After all the build up, the much anticipated Bahrain Grand Prix was a bland affair. The cars can no longer refuel in the pits so carry a full tank from the race start. In turn pitting strategy is less of a factor and positions change less frequently. The cars are slower due to the increased weight and the gap between the cars is bigger, as a result overtaking has suffered. Typically the drama builds much later on, but the current formula seems inert.
The only significantly interesting detail was the new broadcast onscreen graphics. The panels now slant to the same angle as the F1 logo (tut), they also stack at an angle which — although refreshing is an aesthetic modification instead of a functional change. I’ve always believed ‘form follows function’ and not the other way around. The panels feature web 2.0 style gradients which works well apart from the yellow lap time gradient doesn’t work due to the lower colour being far too dirty making the digits less legible. The transition animation is pretty good, although I prefer the old throttle diagram and animation; the new one is uninspiring. A quick look at some viewers comments on various bbc sites with regard to specific statistics now being omitted indicates that this years aesthetic changes have come at the cost of function. That’s not what information design is about.