Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Lock and load, it's going ot be turkey shoot kids

Well, the question isn't who will win in Turkey. No, the question is which one of the Redbulls will win in Turkey.

Webber has the crown Jewel of Monaco under his belt and two on the bounce, momentum and lady luck are are sitting nice and comfortably on his shoulder. He now knows he can put a weekend together and come out top Dog. His supposed better team mate has been lackluster in the last two rounds and not challenged the older man. Formula One is as more about tuning a drivers head into racing winning, than giving him a car to do the job. Webber now believes he can do the job which is going to make him a hard man to beat.

Vettel is equal on points with the Ozzy, but has had no luck with a broken car for the last two races. This means you have to ask that if he'd had a pukka car would he have been pushing Webber harder. At Monaco, probably not as It's not a circuit he likes, but Turkey will give him more room to show what he can do. But if Webber is faster on day one however, Vettel will struggle.

The only driver i think can challenge these two is Alonso. I've been saying from the start that I think this is going to be Alonso's year. Turkey is going to be a race that he has to take to the Redbulls. They will be faster than him, so he'll have to stay in touch to profit from any mistakes the other two make. If he makes another mistake like the one in Monaco he's going to make the job harder than it already is.

Also bare in mind also that Massa has always gone well here. He's not the sharp driver he was last year, but he can still get the job done when on comfortable territory. The Ferrari is fast, it just needs to be driven fast.

As to the rest, I don't think Kubica will be as fast as he was in Monaco, the Renault isn't as fast as the rest of the pack in a straight line and spanking the car won't make it go any faster here. The McLaren boys will be there or there abouts, given a fare win, but Button won't win unless it's wet. Hamilton is always worth watching and could mix it up with the Redbulls and Alonso. He went well in Spain which is a similar fast dusty track to Turkey. The F-duck will keep them in the hunt but Ferrari and now Redbull will have F-ducts too though not as developed and attuned as the McLaren version.
Rosberg and Mickey will be back scrapping about behind the rest, probably ahead of Kubica if they have no problems.

So yeah, the betting money is on a Redbull 1-2. I can't think of a reason to doubt that personally.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Webber inexplicably takes the Monaco crown

Well there you go, just how much to I know about F1 then. On the strength of the Monaco result, not a hell of a lot.

So much for "There's no way Redbull can win here ...... Webber won't even make the top 10 hardy har har. He’s a bit rubbish etc etc" Apparently he's rather good and can indeed defy expectation and win back to back races which is a first. But you know what, he did it. Now you could argue that had Alonso not attempted to crash test the Ferrari on Saturday morning so that he needed a new car for Sunday, then Webber might have a had to do a bit more work. But the fact is, Webber didn't hit the Armoco and Alonso did. Not so Teflon now are you Mr. Spanish bloke. Thus the Magic of Monaco is displayed for all to see. You kiss the metal work here, you don't give it a good hard smack and tell it to come round the hotel room later. Lady luck doesn't like that kind of thing, she's an old fashioned lass that likes to see a good time before the sweaty business can begin.

1st for Webber who takes the keys to lady lucks room for another weekend, this sort of thing can lead to World Championships if your not careful. Let's see if he can keep the roll going. He was fast when it counted, controlled the race during the safety car periods as other got it all wrong. Then calmly drove off into the wide blue yonder, leaving the rest to mess round in his wheel tracks. I guess he had a pretty boring race, because I didn't see that much of him.

Vettel get's 2nd this time around, he's going to be wondering what happen to the Wunderkind tag he had at the start of the year. Okay yeah, he's second, but he's supposed to be the team leader here, the young gun going for the win at all cost. Not one being shown the way home by the old guy waiting to get fired and move on to some mid field Jonny Nobody effort. However Vettel is second, he's now joint first in the championship with Webber, so he must be doing something right. It's just you get the feeling that Vettel is second because he got the best car on the grid, not because he's the best driver on the grid.

3rd up on the podium is a rather surprising Kubica. He was there all weekend. He didn't look like he was going to win it, but the Pole was within his grasp until Webber found an empty lap and nailed the Redbull to the front row spot. Kubica beat the other Redbull of Vettel to the front row of the grid though and that's very telling. Look where Petrov was all weekend and you can tell that Kubica made the difference here. I don't think he's going to get close to the top step for the rest of the season, but he'll have done his Ferrari chances no harm at all this weekend.

Massa 4th and untroubled by anything like racing. Drove the car and didn't crash, oh well.

