Formula One: Even Arnie can’t mask the troubled start

After several withdrawals and a processional one-two win for Mercedes, the Hollywood star’s surprise appearance at the podium ceremony provided a rare moment of cheer.

But even Schwarzenegger’s dazzling smile, and banter with winner Lewis Hamilton, couldn’t mask the problems facing F1 at the start of the new season.

With only 15 cars making it to the grid for the opening race, the fewest since 1963, questions are being asked about the complex hybrid engine technology which is giving many teams a headache.

New outfit Manor didn’t make it out of the garage, and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) dropped out with mechanical problems on the way to the start.

Max Verstappen, who became the sport’s youngest driver aged 17 years and 166 days, also had a bitter-sweet day when the Renault power unit in his Toro Rosso failed on the 34th lap.

Engine-supplier Honda’s struggles on their reunion with McLaren were underlined when Jenson Button was delighted just to finish the race, even in last place.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo echoed the assessment of many when he called the race, which Hamilton led from start to finish, “boring”.

“For sure it’s not great for the people,” said Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel, commenting on the sparse field. 

“(Formula One) is a difficult challenge. It is complicated – maybe it got a bit too complicated.”

Red Bull, dominant from 2010-2013, said they may even consider pulling out of the sport. Team principal Christian Horner called for new rules to rein in Mercedes.

“I fear the interest will wane,” Horner told reporters. “I didn’t see much of Mercedes on the television and I can only imagine that it isn’t interesting watching a procession so the producer was looking for other battles going on in the race – except there weren’t that many cars to look at.

“The highlight for me was Arnie Schwarzenegger on the podium.”

Vettel was accused of switching off fans in droves during his march to four world titles with Red Bull, and another lop-sided season will not help Formula One’s appeal.

And when told about the complaints, the response from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was blunt.

“There is this wall in Jerusalem that you can stand in front of and complain. Maybe the guys should go there,” he said.

The problems look stark, but crisis is nothing new to a sport where drama behind the scenes often exceeds the spectacle on the track.

And like Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, it keeps coming back – starting with Malaysia in two weeks’ time. – AFP


Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Despite tweet, Zuma keeps silent about providing his taxpayer information

The Public Protector has still not received confirmation from former president Jacob Zuma that she may access his tax records —...

Ahead of WEF, Mboweni will have to assure investors that...

The finance minister says despite the difficult fiscal environment, structural reforms are under way to put SA on a new growth path

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.