A1GP - South Africa preview
The break since the last A1GP round in Malaysia has been longer than planned due to the postponement of the Indonisia round. It certianly feels like the series has lost momentum. It has also lost another team as Japan will not be competing due to money concerns. Carlin Motorsport run the Japan entry as well as those of Portugal and Lebanon who are still competing. Japan missed the Portugal round at Estoril for the same reason.
Prior to the first practivce today (Friday) there were concerns over the FIA approval of the Durban street circuit, but FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting OK'd it after advising the organisers to add a couple of extra tyre barriers and first practice went ahead as scheduled. First and second practices were punctuated by several red flags to remove cars that ran into trouble on the initially wet roads.
The best times in practice 2 were set by Australia, Portugal and Czech Republic (full timing here). France were surprisingly only 17th after not setting a time in practice 1. It'll be interesting to see how qualifying goes with this in mind. Qualifying is being shown in the UK on Sky Sports from 12pm GMT.
Even if it's dry I'm expecting a lot of red-flags during qualifying and several full-course-yellow periods during the race given how tight this street circuit is. At the first two meetings of the season (Britiain and Germany) the drivers were very careful, very conservative, but since then they've been contesting almost every corner, right the way down the field for the whole of both races as if they were driving stock cars. This has led some to criticize the standard of driving in the series, but it has also provided more action in each race than a whole season of Formula 1. Don't get me wrong, I still love Formula 1, but not for the action. A1GP makes a good complement.