Quick one this week.
Japanese GP looks like it is going to be a wet one again, so expect much tiptoeing around following a safety car for long periods.
Air pressures are going to be the big talking point of the weekend I am afraid. The FIA’s new random tyre pressure check now has some guidelines and defined parameters for the teams to get all prissy about. The knock on effect of this is Mercedes appear to have lost a good second off their lap times. It never ceases to amaze me just how infinitesimally small the margins are in F1, If you’ve ever played Gran Turimso or Forza or any of the myriad PC racing games, you’ll have messed around with the car settings. Now, if you’re honest with yourself you don’t really have much idea what you’re doing do you, whack on some off camber, up the spring knock rate, turn down the anti-roll snaffle flange pin, lower the ride height and stick on some big fat wings. Make any difference? Nope, though not.
Yet in F1, upping the air pressure by 0.5psi and suddenly Mercedes are struggling to keep up with the Ferraris. Change the ride height by 2mm and Maldonado is skating off into the Armco … no wait that happens whatever. So yeah, Tyre pressures will be the talking point on track.
Off track and the woes for Lotus continue, due to a “late payment or two”. This meant there was a delay in the equipment arriving from Singapore and a lot of standing around looking annoyed for the Lotus set up personnel. The cars will be there on Friday morning for first practice, just how ready they will be well, that is anyone’s guess.
In addition, anyone’s guess will be the whereabouts of Jenson next year, there were many rumours floating around the media world at the start of the week, that Button will announce his retirement from F1 this weekend. McLaren have had a torrid time of 2015, the engine is clearly more wrong than a Torro Rosso team order call and the car appears to have been designed by a gang of Albanian welders high on rubbing alcohol. Basically, it’s all an utter mess for the Woking team, so why would he want to stay, they messed him around last year about keeping his seat and they appear to be messing him around this year about keeping his seat.
If he’s going then most people expect him to announcing something this weekend. I hope he goes to WEC but I expect he’ll be setting up some iron man world series thing.
This track is a bit more old school with nice flowing bits and less stop start nonsense. I can’t see anyone touching the Merc for ole and the win, last weekend was just a set up blip, tyre pressures notwithstanding, they’re faster in the high speed stuff then Ferrari and Redbull. HOWEVER, if Ferrari were to be pole or the front row, then Hamilton’s 50 point championship lead might seem a bit too narrow for comfort on the Merc pit wall, and the Mercedes pit wall has been known to make mistakes when it feels under pressure. ~We might just have a race on our hands afterall.
Predictions need to be updated before midnight, good luck,