This is possibly the most I’ve ever looked forward to the return of Formula 1. So many rule changes, including the return of slick tyres (i.e. no grooves), new aero parts on the cars (including the controversial diffuser used by Toyota, Williams and Brawn GP but now cleared by the FIA … for now, at least) and coverage back on the BBC!
Watched most of the first practice session this morning on the BBC’s interactive service. It is available online as well if you are in the UK. Although it is pretty much impossible to gain any real feel for the relative performance of the cars during practice as they can be on different fuel loads, tyre compounds, etc, it was a good opportunity to watch the cars in action for the first time and to hear the commentary, particularly when it focussed on other F1 news like …
Brawn GP are pretty much set to have secured a major sponsor – Virgin Group (mainly sourced from Times Online). This makes a lot of sense given the earlier rumours about Virgin being linked to buying the former Honda team but Branson saying that it didn’t make financial sense to do that. Sponsoring a team is less of a commercial risk and still gets the brand out there.
One other rule change that I wanted to touch on is the introduction of open radios. This was initially mentioned by the BBC as an indicator that we’ll hear driver conversations from McLaren and Ferrari but what caught my eye during the practice session was a shot from the Ferrari pit wall of their channel selector and it didn’t just list the Ferrari drivers – there were channel numbers for all of the drivers as far as I could tell. I certainly spotted Hamilton’s name there. I wonder if this will lead to cryptic conversations for fear of the other teams overhearing something crucial?