F1 2015: Australian GP

March 15th, 2015

A new F1 season has started and we already had many confirmations and few surprises. But nothing in the race was nearly as good as the post-race interview, where a joyful Hamilton said the following to the Terminator himself: “I thought you were taller!”. Joking aside, 2015 started with a bit of a low tone. 13 cars lined up on the grid (after losing 2 cars in the lap to preceding the formation lap) and only 11 saw the chequered flag.

Despite not having had many technical changes compared to last year, it’s already clear that reliability will play a big role in this season. Speaking of reliability, we have to mourns McLaren. Only Button made it to the initial grid (Magnussen’s engine exploded before he reached the grid) and he only managed to finish 11th out of 11 cars, having to deal with a new Honda engine only running at 40%. Everybody had massive hopes for the renewed partnership McLaren-Honda, but it yet has to show its real face (and it seems it won’t happen anytime soon).

Speaking of surprises, as I said at the beginning we had a few. First was Ferrari, with the surviving car of Sebastian Vettel achieving an impressing 3rd place that prompted him to salute his new team and fans with a surprisingly good Italian (he spoke more Italian in one race that what Schumacher did in his entire career with the Scuderia).

I also want to mention the new drivers, because they all provided great entertainment and showed once again what F1 has to do more of. Max Verstappen, Felipe Nasr and Carlos Sainz Jr. all showed great tenacity and fearless racing. They always “went for it” whenever there was an available space and the three of them I think overtook a lot, certainly more than what we have seen in recent years.

A very early take away from this first race is that Mercedes is going to dominate the entire season once again, while the real race will probably take place between Ferrari and Williams with than everybody else watching from a distance.

All in all a good start but the really important thing is that F1 is back and in a very good shape.

Parallelisms

January 11th, 2015

As always, when it’s about movies: spoilers ahead. Read with caution!

Yesterday night I went to see American Sniper, the latest Clint Eastwood movie; featuring a marvellous Bradley Cooper (I was very skeptic of this choice, especially if you think of any of The Hangover movies).

When the credits started rolling at the end, my first reaction was: I already saw this story.

Let me explain.

American Sniper is the real story of a cowboy turned Navy Seals sniper after whitnessing what happened to the Twin Towers in New York in 2001. After joining the Army and being sent after Bin Laden’s own army, he starts killing one enemy after the other, earning for himself the title of Legend. One enemy, another sniper, is his main adversary, taking many American lives. An incredible final shoot will see the Legend triumphant in the very end.

On the personal side, the sniper has a wife and two childrens, but ha has difficulties in coping with life away from the battlefield. He always feels responsible for all the lives he cannot save, rather than regretting all the lives he took.

Stop me if you have already heard this.

We need to travel back to 2001, year of release of Enemy at the Gates. This movie tells the story of a Soviet sniper, Vasily Zaytsev, engaged in a three day battle with a German sniper during the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942 during the Second World War. He enlists in the Red Army because he had no choice at the time and after being discovered by a Soviet political messenger and thanks to his skills, quickly became a poster-child of the War.

If you take the stories of these two extraordinary men and you put them side-by-side, you can see that the parallelisms go back to when they were both children. They were both trained with the rifle since they were very young and both later on went on to become legends and at same time propaganda tools. Their successes were used to boost the soldiers’ morale and intimidate the enemy. Their reputations will give them both a fierce enemy, putting their lives even more on the line.

On the personal side, they both struggle with their love. Vasily looses his woman in war, being killed by the opponent German sniper, Chris has a family but he has trouble to connect with it and when it does it’s too late, being killed by a young War Veteran.

These two stories, happening 70 years apart, share some incredible similarities and really they make you think. It makes you look back and reflect on how true it is that we can learn a lot from history and at the same time we can predict what will happen.

It really seems that history keeps repeating itself.

Ascension

December 27th, 2014

Attention: major spoilers ahead

In a time where most of the Sci-Fi TV shows are looking into the future, Ascension (7.1/10 on IMDb) is looking into a different contemporary reality, even if the final aim is always the same: providing a better future for mankind.

