So it’s all back to the head quarters of the pink gin brigade of old duffers that run the BRDC and the British Grand Prix. Bernie might not like it, but it’s all he got to work with now. Donnington has gone bankrupt and had to give up its right to hold the British GP. So we’re all as we were and Northampton it is.
Well, not quite as we were, as half of Silverstone has been ripped up and some new corners added. The first half through Copse to the hanger straight then vale are all there. But Abbey and the super fast Bridge are gone, replaced with a new series of sweeping corners back towards Becketts and the new arena hairpin, then a long fast straight to the Brooklands complex and the old circuit. It was designed for the MotoGP boys, but they didn’t really like it. The biggest complaint was that it’s too bumpy and despite being three cars wide, there’s only the one racing line.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t designed by his Dullness Herr Tilke. But an English company, who still had to get the FIA to agree to it all, so it was a touched rushed in the end. The Pit complex after vale has only just been started and the grandstands will be very temporary this year. But it’s had some races on it and no one has hated it really, just no one has really loved it.
So once again the McLaren boys come here as favorites’. This time they are though, they’ll have their new trick rear exhaust diffuser thingybob and whilst Redbull have a couple of drivers who can nail a qualifying lap, they don’t have the race pace of Hamilton or Button. Either of who could win this one and win they will. Two British drivers in a British car in front of a vocal, passionate crowd that is not there to see a German or an Ozzy beat the home boys. No sir e bob.
Lewis and Jenson are not here to come second, as this will define the second half of the season for both of them. They’re one and two in the championship and would like be fighting each other for the big cup rather than Vettel or Alonso, so putting some daylight between them and the rest would be a good thing. It would also set the team up to start favoring one or other.
Meanwhile the Ferrari boys, for which read Alonso, have been making noises about not forgetting them and they would have been higher up the table if Hamilton hadn’t cheat etc etc etc blah blah blah. They’ve seemed a bit all at sea for most of this season, Alonso making rookie mistakes, getting wound up in Valencia yet he’s only 29 points behind. Slowly slowly catchy monkey as they used to say. You can never discount Alonso, he has the kind of luck and skill that wins world championship and now Ferrari are really going to put everything behind him. Massa is now the number two, he might have been given a new contract, but he’s having a very quite year.
Vettel and Webber have just failed to deliver really. They should be miles ahead, measuring up the cabinet for a nice big FIA 1st place cup. Yeah they’re 3rd and 4th in the championship, but unlike Alonso, you have to wonder how they’ve managed to get there. Neither driver can over take. Driving into your team mate is the worst possible crime, driving in to the back of other cars repeatedly is just as bad. Webber just seems to forget that other cars will break into corners and Vettel seems to run out of ideas when stuck behind anyone. Will they get pole ... probably, will they win, not a chance. But then I said Webber wouldn’t win in Monaco.
Williams seem to have found another gear from somewhere. They got both drivers into Q3 at the expense of the Mercedes boys, Barrichello eventually finished in 4th profiting from the safety car silliness to an extent, but you have to be in it to win it don’t you. If Mercedes continue to screw it up then I think we could see some more of the Didcot boys this weekend.
Also doing well last time out and talking their race up this weekend are Sauber. Krazy Koby showed that given a fair wind and a bit of luck, he’s not a bad little racer after all. It wasn’t just a Toyota that made him impressive. He’ll dine out on the Alonso overtake until he’s old and grey. Can they do the same again this weekend? Well you never know, would you bet against Webber hitting someone else again?
Not having a very happy time are the Merc Boys. Rosberg has come out this week all guns blazing asking why is the car behind the Williams, when it was supposed to be the mutt’s nuts, he was in a Williams last year and now he’s behind them in a supposedly better car. What gives! Brawn has attempted to calm the stormy waters, but the word on the street is that the Money men back in Stuttgart are counting the pennies and asking was it all worth the cost. If I were Mickey I’d be check the small print for performance clauses I had to hit.
Most of the teams have simulation of the new Silverstone circuit up and running now, so the drivers will know which way the track goes (let’s hope Webber was paying attention), what they won’t know is how the track reacts to the tires, how the tires wear out. Wing setting are going to be sorted before they even unpack the transporter. But how the tires physically interacts with the road, that’ll be a where the race is won or lost. And that what makes this race a lottery.