Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Whose got the most money then ...

So it’s a short turn around and the circus touches down in Malaysia for the second
GP in as many weekends.

With such a short turn around the gulf between the riches teams (those at the front) and thoseless well off teams  (those at the back of the grid) becomes starkly obvious. The likes of Ferrari and Redbull will have analysed the performance of their cars in Australia five days ago, and will have an assortment of team personal boarding flights to Malaysia with large irregular carbon fibre packages as hand luggage.
The teams at the back of the grid will patch up whatever damage Maldonado or Van De Garde did to their cars and then look at their dwindling supply of spare parts they have and then wish they had better drivers.

So then what happened in Australia ?

Lotus went well and didn’t burn their tyres out.
 Redbull appeared to have a bit of a rear down force issue, as in, not enough of it.
Ferrari looked pretty solid but they didn’t have quite enough speed in the twisty bits.
Mercedes was quick in qualifying and practise, but fell away as the weekend and the track was rubbered in.
Fore India had a cracking weekend with a fast car that only ran out of grip at the end.

So that’s your top ten
McLaren have got real problems. Perez was a complete non entity, failing to make an impact on the top ten and was anonymous all weekend. Button did what he could but once again he can’t drag a poor car to the places Hamilton would make it go. If you’re stuck in the midfield mire you need a Banzai driver to push you forward. Apparently their initial “OMG” pace at the first test was due to a suspension part being fitted the wrong way round. Once fitted the right way round the speed and handling went to hell in a hand cart.
That suggest to me they have a fundamental problem with the chassis and is not something you fix over night. Or even the course of a week between back to back race meetings.

Sauber are a bit unknown with a rookie who was meh and the Hulk failing to make the start with a fuel issue, they weren’t exactly fast but they did look like they might push McLaren for top ten slots.  Gutierrez was 13 and you have to expect Hulkenberg to be better than that if he get to the track.
 Torro Rosso wasn’t rubbish but that might have been because others were.
Williams was absolutely dire and only Bottas saved their blushes. Maldonado whined the whole weekend about how undrivable the car was and spent the few laps he was in the race, missing corner apexes by a country mile.  I don’t think they’re going to trouble the top ten any time soon.
Further back and the Marussia’s on balance weren’t as bad as the Caterham’s, but both teams should hang their heads in shame. Bianci is clearly better than Max who did alright and didn’t hit anything and Pic is clearly better than Van der Garde. But that’s obvious as both the better drivers have more experience.
I think your last placed driver is going to be a straight fight between Max and Van Der Garde.

So, up the sharp end ... well more of the same really.
Vettel, Alonso and Kimi, with a Merc maybe on the podium if one of those three drops the ball, Hamilton got points because Nico dropped out in Oz, I think Nico will be ahead of Lewis this time.
Webber had an issue with his McLaren ECU in Australia (McLaren supply the whole of the grid) this was apparently a one off failure and shouldn’t happen again.
Massa is a good back up driver and a good bet for the top five.
With Grosjean, and the Force India’s to fight for the rest, throw in a Sauber and Jenson to the mix for a laugh.

Right that’s enough for now... don’t forget to update your predictions BEFORE FRIDAY, but any predictions not updated will roll over from now on.

Good Luck.

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