Monday, April 19, 2010

The Race to the Championship

Only four races are over this season and already we have had 3 different winners and 3 different people leading the championship. Before the start of the season, as many as four teams were in contention with up to 8 drivers having a chance for the title. Though only four races are over, realistically as of now only 3 teams have a chance for the constructor’s championship and 7 drivers have a chance for the driver’s championship. Stranger things have happened and it is still very early to discount Mercedes in the constructor’s title race and Schumacher in the driver’s championship along with Webber.

Let us look at the driver’s and the teams to see what has been done so far and who has to do what to get closer to the title race.

Jenson Button – No one expected Button to lead the championship after the 1st four races of the season but he is leading the championship and he also won 2 races so far. A mix of good driving and a sound tire strategy could be the key towards this but Jenson Button has proved that he is not going to let Hamilton blow him away and though there have been 2 races where Hamilton has beaten him, Button has made the most of the conditions and because of various factors he leads the race as of now. If Button has to retain his title, he needs more solid drivers and should hope that strategy always works in his favor.

Winning the title could be another Cinderella story but finishing ahead of Hamilton is a possibility

Lewis Hamilton – The 2008 World Champion was expected to leave off Button but Hamilton despite some brilliance on the track is once again followed by controversy for his on track antics. His weaving maneuver on Vitaly Petrov has not gone well with the F1 community while his pit-lane skirmish with Vettel is sure to attract some criticism. Though he drivers flat out there is a difference between fair racing and bending all sorts of rules. If Hamilton continues to do that, it will only be a matter of time that he will be black flagged very soon.

Chances of winning title is slim as of now as he needs to be more consistent but beating Button should be a worry

Sebastian Vettel – The man who was expected to win all the races so far has won only one while mechanical failures has cost him 2 while bad strategy cost him another one in China. Vettel is one of the best driver’s on the grid and if Red Bull overcomes their mechanical issues, he is the clear favorite to win the title. Though he has shown great maturity, he also needs the backing of the team. If things continue as it has been during the 1st 4 races, he may still be in the hunt but these early mistakes could cost him the title.

If Red Bull gets it act together, expect Vettel to be crowned the youngest F1 driver

Fernando Alonso – After the 1st race everyone expected the Spaniard to win the title without any hiccups but now not only has Alonso has to worry about Massa but with the likes of Vettel, Button & Hamilton in the background, Ferrari’s engine trouble may cost him the title as he may just run out of engines by the last few races and with grid penalties it would be an impossible task to win the title when it gets close.

Alonso is a very serious contender if Ferrari’s engines don’t blow up

Felipe Massa – Massa was leading the table after 3 races without even winning a race shows how consistent he has been. It has been his best ever start to season and he has been very consistent so far with points scored during all the races. Though his best chance of winning a title was in 2008, he has really improved as a driver but has to beat Alonso consistently to ensure that Ferrari backs hid bid for the title.

Massa could once again end up his teammate for the title challenge during the 2nd half of the season

Nico Rosberg – During the last season, he was one of the most wanted drivers on the grid with McLaren, Brawn and BMW courting for his services. He joined Brawn and was expected to lead the newly reformed Mercedes GP team but his lack of race wins saw Schumacher making a shocking comeback and though Rosberg was expected to struggle against Schumacher, he has proved that he deserves a top car and so far has not only comprehensively beaten Schumacher but a very consistent season means that he is now 2nd in the drivers championship.

Still early days but needs a few wins to really make him a title contender

Robert Kubica – No one expected Kubica to be on podiums leave alone actually has a fighting chance for the driver’s championship. Kubica and Renault were expected to be fighting the likes of Williams and Force India but after a stunning start to the season, Kubica has become the dark horse of the season and if the big 4 drivers continues to take points off each other, he maybe the unlikely candidate for the driver’s championship.

The Dark horse of the season needs luck to clinch him the title more than anything else

Though it is early days, both Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber have struggled and have failed to have an impact like their teammates have had. Also their performances may decide the fate of their teams in the constructor’s championships.

Michael Schumacher – Has had one of his worst starts to the season but he has been out of F1 for 3 long years and things have changed. Previously Schumacher was used to just one team and one driver challenging him but now with some many rivals; this could his toughest ever season. Though Schumacher winning the title for 2010 may not happen, him winning a race towards the end of the season is a possibility.

Winning a race would make this comeback a great success but he needs to beat Rosberg

Mark Webber – Talk of Kimi replacing him at Red Bull next season will be running at the back of his head but this could be his only chance of having any realistic chance at the title. He needs to drive like a champion for the rest of the season to make an impact and put his name in the title race. Even a top 3 finish at the year end driver’s ranking will not guarantee him of a seat at RBR unless he beats Vettel.

Webber may have his last season with a very good car

Expect Vettel & Alonso fighting for the championship with Button, Hamilton, Massa & Rosberg also in the mix. But this season the result will depend on the team reliability rather than the drivers.

No comments: