I’ve never seen a F1 season so unpredictable as this one. You can’t bet your money on anyone or anything. Biggest changes are: No Michael Schumacher, no Michelin, no Ross Brawn, and certainly no Fernando Alonso in a Renault. It’s a complete change at a lot of ends, which makes the season more so unpredictable. Things will be very interesting in the initial part of the season, although things won’t be clear as to who will dominate, if at all someone does manage to, to win the title convincingly.
They have an agonizing situation. They won both the crowns last season but still can’t use the #1 plate on their cars. Fernando not only took that right with him to McLaren, but also a world championship. Make no mistake, Renault will be as competitive like last season, it will win races, it will take poles, and clock the fastest laps, but it’s the consistency which they will lack. Alonso took the car to its extreme on many occasions last season which won them the titles. Otherwise we know what happened when the team had Fisichella doing the main driver duties. Fisi is a fast driver, will be among the front runners, but he ain’t a Fernando Alonso, not even a Heikki Kovalainen. This is Renault’s biggest drawback for the new season. Pat Symonds will do all he can to make sure that the car stays competitive. He is the key for the team’s success. And even though they lost their engineer Rod Nelson, they will be right at the top. It’s only the drivers which are going to make any difference.
I pity this guy, always gets into wrong places. When he had a chance he didn’t have a good car, when he has a good car he doesn’t have that same Fisichella quality he once had. And then to make it worse he has a teammate who has nothing to loose, and will take the wheels off his car to prove himself. Heikki is what will help Fisi remain competitive, how competitive is to be seen. With Fernando alongside he didn’t have the pressure to be the main driver, but now he has to lead a team which is defending both the titles. That’s the beauty and curse of the situation, any Suzuka kind of performance will cost him dearly.
Guy is a Finn. Need to say more? Well he is fast, very fast, but again not a Alonso, a problem for Renault and Flavio. But then this is what they have to take on the championship again. And only Heikki could have come in this team and done some good. We will see what the guy can do on many occasions. But he has the plus point as he hasn’t got anything to loose, other than the rookie of the year award. So till he keeps Fisi on his heels, or maybe perform even better, a job well done for Heikki.
It’s still quite unbelievable that there is no Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher leading Ferrari to a new season. A long relation at the Prancing Horses has come to an end. An era has ended. But the passion still remains, the passion for the success is what drives Ferrari and will drive them again this season. The team looks strongest to do well, well surprisingly lots of odds are in their favor, even if they don’t have Schumi racing. Firstly, being the prime Bridgestone team for these seasons gives them an edge, now that all the teams are on the Japanese rubber. Then Felipe had the privilege to work under Michael, which is a BIG plus for the team. Then the biggest, Kimi Raikkonen, the guy is known for his talent, and he will be the favorite among bookies to win the title. Combine them and you have a championship winning material. They can win it, no doubt, they have two very talented drivers who will race each other, and this is what the team should be happy about.
Now in his second year at Ferrari, and first without Michael, Felipe has come a long way since those raw years at Sauber, to his maiden win at Brazil last season. He had the great opportunity to race with Michael, which has really helped him to be what it takes to win. He can now get out of that #2 role and take the spotlight. The sooner the better, although he isn’t a Montoya, he is a team guy, and team has this plus point in a competitive team guy. Its Felipe’s season, the real break, now that there is no Michael around him.
Arrived with a big bang, but still that championship eludes him. Thanks to a very unreliable McLaren to blame. At Ferrari though, even if the car is as competitive as last season, Kimi can at least sleep easy on that front, that the car won’t give him the heart breaks he is used to. Kimi has come in place of Michael Schumacher and it’s impossible to fill in his shoes, but this should only motivate him, as he has a point to prove, and a championship to win after all those heart breaking seasons at McLaren.
