Formula 1’s new car launch season is almost as hotly anticipated as the start of the season itself.
Back at HQ, F1 teams’ focus switched to the design and build of their 2020 cars before 2019 was even concluded. There’s zero time for personnel to reflect on the year’s achievements/lament its failures as work continues unabated ahead of the new season.
Fans, on the other hand, have been starved of Grand Prix action for a full two months – forced to ‘entertain’ themselves with polls and debates on the bestest Formula 1 driver of all time, sexiest ever car, and who would win in a fight – 20 Max Verstappens with knives or one Fernando Alonso with a gun.
Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the idea – it’s the sort of nonsense we resort to in an attempt to quench our thirst for F1 when there’s none to be had.
So when launch season arrives – typically a week or two ahead of the first pre-season test, we’re usually rabid with anticipation for anything that might give us an clue to how the season might pan out.
We’re in the thick of it at the minute; we’ve seen Mercedes and Haas’ new liveries revealed, Ferrari and Red Bull unveil new cars, and Renault do a weird incomplete computer render thing achieving very little but to convince everyone they’re way behind schedule.
And so far, it’s been a complete damp squib.
Aside from the odd new flick of carbon fibre and splash of colour where there use to be none, there’s been very little to titillate even the most easily-titillated fan. (You know – the ones with driver names in their Twitter handles?)
But this should come as no surprise.
A major regulations overhaul in 2021 leaves 2020 as sort of a gap year. A 2019 part two if you like.
No team wants to spend outlandish money to build a brand new car for 2020 for it to be scrapped in its entirety at the end of the year, and so any new car was practically guaranteed to be an evolution of its predecessor in terms of philosophy, shape and colour.
There are no major supplier changes, or lucrative new sponsorship deals to speak of either, perhaps in part as a consequence of 2021 being such a significant watershed.
This leaves us with racing cars that, to all but the keenest eye, look the same as they did last year. And with just two driver changes in the whole field, teams find themselves with very little to ‘reveal’.
These seeds were sown long ago, and yet we still get ourselves dizzy with excitement, such is our appetite for the action to kick off again.
Heck, us Williams fans are practically giddy at the thought of there maybe being some red on the FW43 #shockhorror
So as you’re perusing the comments of your Formula 1 news source of choice, don’t despair about people expressing their disappointment at Mercedes being silver AGAIN (who’d have thunk it??) – it’s simply an enthusiasm for F1 to begin in earnest.
However, let’s none of us be surprised/shocked/disappointed/bored when, come Australia, teams are in generally the same order as they were in 2019 though, eh?