The 2004 season
started with a total Ferrari domination. The gap to the other top runners was
so huge that not even Ferrari expected it. It appears that the
Ferrari/Bridgestone combination have done their homework over the winter while
the rest have some hard work ahead of them.
A few highlights;
to have moved a significant step forward despite their conservative approach.
Have Bridgestone finally delivered a tyre that is a match or close to matching
Renault seem to have improved significantly as well despite running an
underpowered engine. The performance of Alonso was impressive and with major
engine improvements in the pipeline would Renault be a threat to Ferrari ?
Williams appeared very strong during winter testing yet they were not only
significantly behind Ferrari but also behind Renault so they can't blame the
track temperatures. Do they need half a season to understand their new car ?
BAR are finally showing some promise and managed to finish both cars. Button
mixed it with Williams and that is an achievement. Was the switch to Michelin
all what they needed to improve ?
McLaren appear lost. The MP 4/18 never raced and the MP 4/19 was the most
tested car of the lot yet one fails and the other manages 8th and a lap down.
Will it take them a full season to sort this one ?
Jaguar have improved their performance particularly with Mark Webber mixing
it with the top Michelin runners but reliability is an issue and they'll need
to sort that out.
Sauber appear to have an average chassis as they can't blame the 04 Ferrari
engine. With a state of the art wind tunnel, will they get it right ?
In general the cars appeared very reliable despite being the first race and
despite the single engine rule and they were much faster than they were last
year even though the cars have less downforce!
The new regulation changes, did they make any difference ? Is Friday worth
watching ? Was the back to back Qualifying enjoyable ?
Of course you can comment on other aspects of the race - Have
Your Say (What others are saying)
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What others are saying:
Don't I feel the total fool for believing the Mac/Merc machine would, at
last, shoulder Sir Frank's boys out of the way and stuff Ferrari? Instead they
gave Kimi a J.V. experience and let David motor around like he was in a
Bentley for crying out loud!
I expect the "Ice Man" had some heated things to say to the
engineers when he finished his long walk to the pits!
My point is that this is called "disappointment" and, as far as I
can remember, it's been part of what makes racing worth watching: how do
people deal with losing? The champions, like Fangio and Senna and Michael,
shrug it off and motivate their teams to come to the next race trying to find
a way to win. The less than champions find a million excuses and whine about
losing to money and politics.
Now let's talk about the actual race which so many found "boring."
According to my notes, Ralf bettered his starting position by four places;
Fernando drove a fine race, picking up two positions. J.T. in the other
Renault (as under-powered as Fernando's one assumes) also picked up two spots
and D.C. (the man so many so love to hate) picked up, like Ralf FOUR spots.
This he managed in a car, as I said, that has all the punch of a Bentley! Fisi,
a driver as talented as any on the grid (some say he's as good as Michael!) in
a car with what we know to have an excellent engine, (though his team-mate
might dispute that!) also managed to pick up FOUR spots! Panis, an under-rated
performer in a the latest SUV from Toyota managed to move up FIVE places (not
that it earned him anything) and Klein in the green car that disgraces its
heritage managed to pick up EIGHT places. So much for the
What was of most interest to me, though, after Kimi's engine failure, was
Jensen's and JPM's BACKWARDS slide from excellent starting positions.
Was Michelin REALLY to blame? I find that hard to believe when so many OTHER
Michelin shod folks managed to move UP.
As to "Hating the Champion," it's an old sport and if it helps kill
the pain to believe that he's purchased his title with his good looks, or
money, or connections, I say, keep on believing it. Don't worry, Bernie, about
these folks who howl that they're leaving the sport because their driver can't
win. They'll be back: where else will they find fuel for their fury? Not in
NASCAR (high priced demolition derby "excitement").