Couldn’t be better for them in the driver department, they have Fernando’s experience and talent to replace Kimi, and Lewis Hamilton to replace Montoya. Fernando gets the role of the leader, with Lewis behind him as the rookie. Perfect for them driver wise, but the car’s reliability is what will allow them to be close to Ferrari and Renault in the points table. Car will be fast, Alonso will make sure of that even if it isn’t the case. Car has been good in testing, and should be in good pace at Albert Park opener, the reliability over the entire race distance will matter.
Going for a third consecutive title, but in a McLaren this time. Tell you what, it reminds me of Valentino Rossi, who did a pretty much a similar thing in MotoGP when he switched teams from Honda to Yamaha. Alonso might do a Rossi in F1, and who would like to bet against it? Not many, if the car holds itself, and lasts an entire race distance, then without doubt Alonso might even win the title. But it’s a long way to go, with lots of races to be raced. He will not let Kimis, Felipes, Fisis have a walk in the park, Fernando will make it clear that the McLaren move was not a mistake.
With Lewis coming in for Montoya, McLaren for the first time ever in their history are going into a season with drivers not retained from the previous season. Two new drivers are never good for continuity in a top team, but Ron Dennis knows his job well. And then with Fernando in your team you do not need to worry, do you? So the other driver is what its about. Lewis Hamilton brought into F1 over the likes of Webber, Wurz and even Mika. Lewis is fast, intelligent, will be a good teammate to Alonso, and may even win some races. All in all a great driver for McLaren. Hamilton certainly would like to pay off the confidence Ron Dennis has showed in him.
They won their maiden win last season, which will increase the benchmark for this season, with an aim to fight for the 3rd or 4th places in the championship. It’s the legendary Honda after all, they know the business well, and the engine will be good. The management is what should be their drawback; they lack an influential figure leading the team. Nick Fry might be doing a great job, but Honda needs someone better. This year they have to do well, no bad results will be accepted now.
He was very relieved last season after that maiden win, but now of course the target is the championship. It’s not going to happen this season, but if he is to mount some serious challenge then he better get the team often on the podiums, his British media has very high hopes, and the win last season will only pressurize him. With 118 GPs behind him, Jenson is now experienced enough to lead a team.
His first season at Honda was not he expected, not his fault entirely. Moving from a Bridgestone Ferrari to a Michelin Honda after so many years is not easy to adapt to. He will do better this year for sure. Honda will be a fast car, and Rubens will be a lot more comfortable this season. He should be close to Jenson the whole season. A top 6 finish in the championship will be a great result for him. Although I still feel that he should have stayed at Ferrari, because had he been there, he could have fought for the championship in the best car on grid, and with no Michael around.
This is one team which should do very well this season. They have the best wind tunnel in F1, a great management, two good drivers. BMW power is known for its performance, their second season as a works team will be better than their first in 2006.
Nick is experienced now, and is fast on his day. He just needs to be pushed hard, and Robert Kubica will take care of that. He is still to win his first Grands Prix, and he can still do it.
My rookie of the 2006 season will definitely do well this season. He will push Nick to the limits, which his good for the team. He has natural speed, great composure for a guy of his age and experience.
They are a team which has the potential to win championships. A massive budget and good engineers with them they like Honda have to do well. Honda won the race of winning the first race between these two Japanese manufacturers. But I still don’t understand why they are based in Germany.
Still very quick, but sometimes looses the motivation he needs. If he sorts this issue out, I see no reason why he shouldn’t do well. He is now in the final term of his Toyota contract, and with the big paychecks coming his way; he will have to make Toyota believe that the money is well spent on the German. He needs to at least beat or match Trulli.
Trulli is also as experienced has Ralf, just raced one more grands prix than Ralf. So he should do equally well this season. Both the drivers should aim to finish in the top 10 in the championship and lead Toyota to a top 4 finish in the constructors, or at least help Toyota beat Honda
Another team with big money, experienced drivers, but too old I believe. Both DC and Webber are above thirty, although it doesn’t matter, but then DC makes you think, is he still fast enough? Who cares? He has helped Red Bull build, and it’s a family kind of affair now. Renault power is reliable and the team then has Adrian Newey, and we all know what the guy can do. Red Bull might get faster and faster as the season moves on. They can now really prove “Gives you wings”.
