The majority of the first thirty laps of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg were run behind the safety car, this is because everytime they let the cars go there was a crash at turn one.
This year Indy Car have introduced side-by-side restarts at all tracks, whereas before it was only done this way at ovals, with road and street tracks utilising single file restarts. Amazingly, the drivers got on their radios and blamed the new style restarts for the numerous turn one clashes, the first of which left Marco Andretti trapped in an upside down car, rather than looking at themselves!
I was actually surprised that the race started when it did as the rules state that the cars need to be close and side by side in grid formation, which they clearly weren’t, one of the drivers nearly rear-ending another before the green flag was even shown!
I’ve had a rather strange relationship with Indy Car, always knowing of it’s existence, always wanting to get more knowledge about it and yet, other than when Nigel Mansell was driving in it, largely ignoring it, only catching the odd race and hearing results. This year Sky Sports are showing the races in HD for the first time, and having only recently converted to HD I have decided to try and give it a full season.
This first race of the season, after it finally got going, was pretty good. The drivers do seem to make a lot of contact with each other, Danica Patrick changed the front wing on her car twice, but largely they are left to get on with it which leads to a flowing and fast race as long as the safety car isn’t needed. Effectively, reigning champion Dario Franchiti lead the entire race and looks a good bet for hanging on to the title. The fact he’s Scottish is a good thing for the UK fans, in fact there’s a few British drivers there and a few ex F1 drivers giving me something to hold my interest.
The HD pictures were fantastic, I’m not a fan of the Sky Sports presentation team, and the pre race show was incredibly tedious, it was scheduled to be an hour long, thankfully the previous show overran so it was only 45 minutes but I still hit fast forward for most of it. It was strange that the pre race was so long as almost as soon as Franchiti crossed the line Sky started promoted future races and then said goodbye, although I am pleased that they don’t go to adverts everytime the Americans do.
So, IndyCar 2011, drivers must try harder to drive and not hit each other, and Sky need to rejig their schedules so there’s less boring studio chat before the race and more interesting analysis after.