by Arav Barmecha
The 2020, Formula One (F1) season had its ups and downs, like every other year. This season started with the pre – season testing in Barcelona, Spain. Pre – season testing is the first time it can be seen if what has been designing all winter works on the track. It lasts 3 days and that is the only time the driver has, to get to grips with the car. Sometimes the car works perfectly but that only rarely happens. In pre – season testing there were a number of problems for teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, HAAS, and even Williams.
On the second day of testing we discovered that there was something unusual going on inside the Mercedes Silver Bullet. Later realising it was the DAS, (Dual Axis Steering). This allows you to change the toe or the angle of the wheels when the driver pushes or pulls the wheel. This is a very clever way to give Mercedes extra speed on the straight roads and to bring temperature to the tires. This allows you to increase your grip and have accurate braking. The DAS is a very controversial topic, which is why Red Bull, a team from F1 went to the FIA(Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile). To this instance they replied, “This isn’t news to the FIA, it’s something we’ve been talking to them for some time. The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we’re pretty confident that it matches those requirements.”
When Racing Point, another F1 team showed their car , there were very noticeable similarities between their car and a previous Mercedes car. Some people called it a carbon copy of the Mercedes W11 car just painted in pink. Racing Point did not argue with this because they used Mercedes gearboxes, engine, and even the same suspension. The Racing point team was put under scrutiny because Renult, another F1 team asked the FIA to take a look at Racing Point’s car design and listed parts to see if the origin of the parts were from the team itself. In the end there was a problem with the brake ducts of the car and Racing Point was deducted 15 points and fined $470,00 but they were allowed to keep using it. Renault were not happy with this but they had to settle with it.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop F1.The race continued in Melbourne. However, nobody was wearing a mask and nobody was socially distancing. Later, we found out that 2 mechanics in Mclaren, a F1 team, had symptoms of the virus and 1 of them tested positive. A joint statement from the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation said, “There will be no racing in Melbourne, Australia due to COVID 19”. All the fans were forced to go back and the crowd started jeering at the announcer. After that they did not have a race for 217 days,The longest time F1 had gone without a race.
Christian Horner said, “Nobody could have predicted the damage this virus could have and has done in the past 10 weeks.” The next time the drivers got to drive a car was in Spielberg, Austria. During the qualifying rounds, Valteri Bottas, a Mercedes F1 driver, was forced onto the gravel that resulted in a yellow flag which means an incident is up ahead, and to slow down. Lewis Hamilton, another Mercedes F1 driver was on a very fast lap when he neared the flag indicator. He crossed it without slowing down but instead accelerating. He said that he could not see it in the dust and that is why he did not slow down. This resulted in a 3 place penalty for Lewis Hamilton in the race.
Another memorable incident during the race was Lando Norris, a McLaren driver winning his first podium. This was possible because of Alex Albon and Lewis Hamilton. Alex Albon was trying to overtake Lewis Hamilton for first place. However in the heat of the moment, Hamilton’s front tire collided with Albon’s back tire and he spun onto the gravel. This act was classified as Hamilton’s fault and he got a 5 second penalty that would add on at the end. Later in the race Hamilton was third and Lando Norris was fourth and 6.5 second behind Hamilton. If Lando Norris could earn 1.5 second in two laps he would earn his very first podium!
Norris drove like his life depended on it and the gap to Lewis was now 4.8 seconds. Given that Lewis had a 5 second penalty and in the last lap of the race Lando Norris won a DHL fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:07.475. Not only did he earn a podium but he got the fastest lap of the entire race.
In conclusion, this season of F1 was rounded off despite all of the penalties, Lewis Hamilton followed by Valtteri Bottas. In the constructors championship Mercedes came first followed by Red bull. These were the greatest moments in 2020 formula one.