We are now four races in to the new F1 season and it has been an incredible start. Like actually crazy. Even with Lewis winning 3 of 4 races the only thing that has been a constant is that Petronas Mercedes has the race pace that everyone needs to catch, other than that though we have seen 4 other teams join the Merc drivers on the podium, and every team has had reliability issues.
What makes racing exciting? Obviously this question was asked and well thought about before the new rule changes came into play. The formula is relatively simple for racing: There needs to be lots of over taking (or defending) and blistering fast speed. A little sideways doesn't hurt either. Combine those with pit stop, tire, aero and fuel strategies, F1 becomes an all around appealing sport. It's got the grunting and go fast for those that only want the adrenaline and the technical chess game, with living and highly skilled pawns, for the thinkers. But what the rule change really did is it put everyone in a much closer contention that ever seen.
Need 1, lots of overtaking and defending. Tight groups with the likes of McLaren, Williams, Redbull, Ferrari, and Force India means competition is fierce and the smallest mistake means you either have to defend hard or be over taken. Engine changes and restrictions on the makeup of the aerodynamic components mean more torque, less downforce and drivers needing more skill, the playing field was levelled. Exciting.
Need 2, blistering fast speed. We all really want to see the cars unleashed. Fuel strategies, and tire degredation limit this possibility in the actually race situation. Enter qualifying rule changes, extra time to get a flying lap done and a new set of tires after a Q3 on the option. Since not many in YYC actually watch F1 this is what that last sentence means: The format of the qualifying round is one 18 minute session where all drivers try to set a time fast enough to be in the top 16, spots 17 - 22 are eliminated, after those drivers are out another 15 minute session takes place with the top 16 and again the bottom 6 times are eliminated. The in the final 12 (instead of 10) minute session the top 10 drivers are given a new set of option, or the softest and fastest, tires that can't be used in the race (so they can chew up the hell out of them) to set a lap as fast as they can possibly go to try for pole position at the start of the race. Since the drivers now get an extra set of the faster tire they no longer have to conserve or stratagize about anything other than setting the fastest time to get on pole.
With these needs covered off, F1 does an amazing job at keeping the spot exhilarating for the 2014 season. I am loving every minute of it, and can't wait until May 25 for what is sure to be the most exciting race of the year for me.