Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hungarian F1 ... bring the factor 50 with you.

Hello everyone it’s time to check those predictions and wonder how you’re going to climb up the table. There is still half a season to go here people, plenty of time to rescue some credibility.

Well it’s been an interesting couple of weeks off, we had the young driver/Pirelli test last week, with all the usual suspect up the top of the timing sheets. There wasn’t much to glean from the times as we had no idea who was running what fuel load or aero bits. Besides which, this test was essentially Pirelli trying out some new runner compounds and the replacement design for the one that exploded so spectacularly at Silverstone. Casting an eye over the reports it appears that the new rubber will suit the Lotus and Ferrari cars as well as Redbull (who had always wanted a return to the “old” design of tyre). Mercedes who had already tested on their own and got a slap wrist for doing so, were not at this test, but were given the same data from Pirelli that all the teams received.

Weather that will be of use is open to debate as all cars react differently to the tyres, especially cars that haven’t used that rubber as yet. Mercedes got a bit hot under the collar when it became obvious that rather than dodge a bullet by being told they couldn’t attend the young drivers test for cheating. The test was actually going to mean something as it turned into an emergency Pirelli face saving “safety” test. Just as Mercedes appeared to get a handle on their tyre issues and began owning the Saturday afternoon pole position, Pirelli go and change the tyres and Mercedes have no idea how it will affect their cars.

Sitting on the FIA naughty step for 3 day actually meant something for once.

So then to Hungary, for round 10 of the 2013 championship before the teams go on holiday for a month. This place is going to be hot, the prediction is for temperatures in the 30’s for race day and two hours round this place is going to sort the men from the boys. Its tight and twisty like Dave Cameron explaining how its all new labours fault and nothing what-so-ever to do with him and his shower of idiots. There isn’t a lot of racing to be had here, it’s about surviving and hoping the guy in front makes a mistake.

Pole wise, well the Merc have to be favourites on current form, test or no test they have the one lap speed required. Come the race and I suspect the resurgent Lotus might just sneak this one from Vettel. Kimi and especially Grosjean looked very racy in Germany I don’t see Ferrari taking the fight to Redbull and the Merc can’t look after its rear tyres on hot tracks.
Further back and things get a bit more uncertain. Force India seem to be either best of the rest or throwing away the points with Di Resta and Sutil taking it in turns to be rather good or be stabbed in the back by the boys on the pit wall. They’ve been talking their chances up this weekend with a suggestion they have the measure of McLaren and can breeze past them with ease. If they don’t screw it up I think they might be right.

Sauber appear to have sorted their money worries out after crawling cap in hand to some back street dive in the more seedy part of down town Moscow. No one is quite sure where the actual Rubles are coming from, or if the government is involved at all. But they’ve been handed a cheque with an awful lot of zeros after the number and some wet behind the ears hick form the rural Russian sticks as lead driver next year. The smart money is on Hulkenberg walking away from the team any minute now whilst he still has his knee caps. They went well in Germany with the new tyres on a hot track, I think the fact that they have now paid their employees might mean they have a motivated garage this weekend for a change. Gutierrez still won’t amount to much, but the Hulk needs to remind the other teams that he was once considered the “new bright young thing”. Hello Redbull !!!

Talking of Webbers Redbull seat, Ricciardo appears to be the front runner for the seat now. He got to test the car at Silverstone last week and didn’t bin it. The word is Kimi is asking too much and being picky about PR duties …. Redbull being essentially a life style brand they need happy smiley drivers to jump out of planes and ride up rock faces. Not pour the drink into a glass of Vodka and be photographed as they are thrown out of “Gentleman’s clubs” at 3am.

It’ll be a long race, tyres once again will be the talk of the paddock.  But the drama will be thin on the ground as the teams look forward to a couple of weeks R&R starting Monday morning.

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