As always I’ve discovered this new show through my loyal TV Files app. Thanks to the New section, it’s always possible to find something interesting. In addition to that, I had read few reviews online, really hyping the show. So I decided to give it a go. Also, being a mini-series with 6 half-hour shows, it wasn’t a major time commitment anyway.

The initial premises of the show seems quite simple, maybe too simple. A spaceship packed with 600 people is sent into space in the late ’50 for a 100-years journey toward a new distant planet in order to re-start the human race. Turns out, the ship was built but never actually left Earth, being stuck into a massive laboratory that simulate with a dome the outer space to keep up the illusion on board.

The show then becomes very quickly a modern take on The Truman Show. This time it’s not for the enjoyment of TV watchers, but for scientists to study human interaction while on a enclosed space. The humans on board have always lived with a very specific set of rules, recreating a very segmented society, where a small oligarchy is in command, deciding all the aspects of life for others, even birth control. The society on board seems to represent a bad example of society, or at least one that it’s stuck in the ’50s and hasn’t been able to evolve on its own.

Half way through the journey the second generation of travellers (the one born after the original ‘launch day’) suddenly wakes up. A murder will shake the imposed structure, questioning many of the choices and the existing dynamics. In addition to internal turmoils, there are also new inputs from the outside, where scientist are now struggling to keep the experiment under control.

The entire show balances itself on a very thin line since we discover it’s all fake and probably doesn’t succeed in delivering the message they wanted to pass onto us of a better future is possible, but it still makes for a good few hours of entertainment.

With a very wide open ending, the show could be set for a second season, but at the moment it remains a pure exercise in style.

Year In Review: The Best TV Shows Of 2014

December 23rd, 2014


Before we start, let me address the two elephants in the room. Basically all the TV series listed below are from the US. Some of them can be followed on SKY UK (with some delays) or using a VPN connection to view them of the websites of the respective cable channels.
Secondly, I’ll try to keep the spoilers at a minimum level, but I can’t assure a completely spoiler-free article.


Following my year in podcast I feel like today might be a good day to look back at a year of TV. If podcasts are a constant companion while commuting, TV shows became my main form of entertainment most nights of the week. Some of them are just things to have in the background, some others are keeping you sticked to your tv in a constant rush of surprise. Some are recurrent player, some are new entries. 2014 has been a good year for tv, and already 2015 will have lots to offer.

One of the notable new entries has surely been Forever (8.3/10 on IMDb). Starring a very comfortable and very British Ioan Gruffud (of Fantastic 4/Titanic/King Arthur fame) as an immortal 200-years-old Dr. Henry Morgan, it’s a classic police investigative series based, strangely enough, in New York City. Having seen death all over the years , he is now a brilliant ME for the NYPD, while trying to find a way to end his course on the side. The series left us with a massive cliffhanger for the Holidays break, so I can’t wait to see how events will unfold in the new year.

On the comic side, the next best new entry is The Flash (8.3/10 on IMDb). Having to follow the massive success of the ’80 and the not-so-great rendition of the ’90, it was a potential bomb ready to explode, but so far it’s going great. They’ve surely learned from the experience of Arrow (they are both created/broadcasted by the same network and there are frequents cross-overs and collaborations among the two heroes) and so far they’ve managed to produce an honest super-hero series. There aren’t many dramas, it’s all about him and his quest to find his mum’s killers helped by a group of friends(?) along the way.

Alongside these rookies we have a long list of recurring stars. The Big Bang Theory (8.6/10 on IMDb) is still funny, sometimes devastatingly funny, with Sheldon’s character emerging as the clear leader and protagonist of the show and surely its defining stone. Person of Interest (8.4/10 on IMDb) is undergoing a major shift, concentrating more on the ethics of the relation human-machine, leaving behind the simple easy-gun-style of the beginning. It’s still very interesting and extremely well written (the show is penned by Jonathan Nolan) and it feels more relevant to the direction the real world is taking nowadays.