Among the, if not the, oldest guys on the grid. DC is a reliable driver, he will scores points regularly. He should even think of podium at times, at least he will finish in points. The more he does so, better for him and his team.
After a mechanical problems inflicted season at Williams, the gritty Aussie comes into Red Bull. He should have a pretty reliable season now, Renault power will be better than Cosworths, Newey’s designs are fast, so Webber should have a comfortable season at Red Bull, and yeah before I forget, beat DC.
A disappointing season last time, which saw them do very bad in the championship. Their main problem was the engines. Toyota power is what they use this season, and the Japanese power is reasonably powerful, infact among the best out there. Rod Nelson from Renault will make a mark along with Sam Michael in the engineering, and we know that Williams have always been strong in this department under Patrick Head. Frank Williams is a great team leader and still a guy who knows what it takes to win and does want that sweet taste of success back in the team.
Nico had a good season last time, he will have that experience to have a better 2007. He is a talented guy, capable to putting in strong performances. He is having a great time, enjoying his time out there, not much pressure, just to make sure that the team does well than last time atleast.
Wurz after all those testing years is back in racing. He will try to make a mark so that he stays here. He will have a tough teammate to beat in Nico, and the benchmark is set for him.
The Red Bull ‘B’ team doing pretty much without any expectations. I really don’t see what the team can do and how. Maybe the Red Bull will help and lend some wings here too.
Fast, and terribly underrated. He’ll be determined to beat his Red Bull “teammates” for once. A driver confirmed pretty late, he’ll be eager to dazzle the team owners.
F1’s only American driver has a lot to live up to. He didn’t have a great rookie year in the Toro Rosso, despite making ample use of the v10 engine. He’ll be out to prove his numerous critics wrong this year.
The arrival of Mike Gascoyne from Toyota will obviously brighten up Spyker’s fortunes, though by far it’s been the only bright point in an otherwise gloomy and depressing testing season. The new Spyker’s desperately slow, and will most probably occupying the back of the grid this season, though that orange livery looks tasteful enough. Spyker is working on an all new car version to be out hopefully by mid season, but till then, look out for the orange car at the back-end.
The fact that his girlfriend’s father is the team owner might have had something to do with his race drive this season, but Albers will most certainly be out to quash that thought. He’s not frighteningly quick as a driver, but is steady and can be expected to nurse the car home.
One of the most promising rookies for many a year, Sutil’s presence will certainly lift the team up. A fantastic performer in F3, he counts Lewis Hamilton among his biggest fans. The young German is super fast, and is extremely competitive. The former pianist will be trying hard to impress the team owners in hope of a more worthy drive next season.
This is, no matter how many assurances by the team, still effectively last year’s Honda car, complete with this year’s Honda engine. So, calling it a Honda B team won’t feel terribly out of place. the team, which became a familiar sight at the tail end of the grid last season (only at the start though, couldn’t make it through to the end generally), has as yet, not turned a wheel in testing this season so far, but is expected, with the Honda backing, to do fairly well this season. Main competitors will be red bull, Toro Rosso and Williams.
Mr. Destruction has managed to hold on to his race seat, given his Japanese connections. He is fast (and errant), and certainly has more than enough experience now, to make some valuable contribution to the Japanese team. He also has a team mate this year that is expected to give him a hard time.
With the Englishman, the team has finally done away with its strange patriotic compulsion of having Japanese drivers only. The arrival of the former Minardi F1 driver will give huge boosts to the Aguri team development program. Davidson is massively experienced with his time as a test driver for Honda, and is expected to give some valuable feed back to Super Aguri, along with some hard time for his team mate.