The Bounce
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F1 recap - Barcelona


Another Mercedes 1/2. Should we all be upset about this, or should we simple give credit where credit is due? Well our F1 insider has more on this, and also how some talented South Africans have played major roles in some of the best F1 cars in recent times.


F1 recap - Barcelona

Now that we’ve seen a 5th 1-2 in a row for Mercedes F1, which is quickly becoming insurmountable, we should reflect on what it means from a behind-the-scenes point of view.
It is no accident that they got here, they might be on track to have the most dominant season in history (not good for us die-hard fans).
An important book to read on what it takes to get to and stay at the height of any given sport, Josh Waitzkin’s “The Art of Learning”, is a must read for any serious sports fan. He talks about the absolute, myopic focus and single-mindedness necessary to be relentless in the pursuit of victory. When David Coulthard recalls his coming together with Michael Schumacher in Belgium in 1998, he asked Schumacher if he thinks he’s ever wrong, and of course the answer was no. I imagine it’s the same for Lewis and many of the people he’s surrounded himself with.  
This kind of dominance has been seen once or twice before, interesting two such stories involving very talented South African engineers. In the 80s and early 90s, McLaren were the team to beat, and Gordon Murray was the chief designer of the most dominant of these, with the help of Honda, Senna/Prost, and a well oiled machine of pit-crew, strategists and cutting edge production capacity. Gordon Murray grew up in Durban and went to the local Technikon and moved to the UK to work on racing cars. He’s had some notoriety outside of the glory years at McLaren, with a few very clever designs at Brabham F1 and of course the greatest supercar of the 20th century, the BMW V12 powered McLaren F1. There are quite a few Youtube videos of Gordon explaining design choices of his best cars, very interesting if you’re a car nerd.
The second such story was of Rory Byrne, who found his own way from Joburg to designing cars that dominated F1. He studied chemistry at Wits and started a racing imports business in Alberton. The urge to design the cars himself, eventually led to Benetton, where he won two world championships with none other than Michael Schumacher. There was a brief moment in time, where Michael had left to go to Ferrari and Rory had retired to Thailand, and Michael convinced him to collaborate on the great Ferrari revival. That’s right, one of the most important parts to Michael winning 5 F1 world championships, on the trot, was none other than a South African! A mate of mine at work said of his time at Ferrari in recent years: “Rory plays golf every morning and when he does come in as advisor on aerodynamics meetings, he usually falls asleep”. So basically this guy is my hero.
Unfortunately for team red, their car is definitely not as good as the competition and will start to find the Red Bulls pinching podiums off of them. They had arguably the best car in 2017 and 2018 and it’s a real shame to see the silver arrows without any real challenge for the next 5 or so races.
The reasons MB are so dominant this year are:
They have the best driver (s)
They have the best engine
They have the best aerodynamics
They have the best pit crew
They have the best strategists
They have the best race engineers
They have the ability to update the car at almost every race
If Lewis somehow switches with Vettel, which was one of the more bizarre rumours to come out of this weekend, we might have a real spectacle on again, as he’ll no doubt bring a few of his trusted engineers with him.

Next up, Monaco on May 26th.

Tags: f1, spanish gp, lewis hamilton, f1 review


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