Just over two weeks ago, Formula One fans across the globe were treated to a spectacle.
Between bouts of torrential rain, the Canadian Grand Prix delivered one of the finest races of the year, culminating in a thrilling last lap pass for the lead by Jensen Button.
For a time thereafter, the media raved about the quality of the event and the drama delivered. An ecstatic Button adorned the back pages of newspapers, arms aloft on the podium, grasping a recently corked bottle of champagne. Following the mess that was the Bahrain Grand Prix indecision, Montreal provided Formula 1 with moments of pure triumph.
How deflating it must have been for a curious viewer to switch onto the sport as the World Championship arrived in Valencia. Indeed the circuit has delivered snoozers in the past four years, but it did not lessen the disappointment of poor race, especially considering the presence of KERS, the super-quick wearing Pirelli tyres and a pair of DRS zones.
On a concrete lined circuit peppered with dust from the local industrial units and harbour, the action was lacking and the scenery dull. What a turn off for the intrigued.
It wasn’t the dearth of overtaking as such, but rather it seemed as if drivers were still struggling to even make an attempt to pass. The inability of drivers to place themselves in threatening positions rendered many an aggressive strategy mute.
Barcelona faced similar struggles earlier this year. In what should have been a thrilling battle for the race victory, McLaren ace Lewis Hamilton drew to within one second of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, only to hit a brick wall when approaching the rear of his Renault-powered machine.
For the last portion of the race in Barcelona, Hamilton never realistically looked close to passing Vettel for the race win and while Valencia provided a slightly different variation of the problem for the competitors, it is still a problem nonetheless.
Amidst the lacklustre action on track, the Spanish economy creeks and groans under the pressure of mass debts, raising fears of an eventual collapse for their economy. It is far from inconceivable that the Grand Prix at Valencia will also fall foul to realities of a squandered economy. As the dust settles upon the Spanish city for another year, a sense of normalcy will return to the Valencian docks and the grey matter of life that is prevailent for much of the year will take hold again.
Meanwhile, things have quietly been taking shape at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi as well. With a view to realigning focus at the arena, sixty staff at various levels have been made redundant.
The circuit will be holding its third Grand Prix later this year, but for the first time in its brief history, it will not be the season closer. Yas Marina also hosts the GT1 World Championship, V8 Supercars and GP2.
While the former categories are all likely to remain untouched for now, question remains over the status of the GP2 Series at the circuit, as organisers reconsider the existence of GP2 Asia; although at this stage, it is likely that the Abu Dhabi round may become part of the GP2 Main Series proper.
Of course, one could not finish this off without a nod to Ron Walker.
I do believe the word is spelled “b-l-u-f-f”.
Nothing to see here… for now.