The 2011 Formula One season has already become a history-making one by having the first major sporting event in recent times to be canceled due to revolution after the Bahrain Grand Prix was scratched by deadly violence currently sweeping the Middle East. With hopes that cooler heads will prevail in Bahrain later this year, Bernie Ecclestone is still hoping to stage the Bahrain race later this season
Since the political situation in Australia appears to be stable, the 2011 F1 season will now kick off this weekend at a familiar location for opening F1 events, Albert Park in Melbourne. Just to keep the revolutionary theme going, it does seem the locals in Melbourne are embroiled in a debate once again if the F1 series will continue at the public park beyond it’s contract which ends in 2015. F1 in Australia has not been a very profitable investment, so many officials are questioning if it is worth all the effort.
Beyond the bloody revolutions and debate, the 2011 Formula One season has many compelling stories going for it, after staging a simply fantastic 2010 campaign. The three biggest stories to me at this point are: 5 World Champs (+1)competing for a title, Rule Changes and the Arrival of Pirelli Tires. This is Part 1:
5 World Champs +1 = 6 Drivers competing for 2011 Title
For the first time since 1970, the Formula One field will feature 5 World Championship Drivers; the reigning Champ, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, 2009 Champion, McLaren’s Jenson Button, McLaren’s second title owner, 2008 Champion Lewis Hamilton, two time champ and near 2010 title owner Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, and living legend and 7 time Champion Michael Schumacher from Mercedes GP. Red Bull’s Mark Webber is the “+1” driver of the field, the only one of these 6 drivers without a World Driving Title, but since he came within 14 points of snatching the title from Vettel last year, Webber will expected to be in the hunt for the title from the start.
Sebastian should be considered the heavy favorite and with good reason. The Red Bull race car looks like the cream of the crop once again so far in testing. Adrian Newey designs aerodynamic fighter jets that seem to be swift no matter what type of track they are unleashed upon. Vettel is now a year older and wiser, even though he is the sport’s youngest ever champion. The fact that he has only entered 62 Grand Prixs and won 10 of those and finished on the podium in 19 of those races, means Vettel appears to have plenty of glory still in front of him. Look for Seb to score early and often this year, it looks like he will be a very difficult champion to dislodge.
Have a 3D look at the new RB7 with Sebastian explaining how he hopes the new car will use KERS and the new movable rear wings to get past the Red Bull rivals.
End of Part 1
2011 Formula One preview: 5 World Champs (+1)competing for a title: part 2