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F1 has so much to offer this year

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Jake Humphrey | 10:11 UK time, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I'm writing this blog post on the sofa, having just arrived back from the opening weekend of the season.

I always feel really odd the day after a big race, a strange concoction of frustration over the little things I could have done better (like knowing the difference between Lee and Ted!), satisfaction that people seem to think the BBC picked up where we left off last year, and that tinge of excitement that in little over a week I'll be back on a plane to witness another weekend of F1 action... albeit the other side of the globe.

I should start by mentioning the stacks of comments I've received on Twitter, and from emails we received during the forum, clearly stating that you all think F1 might have caused a few problems for itself with the new refuelling ban leading to some pretty sanitised action on track.

I follow Mark Webber on Twitter, his address is @aussiegrit, and even he just remarked "no chance to overtake - again"...and despite all things that are great about the sport, overtaking remains F1's fundamental problem as far as you guys are concerned.

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F1 is a sport full of very clever brains indeed. Brains who have helped take the sport to where it is today and make it the pinnacle of motor racing, but perhaps now is the optimum time to really focus our minds on improving the show even more.

It's a tricky conundrum for the sport. F1 must remain at the cutting edge of car development, engineering skill and technology to beat opponents, but not at all costs.

If the current situation leads to processional, predictable racing then the wry smiles on the faces of the clever guys in the sport will disappear as quickly as the millions watching TV, and in turn the investors who pay the bills.

All I know is that we at the BBC are as keen as you are for exciting, competitive, close racing and I think the drivers, FOTA, FOM and the FIA feel the same. Here's hoping Albert Park throws up a classic race after the most hyped build-up to a season in recent memory.

I'd expect the powers-that-be to already be making calls and formulating plans because they know that F1 has so much to offer this year and if anyone can make the sport even greater then it's them. Anyway, as Martin Brundle says, we need to give the new rules a chance.

This weekend alone the return of Michael Schumacher, Lotus and the name Senna to the sport. The looming realisation that Ferrari and Red Bull have stolen a march on their rivals, David and Eddie's white jeans, and the fact that we have four World Champions desperate to be the best of the best and that's before Massa, Vettel or Rosberg get a mention.

I maintain that 2010 will live long in the memory for all the right reasons! I really enjoyed this first weekend, it reminded me just how much has changed for me in the past 12 months.

This time last year I recall going into the F1 paddock as the BBC's new presenter for the first time, almost rigid with fear and loitering in the corner not knowing anyone and feeling very conscious.

A year on and it was actually good to see some familiar faces in the paddock who've become friends over the past year.

The opening race weekend is unique, with even the most experienced F1 old-hand walking around bubbling with anticipation. What really struck me this time around was the camaraderie at the very back.

Heikki Kovalainen in his LotusLotus will probably be the most satisfied of the new teams

I think some of the hostility shown towards the new teams had a real galvanising effect on the paddock. I was chatting to a guy who told me his team had been helping out newbies, Hispania Racing, with bits and pieces all weekend.

Even on the back of the grid there were handshakes, high fives and 'good lucks' all round despite there being a real desperation to stake a claim to be best of the new teams.

I think Lotus will be the most satisfied, I won't repeat what Mike Gascoyne said when he was out qualified by a Virgin Racing car by a tenth of a second on Saturday, but I will tell you that there were tears in the Lotus garage as Heikki and Jarno both put in sterling performances.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the paddock I was really chuffed that Lewis and Jenson dropped in for a chat on our F1 Forum, if you missed it you can watch it here.

They were both relaxed, realistic, focussed and clearly ready to work hard to claw back the gap to the guys at the front. However, the fact they wanted to hang out with us is an example of where F1 gets it spot on.

Patrick Head's guided tour of the new Williams FW32, Mike Gascoyne interviewing his own drivers (and calling them twits!) for us after the race, and numerous other drivers, bosses and big hitters sharing their thoughts with us over the weekend.

I maintain that no other sport is as accessible and as open to the media as Formula One, and we're just really keen to keep on exploiting that access to take you all to the heart of the action this weekend.

All we need is the on-track action to help spice things up, and the sport we all love and have all missed over the winter will be living up to expectations in every sense.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Good blog Jake. I agree with a lot of the comments on (lack of) overtaking. The other thing I noticed (and others have too) is that the graphics for car timing etc. during qualifying and the race have changed for the worse. They look very fancy now, but don't give us any information - e.g. who's where on qualifying! The ones I saw during the race were a lot more confusing to understand than last year's. I'd take plain, boring graphics that are simple to understand over ones that look nice but don't give us any information. Can you guys look into this please?

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Jake

    I'd like to say what a fantastic job you did last year! I'm so relieved that F1 is back at its home of the BBC. You, DC and Eddie are a great team and very entertaining.

    Yes, I was incredibly excited at the prospect of this season - what with Michael's return, Fernando in a Ferrari and Bruno Senna making his debut. But there definitely was something lacking on Sunday. I was never an advocate of winning a race through pitstops - but the excitement of someone in the pits, knowing that his team had to get him back out and his rival was coming down the front straight - was edge of the seat stuff. The new short pitstops were good to watch, but it's true that it was just like watching a train going round. I get ribbed constantly at work by my colleagues for loving F1 - "It's so boring! There's nothing to it!" etc - and I'm always defending the sport but something needs to be done, because Sunday's race needed more action....

    I'm also digusted at the drivers' physios not being granted access to the pre-race grid. When you consider all the hangers-on who SHOULD NOT be on the grid, it's pretty damn terrible. I hope that this can be sorted out by Australia...

    But anyway, thanks for all your hard work at the Beeb.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good to have F1 back on tv again Jake, I thought the coverage of the first race was pretty good, if not quite up to the highest standards reached last year. I am however incredibly frustrated with the race.

    After months of build up, and having had the date in my calender for months I turned off my tv after the programme and really couldn't remember much of the race. The uncertainty and excitement really wasn't there. I remember last season really having to think through what was happening, and who might have an advantage by going longer before their next stop, and wondering who was going to have 1 stop, and who was going to have 2, not to mention the different aspect that refuelling put on qualifying. This weekend was very uneventful.

    Everyone had one stop. The fastest cars were at the front as they all had the minimum fuel durin qualifying. There was no advantage from going longer. They were all looking after their tyres and so couldn't follow closely to overtake. Snoozefest i'm afraid.

    I have the next race on my calender, but another race like that one, and I'll be looking for something else to do on a sunday. I watched every race last season, and if I'm thinking of watching something else, I can assure you an awful lot of other people will be looking elsewhere too!

    Here's to a more eventful Aussie GP!

  • Comment number 4.

    Decent blog as always Jake.

    I have a few questions though -

    Don't you think that Australia is a better place to start the season? There is more sense of occasion, more sense of atmosphere, history and it usually produces a decent race. Bahrain is such a clinical, anaemic place to start the season - a country with no history of motorsport or racing, a country which has never seen a classic race in it's midsts.

    Secondly, why does the BBC not show the GP2 races? They could easily be broadcast online, and the Beeb wouldn't even need a commentary team - the world feed comes with 2 English commentators! Often, GP2 is more exciting than F1 and I'm curious as to why it is not shown despite the BBC having the right to show it.

  • Comment number 5.

    p.s. Regarding the summary video of the race. It reminded me of "Yes, Minister" when Jim Hacker is doing an interview - the vividness of the backdrop to the speech has to be inversely related to how interesting the speech is.

    In this case the exciting music is needed to make up for the dullness of the actual racing.

    p.p.s Sorry to be so negative, but there was very little to praise in terms of the racing...

  • Comment number 6.

    Really enjoyed the coverage this weekend - I too agree with the lack of overtaking being a problem if it stays that way all season. Got to say as well, the BBC team this weekend were great, I've noticed how Jake in particular just looks that bit more at ease than he did even towards the end of last year.

    @Comment 1: Unfortunately the onscreen graphics during the qualifying and race itself are out of the Beeb's control, they're part of the World Feed, I too preferred last year's way of displaying info and I hope the FIA will sort them out before Australia!

  • Comment number 7.