Hamilton starts and finishes in 5th, which you have to regard as a bit of a failure. Kubica took a rubbish car to the podium by spanking it. Hamilton just didn't seem to get on top of the car and drive it forward. McLaren brought him early to make sure he stayed ahead of Alonso driving back from last please. But after than he couldn't get close enough to Massa to put a move on him, despite two safety cars. So I think Hamilton will be wondering where the win is going to come from this year, because Monaco should have been there for the taking.

Now 6th is Alonso who did a pretty good job of driving from the back of the grid to the top 10. He had a bit of luck after cocking it all up on Saturday morning, with safety car and other drivers screwing up during the race. But on the last lap under the safety car, he was passed by Mickey Schumacher. Ferrari where incensed by that and claimed the race was still under safety car rules even though the green flag was being waved and the track was officially clear. But the FIA being the FIA said :

"Under rule 40.13, which states that "if the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking," Schumacher has been given a penalty."

This I guess is to allow sponsors to have their cars cross the line without an unsightly Mercedes safety car getting in the way of the money shot. Why the safety car has to peel off and why the safety car line is at the pit entrance not the start finish like it always used to be, is anyone's guess. So there you go. Mickey gets a 20 second penalty (instead of a drive through) and gets bumped all the way back to nowhere. Meanwhile Alonso just about saves the day with a drive back to the top 10, but he was good enough for pole and the win was there for the taking. Webber would certainly have to have worked a bit harder.

7th For Rosberg who was beaten by his team mate again, until the FIA interviened. He felt he had a car capable of winning, but failed to find the clear lap and then didn't really get going in the race. I think he talked a good weekend, but the reality was less then stellar really.

8th. Sutil hmmm normally goes well here, but didn't really trouble the goose bumps all weekend. Made places up off the line that settled back to a few hours racing.

9th for Liuzzi. jolly good

and 10th goes to Buemi after Mickey get's hit with the FIA ban hammer of doom. Well done to him.

Meanwhile its a sorry tail of woe in the Tail and Charlie challenge. Not one of them make it to the line this week. Unbelievably, HRT and Chandhok was showing the Lotus of Trulli the way home. No I don't believe it either. Maybe, just Maybe, Chandhok has done himself the power of good on the best drivers circuit out there. But then the waste of space that is Trulli felt the need to pull a do or die move with 3 laps to go and overtake Chandhok in the most random place available. Chandhok had no idea the Trulli was coming up the inside of him and they dully collided, sending Trulli over the top of the very surprised Indian and in to the Armco. The sooner Trulli retires, the better. Which all means that none of the Tail end Charlies finished this week.

So it's starting to look like Redbull might be running a benefit gig year. They appear to have the fastest cars on the slowly twisty stuff and the long fast stuff. which covers all the tracks. Baring the reliability gremlin of course.

The view from the cockpit

Watch out Alonso, here i come. mmmmmmwwwwwhahahahaha !!!1

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Monaco, Lady luck likes it tight and twisty here.

