#FeelTheForce, Did You Too? – Kunal's F1 Blog

#FeelTheForce, Did You Too?

Every new Formula1 season throws up this one race which then becomes your most memorable race of that season. I think the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix is possibly just that race which fans will sit back and remember the 2014 Formula1 Season for. Especially if you’re an Indian Formula1 fan and, or love Sahara Force India and their drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

While the Mercedes drivers did what was expected of them, it was the Sahara Force India team and their drivers that caught everyone else by surprise and how. Sergio Perez’s podium was only the tip of the iceberg for me as they overtook the Mclarens, Ferraris and Red Bulls at their own whim! Kudos to everyone at Silverstone and today is one of those days when I sit back and LOVE my job and yes our maximum points haul at the GP weekend yet! #FeelTheForce! (Read: What’s The Pecking Order?)

Sahara Force India – 2014 Bahrain GP

The Indian team is now second in the Constructors’ Championship and Nico Hulkenberg is third in the Drivers’ Championship table. Super consistent results have propelled the team ahead of the heavier weights and names on the grid!

If you’re a Mercedes fan, you would’ve had your heart racing when the team let the drivers race each other. If you’re not a Mercedes fan, this is the moment when you should turn into one. Rarely would you see a top team let their drivers race each other this hard and that too multiple times in a race!

In my post-qualifying report (Read: Rosberg Strikes Back), I had predicted that the driver who would lead at the end of the first lap would go on to win the race. But it wasn’t as simple as that as Rosberg, on a faster tyre strategy, made it extremely difficult for Hamilton to hold on to the lead. But eventually, it was the Brit who persisted! Yes, there was that one swipe which I am sure will become a bone of contention between the two drivers in the races to come.

Mclaren suffered a double retirement and Ferraris ran at pace worthy of a mid-field team. The Red Bulls came alive after the Safety Car period and still managed to score double points just ahead of the Williams duo. Yes, if one understands the sport, you would agree that Sahara Force India’s 3rd and 5th place finish was aided by the Safety Car period.

Sahara Force India On The Podium

And of course, you shouldn’t be surprised to know that Pastor Maldonado’s stupid antics flipped the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez under-braking into Turn 1. The PDVSA funded driver made an elementary mistake in the braking zone and the low nose design did its ‘un-safety’ like trick! The supremely inconsistent FIA has given him a 5 place grid penalty for the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix and 3 penalty points. What’s strange is that Ricciardo was given a 10 place grid penalty for an unsafe release!

From a historic point of view, I think Formula1 delivered a brilliant spectacle in its 900th Grand Prix with team-mates battling all around the circuit while Bernie, Luca & Co. went about bad-mouthing the new regulations pre-race and their intent to change them! While I wouldn’t disagree on a few tweaks, I think any major changes mid-season should be blatantly disagreed upon by teams, drivers, media and the fans. (Read: Fed Up Of Constant Rule Changes In F1)

It is the teams who have brought such super efficient regulations upon themselves without anticipating their effect on the fans and I think it is time we live with this gross mistake. And of course, if every race offers the spectacle that the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix did, I wonder if we will still complain about the engine sounds!

Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
  2. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
  3. Sergio Perez – Sahara Force India
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull Racing
  5. Nico Hulkenberg – Sahara Force India
  6. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Racing
  7. Felipe Massa – WilliamsF1
  8. Valtteri Bottas – WilliamsF1
  9. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
  10. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari
  11. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso
  12. Romain Grosjean – Lotus
  13. Max Chilton – Marussia
  14. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus
  15. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham
  16. Jules Bianchi – Marussia
  17. Jenson Button – Mclaren

Did Not Finish:

  • Kevin Magnussen – Mclaren
  • Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber
  • Marcus Ericsson – Caterham
  • Jean Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso
  • Adrian Sutil – Sauber

We’ve complained about the lack of noise on the Inside Line F1 Podcast‘s episode ‘Engine No-ise‘ and the teams have taken heed of our customer complaint and have agreed to look into the matter post the 2014 Spanish Grand Prix. Now can we do something about the double points system for the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as well?

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

5 comments On #FeelTheForce, Did You Too?

  • I am Seb’s fan but also support pure racing no matter who’s driving..although these cars didnt impress us alone but altogether they put up a spectacular show.. all becoz their gap was cleared by SC. otherwise i am afraid Williams looked more strong..anyway Inter/Intra team battle was just epic!
    so you know what? if they make 25lap’s race it would be just amazing to watch them fight.. no tyre strategy.. no fuel saving shit, just attack and attack 😀

    • Interesting view Manohar, thank you. And they are of course considering reducing race distances and I too believe that’ll be a good option. Sprint races with a little strategy will be more attractive. And of course, the inter and intra team battles be a lot of fun!

  • Negative side of strategy mind games in F1 is that we see less aggressive driving during mid part of race and it was good earlier as we loved to watch cars all 90mins.. I know fans wont accept shorter races as we are used to long races.. but even if 1pit stop is reduced from the race then chances are for more aggressive and exciting race..for some fans that excitement is lost during lengthy
    technical games which will not outweigh the fun of a short race. Now I only said these things becoz current regulations have managed to isolate the fun to some extent and Short race will automatically increase the limits like fuel flow can be increased for 40laps..less fuel saving etc Now if they increase fuel limit for long race then cars will be slowed down if they dont then drivers must save fuel as they do… So if FIA said solid ‘NO’ to bigger engines then the cost of these fuel saving/rate etc only decreases the fun of i would rather see an exciting short race with less powered cars unless they bring back the V8 or V10s. Personally I am willing to compromise the time reduction from 90mins to 60mins if i can get much more exciting Race.

  • And lets face it middle teams will need time and money to level up with big teams as long as they are forced to work around these small engines. As a racing fan I am less interested in technical shit and more in racing on common grounds for all the teams. whats the point of watching 5 teams fighting on 5 different levels in same race?

    • indeed Manohar, lots of interesting questions you’ve raised. unfortunately, the answers aren’t as direct and for sure, we can’t look at mid-season rule changes. and yes, it is disheartening to see Formula1 get it so wrong year after year after year…! hopefully, I shall try and answer some of these queries in our next episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast. keep racing!

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