The Curious Case of the 2015 Australian Grand Prix

Here we were, the long winter almost over, Caterham F1 was dead, Marussia, now Manor Marussia, was undead. Honda was back, recreating the legendary McLaren Honda partnership, the most dominate force of the late 80’s and early 90’s. And to top it all off, Sebastian Vettel had left Red Bull Racing, and followed in the footsteps of his mentor and friend, Michael Schumacher and joined the Scuderia Ferrari. All of this, plus the promise of the continued dual between the two Mercedes drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, means this race should have been an explosive start to the season.
But that isn’t what happened. Let’s take a look at this upside down Grand Prix.

It was time to turn off Jacque Villeneuve’s album, (It’s real, look it up) get your F1 gear on, pound some coffee or a Red Bull, and tune into the race! Now, it was looking like a good start! We were going to have twenty cars take the start. Wait, what’s that? The Manor team is having software issues? Oh well, we still have eighteen cars! Oh what’s that? Bottas hurt the soft tissue in his back and failed the FIA tests of removing one’s self from the car. Well, that still leaves us with seventeen cars right? Oh, the McLaren Honda of Kevin Magnussen blew up on the way to the grid? And Daniel Kyvatt’s Red Bull gearbox broke? This is when I realized that this was going to be an odd race.
So, it seems like this year’s race was what we all expected last year’s to be, more of a hunger games style survival game than an actual race. Renault’s power unit seemed to take a bigger step backwards than anyone could have guessed. Mercedes’ gap was untouchable, and Rosberg still couldn’t beat Hamilton in what looked like a straight fight. Reliability was the key of this race, with only eleven cars finishing. McLaren Honda’s pre season woes continued as Button was last out even with the high causality rate. The one major shocker of the race was Williams getting blitzkrieged by the Ferrari of Seabastian Vettel, who scored a podium on his debut for Ferrari.

After such a weird Grand Prix, fans have to wonder, will this be indicative of the rest of the season? Will we have a clean sweep by the Mercedes team? Will Red Bull actually quit Formula 1? What the hell is going on with Honda? And will Manor Marussia actually get out and race? Is Ferrari really coming back on the back of another very successful German? We will find out in two weeks at the Malaysian Grand Prix. This will shake out the field more, and find the rule of the road even more.

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  1. Tamerlane's Thoughts Avatar
    Tamerlane’s Thoughts

    I was rooting for one more DNF so that Button could score a point.

    1. Patrick Hoffstetter Avatar

      Same here. Huge McLaren fan. Seeing him fend off Sergio for the longest time was very cool though

  2. nanoop Avatar

    From what I remember about F1, the first races of a season tended to be like that, especially after major rule changes. There is a difference between fixing the bugs of a genuinely good car vs. trying to keep a rolling prototype relevant – the difference will be visible only deeper in the season.

    1. Patrick Hoffstetter Avatar

      Describing these types of cars as a rolling prototype is actually something I haven’t heard before. Too true though

      1. nanoop Avatar

        My point above was that some are in an early stage and still need development to “get there”, whereas other cars are pretty far and are held back by only small issues. In early races, the difference is not visible to spectators, whereas later in the season, the good cars are debugged and perform well (and the energy of the team is directed towards improvements). The less successful teams are still busy with debugging their, well, rolling prototypes.
        I’m not Eddie, so my impression could even be wrong.

  3. Lokki Avatar

    I have had a thought about Alonso – I wonder how good he is at car development – giving useful feedback to the engineers? He is very good at muscling a result out of a bad car, but his time at Ferrari certainly didn’t show. Any proof that he can’t help create a better one. Now McLaren has a bad car (which certainly isn’t Alonso’s fault), but I wonder if he can help make it good. Vettel, on the other hand understands about creating a rapport with the mechanics and engineers – does he get any credit for the improvement shown at Ferrari?

    1. Tamerlane's Thoughts Avatar
      Tamerlane’s Thoughts

      I don’t think this year’s McLaren-Honda has any hope, no matter how good Alonso is at driving and giving feedback to his engineers. This is coming from someone who thinks Alonso is the most talented driver on the grid.

  4. Lokki Avatar

    Sigh -my iPad has made a hash of my post.