Hello everyone, Spy here, living the dream.
And today's dream is a particularly nice one, it's the one where, as soon as the chequered flag comes out, everyone skips out of the garages, saddles their pet unicorn and flies off into the sunset, thereupon to sit in a beach bar for three months where the beer and bacon sandwiches are free and served by Parker from Thunderbirds.*
...but back in the real world that's not how it works. Everyone will get a couple of weeks off between now and Melbourne – else the BAD THINGS happen – but there's plenty of work to be getting on with, first of which is a tyre test tomorrow and Wednesday.
Pirelli are moving from five to seven dry compounds next year. In practice they're adding two compounds softer than the ultrasoft but, running out of superlatives, they've decided to shift the names around a bit and add an extra one at the top and bottom of the race. Hence next year the softest of the softs will be called the 'hypersoft', while the hardest of the hards will be the 'superhard' – though, the paddock being what it is, this has already been renamed the 'wellhard'. Spy doesn't think F1 really needs four different compounds with 'soft' in the title – but sadly his suggestion of renaming them Bashful, Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Happy and Doc fell on deaf ears.
Confusing nomenclature aside, Pirelli's tyre rainbow was just about the most thrilling thing that happened in Abu Dhabi. The race itself was all filler, no thriller. Yas is very pretty, and very easy to work at, and staffed by good people – but the track is not the best for overtaking. Or, at least, not for F1. Too many slow corners, not enough quick ones and thus, a very difficult place to pass. Spy mentions this because it seems popular to blame the cars for the lack of passing in modern F1 – but it ain't the cars: last week in Brazil there was plenty of passing – because that track has a layout to encourage it: high-speed corners followed by a decent straight, into a slow corner. Build a circuit like that and you'll get overtaking. Maybe not too much – and too much is almost as bad as too little – but enough.
We had a few other sneaky bits of innovation scattered around the weekend. F1's new overlords unveiled a brand-new F1 logo (it's nice but, seriously, big whoop), we got a new post-race media format that the drivers already hate because they have to climb out of the car and go stand in a hot TV pen for 17 hours, and we got the first F1 eSports grand finale.
It's pretty cruel taking a group of people who dedicate their lives to doing something indoors and making them stand around outside in the desert, but when the virtual cars collide, no-one ends up working until 4am to put them back together. That's the sort of dream we can all enjoy.
Anyway, onwards to Melbourne! 117 days until FP1 in Albert Park!
*This is Spy's dream, get your own.