    It was really good to have our F1 back again, i can honestly say i have never missed a race for at least 5 years, and watched 99% of them live, BUT the opener was very dull to say the least, when i turned the telly of i found i had nothing to say about the race. If i was drawn to watch the sport for the 1st time due to all the hype over the winter im affraid i wouldnt be back for the next race. Where is the fun watching the worlds best drivers not pushing them selves,not being able to challenge for positions on the track? Lets hope they will all be more aggressive now they know the tyres will last longer and take more punishment.

  • Comment number 8.

    I think what's needed is more opportunities for driver's to make mistakes when pushing hard. At present they admit sunday was "easy" and they had little to do but follow the car in front. It seems they are hand held by the car and unless they make a massive error, there is little chance for the driver behind to overtake.

    I suggest taking away all the "simulations" and IT heavy focus and make it a DRIVER's formula again!

    * manual gear shifting
    * no onboard computer traction control etc...

  • Comment number 9.

    Jake, I was very pleased to see the graphic at the top of the screen now tells us what lap we're currently on, rather than counting down as it used to. That was a daft idea that resulted presumably in people having to get their calculator out to find out what lap of the race it was.

    But I did have to watch the grand prix using the red button on the drivers eye view, because that was the only screen that had the gaps between the drivers consantly running along it. The main TV feed doesn't give any information. Have a word with Mr Ecclestone!

    And of course, get them to bring back refuelling, because currently it is BORING with no chance of any position changes. There's no need to wait, because we're not going to tune in to a snorefest indefinately.

  • Comment number 10.

    Good blog Jake, and think your twitter page is excellent. Really enjoyed quali on Saturday, but was a bit confused with the graphics. While I also enjoyed Sunday's race, to be honest it was rather tame. With the current rules, quali is now the real race. However I do agree that the brains at F1 will get the message eventually, and we are only one race into the season. JB to win it 2010 !

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Jake,

    I agree that we should give F1 a chance. This race was always going to be a bit of an anti-climax, after all the excitement of car launches, driver announcements, winter testing, etc. Unfortunately the new layout of the Bahrain circuit is a bit Mickey Mouse and the old overtaking opportunities have been sanitised. But we do need to rethink the refuelling rule change, to spice things up again and see the cars doing more sprints to the chequered flag.

    It's a shame, as 2009 was such a tough season to beat. All of the teams seemed to be competitive, with only a couple of seconds separating the fastest from the slowest, and with a mix-up of race winners. These new rules (and new teams) have again widened the gap from front to back, and that's a pity for the spectacle.

    Fortunately the quality of the BBC's coverage outshone the lack of action on the track and it's great to have you all back - keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 12.

    Fantastic Blog Jake, as ever. I only wish I could visit every race!

    About the race and lack of overtaking, a few of things I would like to say.

    1. The new layout was partly to blame.
    Too slow, too fiddly and pointless. Why on Earth add EIGHT slow second gear corners that adds nothing what so ever to the circuit? Cars couldn't keep close through this second because it was too slow and too fiddly. These characterless circuits in the middle of nowhere where the camels outnumber the spectators do nothing for the sport. The loss of Imola, the Osterreichring, Indianapolis etc for Bahrain, Valencia, Abu Dhabi etc is sad because Bernie cares more about money than they history of our sport.

    2. Cautiousness.
    Cars and drivers weren't driving to the limit because they were experimenting with the new rules.

    3. Turbulent air.
    The key factor in my view. No refuelling is irrelevant. If the cars can't follow, they won't pass. That's what the FIA and FOTA need to sort out. Not adding another pitstop. That won't do any good at all.

    Was it the worst race ever? No way. There have been much worse in the past. I think the lack of action has been blown out of proportion because it's the ifrst race and there was so much anticipation for the reasons you outlined Jake.

    No refuelling is a return to proper Grand Prix racing. With refuelling, it was more like three Formula 3 races rolled into one with it's sprint-stop-sprint-stop-sprint format.

    Now we need to get the cars sorted out and return to proper circuits and the sport will be on the up.

  • Comment number 13.

    I have to say what a boring race!
    I have been watching F1 since 1977 and as the technology has advanced the races have got worse. For years now it has been too difficult for drivers with faster cars or pace to overtake.
    Is it not obvious that when you see a car put in faster lap times until it gets to a second within the car in front and it cannot overtake then something in the sport needs to change?!
    That change is not the tyres, not fuel stops, but it is aerodynamics!

    Why do they not introduce a standard rear wing format which all cars must use, a wing that is designed to promote slip streaming and therefore overtaking?
    To me this seems like common sense, let the designers have the wing in advance of creating their cars.

    Maybe the teams would not like this but F1 has to be an exciting spectacle and that is not going to happen unless there is overtaking.

    A few more races like Bahrain and viewers will be switching off for sure.

  • Comment number 14.

    Great blog once again Jake. I really enjoy the BBC coverage of F1, your enthusiasm plus the expertise of the team involved does bring it to life.

    I have to agree with a lot of the comments above and say that the race was pretty sterile. The combination of a very long track with few chances to overtake and the refuelling ban did make for dull race. I found quite quickly that I was far more interested in how the new teams were doing at the back than the front runners!

  • Comment number 15.

    Bring refuelling in under a new way. Make all teams use say, 160kg of fuel, per car, per race or be disqualified they use it is up to them. That way teams can run light and fill up later. Some can trundle about on a full tank saving minutes of pit-time. Some can run heavier from the start and sprint the end. All will be different so there's a new excitement, especially as they have to use a fixed amount or be 'out', so running too light would have it's penalties in the last phase.

  • Comment number 16.

    Coverage good , Graphics bad( who the blimmin heck thought that was an improvement ? ) , but dull dull dull dull race ! , It amazes me that the only way people can think of improving the racing is another tyre pitstop ! , Are we really now saying that pitstops are the only thing that is going to make the races come alive ? , Really ?, If so that is a sad sad state of affairs for F1 . .

  • Comment number 17.

    I just wanted to say how great the BBC F1 coverage is; the return to no adverts and 'The Chain' was good enough but the team of you, Eddie and David is the icing on the cake. Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 18.

    I can count on 1 hand the amount of races i've missed since 2000 and I'm struggling to remember a worse race than what we saw on Sunday.
    All pitstops were done by a third of the way through the race and watching Alonso catch Vettel and then have to back off by a couple of seconds made my heart sink as Bahrain is not one of the tracks I would have imagined overtaking was hard on and with no refueling taking seemingly all strategy out of the race it was a case of watching the precesion and waiting for retardation on the cars for some change of position. When i stop to think of what the racing will be like at Monaco, Silverstone, Barcelona etc it makes me cringe.
    I've spent years trying to explain to people that though there was never much overtaking all the excitement lay in the strategy.
    I've had the same question put to me this week and for the 1st time all I could do was agree.
    We have the best driver line up for a generation yet I've never been less excited for the season ahead. How can this be?
    I've got up every year for as long as I can remember for Melbourne but bed will be calling louder than ever this year.
    I'll give them the fly away races just to confirm my fears but I have a feeling this season i'll be watching qualifying and then catching the highlights on a Sunday (I think even the practises held more interest than the race).
    The only short term solution as far as I can see is to lock the size of the fuel tanks in but allow refueling which atleast then will result in a mix of strategy.
    Then everyone connected with the sport must get together and sort out the aerodynamics and instead of allowing loopholes in the rules be clear about the amount of wake a car can leave, be sure that the cars can atleast get close enough to attempt some overtaking, then look at banning refueling even if this process took 4 years to implement it can only benefit the sport in the long run.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hi Jake,

    Your blog is very welcome and very good too.

    I have to admit, when BBC started their coverage of Formula 1 and there was this new kid on the block (You), I prejudged you and didn't think you'd be any good. I was totally wrong and you did, and continue to do, a great job. Anybody who copes with the sparring DC and Eddy 'I'm not mincing my words' Jordan, deserves a medal.

    I've already said in my Tweet that the Bahrain Grand Prix had the most exciting hour before a grand Prix ever. The old adage, 'If it's not broken, don't fix it.' should be heeded by the powers to be. The most exciting Grand Prix for years have been during the period from when Lewis Hamilton came into the game, up to and including last year. So why on Earth change the format??!!

  • Comment number 21.

