Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brawn GP creates History!

In what could be the most historic moment in Formula One, for the first time since inception of the FIA World Championships, a team has made its debut and managed to get the first 2 places in the race. The last time a team won on debut was when Wolf Racing won in Argentina way back in the 70’s. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are 2 of the most experienced drivers in the line-up and Button for the first time has a car to prove his credentials looks like an early favourite for the 2009 Driver’s World Championships. If Brawn continues to perform the same way, well the constructor’s title will be well decided by mid-season.

Traditionally Australian GP throws up a few surprises as reliability issues hits teams and usually you do expect some lower-mid rung teams to score but this year there could be a pattern which is coming in and this could be anyone’s season with Brawn GP leading the way. The big guns of F1, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and BMW have a lot of catching up to do as well without some luck both Alonso and Hamilton would not have scored and among the 4 teams only Ferrari and BMW seem to have it in them to challenge for podium during the next few races.

I did pick Sebastian Vettel as the dark horse for the championship this season and I was not wrong as he proved that he has everything in him to become a World Champion and he was well on his way for a 2nd place finish till Kubica’s over ambitious move resulted in him taking Vettel and himself out of race contention. If Vettel continues to race this way, well he sure has an outside chance but he does require more support from the car to catch up with Brawn.

Williams were just unlucky not to have Rosberg on the podium but this could be the season where they may not win the title but could see a revival of sorts and have a driver on the podium on a regular basis and may even get lucky by winning a race or so. Nakajima is all set to become the next Sato and I hope his performance in Australia is a one off thing as Williams needs both their drivers to score consistently. Toyota after stating from the back after the issues during qualifying where their back wing was deemed illegal will be happy to see Trulli finish 3rd and Glock finish 5th.

There are a few things which do not seem to change from last season, though it is very early to comment on them, but still Kimi once again is all set to make the same mistakes as he did last year while Massa struggles to perform when he does not start from pole. I still don’t know why Renault signed back Nelson Piquet but if he does not pull something special during the next few races, well at the start of the European races Alonso will have a new partner. Force India’s renewed battle with STR at the bottom of the grid once again resulted in STR doing better than Force India and though they were lucky in scoring points, Sébastien Buemi the 19 year old rookie did went wheel to wheel with some experience drivers and well could provide some moments during the course of the season.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Brawn Heads the Field as Favourites

In what were the most amazing qualifying sessions in ages, Brawn GP the former Honda F1 team making its debut as a team managed to set the track on fire and pulled off the best of miracle stories as the team was not sure if it would exist a month back now have the fastest car and is all set to dominate the 2009 Australian GP by having both cars on the front row.

Sebastian Vettel proved that he is no flash in the pan and he is truly the Next Big Thing of F1 by coming 3rd in the qualifying. I expect him to challenge the Brawn GP cars and well could go on and even win the race. He is surely the dark horse for the Championship this season. It was also a good comeback for Webber after his injuries while Toyota too put up a solid performance. Williams after dominating the free practice sessions just failed to deliver but expect Rosberg to challenge for a spot on the podium.

The big boys of F1 must be wondering what’s happening to the F1 world as Ferrari and Kubica barely is made it to the top 10 while former champions Alonso and Hamilton will start from 12th and 15th respectively. Atleast Ferrari and BMW have some chance of scoring points but McLaren and Renault may have a race that they would rather forget. STR after last year’s heroics is struggling while Force India will take over its usual back marker status.

The race could be a whole different deal but you can say that there is a very good chance of a team winning a race for the very first time (Brawn, RBR & Toyota) or even sees a Williams’s revival.

My Top 8 for the race
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Jenson Button
3. Nico Rosberg
4. Rubens Barrichello
5. Robert Kubica
6. Felipe Massa
7. Kimi Räikkönen
8. Mark Webber

Friday, March 27, 2009

Australian GP Qualifying Preview

In what could be the most unpredictable race in a decade saw Williams clearly dominate Friday practice session and would go into the qualifying as the hot favorite to get a car up on the front grid and may even go on to put up a serious challenge during the race. Brawn GP and Toyota were not far off and well has the potential to dominate the race. Ferrari, Renault and RBR were consistent but need to pull off something to try match the pace of the front runners.

Surprisingly BWM and McLaren seem to lag behind the others while even a point’s finish would be great for them. STR would be keep to complete the race while Force India once again would be the back-runner as based on the pre-season testing and today’s practice, I don’t see them doing anything significant during the race.

Unless the top guys are sand-bagging, Australian Grand Prix is set to spring out lots of surprises and the usual mid-runners will find themselves at the front of the pack while the likes of Williams and Brawn will be setting record times.

On the side note, the diffusers of Williams, Brawn and Toyota may lead some crisis while the FIA has also reverted back to the last years points system.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Does the Winner really take all??

I was really happy that the FIA were actually discussing changes in the points system to make F1 more exciting and after all winners are meant to win the World Championship but the new system is not the best of things. It will lead to a scenario where a driver may have won 4 titles while he may be just be in the top 5 and well he will be crowned the Champion. Well last year we saw Hamilton win the title by a point but then Massa had more wins, so going by the new rule Massa is the World Champion.

But there is a deep flaw in this new system. I would back FIA to tweak the points system so that winners get more points rather than the current system where the difference between the winner and the 2nd place drive is just 2 points which is ridiculous. Well given the 2009 scenario I guess it may lead to a situation where the best driver may not win the World Championship while another with a few wins may snatch it away.

