The two-week residency of Formula One in Austria has come to a close and it is more than fair to say that the opening rounds of the F1 season provided levels of entertainment that fans could only have dreamed of after so many months without a race.
Whilst race day at the Styrian Grand Prix was perhaps not as entertaining as last Sunday’s race, the weekend as a whole provided us with a valuable reminder that the balance between the drivers, cars and elements can tip one way or another in an instant. Be it George Russel qualifying in 12th (and starting 11th) to Lewis Hamilton pulling out a lap from the Gods to qualify over a second ahead of his rivals in treacherous conditions, Formula One can still shock and surprise us despite what it’s staunchest critics might think.
Sunday’s race certainly required some warming up before we got to see the battles on track that we were so craving and maybe even expecting after the Austrian Grand Prix, but those final 10 laps offered up some of the best and most entertaining racing of the limited season so far.
Overall, I would rate the opening double-header of the season a solid 8.5/10. We were helped of course by varying weather conditions over the fortnight but for what could have been a very predictable opening few weekends to the season, Austria delivered more than enough value as a season-opening venue.
Laid against the backdrop of global political and social challenges prominent in the news cycle; the COVID 19 Pandemic, protests in global cities and a spotlight on the BLM movement there was plenty of drama and cause for pause over the whole race weekends and for me a personal reminder of how the return of your favourite sport can have such a positive impact on one’s mood and mental health. To everyone who made this season start possible, from the FIA to team personnel, to freight drivers and race officials and everyone in between, I am so pleased and thankful that the season managed to get underway, with what has so far been an incredibly safe environment for teams and TV crews to operate.
A special mention as referenced in my last video must also go to the TV crews, from presenters at various TV Stations to camera operatives and TV directors, despite an unfortunate decision to cut away from the drivers ‘uniting’ before the Styrian Grand Prix, I felt the coverage from all involved provided a great narrative and storytelling elements across every single session from FP1 to Podium Presentations. Personally, I felt engaged and invested in everything that I was seeing on screen and that is not always the case with Formula One, so Kudos to all those involved.
Whilst the circus of Formula One needs and requires it to be a global sport, moving from city to city, country to country to raise profile, appease sponsors and deliver excitement to its fans, I for one have certainly not shut the door to the idea of double-headers even beyond the 2020 season at this point. With Silverstone back-to-back coming up in August it will be interesting to see if my opinion on that changes. However Austria delivered all I could have hoped for and more after such a long break from the sport and provided some moments we will talk about for the rest of this season and beyond.