Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Pack the wet weather gear, it's Spa again.

Hello and welcome back to part two of the championship. There’s everything to play for with three constructors up for a fight and five drivers in with a shout of the silverware. Anyone of them could take it, it’s all going to come down to whoever has been schmoozing lady Luck the hardest.

It’s been depressingly quite for the last four weeks with hardly a peep out of the teams. Lauda popped up to tell the FIA to throw the book at his old partners in crime at Ferrari, for the team orders storm in a teacup. Never one to miss a chance to annoy everyone and fan any flames in sight, Max pooped up and told anyone that would listen that he always knew Ferrari were a bunch of cheats and should be fire from a catapult in to the North sea and left to drown. The FIA has remained resolutely quite on the matter and are rather hoping it all dies down I suspect.
Meanwhile down under the Ozzy’s gave Hamilton an almost embarrassingly low fine for something that never needed to get further that a finger wagging and “Don’t do it again lad” telling off. The courts fined the over exuberant F1 world champion £500 for “hooning” whatever that is. High spirits we call it this side of the world and give a hearty laugh.

Liuzzi has been telling anyone that will listen to him that he’s going to stick the Force India on the podium at Spa. Whilst the team look mystified, shake their head and say ... realistically a top 10 would be nice. The wolves are obviously starting to circle the grumpy Italian and he’s looking to talk himself into a seat for next year. Good luck there lad.

Redbull have been feeding the hungry press pack with stories of how they “Don’t think the long straights of Spa hold any fear for us”. The feeling is that Ferraris grunt and McLarens F’aduck will give them a better top speed on this long circuit. This is just miss direction, as we all know the Redbulls work brilliantly on the high speed corners where grip is all you need. Spa is about the corners, and keeping the momentum onto the straights. If the Redbull is four car lengths ahead coming onto the straight they’ll be two car lengths ahead at the end of the straight.
Well that’s if it doesn’t rain of course, and it always rains in Spa. Once that happens, it’s anyone’s game.
Hoping to go well will be Massa and Kubica. Both could do with a bit of a lift. Massa got nobbed in Germany and could do with a bit of love form the team, he’s 40 odd points behind Alonso in the championship so it would take a miracle to win it from there but you never know.
Kubica needs to start delivering some of this potential he keeps showing. People will start thinking it’s all about the car being there because others have failed to finish, not because he’s dragged the car up there. I’m still to be convinced he is the next big thing. Ferrari don’t appear to want him and i can’t see any of the other big teams knocking on his door.

Further back and the perennial “must try harder’s” at Williams are bringing new wings to Spa in an effort to beat the Force India boys. Barrichello is having a wonderful time with the boys from Didcot and this will be his gazillionth GP, making him the most highly experience driver to never win the world championship, well done him.

Not in a happy place at the moment is Mr Schumacher. He’s been keeping a very low profile these last four weeks, rather hopping that all will be forgiven in Belgium this weekend. Expect a very public attempt at a hand shake with Rubens in the Williams pit on Friday, hopefully the Didcot boys will smack the smug German in his smug face and throw him out.

Meanwhile the new boys in the cheap garages are all making the usual noises about “in it for the long haul” and “a learning year” bluff. Yamamoto is keeping his seat at HRT for another race, which means Senna gets the nod and Chandhok is pretty much fired from F1. A rather ignominious way to go in the end, he was a country mile faster than Yamamoto; he just didn’t have the readies to back it up. Shame really.

So, i think it’ll be the usual suspects up front. A Redbull for the pole with a Ferrari for the fastest lap maybe. Throw some rain in and the McLarens should be contenders, but it’s hard to see beyond a Vettel win in the rain.

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