The ideal scenario is to have a point scoring system where the top 8 guys get points and also there are points for being on the pole and also the fastest lap. So I suggest the best point system would be like this starting from the 1st placed driver to the guy who finishes 8th – 15, 11, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1. Also the driver who gets pole gets 2 additional points and the driver with the fastest lap gets 2 points if he finishes the races and 1 if he does the fastest lap alone and fails to finish the race.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brawn GP = Holy Shit!!!!

Brawn GP has proved that they are no flash in the pan and they are not sandbagging about their results as yet again in Jerez they have managed to pull off something quiet spectacular, running a customer Mercedes engine, the Jenson Button driven car became the first car of the season to hit the 1:17s mark and they could well go on to become the team to beat if they managed to get reliability too in their car which is yet to be tested as we will know that only in Melbourne during the Australian GP. While Brawn is making all the noise and also started giving sleepless nights to the likes of Ferrari, BMW and Renault, the works team of Mercedes McLaren is nearly 2 seconds off the pace of Brawn and come on March 28th, well they would be happy if they could score point leave alone challenging for winning the race.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What can you expect for 2009?

After dramatic 2007 and 2008 seasons, this could be another season where anything is possible. With some changes in the teams and new rules like the re-introduction of slicks and also aerodynamic changes, it is going to be one heck of a season. Based on pre-season testing and also the development of the cars over last season, this is what we can expect from each team.

Ferrari would again seem to dominate this season not because they are superior than any other car in terms of power but they have been the most consistent team during testing and if they improvise on reliability from the last season and get it back to the Schumacher level era and sort off the Massa-Kimi issue, then they could go on and win both the Championships once again.

McLaren would the team which seems to fall from the pecking order of last year based on their pre-season testing form. They have not done anything impressive and so far seem to lag behind Ferrari, BMW, Renault and even Brawn GP. If they could not do something drastic within the next few weeks, they would have Hamilton trying to score points rather than go for wins.

BMW once again have shown good form during the testing phase and their car has been in development since last season. Though they had Kubica fighting for the title last year, 2009 has always been their big year and they would be the one to challenge the Ferrari for both the titles as they have in Nick Heidfeld a seasoned campaigner who can be an able ally for Kubica.

Renault from having a hopeless car went on to win races towards the end of the season thanks largely to Alonso who has kept the faith in the team and decided to stick on for another season. The they could be the surprise package of the season but their only issue will be Nelson Piquet who is lucky to hold on to his seat this season and if he has a similar start to last season, well he could be replaced by Senna or Grosjean.

Toyota will be going into the 2009 season as always as they have been for the last few seasons. They are neither on top nor at the bottom of the field. But this year is highly crucial for them as if they fail to win a race and be consistent at the top of the order, well they could be following Honda’s route and be out of F1. Glock would be keep to improvise and he will be looking for a McLaren seat in the future.

Red Bull Racing will be the dark horse of the season thanks to Adrian Newey designed car and in Vettel they have a future World Champion who could go on and challenge the big guns on their day. Webber is back after injuries and hopes he can match Vettel’s pace and provide him the support he needs. Don’t be surprised if Vettel wins a few races and RBR pull-off a Jordan of the 1999 season.

Toro Rosso is off a miraculous season in 2008 and to do better than that would be next to impossible unless the new rookie Sébastien Buemi manages to do what Vettel did the previous year. With the global recession owning one F1 team is tough but Dietrich Mateschitz has two and he can just hope that STR does well enough to attract a new buyer.

Williams will once again go into a F1 season with promises of a good performance but time is running out for the independent team and if they fail to provide Rosberg with a car to challenge for the points leave alone the championship, then he will leave the Rosberg and half the grid would be keen to have him. If they manage to do better than Toyota then the possibility of Toyota shutting and making Williams its work teams will always be on the cards.

Brawn GP is the surprise package of the 2009 season. After Honda bailed out of F1 at the last minute, Brawn and his team managed a MBO at the last minute and then came on top of its first testing and the Mercedes powered car was faster than the likes of Ferrari, BWM and McLaren. With Button and Barrichello they have an experienced line-up and if they can keep up their testing pace, they could be leaders at the early phase of the season.

Force India goes into the season with a same bunch of drivers but with a different engine. They have signed a long-term deal with Mercedes and well could be the b-team of McLaren in the future but for now they are just focussed on scoring their maiden points in F1.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Brawn GP saves Honda F1

Though rumours have been going around regarding a management buy-out led by Ross Brawn over the former Honda F1 team, now it is confirmed and in a few weeks time will make its debut in the Australian GP. Well the irony is that Brawn GP will use Mercedes engines for the 2009 season and well we all know how Brawn was part of the crack Ferrari unit which total defeated McLaren for like 5 straight years!

Anyways atleast they managed to have an engine supplier at such a short notice and hope Brawn GP does decently enough in the coming season. I don’t see them challenging the title contenders but from what they have been claiming about the car development from last season, well they may go on and challenge the likes of Williams, STR and Toyota. Red Bull and Renault would be tough to challenge and these two teams may pull off a few surprises and even upset the top3 boys in F1.

Last year’s line-up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will team up once again and well I would have seen Bruno Senna given a drive but then that is for another day and I hope this experience line-up can pull off something and give something to cheer for Brawn GP.