MAYBE, just maybe, the authorities governing Formula 1 have finally succeeded in making the sport more interesting.
After year after year of debate, rule change and equipment alterations, the right balance may have been found, if Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix is anything to go by.
There was certainly more wheel-to-wheel action than in any other race I can remember, with drivers fighting tooth and nail for position from the front to the back of the pack.
It was great to see Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fight it out for first place, with no quarter given, or more importantly, asked for.
Credit should go to the team for allowing them to race like that and it shows that they hierarchy have great confidence in the skill of their drivers, trusting them to race fairly. Imagine the questions that would have been asked if they had collided, robbing the team of a perfect result.
It probably helps that the Mercedes were so superior to every other car on the track. The other teams have a lot of improving to do if they are to even think about challenging them this season.
The good news is that, if Sunday is anything to go by, we should be spared the procession Red Bull treated us to over the past couple of seasons. They never would have allowed their drivers to compete in the same way Mercedes did.
The quality of the race was not just down to team orders, or a lack of them, though. The rule and equipment changes finally seem to be making for better racing.
I’m not a big fan of the drag reduction system (DRS). Yes, it leads to more passing but it’s horribly artificial and often results in cars making simple overtaking moves down long straights, which is almost as dull as no passing at all.
However, on Sunday, it worked well. There weren’t too many simple overtakes but the DRS did allow cars to make ground and get out of the dirty air, bringing about passing manoeuvres in the braking zones, which is the way it should be.
I’m also pleased that there is an element of strategy to the races, which was something lost to a degree when in-race refuelling was banned a few years ago.
Now, it’s all about tyres. Teams have the opportunity to try and outwit each other by using the two compounds of tyre in different orders.
A harder tyre lasts longer but is slower, while a softer tyre is quicker but can hamper performance when the rubber wears away.
Throw in the new fuel consumption issues that teams face, and there is plenty for the team bosses to think about.
Let’s hope that the other teams manage to catch up with Mercedes and the rest of the season is just as entertaining.