Elementary (8/10 on IMDb) keeps being a weird modern Sherlock Holmes. This latest series, with the introduction of a new companion and the half departure from Watson it’s definitely something I didn’t see coming, that is making some of the show’s dynamic feeling out of place. Maybe that was the aim of the show, but still, it puts the entire show in a weird spot. The best Sherlock is of course Sherlock (9.3/10 IMDb). The CumberbatchFreeman duo is simply perfect. They have a great chemistry on screen and they both perfectly portray their respective parts. We had a great series at the beginning of the year that has set the bar for a huge comeback in 2016 (with a Christmas special coming just before in 2015). Again, this is a show that is as amazing as their writers/creators duo Mark GatissSteven Moffat. Deep, unpredictable and always evolving, taking you out of your comfort zone over and over again.

A special mention goes for the recently ended 4th season of Homeland (8.5/10 on IMDb). The re-boot without Brody’s character brought a fresh breeze on the show. Removing the romance(?) felt like a good choice, so the focus went back on the main story, the interaction between countries and the never-ending secrets. The writing became a bit darker and deeper and all the characters are now much more mature than before. It feels not just like a re-boot, but a completely new show, so kudos to the writing team.

With such a busy 2014, what will 2015 bring to us? As far as I am concerned, two of my favourite shows are back on the air. Top Gear (9/10 on IMDb) with a Christmas special next week and then a full new series 22 from late January. And finally, Netflix’s exclusive House of Cards (9.1/10 on IMDb) is back in February with a fully re-charged Francis Underwood ready to storm US politics once again.

A great year to look forward to.

Year In Review: The Best Podcasts Of 2014

December 22nd, 2014

Podcasts have always been a big thing for me. They are my companion while commuting to work, a relief while doing routing chores in the house. They are a kind of sanity check and many times I prefer them to simply listening to music.

With podcasts you can always learning new stuff, and especially with the selection that I’ve made for myself, I can always find new ways to fuel my creativity.

Now that we are at year’s end, it feels like a good moment to look back at the list of podcasts that kept me company for the past 12 months.

Upgrade

I’m a big technology enthusiast, always been. I’ve started following technologies through Apple and then one step at a time I’ve branched out into general technology and everything that surrounds us nowadays.
Upgrade is a show hosted by Jason Snell and Myke Hurley on Relay.fm. The show is part of a recently formed independent network which is producing amazing shows all around.
I like Upgrade in particular because the generation clash of the two hosts makes for a great all-around view on the technology world.
With Snell’s roots into the world of “old-school” media thanks to his experience in print at MacWorld and Hurley’s fresh view of the world as enthusiast, you can always get an hour (or so) of thoughtful entertainment.

Accidental Tech Podcast

If you love tech and you want to hear the nitty gritty details, ATP is a must-listen-to. With an all-start host line-up including Marco Arment (of Tumblr, Instapaper and Overcast fame), John Siracusa (the only stop for Mac OS X reviews) and Casey Liss (who?) you know you are going to get all the details you possibly want to hear of any given topic.
Despite podcasting without doing an research, Siracusa is one of the best tech journalists I’ve ever encountered. Thanks to a mix of personal experience and frankly lots of obsessions he has more or less always the final word.

The Talk Show with John Gruber

John Gruber is the pen behind Daring Fireball, the blog famous for dissecting all-Apple news but also famous for creating the link-blog style.
In his Talk Show he always has guests from any corner of the web: creatives, designers, programmers and so on. Despite being officially about technology, the Talk Show is pretty much about anything the hosts want to talk about so we quickly go into any other random topic. Recently we had shows about James Bond and Star Wars and baseball (yes there’s a lot of baseball).
Just a fair bit of warning. Lately shows have varied in length and we are now around an average of 2 to 2.5 hours each!

Inquisitive

Inquisitive is another show from Relay.fm and it’s one of the best. It’s an interview show where Myke Hurley talks with very interesting people every week. He has great interview skills so Myke alwyas manages to take the best out of his guests.
It’s also true that he always have great guests, the creative types that inspires you to do your best always.

Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project

I assume the name Adam Savage is not new to you. He is one of the two Mythbusters, the crazy blonde one I would add. In this show, which is still today without a title, he let his geek side out without controls. It’s mostly about craftsmanship and creating and doing stuff to explore your inner geek. It’s also about the scientific process, and movies and possibly comedy.

The Incomparable

There’s only one way to describe The Incomparable podcast: a geek realm. Jason Snell and friends are every week looking into the geekiest corner of the internet. There’s lots of flashbacks into the past and how bad tv and entertainment were in the ’70s and also how good they were. To follow the show you need at least some basic ground in comics, sci-fi books and movies and so on.
If you want a good example of the essence of The Incomparable, listen to the special episode about the recent release of the new Star Wars teaser trailer: 80 seconds of trailer, 1.5 hours of show. Do I need to say anything else?

StarTalk

If so far it has all been about sci-fi and comics and the impossible, we are now back on Earth with our feet deep in science. StartTalk is Neil deGrasse Tyson show about the Cosmos, deep space and the joys of leaning though the Scientific Method. Tyson is the Carl Seagan of our generation and undoubtedly the greatest science speaker we have today. His gift is being able to take very complex concepts and explaining them using simple concepts that anybody can easily follow and understand. Plus, he always talks with great passion and you will undoubtedly get caught by that passion yourself, igniting the curiosity toward space that has brought us so far.

Judge John Hodgman

John Hodgman is they guy famous for portraying the Personal Computer in the Apple series of ads for PC vs Mac. He then went on being a “political correspondent” for The Daily Show with John Stewart and recently he moved into being a Deranged Millionaire predicting the end of the world and giving out advices on how to survive such event with his books’ trilogy.
When is not busy being a comedian he runs a fake court of internet justice where he hears and pronounce judgement on any kind of cases. From answering troubling questions as “are machineguns to be considered robots?” to “should you be allowed to keep a night vase underneath your bed because your bathroom is too far away from your bed?”, the Judge has an opinion on everything.
Is a genuine show that will give you a genuine laughter, especially thanks to Hodgman brilliancy as stand-up comedian.

Just for Fun: International Waters

If you still have space in your podcast player of choice you should consider trying International Waters. As the title says, this is just for pure fun. You don’t need to listen in order and you don’t need to listen to all the episodes. Each one is very much self-contained into about an hour of genuine comedy. Its format is what makes this show great: two teams of comedians are battling each other. One representing the US and one the UK, International Waters is also a very funny way to learn what makes those two countries so culturally different.

Special Mention: Serial

Finally, it’s not possible to write an article about podcasts without citing Serial. Serial is the new and recent podcast phenomenon brought to us by the people at This American Life. If you don’t know about Serial you’ve seriously been living under a rock.
12 episodes, one story told from beginning to end. An investigative report into a real-life drama. I won’t say anything more because the beauty of Serial is not knowing what’s coming next, plus the possibility of doing your own version of the investigation and see if you’ll come to the same conclusions.


2014 has been a great year for podcast, which is apparently undergoing a major renaissance period, so I can only expect greater things from 2015. Keep listening!

F1 Review: What’s Coming In 2015

December 6th, 2014

Just few days after my 2014 F1 review, the FIA published some of the changes will be seeing in the new season next year. Let’s have a look at the most interesting.

Points

Points for both titles will no longer be doubled for the final Event of the Championship.

Seriously? I swear I laughed really a lot when I saw this. The first item in the list abolish the most controversial rule that we had in 2014. It was first introduced to provide a ‘better show’ but it only mathematically relegated Rosberg to a desperate final race. Even without the technical issues there was no way on earth he could have won.

Glad it’s gone.

Standing Restarts

After consultation with the Teams who raised a number of safety concerns, Articles 42.7 and 42.8 on standing restarts have been rescinded.

Never really understood the need for a standing restart. Usually Safety Car spells are where we see most of the action nowadays. Plus there’s the technical issue of stopping all the cars and starting them again. Not just mechanics running around on the pit straight, but also consider the implication of letting the car suddenly cool down just to heat up again few minutes later. I could see a lot of engines suddenly going up in smoke!

Virtual Safety Car (VSC)

Following tests of the VSC system at the final Events of 2014, the introduction of the system has been approved for 2015. The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course. It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.

