Recently, motorsport made the headlines once again as it so often does. However, the reason was not for the comments of a racer or a team owner nor an unveiling of a giant to take to the track instead it was the thoughts of a sport journalist. A leading publication published an article entitled ‘Should F1 have taken 2020 as a break?’ and while the face of the digital media side of F1, Will Buxton, fought of the faceless twitter trolls making clear an author’s right to have an opinion (since when did that change?!) the article generated heated discussion nonetheless. However, before posing any further debate over the upcoming season, first we should explore what excitement can be gained from the upcoming pre-season Winter Testing…as Wednesday draws ever nearer.
F1.com has been reminding the motorsport public of the jargon associated with the world of F1. Most recently, due to the imminent Winter Testing, fans were given a taster of what to expect. First up was glory running.
Any team deploying this technique would be running their 2020 challenger in a condition that is unlikely to actually be seen in a regular season. The team looks to steal the headlines and take the ‘glory’ by ‘running’ their car at a minimum fuel level. Unlikely to see this technique rear its head due to minimum weight protocols and many other fine margins to adhere to in this modern era.
Williams continue to be titled ROKiT Williams Racing due to acquiring the telecommunications giant in 2019 as a title sponsor. At the time, many wondered how Claire Williams negotiated such a contract and what the sponsor was promised in terms of success. Whatever they were promised, despite the performance of the 2019 entry on the grid, ROKiT still precedes any reference of the legendary British team. Not only this, ROKiT Williams Racing has added Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to its family of team partners for the 2020 season. The global financial institution’s logo will be seen on the nose of the FW43, driven by George Russell and Nicholas Latifi during the Formula One season in 2020. So, maybe the Williams dup may choose some light running to keep the spotlight…time will tell.
On the other hand, an element always accused of, during Winter Testing is ‘sandbagging’. Following the lack of pace shown by Scuderia Ferrari in 2019 at Melbourne,, having been so dominating in the pre-season, the critics claimed the Silver Arrows were sandbagging which was the only reason Ferrari fooled everyone into believing that the Italian marque was back on top. However, in the Mercedes camp, they would claim no such thing and say it just took longer to figure out their car. Either way, in 2020 before it was even unveiled, much was written of the gremlins within the SF1000 and speculation of delays. If that is the case, even if a rival team does choose to ‘sandbag’ their performance this week – there is no guarantee that this would put the Prancing Horse at the front anyway.
The previous few days have brought much excitement with the annual launch of the new car for the season…and there are still some to come. However, whether it be McLaren’s MCL35 or AlphaTauri’s AT01, these cars may have been unveiled to the world’s media but they are yet to come to life.
hallengers of the 2020 Formula One season look like they have come straight out of a Minichamps display case…but at a 1:1 ratio. These polished pristine images are not why F1 is loved the world over. Instead it is a combination of the world’s best drivers, competing at blistering speeds, pushing their vehicle to the limit in the quest for ultimate glory.
Liberty Media have put their weight behind pre-season testing as it is now an official event for the first time and we shall soon see how such gravitas raises the profile. Nevertheless, there will be no wheel to wheel battles, no pushing the car to the limit and if rumours are to be believed, no particular change in the sound.
So, should F1 have taken Winter Testing off as a break?
No, of course not. We are the die-hard fans who analyse hundredths of a second, spend ages analyzing those pristine images looking for any hint of car performance and soon, in a mere three days, we shall see what these cars can do.
F1 is a circus – the question is, will this week reveal any clowns?