Thursday, August 27, 2009

Belgian GP Preview: Now or never for the Red Bulls!

Rubens Barrichello drove a brilliant race and with a bit of luck managed to win his 1st race in 5 years and won the European GP. This is highly important for Barrichello as not only has thrown his name in the title race once again but also could have earned a contract with Brawn GP for the next season. If Barrichello can continue to do this, Ross Brawn will be in a big fix but luckily for them even their rivals Red Bull face the same problem but then mathematically even Lewis Hamilton does have a chance but then Hamilton’s chance is as good as Luca Badoer winning a race this season!

Jenson Button after his near invincible show during the first half of the season is now struggling and since his win at the Turkish GP, he has failed to be on the podium and his teammate Barrichello had outscored and outperformed since then. Button needs to not only finish ahead of Barrichello but also score more wins to show that he is a dominating champion and his title is win is just not because he had a very superior machine compared to his competitors. But Spa will not be as hot as Valencia and if we have to go back and see what has happened, Brawn has struggled when the conditions are cold and this will surely give Red Bull an edge over them.

Red Bull has to pull off a one-two and also hope that Brawn fails to score if they want to have a realistic chance to go after both the titles. The team is also having engine problems especially with Vettel as he only has one more engine left and that has to last 6 races. He is bound to have engine penalty and this would definitely hamper his title hopes while teammate Webber will hope that the team backs him in his pursuit of the championship. Renault must be worried as Red Bull is eying the Mercedes engine which is the best on the grid and after the recent engine issues, Mercedes could power yet another team for the 2010 season.

McLaren and Hamilton must have been disappointed after their pit crew goof up which caused them a win but they should be confident as they have been the superior team on the grid for the last 2 races and they could also both cause or maybe help Brawn and Button on their championship quest. Heikki Kovalainen should be a very worried man and though he came in 4th in the European GP, McLaren is still not happy with his race pace and he needs to drive out of his skin if he needs to retain his spot in the team for 2010 as Rosberg is all set to sign with the team.

Ferrari must be wondering what on earth they have done by bringing back Luca Badoer to F1 after a decade of absence. Fellow tester Marc Gene would have been a better choice as he did substitute for the Williams team during the 2004 season and this season he has won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. A few other people who have raced in F1 in the recent past like David Coulthard, Anthony Davidson and S├ębastien Bourdais have been linked to the seat but Ferrari should use this opportunity to give youngsters like Mirko Bortolotti or William’s reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg a chance as this would definitely help the team in the long run. Kimi must be a happy man as he is not only improved since the beginning of the season but in the absence of Massa, he is the focus of the team and he needs to show his worth if he has to retain his seat for the next season.

Nico Rosberg is the most talked about guy on the grid and he is making every use on what Williams is able to give him and though he is still some pace off a podium finish, he has scored points now for the last 7 races and with Kazuki Nakajima yet to open account, Williams is highly depended on their fight against the likes of Toyota as they are still catchable while Ferrari and McLaren will be fighting for the 3rd and 4th spot. Toyota needs to do something drastic as the team has been giving mixed signals, while they pull off their track from F1, they also try to sign Vettel for the 2011 season. It is time for the team to decided if they want to continue in F1 or not as the blow hot blow cold attitude is not going to help anyone at all.

BMW is yet to find a buyer but the team has did score points and any points is good for both the team and the driver as Kubica and Nick Heidfeld would be looking forward to join a top team rather than join a team which will be stuck at the back of the grid. All signs point to Kubica moving to Renault to replace Alonso as the dream team of Ferrari and Alonso is more or less finalized according to German and Spanish media and once again the driver market is dependent on where Alonso goes. Renault will stay and though there has been speculation that the team will leave the sport for the last 3 years, Honda and BMW has pulled the plug while Renault has stayed on and Flavio has promised that they would be on the grid for the 2010 season. Romain Grosjean did not set the track on fire but had a decent debut and if he could score points in the coming races, he will be driving for the team during the 2010 season.

Force India has continued to show progress and though on track since the British GP, the team has been better than fellow minnows Toro Rosso, the team is yet to score points while STR scored some points early on in the season and seem to have now an unassailable lead over Force India.

Belgian GP has always been exiting and it is one of the most popular circuits on the calendar and there is always the rain to spice up things. We all do remember the 1995 edition of the race when Michael Schumacher proved that he is truly a racing god as he won the race starting from 16th on the grid. It has also been a good track for Ferrari and Kimi and this could be a ideal place for both Ferrari and Kimi to start winning this season.

Belgian GP Predictions: 1. Kimi 2.Vettel 3. Hamilton 4. Webber 5. Rosberg 6. Button 7. Heikki 8. Barrichello

No comments: