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The only thing that can save this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix is… RAIN!

Let's face it, last weekend's edition of the Styrian Grand Prix was a snoozefest, completely devoid of any action. We waited patiently for some overtakes, or some tense will-he or won't-he catch him moments, or some exciting strategy u-turns that catch everyone unaware. Alas, they never arrived, and instead we had the monotonous drone of LAP AFTER LAP of nothing.

We need action

Just to be clear, we love Formula 1. We enjoy all aspects of the Sport: the glitz and glamour; the speed and driving skill; the technical innovation and development; the mix of personalities in the teams. Angry Toto, happy Toto, smiley Ricciardo, frowny Kimi, goofy Seb, cerebral Adrian Newey, Emperor Ross Brawn, and the list goes on. You get the point - we follow every aspect of F1 and genuinely enjoy all of it... except for one thing. One very very important thing. When there is no ACTION.

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We are often spoiled for action in FORMULA 1, and we've certainly had plenty of it this season already. Not so long ago we were gripped by the events at Baku, the jaw dropping excitement, the twists and turns as the drama of the race unfolded with each and every new lap, culminating in an edge of your seat finale that will be difficult to equal this season. But the Styrian Grand Prix was so far removed from that level of action and excitement. In fact, it was so far the complete polar opposite that we actually fell asleep watching. The soporific monotony of the same cars following each other in the same order lap after lap sent us to sleep. The surprising thing is, we woke up with 10 laps remaining and quickly realised that the running order was unchanged. Nothing had happened, not an overtake to be analysed and admired, not a single example of clever strategy out-foxing an adversary, not even a technical failure causing a shake up. It was, plain and simply, boring. Even Crofty stopped shouting, which would usually be a relief. On this occasion, it was a sad reflection of the non-event that was the 2021 Styrian Grand Prix. 

 

But! But, my fellow Formula 1 fans, there is hope. There is hope of drama and excitement, despite the Formula 1 bandwagon remaining at the Red Bull Ring in Austria for the second weekend running. And that hope is the weather! Rain is forecast across the entire weekend, with Sunday currently forecasted as having a 90% chance of rain. THANK THE RACING GODS!

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From a safety perspective, we are always a little apprehensive about a wet race, and the lack of visibility at high speeds is always a concern. In recent seasons, rain-affected races have been very well managed by race control, keeping in regular communication with the teams and drivers to ensure it is safe to race at all times the cars are on track. They've even gone so far as switching to a rolling start behind a safety car to safely bring the pack of cars up to racing speed, before letting them go on their way to battle it out. With the likelihood of a rain-affected race weekend ahead, we hope the continued high level of safety continues. We also hope for racing action, akin to the likes of the legendary 2011 Canadian Grand Prix, won by the persistent Jenson Button from the back of the grid. 

There’s no doubt that driving a FORMULA 1 car in the rain with a slippery wet surface, with standing water and tails of spray from the rear of each car is a unique test of a driver’s ability. When the drivers demonstrate their ability to not only handle the wet conditions, but to improve and separate themselves from the rest of the field, it is genuinely one of the most interesting aspects of F1. We’ve seen it on numerous occasions where the likes of Ayrton Senna would be considerably faster in the rain compared to his contemporaries; Lewis Hamilton and the previously-mentioned Jenson Button also thrived in those conditions. More recently we have seen Carlos Sainz and Charles LeClerc demonstrate the ability to improve during wet conditions. Maybe some of the new generation of drivers will get the opportunity to display their talent - Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda spring to mind; Schumacher because he is a young driver who has been very successful racing in lower formula and clearly has a great deal of talent, but currently has to deal with the very uncompetitive Haas car; and Yuki Tsunoda who grew up honing his skills at consistently wet track conditions in Japan may also be worth keeping an eye on, if he can keep his cool in challenging conditions. 

 

What is for certain, is that we cannot wait to find out what happens at the Red Bull Ring, and can only hope we see an exciting and action packed race.