Monday, March 08, 2004

A Good Day for Tifosi

The promise of the early sessions of the Australian Grand Prix was fulfilled for Ferrari. Not only did Michael Schumacher win the pole and the race, he also set the fastest lap and led every lap. Achieving all four of those things is something he has only done four times in his career, and it is a notable accomplishment.

Renault also had a good day, getting Fernando Alonso onto the podium, and putting Jarno Trulli in the points. As for the other teams...

  • McLaren:Ghastly day. They have the honor of being the first team to lose an engine to the new one engine/race meeting rule. Since Mercedes supply their engines, this is not a good thing!
  • Williams: It wasn't an awful day for Williams with both of their drivers in the points, but they definitely didn't rise to their level of expectations. Montoya had a ghastly start, but he has very little experience with unassisted standing starts[1].
  • Jaguar: Showed some promise. Their lead driver retired with gearbox problems, but the rookie in the second car finished the race only a couple of laps down.
  • BAR: Actually looked promising. Perhaps this will be the year when they live up to the massive amounts of tobacco funding they have squandered since 1999. Au revoir, Jacques...
  • The rest: Jordan, Minardi, and Toyota just didn't shine. While that is expected for the first two, Toyota need to step up their game a little bit, since Honda is looking to have a good year with BAR.

Now on to Malaysia in two weeks. The anticipated hot weather should help the Michelin tires, and perhaps someone will threaten the Ferraris. With a series of flyaway races in a row, however, there won't be any significant changes in the equipment for a couple of months, however.

[1] CART (his previous series) does rolling starts, and F1 had allowed computer-assisted launch control for the last few years. Taking it away this year is going to hurt someone with Montoya's history more than the other drivers.