Finally, if you don't think that money moves towards winners and away from
losers then you're not paying attention. Maybe that's why you don't have any
Now here's the kicker! I'm thinking that we'll have a Finn driving a Mac/Merc
on the pole this week --and his engine will last the race. Go on: call me
crazy. Isn't that what racing's about!? Isn't that, in fact, why we actually
run the race? - Jim W - USA
Well, I do agree with a lot of comments that has been shown here. Watching
the Australian GP live here in Malaysia has been a routine as it is the season
opener. Then, at the end of the race MS won by quite a margin. Leading his
team-mate by more than 30 seconds at some part of the race. Like most fans, I
do agree that Ferrari has the best package to become champion again this
season. Though it would be lovely if there is some action but, I do think the
other teams has to be blamed for failing in giving Ferrari the fight for their
money. It is not about who drives the car or what is the engine of the car. It
is more about how everyone in the team work together as a team and I feel that
Ferrari has a team that work together perfectly. As example, Juan Pablo
Montoya will not be a champion this year if his pit crews fails him
FIA can introduce more regulation but, the results will be the same if the
other teams fail to improve and really fight with Ferrari.
I am a Ferrari fan but I do hope the other teams will improve to give Ferrari
a fight. Hoping for a tough battle here in Malaysia - Fred M - Malaysia
If the race was boring this debate sure is not!!!!
Sorry, Charles, I have to support Geoff. Toyota's budget is as big as (or even
bigger) than Ferrari's but that doesn't mean they are going the right way.
Maybe now with Gascoyne they can improve but it seems that this car is
- Ferrari is constantly improving a good project born on 2000, while the
others are trying to pull the rabbit out of the hat
- Ferrari has the best pair of pilots while people like Sir Frank Williams are
certain that the car and the engineers play the biggest role
- to "achieve total obliteration of the opposition" is the common
goal of all teams, including Minardi
As suggested, blame the losers...Andre B - Brazil
I think many of us would prefer Ferrari wasn't doing quite so well, but bad
for the sport? No. The other teams could build a better car, that would be
Was it bad for the sport when McLaren had it's foot on the throat of every
other team from 1988 to 1991 ? No....Heck, for ten years ('84-'94) if it wasn't
Williams or McLaren it wasn't worth a f..... well, you get the picture.
Total domination lasts until someone can top it, or they change the rules to
stop it. I would prefer the former, and sooner rather than later - Tom H -
I have to say the it's not Ferrari problem it's the rest that can't make
it. It's not only the money... it's the ability to make it work, and a "
Team " it's not only one player, it's more than one, and all of them are
going in the same direction... that's the difference.
Ferrari it's class and they are making what the rest can't during the
It's only the first race ! 17 to go !!!! MS champion once more!!!!!! - Yuri
Renault bought Nissan's 15 billion $ debt in Europe in 1998 2 or 3 years
before it had even turned a wheel in F1, then consumed Benneton as a side dish
without burping, brought in brilliant designers and managers built wind
tunnels, employed IT staff and utilities, hired Engine designers, who even
persisted with a revolutionary design that was a fizzer for a year or so
longer than they should've, hired electronic wizards, and then with a
brilliant launch control stamped their feet in mid to late 03 and announced
their arrival as the best of the rest of the F1 field.
Then the first race in 04 score a massive, solid, hard fought, technologically
brilliant 3rd place, in a sea of giants with a mild, and paltry couple of
hundred million dollar VISIBLE budget is quite significant.
You see in formula 1 it's what you don't see that costs rude amounts of money,
not the visible advertised signage and livery. Forza Renault.
I didn't buy the Akula she wouldn't let me have it. Sooner or later it will be
P.S Do you see the Budweiser sign just fore of the cockpit on the Williams BMW
F1 car? Do you know what that cost to put it there?... A 5 year $50 million
dollar hard fought deal that took 4 months to broker and put 8 inches square
on the front of the FW26 and an inch square on the website.
Visible budgets mean FA mate. Forze technology and screw the one engine rule -
Can somebody please explain to me why DC is still driving that McLaren?
There a only 6 or 8 decent seats in F1 and he is just wasting space. While DC
is a good driver, those seats require the very best - Chris -
While I always enjoy watching any Grand Prix, I have to admit the
Australian race was a tad boring. To see Michael Schumacher dominate the race
is very familiar. I want to see Rubens Barrichello win, but 2nd is almost as
I believe this season may even be a repeat of 2002. I think Ferrari made less
improvements while the other teams took significant steps. But now Ferrari
will dominate again.
Renault will be a big force this season, mostly through Fernando Alonso. I
think they will probably finish in the top 3.