Right ho then … Monaco. It not like any other circuit on the tour this place. F-ducks and fidderly flaps do not help you go fast round this place. No it’s the size of your balls and how lucky you are. Brake an inch late, turn in a degree too much or blink at the wrong moment and the next thing you’re doing is explaining to the team principle why he shouldn’t fire your ass. Lady luck and Monaco have a great time together. They’re like two giddy teenage girls let loose with a platinum credit card. Out late at night partying hard till dad gets the bill and wants some answers.
All the best drivers will be flirting with the lady in her back yard. You have to if you want to go fast, because whilst it’s not the fastest race on the calendar, it’s the longest, tightest strip of tarmac the boys will see this year. Triple Armco funnels the drivers round the streets, inches from the front doors of the rich and famous. And that’s where the drivers have to be, taking risks to pass the tail end charlies and the pay per drive drivers out there. The great and the good will muscles their cars past the slower boys fond that extra inch for lady luck and take her to heaven and back. That’s what she likes, not drivers that pay her lip service and fail to deliver, she likes them brave.
Driver to watch this weekend
Of late Lady luck has not been smiling on young Mr Hamilton. Second place stolen from him by a broken wheel rim in Spain, whilst Webber forgot to watch the road in Australia. He needs to get a good result o the circuit he loves to get his season on track. He’s starting to look very number two’ish at McLaren which is not the script the pundits had written for this year.
Vettel has to win here if he want to show that he does have what it takes. The feeling that he can’t muscle his way past drivers in similar cars is starting to take hold in the collective paddock consciousness. There’s only so long Bernie can keep bigging him up, whilst he’s not delivering the world championship Bernie thinks he’s capable off. Yes the car hasn’t delivered. But is that because he’s spanking it, or has Lady luck had her fill of smug Germans waving their finger in the air.
Talking of smug Germans, Mickey still isn’t delivering. I didn’t watch the race in Spain so I don’t know if he was brilliant or Button was rubbish. Button didn’t have a display apparently so had to change gear by feel and listening to the engine. Not an easy thing in a modern F1 car I’m told. So he was struggling, but was supposed to have a faster car than Mickey. Mercedes are going back to the short wheel base configuration for Monaca, a set up that Mickey didn’t like, but the short comings of the car could be overcome round Monaco, If Mickey has been paying his dues to the Lady of course. It’s been a long time since he was racing at Monaco, where you need to be bang on the top of your game, somewhere that Mickey most certainly isn’t right now.
Kubica, an odd choice you say, but he’s been doing really well with a car that shouldn’t be up there. Yet there he is, and if Ferrari are waving a blank cheque under his nose for 2011, then where better to show you have pasta sauce in the blood than at the glamour Capital of Monaco.
Massa, is either all over the place or gets a podium here. He needs to start delivering, Alonso has got the momentum, and he’s on a roll. Massa never goes well when he thinks he’s about to get fired. He has to feel the love, and that’s not going to be happening if Kubica continues to deliver and Alonso steam rollers him. I don’t think the aggression is there anymore. He’s still fast, but he’s not as sharp as before the accident. I think the fires may be burning low in his soul. A finish out side the top 10 here could see the start of the “fire his ass” brigade back home in Italy.
The Tail end Charlies. These boys are going to have a fun time here, the bigger boys haven’t got their way on a having the smaller boys have their own qualifying session before the rich boys have finished their morning cappuccino. So the drivers in the slower cars will be there with just as much chance as the quick boys. Monaco always throws up the odd result and I’d place money on at least on of the Lotus cars making the top ten. But then I’m sober and having to write this very quickly during lunch. So I’ve not really thought that through too much.
So those are the stories to watch this weekend. I think Button, and Alonso are the drivers to put your money on for the podium. They’re all pumped up right now and getting the score board to tick over whilst not being the fastest driver out there. I just can’t see Webber delivering back to back results. And Vettel doesn’t excite me I’m afraid. But you never know, it’s all about keeping Lady lucks glass of Moet topped up and, making sure you don’t get her falling down drunk before the Grimaldies have handed the big trophy over.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Spain ...

.. I was right, dull.

Spa however was brilliant.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

It’s all back to Spain and the start of the European season.

All the big boys will be bringing new improved cars to this race as they’ve had three weeks to sort out the kinks and glitches of the opening rounds.

Ferrari have figured out why their engines keep exploding, the catch all “Hydraulics” problem has been fixed apparently, the FIA have given the go ahead to modify their engine, so it should hold together and Alonso is talking up his championship on home soil.

Mercedes have redesigned their car so Mickey doesn’t look quite so ordinary. Well that’s the plan, I suspect he’ll still be in the bottom of the top 10 come Sunday afternoon. Button has also been talking up his championship in Spain, apparently this circuit will suit their cars. Which is usually code for “We’re not going for pole here”. Buttons is all buffed up at the moment with two wins and a hand on the silverware and if he can’t win then Hamilton won’t be far behind.

Just like last year the Redbulls have so far failed to convert speed into wins. Vettel still looks a little unsure in traffic whilst Webber still can’t seem to string a weekend together. The FIA’s ban on trick suspension doesn’t appear to have made much difference to their qualifying speed, so I expect one of the Redbulls to be upfront form the start of the race.

Kubica has been talking down his chances this weekend. Renault haven’t been splashing the reddies to make the car go fast enough for Mr Kubica, so he’s started whinging about it.

That should be your top eight again, Spain is pretty much a test track for the teams so they know every twist and turn. This means that come Sunday, the order they qualified in, will almost certainly be the order they finish in (unless is rains of course). It’s long, fast and pretty grippy. Tire wear isn’t too bad for the well balanced cars, but a noodly twisty last section of the lap will test the cars that have gone for straight line speed over grip. With the F-duck, McLaren can trim the car for better grip in this slow section for instance.

I shall be in Belgium at the second round of the 2010 LMS race 1000kms of big grunty sports cars. It’s going to be the tester for this years Le Mans, with both Peugeot and Audi bringing three cars apiece. I prey to all the Gods of fast cars that it doesn’t rain in Spa but knowing spa it will rain at some point. But there is nothing in this world to compare to watching sports prototype cars blasting through Eau Rouge for 6 hours. It’s even worth getting wet for.

So I think I can live without seeing a dull two hour racing in Spain. If you want to see some proper racing, tune into Eurosport TV on Sunday from 10am.