    I am a huge F1 fan and the weekend has left me really upset. What was hailed as the most exciting year ever has turned out to be a disaster in waiting. Firstly on Saturday the on screen graphics showing qualifying positions were missing, (the BBC apologised for this later)

    The final qualifying session of 10 minutes was too short to alow more than one run, (2 minutes to get out, one timed lap and one in lap = 6 minutes out of a total of 10 for the whole session, what stupid fool planned this)

    The race was a procession as the tyres were just too good and the extra weight meant all teams drove under the limit.

    For drivers like Massa, Button, Lewis etc to all admit they were driving slowly to conserve fuel is a mockery of motor racing. F1 should be about technical innovation and the best drivers.

    Sadly we have engines now made almost identical by restrictive "no more development allowed " clause, identical tyres and pit stop times and the worst " no possibility of overtaking" turbulence ever.

    Like all true fans I will stick with F1 through thick and thin and hope that Bernie is in panic mode and working hard behind the scenes to sort this out at least for 2011, and this year lets pray for lots of rain to give us some excitement!

  • Comment number 22.

    Great coverage. Boring race. FIA and FOM better sort their respective acts out soon or we will stop watching.

  • Comment number 23.

    What an awful race! This was expected by many F1 fans when we found out what the regulations were going to be. Martin Brundle mentioned that the drivers will have to drive cautiously in the beginning of the race (heavy fuel load) and at the end of the race (tyre degradation).

    Hence, for about 2/3 of the race, drivers will have to nurse their cars. Who the hell wants to watch that! We want to see drivers pushing the car to its limits and only nurse the car when there is a problem with the car/conditions in the race, not because of the regulations. It may be too late to change the regulations now. I fear that alot of fans will stop following F1.

  • Comment number 24.

    Cheers for the blog, always a good read.

    Lets forget about the slow start and look forward to the next race, I love getting up early to see the race.

    I don't get into trouble for breaking up the 'family day' and I get some peace and quiet!

    I want rain, saftey cars, pit stops and overtaking please.....

  • Comment number 25.

    Good blog again Jake. You hit all the right spots on the positives, so there is just the question about the negative - the actual racing between the top-10.

    We've got to admit - all the aero is stifling overtaking, and forcing cars further apart. All the extra rules being pushed in to cut costs are then preventing the drivers from pushing cars to the limits: Rev-limited engines, engines & gearboxes that need to be protected for future races, tyres that need to be protected.

    It needs a *complete* rethink about how to make it competitive on the racetrack, and not just in the minds of the engineers back at base. And we need it *now* before anyone starts next year's cars. For this year, perhaps we can give it another race or too, to see if anyone will start taking risks.

    We've not seen much of that "ghost" graphic, where 2 cars get overlaid to show how they take corners. That was supposed to be a big thing last year, but I reckon we saw it more at the Olympic bobsleigh run than we ever have in F1.

    And what are the chances of getting the same kind of parade of champions & cars at Silverstone (60 years *and* where it started)?

  • Comment number 26.

    For a race that promised SO MUCH it delivered SO LITTLE! To listen to drivers admitting that they weren't driving flat out to reduce tire wear and not overtaking due to dirty air was really dissapointing. Formula 1 is supposed to be about RACING not conservation. If the season continues like this, it will stagnate and viewers will give up and go to the garden centre instead looking for a bit more exitement.

    That said, the coverage was excellent, and the F1 Forum partly made up for the lack of action in the race.

    Something though, really needs to be done.

  • Comment number 27.

    The race was far from good but lets all thank God that the next race is Melbourne. The surroundings of the place itself gaurantees a better race than the soulless Bahrain and the amazing support will be a beauty to hear!

    By the way the pre race build up and the post race analysis was as fantastic as it's ever been. Well done Jake and co!

  • Comment number 28.

    Good to have F1 back and good to have the BBC coverage back again. Shame the first race was a bit dull. So dull in fact that the highlight of the day was Martin taking a kicking to grab a few word with Alonso. Bruised and battered, but still a legend is our Martin.

    All the best for Australia, Jake, here's hoping for some proper racing.

  • Comment number 29.

    People always say "I'll stop watching F1," but most never do. I found the race tedious, but the solution is far from simple. Unfortunately, it is a law set in stone that as the aerodynamic efficiency of a car improves, it will get harder to follow closely. The only thing to do is to regulate to limit the aerodynamics.

    Bahrain is a boring race every year, it just so happens that the papers all sent their best writers who were a bit miffed to go to a place where you can't have a drink, and there was a boring race, so they've slagged the whole sport. Wait till we're past barcelona, then assess the changes.

  • Comment number 30.

    # 13 - Your comment about a rear wing is not necessarily correct. I am sure someone has probably already said it, but most of the disruption of the air is actually from the rear diffuser, which was supposed to be changed. However, a literal interpretation of the rules (instead of the spirit of the rules) have taken away that opportunity due to the 'double diffuser'.

    Perhaps the FIA should ban diffusers and state that all cars have to have a flat bottom from front to rear. But where would you stop????

  • Comment number 31.

    Everything about F1 these days is sterile and boring. It's obviously a "sport" in decline.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Jake, Excellent blog and its good to have F1 back after such a long break! I was expecting a lot more action from this opening race but overall it wasn't too bad - we just need to give it time as they say. Going on what someone else has said about the on-screen graphics, it would be nice to see where everyone is placed down the left hand side of the screen. I'm not sure I saw this at all during the race nor in qualifying. Yep, I noticed you got Lee mixed up with Ted - sounded like the heat was getting to you! Keep up the good work and I'm pretty sure that we will see action as the season progresses.

  • Comment number 33.

    I think the best thing about this year is that the fastest car of the weekend is on pole! Rather than the race strategy ruining the qualifying with who wants to go furthest in the race before stopping. But it does appear that qualifying may now be the thing to watch :( lets hope a different track with produce a more interesting race!

  • Comment number 34.

    Another great start for the bbc coverage, if not the race which was terminally dull. Imagine if we had all got up in the middle of the night(as used to happen with the early races)to watch this procession, there would be a mass exodus of F1 fans. However can I add one comment. The Beebs coverage as I said before was excellent except for the graphics. Why was it necessary to have a giant F1 logo flash across the screen every time a replay was shown, we're fans we know we're watching formula one. Some of the replays were so short that the F1 logo was on screen longer than the event, also what happened to the timing graphic at the close of quali, we used to have a list of contenders down the l/h side of the screen which constantly changed as each driver crossed the finish line, it made the end of quali not only exciting but easier to follow. Lastly have they shrunk the font size of the info or do I need new glasses??

  • Comment number 35.

    BBC coverage excellent, Race poor. Really not liking these new rules so far but I'm willing to give the season a chance as it's only the first race. Plus my hero has returned so I will keep watching. Jake, I think you're a legend and a brilliant anchor! Keep up the good work.

    One thing, do you colour co-ordinate your shirts with E.J & D.C before the show?

  • Comment number 36.

    Great blog Jake, but could you please explain to me why Ferrari did not get a penalty for changing their engines after qualifying. My understanding, is that the cars are in parc ferme conditions after qualifying and them having an engine change should force them to start from the pit lane or at the very leaast incur a grid penalty.

    Please explain - Thanks

  • Comment number 37.

    Well, that has certainly been the most exciting build up to a Formula 1 season that I have ever experienced, partly down to the various changes to the rules and team line-ups and also because of the sheer quantity of information available during the off-season from Twitter feeds and blogs.

    It's a shame therefore that Bahrain left a lot to be desired in terms of excitement, and that the competition was far less close than pre-season testing suggested, although I wonder if I would be quite so critical if it was McLaren that was leading the field instead of Ferrari/Red Bull...

    So here's my suggestion for how to spice things up a bit... How about a weight/aerodynamic handicap whereby podium finishers have to bolt their cumulative trophy haul to their car for the remainder of the season? ;-)

  • Comment number 38.

    Well, that performance made the england/scotland game look vaguely interesting.

    At this rate F1 is going to have to introduce jumps or loop-de-loops to add an element of entertainment, or maybe a group of cub scouts with a water hose to make parts of the track slippery, or an ejector seat mechanism linked to one of all those tooty fruities on the steering wheels.

    A few years ago I thought introducing a 1pt for a finish scoring system would liven it up as there used to be far too many retirements - but I realise that would make finishing too important so too many teams would play safe, which means go slower. Maybe that would create more back markers to be lapped, which would give the illusion of overtaking?