Williams will struggle more than last year, despite the fact they probably
have the fastest car out there. Moving to McLaren is not the answer for
Montoya and if Ralf moves to Renault, I have a feeling he will be fairly
criticised. I think Sir Frank is right in saying he is only going for the
money. The 2005 line-up will most likely be Mark Webber and I wouldn't be
surprised if Jenson Button went back there.
McLaren will struggle as well, though Coulthard will have a better season. I
believe we won't see the best of Raikkonen until Montoya becomes his teammate
Sauber will be the team that improves, but it will be Felipe Massa who does
the work. I don't see Fisichella at Ferrari any time soon.
BAR will go even better, and ditching Villeneuve for Sato was a good decision
and that will bring out Button's true colours.
Jaguar will be watching 2003 all over again, except with the improvement of
Webber and Klien to score some points. I doubt Klien will stay though.
Jordan will be worse off than last year, but Pantano will be a surprise
I also believe that Minardi will score 1 or 2 points. Bruni and Baumgartner is
probably the best Minardi pairing in years. Webber has been their only good
driver until recently.
Finally, a message to Bernie Ecclestone: Get Lost! - Daniel P -
Charles, Your wit and wisdom overwhelm me. What more can I say?
You are, of course 100% right in everything you say. Lets just agree to
disagree on your knowledge and understanding of the sport (your exalted
position as a decision maker in F1 corporate sponsorship board rooms
notwithstanding) and let the real fans take it from here - Geoff -
Geoff....you have no idea what your talking about. Didn't your mother tell
you before you open your big trap think and know the facts......Charles -
Australia (This post was edited)
Cooky – succinct and erudite as always, and as usual, right on the money.
You will have to decide one day whether you’re wearing scarlet or white and
blue though. Maybe the Williams suit got wet playing with the Akula?
Charles, You’re still full of %*#@.
Methinks you argue too much and from a very shaky base. Not only can I read
(as can Johan based on his comments) but I can remember too. I can even
remember your quote: “What a disgraceful performance from the Italian
team!”. Wasn’t that how it went?
Now you’re trying to tell me you weren’t cultivating tall poppies but
merely bored by the race? Ferrari had, according to you, one goal in mind –
to “achieve total obliteration of the opposition”. Yes, they probably do,
which of course puts them at odds with the objectives of Messrs Williams,
Dennis, Briatore et al! These erstwhile gentlemen are only in the ‘sport’
for the joy of competition and would all gladly throw a bag of sand or two
onto the back of their cars should they find themselves too quick for the
I’m sure Ferrari would be fascinated to learn that they have all that
extra cash they weren’t aware of to play with. 2 ½ times the next tier I
believe was the number? Yes, that was it. And by the way, you left Toyota off
the list of big spenders. With a billion dollars or so of funding, based on
your esteemed advice of the relationship to Williams and McLaren, it’s no
wonder the red cars got it so right. But then, the other big budget teams only
have the backing of bit players like Mercedes, Toyota, Honda and BMW while
Ferrari have the might of the crumbling Fiat Empire to support them. Ferrari
certainly get the largest share of TV revenue – why shouldn’t they? They
won the points that the revenue is based on.
Grow up Charles, if you’re bored with it take Cooky's advice and follow
Marc's lead – go watch auto SPORT elsewhere, just don’t come your
holier-than-thou excuses because you (like I) backed a loser this time round.
Ferrari did NOT make the race boring, the teams that couldn’t match them
did. Oh, and by the way, while you were nodding off watching a boring race I
guess you didn’t notice a rookie picking up 4 places on the track in his
first stint, driving a Minardi!
Racing doesn’t start and finish at the pointy end of the grid you know.
But then, no, you probably don’t! - Geoff - Australia
I can say to you is this: Being involved in corporate sponsorship in F1 there
is serious discussions going on in the boardroom regarding the feasibility of
sponsoring a sport that is slowly showing a slow decline in attendance and TV
ratings. That said, there is no doubt that Ferrari and the all conquering MS
are probably the undisputed champion team of the modern era. The brilliance
and the execution of his drive on Sunday further cements MS as the greatest
driver after Ayrton Senna to ever race F1. However if this obliteration of the
opposition continues then you will not have any F1 sport to watch let alone
have a discussion forum as this to put forward your opinions and thoughts of
the sport that wont even exist.
