Formula 1 thoughts after China

By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer

With a trio of races down in the current Formula 1 season, 3 storylines are emerging from the early race results.  The dominance of Nico Rosberg has been a pleasant surprise as has watching Red Bull perform at the sharp end of the pack.  On the flip side, the Ferrari charge has not materialized which must be boring a hole through the walls in Maranello.

Lets focus on Nico Rosberg first!

Rosberg is on an amazing winning streak that rivals the best in the history of F1.

Sebatian Vettel             9 Consecutive Wins 2013

Alberto Ascari              7 Consecutive Wins 1952-1953

Michael Schumacher   7 Consecutive Wins 2004

Michael Schumacher   6 Consecutive Wins 2000-2001

His 6 wins in a row have only been bettered by three other drivers who have all won multiple World Championships.

Rosberg currently has 17 race wins giving him more wins than F1 legends such as Emerson Fittipaldi, Sterling Moss and Jenson Button.

What’s more is that Rosberg has dialed in this streak with Lewis Hamlilton as a teammate.  Having to battle for wins with someone of Hamilton’s caliber, in an equal car, is tough and shows the character and determination of Nico Rosberg.

It is certainly early in the season, but watching Rosberg gain momentum race after race should make the 2016 season one which keeps the interest of the fan base.

Rosberg has his legacy on the line right now.  With two hands worth of additional wins this year, and a championship, Rosberg can put himself on the verge of the top 10  winningest drivers in F1 history.  If he flounders, he becomes a great second driver without a championship.

This is the year that Rosberg must make name for himself.

Rosberg is all in!

Hamilton is all in!

Which will bring a great title battle by years end!  Stay tuned!

Red Bull racing is the huge surprise in the young season. The Christian Horner led squad sits in third position in the Constructors Championship  just 4 points behind Ferrari.  For all the attention that Ferrari received in testing,  it is Red Bull Racing quietly overachieving with positive results and a podium to show in the first three races.

Both Drivers have shown up strongly with Daniel Ricciardo placing 4th in all 3 races to date and Daniil Kvyat with a podium in China and a 7th position in Bahrain. Red Bull has proven competitive in all of the events which is a huge surprise given the lack of power from the Renault power unit last season.

This year, in contrast, Red Bull’s power unit has been rebranded as a TAG Heuer package but it is still a Renault at its core.  It is interesting that Red Bull has been able to extract what appears to be more horsepower out of this unit while the factory Renault has been mired in the back of the field.  While the Red Bull chassis has always been the class of the field, Red Bull becomes a front runner when the power unit can keep up with the capabilities of the chassis.

It’s doing that now.

If the engine continues moving in the right direction, and  right now it is, Red Bull will get it right and this is when they are dangerous.

There is a reason neither Mercedes or Ferrari wanted to give them a power unit.

Which brings us to Ferrari.

All of the talk surrounding Ferrari this year has amounted to a smokescreen behind which we have yet to see through.

What exactly is the Scuderia bringing  to the table?

We have seen a quick and powerful car that lacks reliability, and when they deliver reliability, it is due to dialing back the full potential of the car.

An Italian quandary.

Ferrari has not shown its full potential and is rapidly falling behind the sheer dominance of Mercedes.  Currently Mercedes has carried 114 points while Ferrari has produced 61.

In math speak, that makes for a 53 point separation after only 3 races.  Mercedes did this last year, creating such a large gap that for all intent and purpose, the Constructors Championship was well over before the mid point of the season.

So while Ferrari has been building a faster and more powerful power unit, and they have done this well, Mercedes has been accumulating laps aimed at making their rocket more reliable.

Again, it’s a quandary for the Scuderia!

As much as we may be wanting a battle between teams at the front, it looks very much like this will be a year of  inter-team battles.   Rosberg and Hamilton will pass bullets at each other for the drivers title while Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel may find themselves battling on equal footing for Ferrari superiority.

Throw in Daniel Ricciardo and an occasional torpedo by Dany Kvyat, and you have the storylines for 2016!

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (http://whoobazoo.com/draftingthecircuits), which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (https://www.facebook.com/Formula1RacingPLUS), which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at www.littleorcasports.com

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