I have no great nostalgia for past eras of F1 and I have no doubt that today’s F1 cars are easily faster than what was running a decade and a half ago, but just take in how fast 2005's championship-winning Renault looks, even today.
Renault dragged noted walnut-cracker Fernando Alonso out of whatever lawn chair he was relaxing in and plopped him into the R25 he used to claim the ’05 constructor and driver’s titles. He whupped Kimi in his McLaren, and he left an indelible mark on the legacy of Michael Schumacher, putting an end to Schumi’s crushing championship streak with Ferrari.
Renault could certainly use any PR boost it can get these days, so it’s not a big surprise that it took Alonso and R25 on parade around Abu Dhabi:
Even in the onboard you can see Alonso putting in a lot of work to keep the car from looping in the slow corners:
What’s interesting is that the car communicates so much speed. The whole car shudders on the rumble strips, dives into corners, twitches out of them. A large part of the sensation of speed is the sound. This is a V10-era car, wailing at frequencies even above what we can hear. In addition to the scream that you can register, this car is producing sound that manifests only as ear damage to humans. I was lucky enough to get up to Montreal in the V8 era; even those things caused pain when I took out my earplugs. The V10s were on another level from that.
But even taking the video in without sound, there is still a real sense of thrill in watching this car move. A lot of that is down to the car being significantly less long than what runs in F1 today, as ignatiusbradley pointed out on Twitter:
I would certainly never believe myself a more capable person at regulating Formula 1 than those actually in charge, but the raw feelings of this vid do make me wonder.