This is a very interesting new article. Safety has always been at the centre of the FIA actions and this feel like a major leap forward. The essence is that with the VSC procedure, cars can be slowed down remotely in case of danger, without having to rely on the drivers. It’s not that we don’t trust drivers to do the right thing, but they are still professional drivers fighting in the ultimate championship: they will always try to meet the minimum requirement still trying to gain something out of it (meaning: not really slowing down that much). By removing the human decision we can make sure all the drivers can be safe and everybody will experience the same delay, meaning that no one will be more penalised than other.

Power Unit Penalties

[…] If a grid place penalty is imposed, and the driver’s grid position is such that the full penalty cannot be applied, the remainder of the penalty will be applied in the form of a time penalty during the race (not at the next race as was previously the case) […]

I like the idea of preventing penalties from being carried over in subsequent races. If something wrong is detected the penalty should be reflected in the same event the fault was discovered. Porting it into the next race never made much sense.

Qualifying Procedure

The qualifying procedure was clarified: for cases when 24 cars are eligible seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 22 cars are eligible six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible.

I have mixed feelings toward this clarification. In very basic terms it explains how many cars are excluded from every session depending on the total number of participating cars. This was clearly done in response to the chaos brought by the sudden disappearance of Catheram and Marussia. Now it’s clearer what to do if the number drops. My question is: why instead don’t they work toward making sure that we always have the full number of cars on the grid? Also why starting to count from 24? Even with all the teams in we had 22 cars. Are they laying the ground for 3-cars team to cover the defection of other manufacturers? This was only a rumour; we’ll see what will happen.

Safety Car: lapped cars

Once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap, the race director will no longer have to wait for all the lapped cars to reach the back of the pack behind the safety car.

Again, a welcomed change even if still doesn’t fully solved the problem. Since a couple years ago lapped cars have to up-lap themselves and take their position at the back of the group, making sure that all cars are within a certain more compact space. This wasn’t the case and it had always been ok. If you were lapped you stayed lapped. You only had to stay where you were and wait for the restart. Having cars unlapping the leaders creates confusion and causes massive delays in the restart. With this new rule at least the delay is removed, still the confusion stands.

To read the full text of all the new rules, you can visit the Official F1 website.

Assassins Creed Unity: The Review

December 6th, 2014

Major spoilers ahead. If you haven’t finished the game yet, proceed with caution

The final credits just finished to roll on my screen and I’m now left on my couch with a lot of questions in my mind…

The Story

The general consideration that I can make is that the single player story is getting less and less important the more we proceed with this saga. If the previous chapter (Black Flag) was all about Edward trying to redeem himself, in Unity we play as Arno who will fight his way down the road of personal revenge. Again, the fight between Assassins and Templars seems just noise in the background. So much so that half way through the game Arno gets expelled from the order.

This fact already brings a lot of questions to the table. If he gets expelled, why don’t the kill him? He knows everybody within the order, he knows the location to their head quarter. It would seems more that likely that being out of the order would also mean the end of your life. But it’s not like that. The same is true for his equipment. We grew up in the first three chapters in the series knowing that the Phantom Blade is kind of a sacred weapon that can be used only by who truly believe in the Assassins’ cause. So why Arno is not stripped of his possessions? We don’t know.

As with Black Flag, Arno kills the Templar Grand Master only because he’s the person responsible for his father and Elise’s father death. Being affiliated with the Templars is just a bonus. And this brings us to Elise. She’s the daughter of a betrayed Templar’s member who than works with Arno to bring down the Grand Master. She is a central figure in the game; a nice change of pace and a very useful ally. I might be sentimental, but there was no reason to kill her at the very end. Especially because there’s no “epilogue” (except for a very quick and useless “many years later” scene along with Napoleon) to the story as we had in previous chapters, her death doesn’t seem to have any impact on Arno. As soon as the credits are over you are back in Paris. Which is very odd. You are no longer part of the Assassins, your nemesis is dead, you are done. Why would still play the part of the vigilante?