There is no doubting the other teams need to start getting act together but to
do so without corporate sponsorship will be almost impossible to catch the
Ferrari. But how are you going to get sponsorship money when corporates are
looking to slash and in some cases withdraw completely from F1 and if that is
the case how will the teams be able to bridge the gap to Ferrari??????
You see, if you take your head out of your #$% then you will understand that
without an even competition there will not be a sport to follow - Charles -
Geoff bring back
Godzilla and the Sierra Cosworths I reckon.
I loved the race, as I'm a technobuff, but hey warmer weather may not save the
Michelin shod hudlums.
All y'all who want to stop watching F1 piss off and stop bothering us. Yours
insincerely Cooky - Australia
MS is a freak. To
come out Friday and put a track record down on your first hot lap. The man is
a brilliant driver and the red barons are masterful at building a race-car.
That said, the Aust GP was the most boring 3 days I have ever spent at a race
Friday was boring MS put down that lap and no-one knew if the others were
trying or conserving their engines.
Saturday, again we had this back to back qualifying with the first lap being
run to determine the running order of the 2nd. To be honest, no-one knew what
was going on and no-one was sure of who was carrying fuel and what their true
Sunday - 2 laps in you knew it was all over.
As for Malaysia evening things up, Saturday in Melbourne was quite warm and I
believe the track temp was around 40degC. Ferrari were still 1sec+ ahead of
it's nearest rival. Whilst it should be warmer, I don't think that anyone will
go near them.
Back in the old days it used to be exciting to be there as the battle in
practice and qualifying was genuine. Something needs to happen to even this
thing up or it will be a as Bernie said, a disaster. Last year attendances
were down throughout the season, most overtaking happens in the pits and if
you have the same team winning everything, the supporters will not watch or
attend. I love the sport, but I'm not going to watch it if it's the same story
It's not Ferrari's fault, they have the budget and are just good at what they
do. To keep the sport alive their needs to be some sensible regulation that
will hopefully even it up. Perhaps they need to go to a controlled tyre to
take that component out of the equation. I really don't know how it should be
done, I don't like the idea of regulating for it, but it needs to be done - Frank
J - Australia
Hi All, As I said
in prior comments; Ferrari truly are Number One Team!
They have the most Powerful Engines without question! Let it be written:
> BMW DO NOT have the most powerful engine! < Ferrari does! < Ferrari
also has the best drivability! To the tune of 1 to 2 seconds a lap! Staggering!
Maybe it is time for Williams and McLaren to move over and let some of the
lesser teams start their rise. BAR, Renault, Sauber, really made the show. I
hope they advance.
It was a stunning victory for the Ferrari Team and the best two drivers in the
You can keep the loud mouth Montoya!
Ralf is having to live up to the legend of his brother and having a tough time
DC is just not that fast anymore.
Kimi is too young and in a very poor car. Whether it the car or themselves or
both, they all have some very real problems to deal with!
I see Alonso and Button as two standouts. The rest must still prove
I hope the engine and chassis rules don't change! Keep them for at least
another 4 to 5 years. The sport needs stability!
Lastly, A question I was debated one in my last comments: Who had to highest
top speed ? Anyone know ? Not Williams ? Not Toyota ? Not Renault! It was
Ferrari!!!!!! Again! Need I say anymore?
Forza Ferrari! NUMBER #1 Talk to you soon, Frank, USA
Johan.... If you can read which I don't think either of you can, I clearly
stated that the race was BORING. It has nothing to do with who the winner is
or tall poppy syndrome you idiots. I want what most F1 fans want.....a
competition and I don't mean 2 Ferraris.
From a spectators perspective which is why this sport is so successful world
wide, there is no excitement in going to the race or even watching it on TV.
Our own local newspapers (Herald Sun & The Age) have been writing about it
since last Friday and making the main story of the GP apart from Schueys win.
All I am saying is lets see a dog fight out there and not one that keeps
PS. Ferraris budget is 2.5 times that of the next biggest being Williams/Mclaren
Charles - Australia
Ag c'mon Charles
and Marc, F1 is about winning - and nothing less will do. And Ferrari is doing
that the best of all. What do you expect them to do? Build stupid slow cars
that break? And while we're at it, why don't they fire MS & Co.