  • Comment number 39.

    Heres a question for you Jake.

    Do you read all these comments?, I hope you do, or are we wasting our time writing them.

    Perhaps you could reply with reassurance, or else this discussion will be as boring as the race!

  • Comment number 40.

    Jake, please stop talking to people like they are children... Asking Jenson, "which one are you then DC or EJ?" was painful. The same when saying to Patrick Head "it looks an awful lot better with the nose on". Just ask the questions.

  • Comment number 41.

    Great insight again and thanks for linking to the Lewis part of the forum.

    Where is the rest of it though? I was out during the race but could record that. I can't find the full version of the forum on the BBC site though.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi Jake,
    Any comment about former F1 champions who attended season opener.
    Did you have chance to talk with any of them.
    Best regards from Mexico

  • Comment number 43.

    Has anyone watched IndyCar recently, so much better than F1, especially the street circuits, cars can actually overtake each other and you get proper wheel to wheel action. Instead of a procession race.

  • Comment number 44.

    Totally agree with everyone else regarding the race. With the elimination of fuel based race strategies it meant, as someone else mentioned, that qualifying was the race. The fact that the top 10 in Q3 were separated by over 2 seconds was also strange. With refueling in the past it meant that more cars had a chance of getting into the points with the right strategy, as well as a bit of luck of course. Now, the rules merely highlight the disparity between the teams more than ever before. BRING BACK REFUELING! Experiment over, it's failed.

    Oh, and Jake - please confirm the GP2 question asked by #4 as it is something I have been wodering too.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 45.

    I got more excited watching paint dry for 3 hours than this sad excuse for a race. The so call "slower teams" provide far more entertainmnet that to so called "big four". And this slows that less downforce is whats lacking. The slower teams have the solution to the problems in f1 now.

  • Comment number 46.

    Good blog jake.

    To be honest i really enjoyed the qualifying and the race.

    I don't know what everyone expects. This year f1 has got an awful lot
    of publicity before the first race. Drama has been building with rule
    changes, driver pairings and rivalrys, new teams, and of course the
    return of micheal. There was no way that we were going to see any of
    these stories come to a conclusion at the first race, or indeed do anything other than gather inititial momentum. Last year was
    exciting from the get go thanks to Mr. Brawn. It was fantastic to see
    an underdog do so well in the face of adversity and such pre season
    turmoil, but the season did lag in the middle.

    This season has so much juice and drama the tension will undoubtedly
    build throughout the season and just having the new teams gives
    everyone something interesting to watch. Some will rise, others i'm
    sure will fall.

    To touch on the overtaking issue for just a second, tracks can be
    split in to two main categories - those that test the driver, and
    those that test the car. Bahrain tends to fall under the latter, with
    cars being put through a series of low speed, harsh angle corners,
    which really tests the downforce of the vehicle, but is far easier on
    driver reactions. This is especially predominant in the new section at
    bahrain. Other tracks, such as australia, brazil, and silverstone are
    much more driver focussed, and i can remember several exciting
    overtakes at these tracks in 09 alone, not least of all the
    penultimate race, and season winning performance from jenson. We need
    this track mix. afterall f1 is about the team who built the car as
    much as the driver in it. My only critisism is perhaps choosing
    Bahrain to open the season.

    keep up the good work jake, and thanks for the 'eddie jordans' comment
    on the red button. On the off chance that my opinion matters please
    forward this to the powers that be to let them know that there are
    those of us who appreciate the beauty and competetiveness of this
    sport. In the face of critisism it is important to know that there are those that stand by F1. My enthusiasm will never die.

    Matt Coleman

  • Comment number 47.

    GFasulo is spot on! Especially with 3. If this can be sorted, ie, just give the teams a standard diffuser (if possible) then overtaking would be much easier. But these Hermann Tilke circuits are awful. When is he gonna realise that we need a straight with a tight corner at the end to get some overtaking?!?!

  • Comment number 48.

    Might aswell just watch the qualifying and assume that will be the end result because the cars only go at the default speed that they go on the 1st lap and don't make any time on anyone. Very boring, extremely dissapointing, I'm sure the race being at Bahrain did not help either. Please please please Bernie sort it out!

  • Comment number 49.

    you all did a great job on sunday apart from the pit stop timing being a bit confusing.
    not sure about the rule changes this year , surely all the races are going to be like this , exciting at the begining then poor in the middle then if your lucky drama at the end but only if a car breaks down. i think they should of kept the refueling , if anything that was exciting even if the race was poor but at the moment the pitstops are just so easy for the guys as they concentrate on one thing and thats changing to new tyres .
    it was a great season last year why change things , if it was kept as it was this season i a sure would turn out to be better. also if the red bulls dont keep breaking down i think its a 1 horse race this year.

  • Comment number 50.


  • Comment number 51.

    I have to agree with article 13. At 2:05pm on 16 Mar 2010, Paul, but i would standardise both front and rear wings.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi Jake great coverage and the relationship you have built with EJ and DC is brill. i agree we need to give it time but when the teams are talking about maybe introducing mandatory 2 stops one has to think why stop refueling???

  • Comment number 53.

    My idea to improve on overtaking would be to somehow have an electronic device that when say a car is within 1 second of the car in front or when ever the aero drag kicks in. Either the car in front gets a slight automated power decrease or the car behind gets an increase in power. Just enough to cancel out the aero drag. Then of course if the car does overtake the car that just lost position would get the advantage. Basically trying to turn the tables so rather then it being difficult to overtake it would be difficult to pull away instead. I'm sure with all the cleaver people in F1 a device like that would be possible.

    That and making drivers have to stop twice in a race. To hear the drivers say they werent driving flat out is indead as Martin Brundle said. Scary

  • Comment number 54.

    For me refuelling has to come back and quickly. I remember the races in the late 80s and early 90s before the re-introduction of refuelling in 1994 and despite the drama of cheering on "Our Nige" every other week some of the races were pretty dull (there were some noticeable exceptions of course). The last 3 or 4 years however have made for excellent viewing and unpredictable racing which is what we want to see. Sunday was hard work, I feel for Vetel but his problem in the latter stages brought at least some interest to an otherwise uneventful race.

    On a plus side, qualifying is all about raw pace again which is how it should be but it is in danger of becoming more interesting than the race. I don't like the idea of having a set number of mandatory pit stops as discussed on the red button forum. This is just manufacturing the racing and further highlighting the issues. I could just about cope with a super super soft tyre compound forcing the additional stops but we need to allow the teams the freedom to explore different strategies otherwise it will simply be as you were after the stops making the middle of the race the only interesting bit

    As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Last year was an excellent season, bring back the fuel rigs and away we go.....
    By the way, I’m loving the coverage – Top Telly throughout. You really feel part of the race weekend. Keep up the excellent work because the build up and post race stuff is better than the bit in the middle at the moment.

  • Comment number 55.

    I agree with most of the other comments on here. The BBC's pre and post coverage was excellent. Lots of opinions, great VTs and some fun chats.

    I also agree with everyone that the race was very dull. I had looked forward to this race so much but it really didnt live up to the hype. I was worried when the announced no refuelling that it would result in predictable races and it looks like it has. The last three seasons have been incredible with a fair amount of action and racing, partly helped by the arrival of Hamilton.

    I fear that this is only an example of more to come from this season unless there's some radical rule changes (bringing back refuelling and making tires not last)

    I was also annoyed at the graphics provided by FOM I know its not the BBC's fault but hopefully FOM get the message and sort it out.

    I hope that it was just Bahrain that made it boring and that the Aussie GP is better, why start and end the season in such dull locations I dont know. If it doesnt improve then Il probably just watch Quali and pre/post race coverage as they are far more interesting.

  • Comment number 56.

    F1 is not boring. Bahrain hasn't ever been an exciting circuit and the exaggerated gap between cars doesn't help plus remember that Bahrain rarely has a first corner pile up unlike Melbourne which is what has labelled the first race of a season. Exiting first stint and boring race as we don't have anything to shout about. I want Melbourne to come back as the first race start.

    Another problem is the unenthusiastic commentators. Come on Brundle add to the excitement which Legard fails to keep up because you don't help. I'm changing my commentary as the boys at 5 Live are so much better. I liked James allen with his shouting as you got exited about things or someone like Murray. I'd also say give the new F1 a chance as it hasn't had it's chance to shine as it's the first ace with no incentive. Bahrain needs to be a lot shorter

  • Comment number 57.