Paris

At the end of the day, what really matters in Unity is Paris. After spending too much time in the forest (AC III) and on a boat (AC Black Flag) we are finally back in a more familiar environment for this game: a city. Assassins Creed has always had is great success in the richness of details used in recreating the playground for us. Florence, Venice, Rome, Istanbul they were all beautiful. Paris is astonishing on a completely different level. First of all, it’s massive. Crossing the city from one end to the other takes a lot of time, mostly because I was always stopping to admire the landscape.

Before the game release, the main talk revolved around the realisation of Notre Dame. Having played through the game, I can safely say that Notre Dame is just one of the many gems you’ll find scattered across the map. The scale of the city of course doesn’t represent the scale of real-life Paris, but all the major landmarks are there and those are replicated perfectly down to the last detail. The Panthéon, Les Invalides, the Palace of Versailles (I know it’s not in Paris) and even the Bastille are a joy to observe.

All those elements really help the entire city to come alive and they also make it look like it’s much bigger than it really is. I was really happy when I first learned the AC was going back to his origins and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to think it like that. It’s good to experiment, but I believe that the AC franchise works better in this kind of environment. The basic game interaction sees a guy climbing up things. In a city, you can mask identical elements (main building structure) under slightly visually different facades; in a forest after a while all the trees are exactly the same, deteriorating the game’s flow.

Multiplayer

Another very welcomed new feature in Unity is the redesigned Multiplayer system. Unlike previous chapters, in Unity the multiplayer is built right into the main game, allowing you to seamlessly move between the two. Scattered across the map there are starting points where you can join multiplayer missions: Co-op or Heist. Different missions allow for a different number of Assassins (up to 4) and they all have different approaches.

In co-op you really have to co-operate with the other players in order to achieve the common goal whatever would that be. In the heist scenario instead, you usually have to steal some treasure from the Templars. The more assassins are in the game, the more “fake” targets are disseminate around the map. In this case spreading in different directions allows the team to more quickly get to the end of the mission, while also spreading the enemies around.

The other advantage of having the multiplayer always at hand is that you can now create “teams” (or just join an existing one). By doing so, you can summon your team member if you need help during any mission. They will receive a notification and they can immediately join the game. It’s a fun new game dynamic that once more will make you forget about the main single-player story in favour of this massive world around you.

Bugs

One thing that consistently came up from day one reviews of the game was the abundance of bugs in the game. Most of them were visual bugs, with characters losing their skins or Arno being stuck after weird interaction with the environment of the city or impossible kills with enemies dropping on the floor after being hit seemingly from miles away. This bug is the one I’ve encountered the most, especially in multiplayer mode. You are standing few meters away from the enemy soldier but still you are killing him with your sword. Or you are standing right in front of the enemy but your sword is rolling in the air but despite the lack of contact the enemy dies.

The one thing that was really annoying were the many crashes that brought the game to a sudden stop. It happen so far four times (which is four more times than ever before). The game would simply freeze; the background music would loops around a single note and then back to the xBox home. Pretty annoying.

Finally, the last annoying bit is the infrequent but still noticeable slowing down in proximity of large crowds. Being in Paris during the year of the Revolution, means that the city is full of big mobs. When you are jumping up and down roofs next to one of those crowds you can definitely notice the game slowing down, dropping the frame rate to cope with the mass of dynamic polygons down in the street.

Where next?

The single player ending leave us with many doubts about the future of the franchise. Since the death of Desmond Miles, the franchise has moved away from the true Assassins blood line. Since AC III, the player in the future has less and less importance, which culminate in Unity by being completely omitted from the story. In this last chapter with only hear the voices from the “real world” four times and there are three short interactions in different time scale but those don’t add anything significant to the overall story. Moving away from the real world gives Ubisoft more freedom in choosing how to develop the story in any period of time they want, but on the other end it makes more difficult for the player to look at the “bigger picture” as it was possible with Desmond.

Luckily, despite a very low profile ending, we already know a lot about the next chapter in the story. Early this week Kotaku leaked information and screenshots about the next game. Apparently the next game will be called Assassins Creed Victory and it will be set in Victorian Age London.

