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April starts with a bang for Formula One

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm •  Published: April 9, 2014
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Everybody expected April to be a crucial time for Formula One.

It was the month when the future of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone would go on the line as he faces bribery charges in a Munich court room. It was when the Ferrari and Red Bull teams would step up their assault on the new engine rules, hoping to pressure the series into making changes.

What most did not expect is that it would also be a month with one of the most entertaining races in many years, with Lewis Hamilton winning a breathless Bahrain Grand Prix against Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg by a single second.

The opening two races of the season, in Australia and Malaysia, had been tepid affairs with Mercedes untroubled in front and cautious, even dull racing.

The races had played into the hands of Ferrari and Red Bull, which used them as evidence in their case that the new 1.6-liter, V6 turbo hybrid engines, along with new fuel limitations, were producing lifeless racing.

More of the same was expected in Bahrain, where Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo turned up in person to lobby Ecclestone — who is firmly on his side in that debate — and FIA chairman Jean Todt, who is decidedly not.

The Ferrari chief did not stay long. Not only was he infuriated by the sight of his team's cars and their richly remunerated drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen scrabbling around, but also because the terrific entertainment value of the race seemed to undercut his argument.

With Todt sticking by his guns, saying the engines will not be changed other than perhaps to amp up the muted sound, it appears April will end with Ferrari and the Renault-powered Red Bulls still trailing in Mercedes' wake.

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