Monday, March 24, 2003

New from Sepang
The Malaysian Grand Prix seems to be validating the new F1 rules interpretation. Unlike in Australia, the weather couldn't be held responsible for the shakeup in the results, and that seems to leave the new rules as responsible. This week Renault managed to put both their cars on the front row, and despite speculation that they were qualifiying with unrealistically light fuel loads, ran a sold three-stop race strategy. In the meantime Michael Schumacher started third and demonstrated he is human by earning a drive-through penalty for punting Jarno Trulli in the second corner. Trulli managed to stay on track and held on to finish 5th, one spot head of MS. All in all, this season is certainly shaping up to be more interesting that last.
In other news, Paul Tracy is off to a great start in the CART (OK, one time: Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford (tm)) series, showing that being young and quick is often not as useful as being not-quite-so-young and experienced. Kurt Busch seems to be setting NASCAR Winston Cup on fire, with 3 wins and 3 seconds in the last 8 races (over two seasons). If the single-driver dominance continues in theses series, they will find themselves in the invidious position that F1 faced last year with declining audience interest in an apparently foregone conclusion. However, CART has no audience to speak of in the US anyway at the moment, so declining interest may not affect them, and NASCAR has no qualms about changing the rules in the middle of the season in the interest of "brand parity". So there probably won't be too much gnashing of teeth over these results.