuts. Politicians looking to look tough on this anti-social behavior gave the police powers to impound cars, and for a third offence confiscate the vehicle permanently. I have mixed feeling about racing drivers getting involved in FIA road-safety campaigns; do any F1 drivers practice that much caution on the open highway? Hamilton got caught out, it is embarrassing for him, but did he have to be made to issue a humiliating apology on top of that?

After Bahrain, the idea of two mandatory pit-stops reared it’s artificial head. Tyre-strategy in Australia, once everyone changed the inters, was interesting because some stopped to change their slicks and some did not. Perhaps scrapping the need to use both compounds in a dry race would make tyre strategy more pertinent. The Melbourne race saw cool conditions which helped the tyres last plus drivers had gotten out of the way the first segment of the race when the car is heaviest and hardest on the rubber. It looks as if in a typical dry race the top-ten will qualify on the softer option and all stop once about the same time to switch to the harder tyres. Without the need to use both compounds, perhaps drivers would be split between those trying to go the distance on the harder tyres they qualified on or choosing to qualify and start on the soft tyres with a stop to change them. The danger is they would all manage the entire race on the tyres they qualified on which would be dull.

Maybe it is because I belong to a generation that grew up able to go to the shops without taking a water-bottle but am I the only one that thinks that drivers having a problem with spending five minutes on the grid without their physios to wipe their noses is a bit pathetic?

I am glad to hear Pedro de la Rosa’s assurance that the appearance of the F-duct system in practice on the BMW Saubers and his prior knowledge of the technology as a former test-driver for McLaren is pure coincidence. We should all put out of our minds that when Mike Coughlan was in procession of Ferrari data, that de la Rosa was the only other McLaren employee shown to be happy to use that inside information. Many of us were surprised when Pedro was given the nod to drive for Sauber.

It was brave of Mark Webber to admit fault over the collision with Hamilton. Vettel admitted fault after his 2009 crash with Kubica and that was seen as contributing to the punishment he received.

Those of us that follow Branson know too well his unerring ability to be smug in the face of anything but is Nick Wirth imitating the master? His boasting after Bahrain qualification that the use of CFD was proven justified seemed mightily premature and when explaining why the fuel tanks on his cars were too small gave the smug impression it was nothing to do with anything that was his fault. Of course, we all know that when Branson has to don the air-hostess uniform after the end of the season, that he will be unbearably smug about it, and generate more publicity for Virgin than it will afford Tony Fernandes’s AirAsia.

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