Efficiency being boring? Canada showed us something different.
Yes, I must admit that the noise that we hear in Formula One is not quite the same as we have heard in years gone by, but the Canadian Grand Prix this past weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve provided one of the greatest races we have seen this season thus far.
Of course, the teams still have to take into consideration that fuel flow is a major factor of how they can perform, but it was another set of events that transpired during the 70 laps just outside of the great city of Montréal on Sunday, which shook things up in Formula 1 that no one could have possibly predicted.
We found that not everyone is untouchable, as lighting DID strike twice for the Mercedes AMG Petronas at a time when it was not needed, as the brake energy recovery systems failed on both W05 AMG Hybrids at roughly the same time.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had to depend on the 1.6 litre internal combustion engine, which on its own, was sat a complete disadvantage to the competition. When one major part of the package fails, it makes the task at hand a lot more difficult.
This singular event opened up the proverbial floodgates to others getting that chance that had not been available, as the dominance of the “Silver Arrows” was now severely compromised. Firstly, Hamilton’s retirement was due to a major brake failure, as the track is notoriously hard on brakes, even if it is constructed of carbon.
Rosberg was clearly able to managed a very difficult situation, and had to relinquish a lead that he had kept a hold of until the last round of pitstop were completed on a very hot Sunday afternoon. But his car was running like a wounded animal not at full strength, with the chasing pack clearly out for blood.
One other factor that kept the race at full throttle, with some reaching over 340km/h in the process, was the initial incident between the two Marussia teammates of Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi on the first lap, which gave the drivers time to refocus and get back into the “zone.”
The race showed that any form of racing that sees dominance from any outfit, be it either on two or four wheels, will eventually be brought to an end for whatever reason, such as regulation changes. It was only a matter of time before something happened that would upset the general order, and we didn’t have that long to wait after all.
It was refreshing to see several drivers including Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hülkenberg, Felipe Massa and eventual winner Daniel Ricciardo, fight tooth and nail, via the motorsport game of “cat and mouse,” which was gaining in intensity as the laps counted down, and hit that crescendo when Massa and Perez had that hard coming together on the penultimate lap.
This contest of sheer bravado and the will to win brought back to me great memories of years gone by, such as the battles between the late Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the 1980s and 1990s. Gone are the days that to a certain extent where drivers were pushing to the limit and beyond, which some may say still exists to a point, but technology does push the envelope when it comes to new boundaries in the racing and automotive worlds.
We all must be mindful that championships such as the WEC amongst others have been forging forwards with new alternative solutions that will help the major automotive players the world over towards a more carbon-efficient future.
The fact that a lot more series are turning to alternative technologies is an emerging sign that racing is one of the biggest development sites that all the manufacturers have at their disposal to see that the way cars that the everyday person will possibly have on their driveway or parking space in the near future.
Efficiency has brought about some good racing thus far, with more still to come as time goes by.