Unfortunately everything revolves around money.
John N is talking a lot more sense. Unfortunately Toyota will need somebody
more substantial than Panis and Da Matta to help them develop the car.
Somebody that knows how to set a car up and give input in its development.
Montoya could have helped (as much as I dislike the guy). Even DC could have
something to contribute seeing that it is unlikely that he will be employed by
McLaren next year. And while I am daydreaming: Can't Mika Hakkinen contribute
something - maybe not as a driver but with their budget I am sure they can
make him a nice working offer. Of course MS, Rory Byrne, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt
and maybe Paolo Martinelli will have Toyota winning the Constructors title
within 2 years (but that's now really dreaming but I think you get my
While I am all for more exciting racing, lets not pull the front guys down
(thanks Geoff that's more or less your line), lets hope the other teams lift
You can always let everybody work within specified budgets which will bring
them closer together but then you create another Indy Cars or Champ series -
Heaven forbid!!! - Johan M - South Africa
Yesterday Race was
utter bollocks, watching paint dry would have been more interesting. Obviously
all the other teams have learnt nothing and Ferrari must have pretty bored
themselves because the championship is surely already in the bag.
I honestly don't know how anyone else other than Schumacher will win this year
- Adam - England
It was a decent
enough race with an absolutely deserved result for everyone from the top
teams, only bad luck I could register was for Mark Webber who probably had a
fair chance for 1 or 2 points.
Are the complainers aware that it is part of the sport that some have a better
day than others? Remember when McLaren were 2 seconds faster than all others
in 1998, it just can happen especially in the first race. For me its just
great to see the individual performances and I have to congratulate at least
10 drivers for having done a great job. What's wrong with a vintage
performance like that of Michael once again? Do the complainers hate other
dominant figures in sport as well, the Valentino Rossis, Michael Jordans,
Tiger Woods, Andre Agassis, the Brazilian Soccer Team?
Reflect on yourself, maybe there is more wrong about you personally than you
might like to admit.... Of course we can hope for closer results in the future
but its up to the thistimenonwinners to improve. Actually there was one big
positive in Melbourne - BAR (really a pity for JV to have missed the moment)
and one big negative - McLaren (how could they get it that wrong?).
May SEPANG come, I for one am really looking forward to that one. Cheers, Tomas -
Charles and Marc,
you are full of #$%^. While I'm not a Ferrari fan (and based on McLarens
performance in Melbourne I don't think I'm anybody's fan at the moment) I have
to simply acknowledge that Ferrari got it right and everybody else got it
wrong. You two make it sound like Ferrari went out and bought the race.
Budgets kept the Jordans, Minardis etc off the podium, but Williams, McLaren
and Toyota all have more funds available than most 3rd world countries.
McLaren had the first car out testing long before Ferrari or anyone else - and
Ferrari and Bridgestone had a dream weekend, come Sepang and 50 degree track
temps the pendulum will swing.
Here in Aus, as Charles will know (he understands it brilliantly), we have a
concept called the 'Tall Poppy Syndrome' - lets knock the guy at the top off
his pedestal and bring him back to the masses. What are you two really whining
about? That Ferrari are doing a more professional job than the hicks you
favour? Or that they have drivers who can deliver when our preferred jockeys
can't? Get over it and accept that the best team on the worst rubber kicked
arse (again) and point your venom at the losers we backed for not delivering
after spending a squillion bucks, not at the team that did deliver!
It sticks in my throat to say it but Ferrari, Renault and BAR delivered this
weekend while the other mega-budget teams didn't. Personally, I'm sick to
death of guys like you blaming winners for winning, rather than losers for
It's your type that created the situation here in Aus that banned Sierra's and
Skyline GTR's from racing because our local crap couldn't keep up. Instead of
blaming Ford and Holden for building crap cars, we banned the good ones.
I just hope Bernie and Max aren't listening to your drivel. Ferrari have got
the best mousetrap around today - let them eat the mice! - Geoff -
Well, all I can
say is that this had better get better, or I won't watch anymore. Or at least
I'll just watch casually. I read something that Bernie said a couple of days
ago. He has already condemned the rule changes before the first race!
Particularly the 1 engine rule, sighting that the whole idea back-fired. The
have's benefit and have nots got worse.
