THE 2008 F1 season finally started with the opening race in Australia. Given the new significant ruleset restrictions like mandatory gearbox reuse and no traction control, the progress of the first race was anybody guess.
With only six cars finishing, the race might not give the best grounds for comparing the strength of the teams. An “easy” win for Hamilton and fifth place for Kovalainen indicates that McLaren-Mercedes are very fast again this year, whilst Ferrari have serious endurability problems. BMW-Sauber was a close third team last year, and they seem to have progressed further. I am confident they will take a win this season. Renault disappoints in performance which resulted in bad qualifyings, but Alonso made the most of what was available. Christian Vettel in the Toro Rosso and Nico Rosberg in William-Toyota both preformed spectacularly. The biggest surprise was perhaps the competitiveness of Barrichello in the Honda. If they hadn’t made two stupid mistakes of pitting while the pits was closed, and Barrichello leaving pit on a red light, the resulting sixth place might as well have been a podium position.
A non-sport observation was the (much needed) updates in the realtime information graphics. FIA realtime information graphics has slowly been progressing the last couple of years and finally they realized that e.g. a vertical scrolling information bar is an effective and nonintrusive way of continuously giving position and time updates. Anyone thats seen Formula 1 on Speed TV would known, that the official FIA graphics compared to the Speed TV graphics was like comparing caveman drawings to Pixar renderings.