Friday, September 11, 2009

Italian GP Preview: Everything to race for!

Once again, another race weekend is bombarded by news for all the wrong reasons and what should have been a season where 2 independent outfits are battling for the championship after years of manufactures dominating F1 is now threatening to disrupt the sport once again. This season has seen a lot of things, starting from McLaren lying scandal to the FIA-FOTA wars and now with Nelson Piquet claiming that he was ordered to crash and Renault infact had fixed the 2008 Singapore GP. This will not only make the manufacturers leave the sport but also not encourage potential sponsors to put their money in a sport which is hit by once scandal after the other.

The Italian GP has always held a special place in the calendar and tit being the home GP of Ferrari, once can see hordes of Tifosi around the circuit. Ferrari have run into some serious form with Kimi winning the Belgian GP and it would be a very special race for Giancarlo Fisichella, who after a stunning performance at Spa where he not only pushed Kimi all the way till the finish but also scored the first points for Force India by coming in 2nd. It has always been a dream for Fisi to race for Ferrari and this could be the best place for him to make his debut and if Fisi wins, this could become folklore and will be remembered as the best Italian GP ever.

McLaren and Hamilton may have had a disappointing weekend in Spa but they have been very quick on the 1st practice and the long straights at Monza will defiantly favour them and with KERS, they should be the team to beat. Don’t be too shocked to see a McLaren win but Heikki Kovalainen needs more than points to continue in the team for the next season as though Rosberg’s name has been touted as a possible replacement, a dramatic comeback for Kimi too could not be ruled out.

Force India are in a very serious position to score points once again and though Sutil can even dream of a podium, any points will do for Liuzzi as he is making a comeback after 2 years and if he manages to score in his home grand prix, he may have a deal for the next season. BMW had a very good race in Spa and they once again seem to have found pace here. The team will do anything to go out with a bang as the stronger the team gets, the easier it becomes in finding a buyer for the team for next season.

The championship contenders seem to be backtracked by the resurgence of Ferrari and McLaren and among the 2, Red Bull seem to be in better shape but with Vettel and Webber eating points off each other, it may be tough for either of them to win the championship while the contractor’s title is within their grasp with only 14 points separating them and Brawn. There has been a rumoured deal that Mercedes would make Brawn its works team after 2012 but for now Button should be focused on winning the title which is surely his if he just manages to pull off another win while Barrichello who has been the better driver among the 2 for the last 5 races will be hoping to gain points at Button’s cost.

Renault has been embroiled in controversy and with Alonso leaving the team at the end of the season, there is a distinct possibility that the team may quit the sport but leaving aside on what is happening outside the track, the team will be hoping for a decent performance and with KERS in the car, don’t be too surprised if Alonso manages to reach the podium while Romain Grosjean may be one of the first to spin out due to the raised curbs.

Rosberg pulled off a miracle by getting some points for Williams in Spa and expecting the same thing from him once again in Monza is unfair from the team as the set up is not suited for fast tracks. If Rosberg does score points here, well he is surely a world championship material if he gets his hands on a good car and with both McLaren and Brawn courting him; it will be interesting to see where he lands up. While Kazuki Nakajima is just be looking for finishing the race as with the Toyota’s deal with Williams off for the next season, he could be out of job for 2010.

Speaking of Toyota, this was the team which was expected to challenge Brawn for the titles but with a few more races to go till the finish of the season, no one will be shocked if the team leaves F1 next season as despite having a good car, the team has faltered due to inconsistent driving and poor strategy. Monza should be a nightmare for the team.

Toro Rosso especially Sebastien Buemi has been good on practice and though repeating what Vettel did last year should be a tall order, any points from him should be good for the team. Hope Monza once again throws a very interesting race like last season and the race should bring back the focus on what actually makes the sport which is intense high quality wheel to wheel racing.

Italian GP Predictions: 1. Fisichella 2. Kimi 3. Vettel 4. Hamilton 5. Alonso 6. Webber 6. Sutil 7. Buemi 8. Heidfeld

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