Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, July 10, 2008


By Hitoishi Chakma

Quite a few important things got changed this year in F1. This year Formula 1 has two new Grand Prix, one more race than last year and also a night race that would be held during the Singapore GP on a brand new fully street based track. But the change that intrigued quiet a lot of people around the world was the exclusion of the electronic driving aids, or the traction control.

This traction control is what that keeps the cars from skidding during turns or plainly put, it just helps the cars keep the balance and not veer off the track. If you remember from last year whenever they used to show the view of the front end of the car from the cockpit camera, the tyres used to get momentarily frozen from time to time. That is one of the ways, the 'electronic aid' controls the car: by locking the front or the rear tyres for split seconds to adjust whatever that goes wrong.

Now, before the start of the Australian GP, the first race of the season, many thought it would provide them with some answer. Surely, before the start of the 2008 season there were many speculations around: what will happen now that there is no traction control? Well, one thing that the speculators knew for sure was that this time around the F1 drivers would surely get a challenge not only from their opponents but also from the track and their cars. Only the true drivers at heart would shine. But how about crashes? What if there are more crashes. And would the game turn more exciting or more boring?

So let us look back at the Aus GP. After the race things looked horrible. It was definitely one of the worst races in F1 history. Only 7 out of the 22 cars were able to finish. An outrageous number of 15 cars were unable to reach the Chequered Flag. But thankfully all those cars did not crash into each other. There were in fact quiet a lot of technical failures. Next race in Malaysia things turned normal. Only five cars were unable to finish and Kimi Raikkonnen dominated the race. And now as of today, with nine races over, counting the British GP, we can surely tell that the F1 drivers are having the time of their life by not just speeding through the tracks but also by spinning their cars around.

For some reason that can only be explained by the divine, the championship is still wide open halfway through the season this year, among a staggering number of four drivers. And Fernando Alonso is not one of those four drivers. Also surprisingly enough Robert Kubica, the one who had a terrible crash last season and who many feared - seeing the violent crash - to must have passed on to the other side, has come back this year with a vengeance and is actually giving Ferrari and McLaren Mercedes a run for their money from his BMW.

So this year, F1 has actually got it quiet right. The races are more exciting than ever and the driver's championship is actually anyone's game. And on a second thought F1 is serving the drivers quiet right with the removal of electronic aids and making their lives a bit harder. Let's face it, they are too privileged anyway.


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