    Good blog Jake and the coverage was pretty good, the production company needs to sort their graphics out though, i would suggest they watch a bit of NASCAR to learn how to show the right amount of information at all times.

    The race was once again dire though - I really am starting to think unless they get there act together soon with the rules and sorting the aerodynamics out i will simply not watch the races again. GP2 and the 'lesser' formulae frequently have much better racing, there is certainly a case to be made for the vast sums of money the teams spending NOT improving the spectacle.

    Oh well less than 5 days until some proper racing when the Sebring 12 Hours starts up. :)

  • Comment number 58.

    AAARRGGGHHH! No. Listen to Brundle. It takes time for them to figure out how to run these cars right on the ragged edge now that testing has been sliced to bits. For all intents and purposes this race was just a full test. Was always going to be. I followed it via live text on another website. I will assume from the majority of comments that have been posted that the BBC controlled parts of the coverage where good.

    And I for one am praying as hard as I can that they leave the rule book well enough alone for the rest of the year.

    #4 and everyone else who asked. With the demise of Setanta last year, the GP2 is for this year and next screened, exclusively, by British Eurosport.

    The double diffusers at the back of the cars, that only a few have correctly identified as being a bit of an issue. These are being changed as we speak. Quite literally. McLaren and Renault being most at fault right now. They jumped though the loop hole governing the holes allowed in the diffuser and the shape of them, by making some truly exotically shaped engine starters! These holes are being filled in, normalised, right now and will be checked for full conformity by the FIA, in the shape of Charlie Whiting before the start of the race in Australia. Secondly, the whole rear double diffuser is gone. All the way gone, for next year. And there will not be any chance of anyone pulling a "Brawn/Williams/Toyota" next year.

    As for the comment(s) about the tracks, yes, they could be better. But Bahrain is as good as place as any to start the season. The place doesn't matter to the drivers and teams, as long as they come away with a good result. And that is what this race was all about. Getting an early good result. Ferrari have admitted that what with the dumping mid season of their 2009 car, they were under enormous pressure to be right at the very front this year. And even a second and a third might not have been enough in the first race. Especially if the car that won was from the team that had finished the 2009 season so strongly. That really would of got Ferrari spooked! But they seem to be following the tried and tested rule of "to finish first, first you have to finish". And it has paid off handsomely for them. BMW Sauber have now admitted that at some point this season they will be applying for a name change. And they were one of the biggest losers in this race. They really needed that rumoured tyre advantage to play in to their hands, they needed to show a very very good result in the first race to any title sponsors. This did not happen and now they will most likely run without a title sponsor for most of the year.

    So just let the teams get settled, get some miles under the cars and soon enough the racing will improve. After all this year we have things like who has the most economical engine to consider for a start. Then there is the break issue and all sorts of other exciting technical aspects to look forward to and enjoy! Just because the drivers are not over taking one another left right and centre doesn't mean it isn't fantastically entertaining!

  • Comment number 59.

    Well I have to say that the BBC coverage was as great, but...
    F1 has shot itself firmly in the foot with its new rules and is in danger of becoming as exciting as watching 2 hours of "Lambing Live".

  • Comment number 60.

    not sure what race the guy that wrote article 46 was watching but the race was not a bit exciting.
    surely with different fuel loads it would make it more interesting.
    i hope i am wrong as i am going to be at the SPA race and i hope by then it gets better , but i really cant see it.

  • Comment number 61.


    Hi. Really enjoy the commentary team efforts. You and DC in particular are very good at articulating... Although...

    One little question for you and your entire team if I may...

    ...I have not yet heard or read any comment from anyone on your team regarding the fact that schumacher posted a quicker laptime than rosberg...

    schumacher fastest lap = 2:00.204
    rosberg fastest lap = 2:00.236

    Both were set on the same lap.. lap 45...

    ...what do you all now think of schumachers effort on sunday?

    I am asking as I only realised yesterday that schu had a faster fastest lap and realised youy guys never said anything about it.

  • Comment number 62.

    Hi Jake
    As this question was asked almost immediately after the race, I've been thinking about it a lot. The problem with F1 is that the best will ultimately come up with a driver/car combination that gets them to and keeps them at the front. Any amount of fiddling will just end up with the same result.

    Meanwhile, however, the drivers repeatedly come off the track pumped up and excited by their experience. Even the drivers watching get pretty excited. The problem is that we don't get to see or feel their experience with the current coverage. I'm not talking about the BBC's pre or post race stuff. It's the footage from the actual race that seems to me to be lacking in creativity and innovation.

    If we were watching a movie about F1, they certainly wouldn't film or edit it the way F1 TV does. I was reading a nature photographer explain how they keep the camera static to allow the viewer to appreciate the speed of certain animals - following at the same pace just kills the action. I've often heard the commentators refer to the direction coming from the country in which the race is being held - keeping the camera on the local hero when there is much more interesting stuff going on elsewhere. I also suspect that there might be an instruction to keep the camera steady on the biggest sponsors on track!

    There's so much more that could be done - a specialist director who is responsible for every and all races and the action therein, who knows racing and how drivers think. ...who catches Alonso overtaking Massa in the first corner and then Hamilton nearly getting squeezed off the track. Who spots the battle royal going on at the back of the track and puts it on the screen. Who actually films the cars going off during the race.

    There could be innovations like more on-car cameras, monitors that play a driver's heart rate, in-race pit wall interviews, CROWD reaction shots (if there is indeed a crowd at the race, of course), interesting POV's that really show the camber, speed, closeness of cars etc.

    Yes, the dirty air should be cleaned up. Yes, the engineers need to get even cleverer at finding ways to give their drivers a chance at overtaking. Yes, the drivers need to push the guy in front a bit more into making mistakes. Yes, an extra pitstop would lead to more aggression as protecting tyres would become less fundamental. But driving an F1 car, even in a train, is an adrenalin rush and the people that give us the TV coverage of the race need to find a way to show us that.


  • Comment number 63.

    Hi Jake

    Great show, really fantastic and with out doubt the best sports coverage that I have ever seen. I love the fact that the BBC and you guys have made F1 so much more than just the race. I enjoy all of the action before the race and even more so after the race. So many sports dont give you this level of access and everyone connected with F1 on the BBC deserve huge credit. Unfortunately I cant say the same for Bernie and the FIA.

    Seriously, do they think the general public live in dark rooms? First they introduce a cost cap of £40 million to save money. Ok that's great however they are so uncongruent with what they say. If they were really serious about saving money, they would surely....not introduce regulations that force all bar the new teams to spend huge sums of money designing a new car? Then the final nail in the coffin was the opening race of the 2010 season. I have been watching all the pre season testing, getting so excited only to be sat in my chair on Sunday feeling totally let down. Every passing miunte was like a bad dream. The teams, drivers, FIA, FOTA and FOM need to wake up and smell the coffee. Listen to what the real fans are saying rather than coming out with lets wait until the fly away races are over. I hate to see this negative press to my favorite sport...

    Come on Lewis and Mclaren

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Jake,

    Great to have F1 back! This blog is great, and the Twitter stuff has been amazing over the winter. So many F1 people have got involved now. Its really cool to see all the behind the scenes photos and all the updates really helped build the anticipation for the first race weekend. Here's my best and worst of Bahrain:

    Best of the weekend:

    - Red Button Free Practice coverage

    - Seeing Bruno Senna drive out of the garage in the Hispania car for the first time (even though they're slow you've got to appreciate the achievment of the team and the arrival of a new Senna to F1)

    - Reuniting of the team that is Jake, DC and EJ

    - Anticipation and build up to the first race - all these amazing top line drivers in top cars, familiar names returning, new teams etc

    - Lewis and Jenson interviewing each other - you should do some more of this with other drivers!

    - Getting to see the fastest car qualify on pole position*

    - Tracking the progress of the new teams in the race and being really happy for Lotus that they made it to the finish

    - Seeing Felipe Massa return successfully from injury to score a podium

    - Imagining Stefano Dominicali's happiness/relief that giving up last year to focus on this was worth it

    - The F1 Forum - this is such great TV for the fans, and so great to see that the teams (e.g. Lotus) and drivers (Lewis and Jenson) appreciate this

    - Laughing at EJ's 'geography problems' with regard to Yorkshire and Rob Smedley!

