Friday, 21 May 2010

Don't Teach The Old Dog New Tricks

Less than half a season gone and the Formula 1 World Championship is already beginning to look conclusive. Sound familiar? Exactly twelve months ago, Jensen Button was well on his way to championship title after more than a decade on the grid, playing an integral role in the fairytale that encapsulated Brawn GP’s maiden season.
After Mark Webber strolled to victory at Monaco last Sunday with his team-mate Sebastian Vettel in close pursuit, a number of his rivals lamented that the Red Bull team are simply too technologically advanced for the other teams to compete. In contrast with the Brawn GP, who succeeded on a shoestring budget overseen by the parsimonious guidance of Ross Brawn, Red Bull receive abundant financial backing from billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who demands his team take the championship flag this season. It is too soon to foresee which driver will take the championship crown but the Red Bull team, astutely marshalled by Christian Horner, must be the favourites. Following a piquant opening to the 2010 campaign, the prodigal young German Vettel has been transcended by Webber, ten years his senior, who has utilised his experience, wisdom and raw ability to ruthless effect. The rest of the field, led by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso appear perplexed and left stranded in the Red Bull slipstream. Other heavyweight contenders for the title such as Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button of McLaren have been made to look somewhat languid as they struggle to overcome the reliability problems that have plagued many of the grid forerunners this season. The one-time insuperable titan Michael Schumacher has toiled throughout the season as it becomes ominously apparent just how far the seven-times world champion has fallen from grace. Nevertheless, Schumacher provided a glimpse of his vintage characteristic guile as he audaciously leapfrogged Fernando Alonso on the final corner of the Monaco circuit just as the safety car pulled into the pits. It is refreshing to observe the potency with which less fashionable drivers such as Kubica, Rosberg and Sutil all drive, seemingly incited by the failure of their leading adversaries to pull away from the rest of the grid. A repeat of the 2008 season finale, when Hamilton was crowned World Champion only after the final lap of the final race of the campaign, is every neutral’s wish. While Red Bull hold an undoubtedly large lead, it is one which is most definitely assailable, as Jensen Button proved last year when the championship fate was decided with one round to spare. I hope Webber maintains this early momentum to take the championship which the old dog so thoroughly deserves.

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