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Exciting Season Beckons…

In Formula1 on March 10, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Looking at the preseason testing results, I cant help but say one of the drivers of the top 4 teams is going to finish low in points at the end of the race which according to me is all the ingredients in the making of an exciting season for the F1 enthusiasts though very annoying for the championship potential drivers. For the first time after 1993, refueling is not allowed in the race and this makes things even more interesting. The points system is also in for a revamp with the points extending to the 10th place rewarding two more cars. I feel this would encourage the smaller teams whose goal mainly was to survive all the races will change to finishing inside the top 10. The points in decreasing order are 25,18,15,12,10,8,6,4,2,1. Lets take a quick look at the potential championship winning teams/drivers and the teams which are crucial in breaking away the points from them.

The teams which are in contention for the constructors championship this year are McLarenF1, Scuderia Ferrari, Red bull Racing and Mercedes Grand Prix. Yes, there are 4 contenders. The preseason testing separates each other by 0.4 a sec on an average and the rest of the pack by 2.5 considering all the 4 days at Barcelona.

McLarenF1 :  The fastest car among the other teams, Lewis stands strong this season with everybody’s money on him. With the inclusion of the current champion Button, Mclaren looks power packed with a strong car and an all British team. But we had seen this before with Kimi-Montoya montage and all hyped up British media. Will the duo break the British jinx of self hyped second place results? will Button-Lewis marriage live up to the preseason hype? only results but not time will reveal.

Scuderia Ferrari : After the forgettable drive at Mclaren and two seasons with an average car, Alonso looked solid at the testing with the Ferrari. Coming back from the injury, Massa was at his regular ever improving best. After poor showing in the initial races last season, ferrari solely worked on the 2010 car ignoring upgrades to their last year car. They started from scratch to build the new F10. Ferrari will also be resuming the traffic light system for the pit stops after a debacle at the Singapore GP in 2008, which costed Massa the race and the outcome would have been different for the constructors championship. The F10 looks promising and with the lineup of Mass-Alonso, nothing can separate it from McLaren in their chances.

Redbull Racing: With Victory in the Last three races of the 2009 season, Redbull looks to carry their momentum into the 2010 season with some strong showing in the preseason testing by Webber and “baby schumi” Vettel. The RBR team had a strong car but not a competitive engine in the beginning of the season last year. But the prodigious Vettel took the driver championship fight till the last race which just speaks for the team’s development program. The qualifying  specialist Mark Webber looks to relieve himself of this tag as he showed good promise in the preseason testing but again he is a specialist in getting those times, so we cant bet anything on Webber’s driver championship chances. With Renault set to make up for their under performing engine from 2009, RBR team is a strong contender for the Constructors and the Driver’s title, though I can strongly say that only Vettel might give it all for the later.

Mercedes Grand Prix : The rain master chose to make his comeback with long time pal Ross Brawn’s formerly Brawn GP. The Mercedes car didn’t look ground breaking in the preseason testing and further disappointed many after the president in charge of the team said “I would not see our team in the role of favorites”.  The team aims at stronger races in the later part of the season but you never know with the Mercedes development program, they could spring few surprises with Michael Schumacher at the wheel. What disspointed me personally was that Nico Rosberg was given the drive ahead of Nick Heifeld who has ten f1 season under him with more podium finishes than Rosberg though both are yet to win a race. All in all this all-German team, looks more of a national outfit and the F1 2010 season like an Anglo-German showdown with the all British Mclaren F1 team. It would be interesting to see how these two teams fare by the end of the season as Mercedes still has a minor stake in McLaren F1 team.

The teams which might affect the title chances of the above 4 are BMW Sauber, Force India, Williams and Toro Rosso. These  cars had pretty strong lap times in the preseason testing but have been very inconsistent.  I would say the three teams could have few strong finishes inside the top10 but I am not sure how the new Torro Rosso drivers would perform which could make all the difference in the title campaign of the top 4 teams. Watch out for Vitantonio Liuzzi and Pedro de la Rosa who return to the driver seats at Force India and BMW Sauber this year after being reserve drivers for the Force India and Mclaren respectively. Pedro now 38 years old set a record for driving highest number of miles for the Mclaren team, being a reserve driver from 2003-2009.

Come this 13th the incredible journey which crosses four continents begins where the rivlaries resume, the young ones turn great while the great one returns. This season will be like never before where a  prediction might become a mere speculation. I will leave you with a preview of the 1st race of the season with Mark Webber – the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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