    Worst of the weekend:

    - The general feeling in most of what's been written about the weekend was that it was a 'boring' race. As an enthusiast I don't think I necessarily subscribe to that 100%, but it certainly wasn't the most inspiring of races and if things continue as they are will only be to the detriment of the sport.

    - The FOM graphics on the whole (as stated by many others)

    - Drivers physios not being allowed on the grid, but lots of hangers-on allowed...

    - Hearing drivers saying that they are nursing the cars around and so not going flat out. This is not what they or the spectators want.

    - Not many changes of position during the race*

    - Not enough difference in the tyre compounds to make the racing interesting, and hence meaning only 1 pit stop was required

    *It seems that the consequence of having a "proper" qualifying with the fastest driver being on pole is that the race becomes pretty static - I guess they were trying to get around this by making the top 10 start the race on the tyres they qualified on, but given the durability of the tyres, this does not seemed to have had the intended effect.

    One other general comment - I think that before the season started everyone was talking about the return of Michael Schumacher being the biggest story. And yet his return was completely understated, there were no real hints of genius, admissions of being "rusty", a pretty non-eventful race, hardly a mention of him in commentary or post race analyses (check the comments here, there is hardly any mention of his name). I was never really convinced that it was a good idea for him to come back, thinking like many others that when he quit in 2006 he was in control, he was giving the sport up not the other way around. But I have a feeling that he may fade into the background and back into retirement this year... I don't know, maybe I'll be proved wrong (that would be fine), but he certainly didn't make his presence felt over the weekend. I think it just shows how the talent in F1 has gone from strength to strength since 2006 - there are so many more race winners and champions out there now than he was used to before. What do you think?

    Oh yes, and like comment #35, I would also like to know if you, DC and EJ colour-coordinate your wardrobe??:)

    Looking forward to Melbourne - early mornings here we come!


  • Comment number 65.

    Got it in one jessica auckland :-)

  • Comment number 66.

    I will echo the comment of the first poster in saying that the FOM graphics look terrible and are (in my opinion) much harder to read and understand than the very good and functional ones we have had for the last couple of years, I mean, why change them?

  • Comment number 67.

    I was really looking forward to the start of this season, but the race was simply boring.

    Luckily the MotoGP starts in a few weeks, so I'll be able to get my fix of proper racing there. If you want wheel-to-wheel overtaking, that's the sport to watch!

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    Another Informative Blog Jake, another great read
    I agree with you, give the new rules a chance, too many people went on 606 and threw a right mardy about the Rules, what were people expecting from Bahrain, never an exciting race.
    Albert Park will show the new rules were good, too many times did Legard and Brudle least year explain that the refuelling would decide the races and I feel the new rules are better, teams will decide whether to top the tank up and risk being seconds down or top up just enough to do faster BUT risk of not even finishing the race!
    Plus, we wont have the irritating fuel reports from Ted where we find out the fastest we really needed to know that.
    But 1 race and people were annoyed about the rules, I bet they were the ones crying out for rule chances when Button was dominating!
    So, I agree with you Jake, give the rules a chance, dont decide after 1 race where we was expecting a snoozefest.

  • Comment number 70.

    Evening Jake

    Like most of the people above I agree with all there comments. I think I said tweeted you with 'Great show from u guys. Loved it, al the interviews etc. The race, jury is stil out, lets hope a diff track better viewing'

    Lets just hope as they get used to this years regulations and cars then the racing can get better. I loved last year and was hoping for more of the same this year and didn't get straight away and was disapointed.

    But I love F1 and I will stick it out with them and not walk away from our 22 year love affair over silly disapointment, that sooner or later they will make it upto me again.

    By the way it really annoys me for some reason, that even though yourself and other members of the BBC tell us, people still believe (and don't listen) and think it's the BBC's fault there is no HD or the graphics are bad or the timing screens are useless and the replays are at bad times. It's not, it's FOM and bernie's fault as they give out the World Wide Live Feed once the F1 title graphics come up just before the race and through quali.

    Enough of my ranting

    See you in Melbourne - well I'll see you whilst watching my TV


  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Jake,

    Good blog and great to see the BBC back covering F1 again. As usual the quality of coverage is great and you guys are providing us with a good amount of indepth coverage from the website to the tv screen.

    There are several points which people are raising here which on the whole I agree with. The major point about the quality of racing is the main issue everybody has. It's like watching a 0-0 draw with Real Madrid and Barcelona. You have all the stars and all the hype but nothing to really get excited about. I'm not saying that F1 should go down the route of american motosports i.e Nascar, but they really do concentrate and focus on putting a good show on for the fans. Which is what it is all about. I think F1 could learn from that. I rhink thats why F1 struggled in the American market, it comes across as arrogant and a closed shop. I think the best suggestion came from Martin Whitmarsh, I think the tyres are just to reliable. They should be mpore marginal. You shouldn't have a tyre capable of completing more then 20 laps (of a regular circuit) at a pace, and that would require. We should have a few more saftey cars to.

    Other points about the graphics, I tend to disagree with what people say about them. I think they're alot slicker then before and the content is the same as last year. Apart from the Left Stack graphic in qualifying missing, which we all hope makes a return. Overall I really liked the graphics. Its funny because you read other blogs and people say the complete opposite about the readibility. I guess it comes down to where your watching it and what sort of signal, I'm using a 10 year old glass tv/digital box and the readibilty was fine, I haven't bought and LCD cos I think the quality is still rubbish, unless your watching HD.

    Anyway, I really like what the BBC brings to the table. Great content and high standards. What BBC Sport has always been known for.

  • Comment number 72.

    Why is the press inundated with stories of processional racing and no overtaking.

    There were in fact 21 overtakes during the Bahrain GP, higher than all but 1 year since 2004.
    See the data for yourselves.


    Now please can we just let the season unfold and see what it has to offer?

  • Comment number 73.

    BBC coverage from Bahrain was excellent - some good interviews and you're more relaxed.
    Shame the race didn't deliver on the hype, It was possibly one of the worst races I can remember since I started watching in the late seventies.
    Why wasn't there more made of the 60 years parade on the BBC?
    Anyway roll on Melbourne hopefully something more entertaining on Sunday morning is in store!

  • Comment number 74.

    Yesterday I was livid about the "race" on Sunday... however, on reflection, I believe that we must give it a few races to see what's what.

    The Bahrain track does not help when it comes to overtaking (why why why is Hermann Tilke consistently employed I will NEVER know) and I do not necessarily think that the ban on re-fuelling is to blame... the old boys did ok (although granted some races were processional, many were at least competitive if not particularly close at times... the 1987 British GP springs immediately to mind, as does Monaco 92)

    There are a couple of things that need to be reviewed in my humble opinion, and please forgive me if I am repeating what someone has already said... I do not have the inclination to read all posts... I read about 7 and then write)

    1 - the front tyres are too narrow.. there is not enough grip for the car following behind

    2 - this problem is compounded by the double diffusers... the turbulent air and increased downforce coupled with the lack of grip behind is not allowing the cars to get close enough to slipstream properly

    3 - the engine situation, only allowing 8 per season.. I remember the days of yore when they'd use about 8 per weekend! This HAS to change. I understand to a point the drive to lower costs... but isn't F1 meant to be expensive and a little bit ridiculous?? I don't want drivers short shifting and backing off when they could be actually racing just so they conserve their engines and don't have to take grid is called motor RACING not let's see who can make their engine last the longest.

    4 - the pit stop issue. I don't agree with DC that making 2 pit stops mandatory is the way to go..surely making them stop twice would only mean you get a double dose of what we saw on Sunday.. all the cars coming in together... I agree with Alain Prost, in that they should have the freedom to do what they want tyre-wise, but what do I know?

    So when I said, let's wait and see, what I really meant was change it all immediately if not sooner... oh I don't know!

    One last thing before I get off my soap box... can someone please tell Senna Jnr that he needs to keep his helmet visor CLOSED for a while.. while the rest of us get over the heebeejeebies from Sunday... Thanks

  • Comment number 75.