As for me, I'm an employee of Toyota in the US, and this has just gotten
beyond painful. I understand that F-1 is a whole different animal, but here in
the USA they have Toyota Racing Development, who are able to dominate
everything they get involved with in short order. I wish Toyota would consider
letting TRD getting involved before they completely embarrass us all. Panis
gets over-taken by Christian Klein in a Jaguar?
I saw some pictures of JPM. He looked suicidal. You gotta love the aggressive
style, but he took himself out in the first turn.
I'm pretty sure McLaren will pull it together, but it might not happen in time
for them to contend.
I think Sauber will be good. I think their car is as good as Jaguar or maybe
Honda. Although Massa looks the same to me. Wide in the turns, understeer,
wide out, oversteer coming into the straight, and swerve 3 times. It's the
same routine about once a lap.
And then there's Honda. I hate that they look good now that J.V. is gone. Not
that I'm a huge J.V. fan, it's just that I felt he deserved to go out with a
little more dignity.
As far as Friday goes, I like the third driver idea. But the whole thing is,
is that the more rules they have, the harder it is to figure out the
strategies. Now with the 3rd driver, he does the majority of the running, so
they can reduce the miles on the other 2 engines. So the team gets more data,
but the drivers have to try to interpret it to each other. And then there's
the fuel strategy. It's all so confusing. I wish they would just wave the
flags and let them race.
We all know that F-1 has lost some of it's market, but I think it has more to
do with the Economy. And lets face it. It's the out-lay of money versus the
quality of entertainment. And what I saw yesterday...? Maybe if you stopped
the race at the halfway mark, and had the drivers switch cars with each other,
that would have been entertaining, but other than that, it was just no fun to
watch - John N - USA
Ok, who do you
think might have a chance to beat Ferrari/Schumacher next year? - Byron F -
I totally agree
with Charles from Australia... Being the start of the season... I was kind of
hoping to find back the sport in F1... I guess not.
After 25 years of watching in my case... these past few years... well... last
year did gave me some hope... until the Montoya incident which I still can't believe...
but now.... I wasted enough time and money... To make things worse, in the
driver's quotes... Ferrari is trying to make it look like there was actually a
fight between Rubens and Michael, now they're playing political style
manipulation on us and don't worry Michael, if needed... you can hit all the
cars you want... you won't get any penalties... and Rubens will be a nice guy
and let you pass... and go ahead Ferrari... why not put a human on mars while
your at it... well don't worry Ferrari... if you want to save money one day,
we can always remove all the other teams from competition so you can win all
the Grand Prix you want... in the meantime... I will be watching auto SPORT
If the FIA wants a corporate saga or soap to run on TV, they have one with
F1... Marc - Quebec - Canada
For the first time
in my GP spectator life (20 Years) I have never been so bored and disappointed
at a GP race than I was today at the Melbourne GP. After watching the Ferrari
of MS absolutely trounce the rest of the field without even breaking a sweat I
walked away convinced that F1 is no longer a competitive motor sport where the
worlds best drivers fight it out race after race for that crown they all so
hungry to win. Its about one team "FERRARI" who have one goal in
mind "achieve total obliteration of the opposition no matter what the
What a disgraceful performance from the Italian team! Don't get me wrong, I
have been a Ferrari fan for many years and will continue to be a fan however,
I can no longer watch or follow a sport that has become so boring and
uncompetitive that I fall asleep at the track....A first for me!
What happened to the days where the likes of Senna, Prost and Mansell where
fighting it out like titans in battle. The competition was so fierce, on race
day any one of these drivers or even other drivers would have a chance at
winning the race or even the crown. It seems Ferrari is prepared to throw as
much money into its F1 budget as it takes to stay ahead of the rest the teams
with total disregard to the damage it is doing to the sport.
I don't know if the FIA and Bernie can do much about it at this stage of the
season but all I can say if they don't act quickly F1 I'm afraid is
going to take a nose dive in spectator attendance and corporate
I spoke with numerous spectators at the race today and the feeling was very
much the same. A number of people even went as far as saying they would not be
attending next years event. I sincerely hope for the sake of the sport I have
followed for over 20 years something is done to make the competition closer.
Might not be back next year - Charles - Australia
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