Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Into the Unknown!

It is official as we now head towards uncharted territory! For the first time in the history of the sport 7 different drivers have won the first 7 races of the season. Apart from 7 different drivers, 5 different constructors have also won the races while the likes of Lotus and Sauber have hit the podium multiple times now.

Usually F1 has never witnessed this level of chaos since early 80’s and usually when the European part of the season begins, the pecking order is clear but this season despite after 7 races no one really know who actually has the pace. At the beginning of the season McLaren and Lotus were the 2 teams with pace but McLaren despite winning 2 races, the car has not really evolved much after the first race and the team has made some costly errors and now the team is trailing Red Bull in the Championship. Red Bull had a difficult start to the season but despite that they are leading the constructors table with both Vettel and Webber in the top 4 of the drivers’ championship with only a few points adrift of the current leader Hamilton who got the lead only after winning the last race.  

Red Bull due to some consistent driving and innovative strategy are looking good despite not have the best car in the grid. Another team which had a poor start was Ferrari. Ferrari’s start was so poor that it was widely expected that the team will not even get regular podium finishes but due to a mix of luck and some brilliant driving by Alonso, Ferrari still has an outside chance for the constructor’s championship if Massa pulls up his act while Alonso is one of the favorites for the driver’s championship. Right now on the grid, Alonso is the best driver and if the likes of Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton were driving the Lotus or even the likes of Williams or Sauber, they could have won almost every race.

Lotus despite having a very fast car and though the results are good for the team and it just seems like a win is just around the corner need to be more consistent. Both the drivers and the team need to show more consistency if it needs to challenge for the titles. Another team which has had a very mixed result has been Mercedes. Despite having a pretty strong car and Rosberg winning his first race, the team is yet to show the level of consistency which can make it genuine contenders for the title. Schumacher has been plagued by bad luck that had he not had it he may have well even been leading the title race now.

It is always good to see a strong Williams’s team and despite having 2 pay drivers, the team has done reasonably well. They managed to break their win draught and now after such a miserable season last year, the team is on its way up. If only had both its drivers done the job, the team would have been comfortably ahead Sauber & Mercedes. Maybe even Ferrari would have been at their sight. The team has shown that it can still produce a good car and hopefully we will see a good fast racer join the team next season as the team can progress well.

Sauber has shown that the results in Malaysia is now fluke and the team does have good pace but then it at times have struggled in a few tracks. Pérez is not that consistent and he is still a few years away from a drive with Ferrari but compared to his teammate Kobayashi, he is doing a far better job. Kobayashi is struggling despite his promising start to his F1 career and he needs to show some good results or else a chance with a top team which already is looking slim maybe lost forever. There was a time when there was call for Ferrari to replace Massa with Kobayashi but not that seems like distance memory.

Force India after having a brilliant season last year is actually having a good season despite where they are placed in the table. They have the most promising line-up on the grid and the resurgence of Williams & Sauber along with the way Lotus and Mercedes have upped the game, things do look bad for the team. The problem for the team is that they have not managed to raise their game to the likes of Williams, Sauber & Lotus while they are very comfortably ahead of Toro Rosso. It does look like Force India will have a lonely battle in the middle as their rivals are ahead of them while FI are just no match for Toro Rosso at the moment.

Among the rest Toro Rosso scored its customary early season points and if we do go by tradition, then we need to wait till the end of the season for them to score again. But in the last few years the team has taken the battle to the midfield teams but this season the midfield bunch has gone up leaving STR at times time battle with Caterham. Not that Caterham has caught up with STR but they are nearly there and STR needs to up its game a bit.

Marussia and HRT still make up for numbers while Caterham for all their hype on how they plan to score points still look a long way from it. Maybe a race with rain and incident could be the only realistic chance for these teams to score points.

It is still early days but among the drivers Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel looks like the guys who will fight for the Championship while the likes of Webber, Rosberg and even Kimi could be the dangerous floater. Massa looks like he is on a revival while Jenson Button after winning the 1st race of the season is woefully out of form.

There are still drivers like Schumacher, Kimi, & Massa who have all won races in the past to win races this season as they all have the machinery to do it. While the likes of Grosjean and Pérez scoring their first win is also possible.

It is going to be a very exciting season and the driver who has been very consistent and also at times brave with strategy looks like the guy who will win the championship at the end of the year.