    Well I'm sitting in Melbourne looking forward to your arrival and organising a bit of Melbourne's famed 'four seasons in one day weather' to mix it up for you all and make it at least as exciting as the IPL cricket! Those of you unable to travel downunder, tune in to watch and I'll chuck a prawn on the proverbial barbie for you...

  • Comment number 76.

    I like some others can't be bothered to read all 75 entries. I saw the race from start to finish, wasn't very entertained despite all the justified hype. Cars are decidedly ugly, of course, that started last year with the ridiculously large front wing and ludicrously small rear wing, this year it's just gotten worse with the metal mayne most teams have opted for.

    Let's hope the racing gets better and that it happens on Sunday, not Saturday.

  • Comment number 77.

    Living in Sydney means many late nights and early mornings have been spent over the past years watching F1. We couldn't wait for this new season to rules, new teams, Hamilton & Button in the same team, Schu back in F1...couldn't wait for it all to start.
    Watched the practice on Friday, the qualifying on Saturday and at 11pm Sunday night Sydney time watched the lights go out and the new season begin.
    By 11.30pm, we decided to go to bed, bored stiff already and expecting Vettel to win unless his car let him down.
    If the same pattern repeats itself in Australia, I'm afraid I for one won't be watching the rest of the season and I'm sure I will not be alone.
    How many times do the fans have to say that we want exciting races, with opportunities for skilled drivers to overtake and actually race each other - it is a race, not a procession for God's sake.
    Races like last weekend will completely kill the sport for spectators.
    Need to act quickly!

  • Comment number 78.


    F1 has so much to offer, if Sunday's display was anything to go it has nothing to offer, it appears TV commentators were watching a different race.
    I am 65, my first GP was Aintree 1955, GP racing was good until the age of aerodynamics came along.
    The only way to improve GP racing is to get away from this down force culture that has ruined F1.
    All these silly regulations regarding tyres etc, we want to see a motor race not a procession.
    The aero problem raises its head every season yet nothing is done about it, there is only one solution, if the F1 fraternity and Ecclestone cannot see that F1 will not hold its audience.
    I for one will watch the next GP, if it becomes as was Bahrain I will not be watching anymore F1 for the remainder of the season.
    The GP2 race was superb, as was the Porsche 911 race, Porsche 911 races, that is motoring racing.
    BBC would do well to dump F1 and televise some sports car racing.
    Le Mans put F1 in the shade.
    At least Martin Brundle had the guts to admit Sunday's race was boring.
    Buy a tin of paint, paint a door and watch the paint dry, there you have Sunday's GP.

  • Comment number 79.

    Superb blog.
    All we need now are some interesting races, not the parade this season is looking to become once again.
    Refuelling allowed for some off road overtaking, but that was it. The cars are too technical. get rid of the tech & give us petrol heads a series that produces real racing and a different grid every time.
    I will give this lot two more races & if its the same old bore fest, I and many others will switch off in droves.
    I'm sure that all those involved in the sport also want close racing and overtaking (Drivers that is), but the sponsors & teams just want endless parades of logos to make money.
    If F1 dosent start to get exciting & soon, it will die a slow & painful death.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hi Jake,nice to read your blog.Looking forward to the Australian G.P.Wonder what colour shirts you,David and Eddie will be wearing.Kath.

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm an F1 fan but I find the BBC's all consuming coverage to be a bit much to be honest. A massive crew, loads and loads of coverage, motion graphics everywhere, mind boggling expense in troubled times to cover a short uneventful race. Overhyping is the term I think! Its a bit harder to make your claims that it will be the most exciting season EVER now...

  • Comment number 82.

    hi jake,
    Great to have you back.F1 more like M1.It was a terrible spectacle for the "pinacle" of motor sport.No refuleing worked in past years, tyre tech has come a long way since those days.If the regs didn't dictate that the use of both types of tyre had to be used i don't think we would have seen any pitstops.The best part of Sunday was the forum.I have been involved and now an avid supporter of F1 but i have never seen such underperforming by the drivers.It looked like an installation session,as if the drivers didn't seem to want to race.Lack of testing is the main culprit here.Some form of limited testing must be allowed that is what the third driver is for.COST COST COST that is what the lower teams say but the advertisers or the teams should all contribute and share the cost to help the small funded teams BUT they should not be in F1 knowing it is a requirement to spend on advancing the cars performance.Trying to reduce costs ends up with the spectacle we had on sunday.Testing can save money,more information comes from a test session than all the computer predictions and straight line runs.FIA get your act together i want my f1 back.

  • Comment number 83.

    Love F1. Love the BBC coverage.
    That there were problems with the entertainment value of the racing at Bahrain, are nigh-on universally agreed. BUT... the solutions are, at the moment, almost impossible to erase over the whole grid. The FIA have set the budgets, and unless it can conjure up a whole chunk of cash, which it doesn't have, any modifications are out.
    Can't remove the cap on the budget, because the newer teams would have a disadvantage.
    Any redevelopement of the cars would not only take cash, but time, and the season has already started.
    Can't redevelop circuits, adding straights and hairpins, for the very same reasons.
    Time and Money. They're the problems.
    I'm no engineer, so i don't have the knowledge to come up with a quick fix, but as an idea, and i'm sure some of the more knowledgable of you will put me right, why not have a permanent fixture applied to the rear wing, rather than create a new one, to divert the air away from the space directly behind the car, creating a clean pocket to allow slipstreaming. This might be a cost effective measure.
    Also, with the obvious exclusion of wet races, restrict racing to a hard compound tyre only, and give the teams carte blanche on pit stops. As we saw in Bahrain, the degredation would naturally mean more pit stops, and that may re-introduce strategy to the racing.

    I don't know. All I do know is that it needs something.

  • Comment number 84.

    Great coverage again Jake well done, but please please can we get the F1 Forum on the BBC F1 website for those of us who can't quite manage another hour straight after the gp but want to hear what you,Martin,David and Eddie have got to say sometime in the following week ?

  • Comment number 85.

    first of all thanks for the excellent coverage. Great job ! The buildup was actually more interesting than the race, but I guess that's not your department ;c))
    Just a suggestion: on the grid HRH was explaining his view on the track layout change to Martin. Can you do a piece on how this change came about and their reasoning behind it ? When I saw the layout, I knew it wasn't going to help, but still the question needs to be asked: why do people with a lot of money and obvious enthousiasm for the sport build such boring tracks ? Who Ok'd this layout and why ? 'To increase overtaking possibilities' - did they bother to check with an F1 driver before they went on and spend all this money on something which any insider could tell them it would not make the least of difference with regards to their original aim (overtaking) ?
    Later on, we go to Korea: again a new track. But: I see stuff I've already seen elsewhere ... How did they plan their track ? Who did they listen to ? What did they hope to achieve ? Did they look at the current exciting tracks which allow overtaking: Montreal, Spa, Suzuka, Interlagos ?
    Great to see Canada back -always a great race, with: two long straights followed by a 180 and a 90 degree turn ... and that's exactly where the action always is.
    Another thought: why not race on the oval of Indianapolis instead of this boring infield track (if they ever go back to the US) ? I know the cars aren't built for it, but that's exactly the point: it would be down to the driver to manage, no need for a specific car. Certainly would introduce some variation in the tracks ...

  • Comment number 86.

    Good blog Jake and your pretty much spot on.

    I've put a post on Andrew Benson's blog describing what i think the problem is and i came to the same conclusion.

    The recipe is there for overtaking, Tyres 'going off' at different rates, people pitting at different times, cars hitting the sweet spot at different times in the race, Drivers coping differently with the differing balance and therefore going faster or slower than their rivals at different times during the race..etc.

    A ban on Refuelling is not the problem and should lead to interesting races, however, all this is undermined by the Aero-Package, and not banning Brawn's Double Diffuser last year was a disaster for the Sport. No chance of overtaking this year, and the DD not banned until next year.

    The Aerodynamics is the problem and simply cannot be fixed this year which is the crux of the problem.

    I do hope there isn't a knee-jerk reaction and refuelling isn't brought back. Under that circumstance, the engineers know exactly how the tyres will degrade and how much fuel everyone is carrying so can basically plot the race out on a sheet of paper before a wheel is even turned.

    Bahrain produced a boring race.. so whats new.. it always does. I credit Bernie for trying to get the usual boring Races out of the way early, such as Bahrain, Barcelona, Malaysia & China, but the problem is these circuits will just compound the perseption of this year being boring. (True, the weather sometimes helps out at these races, but if not, we're in trouble).

    Other than that, faultless BBC coverage as usual. I often think the reason the Teams and Drivers come over for a chat is because they know your making a quality program and want to be a part of it. (Yep, even Jonathan's upped his game - well done)

  • Comment number 87.

    I really enjoy jakes blogs and at present the, allways excellent, bbc f1 coverage is more entertaining than the race itself. i have allways been an f1 fan but the first race was the most boring i can remember in a long time. i am one of those sad b******s that loves f1 just for the sound of the engines so i am hard to bore but it needs sorting out asap or i may have to concede to friends/family who say it is too processional

  • Comment number 88.

    Hi Jake,I think you are doing a great job.The first race must have been hard work!? I feel F1 has lost it's way, it should go green with development, hybrid and electric engines, limited fuel allowances with all restrictions removed. F1 has always pioneered innovation and development, it should not be limited and tied down! I could expand my thoughts but i just want to throw the topic in for hopefully discussion. One other thing, why does'nt F1 use BLIMPS for aerial camera shots like they use in American Golf or tethered with remote controlled cameras rather than Choppers racing up and down. Also could we see more of the ancilliary activities i.e. aerobatics, parades, static displays and general shots of surrounding scenery, etc.
    Good Luck for the rest of the season

  • Comment number 89.

    F1 has to many rules that results in no room to gain a competitive advantage. Everyone has same time to test (unless you're new and your cars not ready!), the tyres are the same, the wings are broadly the same, (except mcclaren but no doubt that will be banned in coming seasons), the diffusers will be the same next year. So it's not surprising that there's not much overtaking. My view is that they should actually relax many of these rules to bring back some real innovation and differentiation. For instance, bring back 2 (or even 3) tyre manufacturers, let the teams decide which suits their car best, allocate the teams a certain budget and let them spend it how they want- if they want to test more, let them, if instead they want more engines, let them, if they want great, expensive drivers let them- but everything has to be within the same budget so the teams will have to choose where to spend and where to cut their budgets to meet the cap Even the shape of the car should be up to them- with just some guidelines covering safety. I think if F1 did that, we'd truly have an exciting sport back again.....

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    Not related to anything on the site but Jake will you please have a word with your mate Martin Brundle. I love him and his insite but one thing really revved me up last year - he does not know how to pronounce Vettel! This year he is varying his pronunciation during the programme.

    I am sure you know this but the correct pronunciation is Fettle like kettle. We'll live with Vettle but not Vetell as he keeps saying. If in doubt visit -

  • Comment number 92.

    Jake, I can't better what others have said about your blog 'superlative' in the words of Mr Walker!
    Overtaking, how to create more of it in F1 today? well everyone here have exposed what they believe, to be the real issues into resolving what is, an extremely complex problem mostly created by the ever increasing demand for more technology, the more of it the tech guys create, the more the FIA will prune away or dig around for new rule development!
    I remember the days of oversteer with much wider race tracks, way before Jackie Stewart's implementation of safety in the sport..exceedingly dangerous times then but much more fun for the fans when opportunist overtaking moves were commonplace.

    Fundamentally, when rear diffusers were placed on cars, that entirely changed the whole dynamics of the sport and it is because the onus has been placed on technology, we have arrived at this junction!
    A whole host of areas could be looked at in order to make F1 more appealing and creating that magical overtaking manoeuvre (remember Mansell & Senna..wheel to wheel)

    Let the new rules bed in a little first before we all start the whinge factor however, if we keep on going down the 'technology path' then the FIA will dig their heels in further still.
    The ban of diffusers next year will make a big change but won't help us much until then.

  • Comment number 93.

    every one must have a short memory, last time there was no refuelling it was just a boring economy race, we usually go to at least 2 or 3 euro races but absolutely no chance at all this year. wake me up when the seasons over.

  • Comment number 94.

    Quite a few posters have mentioned it, the BBC coverage is more interesting than the race. Is that really a sustainable or sensible situation?

  • Comment number 95.

    Coverage was brilliant by beeb as ever.

    As to racing agree with Ronnie Stone, give teams a set amount of fuel leave them to decide how to use it, pit stop(s) or whole race. Also stop insistence on using both tyre compounds let teams decide what they want to do - soft for speed or hard for longevity. That would mix up the strategies & drivers could not afford to 'relax' or 'take it easy'. And make final qualifying 15 minutes so teams make two runs unless really brave they can do it on one.

    Finally get rid of the aerodynamics that create the turbulence that destroys the following car's grip & slipstream.

  • Comment number 96.

    Great to see the sport back but was amazed how embarrassed I was whenever anyone mentioned the race to me, as I have always praised F1 and defended its corner.
    I've been watching for 25+ years and I am really struggling to say posistive things from one race to another.
    The technical side has and always will be beyond me. But that now stands out to me as the problem that underlines everything negative about F1.
    Is it possible to cut the computer guys from race day? Half the garage is now filled with analysts, granted they could do it from the factory, which is why I wonder if cutting them from the loop just for the race is possible. They can retrieve data afterwards. They all seem to know too much now and hedging their bets was more of a priority than racing.
    Aero is the other area that Martin Brundle has commented on for years. They have got rid of the flip ups and turning vanes from the bodywork to a degree so a standard rear wing isn't too much of a straight jacket. Removing the extended engine covers, not allowing any form of aero(except rear wing) to be allowed rearwards of the rear axle are also things that to average joe like me appears easy and a non cost fix.
    Let them play with gearboxes and engines, brakes and suspension as they are positive aspects of F1 that could filter down to road cars to make the manufacturers happy.
    Could someone tear my ideas to pieces please then I will leave thinking I'm as clever as those guys alone...forever.
    I will still watch, but I have never been let down so much as I was after the first race.

  • Comment number 97.

    Emperors New Clothes Anyone? I too feel the BBC coverage is more interesting and entertaining than the race. This blog was another well intentioned but inside attempt to keep the faith. Looking forward to 2011... in the meantime there is always Indy..

  • Comment number 98.

    I hope BE is doing his swan act all calm on top paddling furiosly under the water- and hes sent the team brainiacs marching orders for a quick fix.
    Aero is here to stay the fastest car wins, and everything else is a handicap. One tyre supplier can get the mechanical grip to counter that. Short life tyres are not Green, the mantra of tyre people, so make them last several races and choose tyres on a circuit that suits you.
    PS no one tells me that FOM could not pay out £24m to put refueling back in

  • Comment number 99.

    Having watched F1 for over 50 years I regret to say that it is even more like watching paint dry than ever. I am afraid that the only cure is a radical rethink on the rules.

    At the moment the front runners achieve almost identical times which means that they have all reached a similar level of technical competence. Lets face it, with modern technology they could almost do away with drivers. Bury some metal strips in the track and fit the cars with radar......

    The only variable that will provide entertainment is driver ability and that is not allowed to come to the for under the present formula.

    1. Remove all artificial influences such as restricting the number of tyres that can be used.

    2. Bring back the clutch and gear lever.

    3. Replace those ugly front wings with Indy style ones. They don't have any problems overtaking or getting close to the cars in front. They would be far cheaper than present wings and less vulnerable. How often do we someone's race ruined because of a knock on the end plate in the early laps.

    Finally a couple of minor gripes.

    The graphic could do to be a little larger for us oldies with declining eyesight, plus I agree with the previous comment about the lack of info displayed.

    Red button viewers questions. Why do we have to have the constant repetition of questions and topics that have already be talked to death in other parts of the program. Pleas can we change the person who selects the questions so that we get topics that have not previously been discussed get aired.

    Lastly, please ask the powers that be, why car numbers cannot be displayed on the nose and side pods. I doubt it would in any way reduce advertising revenue.


    Ian S

  • Comment number 100.

    A ban on re-fuelling might no longer allow overtaking due to changes in car design. This season will tell. But as with any sport, a change of rules takes time to gel with all involved. Ultimately I'd settle for forced overtaking of some kind, maybe using blue flags to make a car yield to another that's been on its tail for 5 laps. Or laser quest guns that cut fuel if the target's been hit for more than a second.

    Yep. Bring it on.


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