Of course we don’t yet have details on the story, but the picture above (apparently coming from an already advanced development stage) is already igniting the excitement. If Paris was astonishing, this picture demonstrate that London will be the culmination of this magnificent art that is Assassins Creed.

As always the future looks very bright.

Another One Bites The Dust

November 24th, 2014

Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat

The Queen were singing this in 1980 and this is how I was feeling in March before the start of the 2014 F1 Championship. Over the years F1 has always been a passion for me, but this year in particular I made it a “mission” to watch as many GP as possible. 19 races after, I’m year to reflect on that choice.

After Sunday’s race Hamilton was crowned World Champion for the second time, after managing to successfully beat his team-mate Rosberg in the race for the prestigious title.

Was it a deserved win for Hamilton? Absolutely.

Despite the technical superiority of Mercedes, both Hamilton and Rosberg had to deal with quite a few issues along the way that prevented them to score any points. On the other hand the British driver always made the most of any chance that came his way. Every time he was behind Rosberg he always tried to overtake the German any almost every time he had been successful in doing so. Rosberg instead only managed to win if he was already ahead of his team mate, never managing to overtake him from behind.

Was it an enjoyable win for the spectators? So-and-so.

Thanks to the technical superiority of Mercedes the Constructor Championship was clearly headed toward the Silver Arrows after the first two races. Combine the technical factor with having two of the best drivers around will give you a team that on average was a second faster a lap compared to everybody else. Only Williams was able from time to time to stick around generally for the third place or a second if something went wrong with one of the Mercedes.

All of this meant that from a spectator point of view, there wasn’t much to see. I can hardly remember any memorable over take, if any at all and even in the back rows the fight wasn’t there (if you exclude the truce battle for the 18-19th place).

This wasn’t new. If you have been following F1 you know that this happen periodically. We saw it with Ferrari and Schumacher, Brown GP and Button, Red Bull and Vettel and this year with Mercedes and Hamilton/Rosberg.

When any team gets its magic formula right, there’s nothing the competition can do to fight back. Everybody else on track is simply a spectator to other’s wins. The difference that I feel compared to the past is that nowadays there’s no fight at all. The only real competition you see is during the Qualifying sessions. Chances are that you are going to finish around the same position you’ve started from.

Of course it’s easy to complain as I’m doing right now without offering a solution in return, but I feel that recently I’m not the only one bringing this issue forward. The very same Bernie Ecclestone, the head of F1 operations, complained few times over this year about the lack of excitement. F1 is made by drivers, mechanics and cars as much as it’s made of its public. Without one of the two components the show wouldn’t go on.

Will 2015 be different? Maybe.

There aren’t massive changes in regulations as wed had for 2014, so teams should now be better prepared for next year, which might improve their competitive levels.

In addition to that, few surprises have already been unveiled for next year.

  • McLaren will go back to its historical partnership with Honda for the engine. Great things were achieved by the two together (1988 F1 Championship with Ayrton Senna behind the wheel), so we might see a new spark of life from that team.
  • Speaking of McLaren, many rumors are surrounding next year’s drivers line-up. There was a sense of farewell from Button and many think that Abu Dhabi was his last race with the team and possibly in F1. With him out there would be space to welcome Alonso who has officially left Ferrari without announcing a new destination.
  • Big changes in Ferrari as well. With Alonso out, it’s time to welcome the four-times World Champion Vettel. As of today, the Scuderia has also a new boss: Marco Mattiacci (brought in 6 months ago to replace Domenicali) has been officially replaced by Maurizio Arrivabene (VP Consumer Channel Strategy and Event Marketing at Philip Morris and part of the F1 Commission).
  • We still don’t know what will be of Catheram and possibly of Marussia for next year. The former came back in the final race after missing the US and Brazilian GPs while the latter is still under administration, without a bright future ahead. This could also trigger a clause in some team’s contract to bring in a third car to avoid running the season only with 18 cars.

These changes, plus other I’m sure will come before next March have the capability of giving us a good 2015 for F1.

I know that I’ve only complained so far, but despite everything I’m sad the Championship is over and I can’t wait for the 2015 season to start.

Are you ready,
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat