The start of the new Formula 1 season has been nothing short of eventful! Naturally after a year that’s been completely disrupted and altered by a worldwide pandemic, it was inevitable there would be some kind of race drama. Considering the pre-season tests only give drivers and their teams limited time anyway, it really did feel like we barely got to see anything of substance last weekend.
The teams were forced to adapt to the new circuit at Bahrain which is already riddled with certain issues, such as sandstorms and intense heat creating a number of challenges. On top of this, the smaller circuit combined with the current COVID conditions and weather situation really made Bahrain a tougher pre-season test then perhaps expected.
Some teams managed to field successful tests and others had issues that ideally required a bigger circuit with more time on track. Mercedes were perhaps the main casualties, with notable problems with their new gearbox that caused Valtteri Bottas to only receive a measly 6 laps on track. Lewis Hamilton had a few hiccups - including a few spin outs - but overall, we’re confident Mercedes will resolve these issues.
RedBull seemed to have cracked their curse of being the notoriously slow starters, as they came flying out of the blocks firing on all cylinders. Their consistency following on from last year suggests they could certainly be a challenger to Mercedes.
However, the real sob story of the weekend was Aston Martin. After returning to the Formula 1 season with so much excitement and anticipation following their grand press launch last month, it sadly looked like history was repeating itself as they were plagued with engineering issues.
Reliability was a concern, and that concern was rightly placed as they had similar issues to Mercedes with the shared Gearbox but a number of other problems as well. Sebastian Vettel got very little time in the car which is not ideal at all.
The rest of the teams had relatively uneventful tests by comparisons, and it’s these teams that will make the headlines as always. We do want to say what a welcome return it was seeing the iconic Fernando Alonso behind the wheel with Alpine. A legend of the sport and seemingly young at heart as he thrust around the track!
Either way, the upcoming season is no doubt going to be full of exciting new challenges for each team and we can’t wait for the drama to unfold in front of our eyes when the first race of the season gets underway next weekend!