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F1

What is going on at Mercedes? At the Spanish Grand Prix, both of their cars went out after Rosberg's car had an incorrect engine setting. In the European Grand Prix in Baku, Hamilton struggled for most of the race with an incorrect engine setting. Everyone agrees that the cars have become too technical for the drivers to drive without outside assistance. Surely that is against one of the sport's most basic principles?

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Some people like to live in, or visit for show-events, an environment where they can parade their frou-frou doggies with bows in their hair while comparing the price of Paris lips (expensive gains more kudos, regardless of how ridiculous they look), cellulite treatments and, of course, to criticise the effectiveness of someone else's skin cream at keeping sun-induced wrinkles at bay. And they expect clear blue skies and sun.

Welcome to Monaco where it pissed down on race day. Then the sun came out. Then it rained again. Then there was the race which didn't do as expected, either.

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Some people like to live in, or visit for show-events, an environment where they can parade their frou-frou doggies with bows in their hair while comparing the price of Paris lips (expensive gains more kudos, regardless of how ridiculous they look), cellulite treatments and, of course, to criticise the effectiveness of someone else's skin cream at keeping sun-induced wrinkles at bay. And they expect clear blue skies and sun.

Welcome to Monaco where it pissed down on race day. Then the sun came out. Then it rained again. Then there was the race which didn't do as expected, either.

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Niki Lauda shoots from the lip and is consistently quick to blame Hamilton for any incident involving the two Mercedes drivers. Toto Wolff is far more measured. Within minutes of Mercedes' premature end of the Spanish Grand Prix, both had delivered their verdict. Lauda was, as usual, critical of Hamilton. Wolff gave a technical answer that hardly anyone understood but it did not say Hamilton was to blame. And it was right that it did not because while we mortals do not have access to Rosberg's data, we do have access to Hamilton's in-car footage and while we cannot say Rosberg was at fault, we can say, with certainty, that Hamilton was not.

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Just as in Bahrain, first lap argy-bargy created the drama and shaped much of this year's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. And yet in-car footage shows a disturbing similarity between many of the incidents.

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As Formula One hits its stride, the drivers set off more like the last run on a skiing holiday, and like Italians in the lift queue.

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I'm embarrassed to say that I was so wrong about the Formula One 2016 qualifying format. It looked like such an excellent idea but it's turned out to be awful for the fans - although it does deliver what appears to be the correct grid. The drivers have an immense dislike of the format, too. So I have an idea that basically nicks the best of qualifying from several other series - and that gives the fans a reason to invest their Saturdays.

This launch weekend, our Premium Content is free for all!!

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Alonso Escapes Melbourne 2016 attribution unknownIf there is one thing that the F1 world can be pleased about, it's that the first race of the 2016 World Championship was often more like a junior kart race than top class single seater racing had become.

But an incident suggests that the halo driver protection is a terrible idea.

 

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At the opening round of the 2016 Formula One Championship in Melbourne Australia, the Ferrari drivers demonstrated superhuman powers of anticipation and dexterity as they shot off the line and their cars hit optimum revs and made optimum gear changes all the way into the first braking zone. Do Ferrari have a little extra somewhere in their systems?

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The new qualifying format for Formula One has shown that it's got the potential to make sorting out the grid positions more exciting than races often are. But it's not perfect.

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The jailing of Indian businessman Subrata Roy two years ago raised its own questions for Force India for Sahara, the company whose name is plastered down the side of the cars, is not quite the sponsor it seems. Along with Vijay Mallya (See story ) Sahara owns most of the team. Roy, the Chairman of Sahara, was jailed because his company failed to make repayments exceeding USD5,000 million to investors after the investment bonds the company issued were found by a court to be illegal.

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If you've been a bit bored by F1 qualifying for a while, as drivers sit in the pits until the last minute or hang around in the middle of the track after finishing a fast lap, then the FIA's new qualifying format is going to prove a revalation. Will it be edge of the seat stuff? Quite possibly.

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As the F1 teams pack their kit to head to Melbourne, I have one thing to say on a personal note: it's good to be back.

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Force India 2016 car courtesy and copyright Force India   There's no secret that brash Indian businessman Vijay Mallya's business model for Force India depended on the success of his other businesses and his relationships with other companies. Kingfisher Airlines crashed (the company, not its planes) despite Mallya's highly publicised claims that they had the best looking stewardesses in the sky. But that was not the only dark cloud in his firmament. This time, it's his own money that's at stake amid allegations of money laundering.

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Whether you call the black and gold cars Lotus after their sponsor or Renault after the tech, they still have their engine manufacturer's logo proudly displayed. Caterham (which has the right to the name Team Lotus but doesn't use it) also carry Renault branding. But for the Korean GP, that's going to change and almost no one outside Korea will know why

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